Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay

I'm a nerd and I love to share my reader tales. Humor me for a minute (or you can just skip straight down to the review if you like). So, Linwood Barclay's No Time for Goodbye released in 2007 and one of our DPI speakers that year (likely the ladies from Random House) brought an arc with them as one of their on-hand examples. When I expressed an interest in the book after their talk, they were kind enough to pass it along to me. Which of course earned them a look at my dorky happy dance! I thought the book was fantastic. Just the right amount of keep you up all night suspense (something I quite enjoy although the staying up all night becomes more difficult as I get older). I'd compared him to Harlan Coben at the time and I still think it's an apt comparison - so if you read Coben and have yet to try Barclay, I urge you to do so.

Linwood Barclay's latest, A Tap on the Window, is due out on August 6. The book begins somewhat innocently enough with a girl catching a ride with the father of an old schoolmate, but we quickly learn that things aren't that simple.

It was a coincidence that PI Cal Weaver happened to be driving by when Claire Sanders needed a ride. Course he didn't know she was the mayor's daughter at the time. In fact, he never would have given her a ride in the first place if she hadn't mentioned his son. When the police come knocking the next day with questions, Cal knows something strange is going on. They say the girl has gone missing and Cal doesn't help his case by explaining the events of the previous night. If Cal can't figure this one out, he might soon find himself in hot water with the authorities. And in their little town, no one wants to cross the police.

I love how Library Journal calls Barclay "A master of domestic suspense." It's probably the best description of what Barclay does!

A Tap on the Window is a multi-layered and captivating read. As I mentioned, it starts simply enough but the simplicity is an illusion. Cal is mourning the loss of his son and desperate to find the person he holds responsible. His grief and his own investigation are the primary reasons he agrees to give Claire a ride. But she soon pulls a fast one on him under the guise of eluding someone she claims is following her. There are chapters narrated by a mysterious and unnamed person, there's the corrupt nature of the local police, and then there's Cal's connections to the police. The town is a virtual tinderbox just waiting to burst into flames with the police and their supporters on one side and the mayor and his supporters on the other. Cal and Claire are seemingly caught up in the middle with Barclay twisting the plot in ways I never saw coming!

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Beginnings/Endings

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: Top ten favorite beginnings or endings in books.

I feel like I used to be better at recalling more details from the books I've read. These days my brain is Swiss cheese. I've tried to avoid some of the usual suspects here (let's face it A Game of Thrones has a pretty rocking beginning!) and go with some of the books that I recall having particularly hooked me through the years.

1. Cell by Stephen King - I'm a gigantic fan of Stephen King's work and Cell is the absolute first time I can recall the action beginning so quickly in one of his tales. (If you haven't read it, it's King's zombie apocalypse novel and it's been rumored to be in movie production for ages.)

2. The Dark Tower by Stephen King - again I have to give another nod to King. The end of the Dark Tower series is probably a bit of a love or hate situation. I personally LOVED the ending. 

3. Feed by Mira Grant - what happens when you poke a zombie with a stick? You get this awesome opening!

4. Tell No One by Harlan Coben - it doesn't take long for the action to begin in Coben's breakout stand alone. This book is intense!

5. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton - Oh, this was in my opinion the most perfect beginning to a book! I knew I was in for a great ride when I started this one.

6. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda - I was hooked with this beginning. Each book has a great ending as well, if you don't mind the whole cliffhanger thing :) Still waiting for the final book in the trilogy but as far as beginnings go, The Hunt nailed it! (I've had this book on the brain of late. It's so time for book three! Just a few more months to go to the November 5 release.)

7. The Visitant by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear - this was the first time I read the husband and wife team and it's also the first in their Anasazi Mystery trilogy. The prologue is a flashback that piqued my interest and the trilogy is still one of my favorites.

8. Gravity by Tess Gerritsen - back in the days when Gerritsen wrote stand alones, she wrote this gem: a space based medical thriller that I personally think is one of her best.

9. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor - I feel like folks were really able to keep the details of this book under wraps for a very long time. Because of this, I had no idea what I was in for when I started this one. The first lines hooked me, though, and I quickly jumped on board the Laini Taylor bandwagon. 

10. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons - horror fans, this is one of the most perfect books beginning to end! I love everything about it from the first line to the last!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Last Summer at Mars Hill by Elizabeth Hand

Do you recall my kind of glowing review of Stephen Jones's A Book of Horrors from last October? No, go ahead and check it out. I'll wait.

Now, remember that last story on the faves list? "Near Zenor" by Elizabeth Hand? Well that story led me on a search for Elizabeth Hand's backlist titles. One of the books on my must have list was Last Summer at Mars Hill. This collection, originally released in 1998 was Hand's first collection released and the title novella earned her a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award. Pretty impressive stuff! And while there are certainly some of the old physical copies floating around, I've yet to come across one. Fortunately, the folks over at Open Road Media have recently released this collection and more of Hand's backlist as well in e format.

Last Summer at Mars Hill is kind of the perfect example of why I love anthologies so much. Before reading A Book of Horrors, I wasn't at all familiar with Hand's work. Since falling in love with "Near Zenor," though, I found myself really seeking out more of her work. And while I'm looking forward to reading some of her novels, Last Summer gives me a chance to read more of her short fiction, like the one that drew me to her in the first place.

Last Summer includes:

Last Summer at Mars Hill (novella)
"The Erl King"
"Dionysus Dendrites"
"The Have-Nots"
"In the Month of Athyr"
"Engels Unaware"
"The Bacchae"
"Snow on Sugar Mountain"
"On the Town Route"
"The Boy on the Tree"
"Prince of Flowers"

Hand's tales are haunting both in tone and content. The very real setting combined with a fairy tale esque style is something I'm particularly fond of (I do find myself drawn to these kinds of stories quite often - see my post on Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane).

Last Summer at Mars Hill in particular is very couched in the here and now. The set up is a bit of a family vacation but with undertones of something not quite right. It isn't until the story begins to progress that you learn exactly what's off about this trip and the relationship between the central mother and daughter characters. And then you get the supernatural twist. Really it was quite enjoyable and a wonderful progression.

"The Erl King" was a particular favorite of mine thanks to the horrific twist the story took. (Horror roots and all that!)

"Justice" and "The Bacchae" 'cause, well. Yeah. Given some of the things going on in the world, I connected a bit with these.

"Engels Unaware" I heart this story. I did work as a temp for a little while and that might be why I liked it so much, but it's just a darn good tale!

All in all, a fabulous collection and one I'm so glad is available again for new fans (like me!).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

New releases 7/30/13

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough

Three by Jay Posey

City of Mirrors by Melodie Johnson-Howe

The Sweetest Hallelujah by Elaine Hussey

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

The Skull and the Nightingale by Michael Irwin

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Last Blood by Kristen Painter

Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey

Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn

Lawless & the Devil of Euston by William Sutton

The Highway by CJ Box

Death Angel by Linda Fairstein

Carpathian by David L. Golemon

The Last Alibi by David Ellis

Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep

New on DVD:
Black Rock

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan
The Never List by Koethi Zan

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Dangerous Women edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Agh! Since I'm a huge fan of anthologies in general and I've gone all nerd girl for George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, I've been anxiously awaiting the new anthology he and Gardner Dozois have helmed.

This week, Tor has started offering up excerpts from the tales to be included. I'm trying to avoid the temptation. I know it'll only make waiting until December 3 for the actual book that much harder. Doesn't mean I'm not doing some heavy reading of most of the authors included though (my eye's on your series next, Diana Gabaldon!).

Here's the complete story list from Tor:

“Some Desperado” by Joe Abercrombie - A First Law story
“My Heart is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott
“Nora’s Song” by Cecelia Holland
“The Hands That Are Not There” by Melinda Snodgrass
“Bombshells” by Jim Butcher - A Harry Dresden story
“Raisa Stepanova” by Carrie Vaughn
“Wrestling Jesus” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm
“I Know How to Pick ’Em” by Lawrence Block
“Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell” by Brandon Sanderson - A story from Sanderson’s cosmere
“A Queen in Exile” by Sharon Kay Penman
“The Girl in the Mirror” by Lev Grossman - A Magicians story
“Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress
“City Lazarus” by Diana Rowland
“Virgins” by Diana Gabaldon - An Outlander story
“Hell Hath No Fury” by Sherilynn Kenyon
“Pronouncing Doom” by S.M. Stirling - An Emberverse story
“Name the Beast” by Sam Sykes
“Caretakers” by Pat Cadigan
“Lies My Mother Told Me” by Caroline Spector - A Wild Cards story
“The Princess and the Queen” by George R.R. Martin - A Song of Ice and Fire story

Here's the link to Tor's growing list of excerpts as well. 

Happy reading!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

So Neil Gaiman went on what he said will be his final book tour and he came to Denver! It's not the first time he's come to the area since we moved here - he came when he was touring for The Graveyard Book and did a reading event for a massive, massive crowd. We were lucky enough to be in attendance to the packed and sold out event.

This time, though, he was signing. And I was sure there was no freaking way we'd get a ticket. But we did. #873. It was a LONG night and I can't believe the man still has a hand to write with after signing that many books. I was sorry that I hadn't read The Ocean at the End of the Lane earlier, but it turned out to be a bit fortunate. Me and most of the other people waiting on the top floor of the Tattered Cover that night kept ourselves busy reading the new book :)

And what a book it is!

A man attending his father's funeral takes a side trip back to his old neighborhood. While he's there, he returns to the house at the end of the lane where he sits and remembers events long forgotten. 

Forty years ago, when the man was just a boy, he met Lettie Hempstock and her family. A boarder in his home had stolen his father's car and driven it to the end of the lane where he proceeded to take his life. It was the boy's first brush with death, but it was this event that led him to the Hempstocks. What followed would be the most wondrous and frightening time of the boy's life. 

True to Gaiman form, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an awe inspiring and truly magical tale. It is a bit short, and perfectly appropriate for teens in my opinion, but definitely should not be mistaken for kids' story. Instead, it's a bit of a horrific fairy tale for adults and definitely one that I highly recommend!

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell

Imagine that you've suffered a horrible accident but have come through with only minor injuries. You're lucky, but you begin to notice that everything around you is different than you remembered. You're friends are not your friends anymore. People who never gave you the time of day are all of the sudden scrambling for your attention. Even your family has changed - your parents were separated and are now living together under the same roof, having never split up in the first place. And while some things have changed for the better, some things are definitely worse. But the most horrifying part of it all is that you don't know how you got here or why your own memories are so different from reality. 

This is the story in Paul Blackwell's teen debut, Undercurrent. Callum barely survives a tumble into the local Crystal Falls - a fall that's killed many others before Callum went in. He can't remember the specifics of the accident itself, but at least he's come through it ok. That is until he realizes how different everything around him has become. 

Undercurrent is ok. It's an interesting concept, but not an original one. Of course it doesn't have to be as long as the author's particular take on the concept is original. The problem is that Undercurrent is not a particularly exciting or original twist on the concept. In fact, it brought to mind last year's Through To You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn't cover here on the blog but I did post a brief review on Goodreads if you're interested.

The two books are similar in a lot of ways but Callum and his friends never really came to life the way Hainsworth's characters did for me in reading her book. Blackwell's story had so much possibility but ultimately (and sadly) fell a bit flat for me personally. That's not to say that Undercurrent is bad by any means, just that it didn't live up to my expectations or what I felt was its ultimate potential.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan + a Giveaway

Good morning, everyone! I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Stephen P. Kiernan's fiction debut, The Curiosity, today.

Dr. Erastus Carthage has made a groundbreaking discovery: with the right method, cells that have been flash frozen can be resuscitated - for a short period of time. Dr. Kate Philo leads a team in the Arctic to find and bring back samples preserved in just such ice to be part of the experiment. When they discover a man frozen in an iceberg, though, everything changes. Now they have something more than krill and shrimp to experiment on. Something that will interest everyday people. The question is, even though they have the technology to raise this man from the dead, should they?

Considering there literally are banks of cryogenically frozen folks awaiting their day of revival, this is the kind of story that's definitely not too far off from reality. Kiernan's debut raises a lot of interesting ethical questions along these lines. Carthage essentially treats the man as another experiment, referring to him as Subject One even after the man has woken and they've learned his name. Carthage even renames the program after Lazarus, in part to inflame protestors who have denounced him and the experiment as man playing God.

We get the story from four different perspectives: Kate Philo, Daniel Dixon - a reporter lucky enough to be on hand when Philo's team makes her discovery, Carthage, and the man himself - Judge Jeremiah Rice, who drowned while participating in a scientific expedition in 1906.

Philo becomes Jeremiah's friend and then something more, serving as his advocate at times and one of the few on the team who initially and continually humanizes him rather than treating him as an experiment. And Jeremiah's perspective is one of the most interesting in the story. Not only do we get his feelings on the experiment and being treated as a "curiosity" but his perspective on the changes that have happened in the world since his death. Even something as simple as a grocery store and his awe at the amount of produce available - something completely unthinkable in his time. His first taste of an orange, though, is disappointing. Bland and tasteless compared to the oranges he remembers from his lifetime (yet another example of the even if we can, should we question since mass produced and out of season produce does suffer in flavor compared to in season).

The first thing that struck me about this book was Kiernan's writing style and language. Quite simply, the writing in this story is amazingly vivid! After that first page, I expected that this was going to be a superb and special read - and it definitely did live up to those expectations.

I highly, highly recommend The Curiosity. I'll also be very much looking forward to Kiernan's next fiction outing!

Rating: 5/5

To see more stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Stephen Kiernan, you can visit his website here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Now for the giveaway! I've got an extra copy I'm offering up for grabs here - US only please. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before end of day August 4.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Words/Topics that Make Me NOT Choose a Book

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: Top ten words or topics that will make me NOT pick up a book.

Yay! Let's show all of Becky's idiosyncrasies, haha. (Considering I'll read just about anything out there, this list was a little tough to put together. You'll notice I don't have a #10 at all.)

1. Erotica - yeah, no. 

2. The we've-lost-everything-in-bad-investments-and-have-to-start-over fiction trend - this also includes the all-our-money-was-made-through-embezzling-or-inside-trading-and-daddy-got-caught trend. I can't be the only one who's noticed these, right? I get why why it's a trend but when there are multiple books in this kind of vein really close together it's overkill. 

3. Animal based cozies - look I'm an additional cat or two away from being a certified cat lady and I don't mean to hate on cozies but they're generally not my thing (there are a few exceptions)

4. Cutesy hobby based cozies - I don't mean to knock cozies. I'm a mystery fan in general but not so much a fan of cozies as a whole.

5. Christian fiction of any kind - definitely not my thing! And religious horror baffles me (no, I don't mean The Exorcist).

6. Cancer a la Lurlene McDaniel - this stuff was all over the place when I was a teen. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now.

7. Books by reality tv personalities - does this need an explanation?

8. Corporate thrillers - there are definitely exceptions but I don't find the corporate world all that enticing or thrilling. I kind of feel like reading a couple of books in this vein covers it all.

9. Anything written by or compared to Nicholas Sparks - they're not suffering by not having me as a reader, trust me.

Carniepunk by Rachel Caine et al

It's Carniepunk release day! Yay! I know it doesn't take much of a review here to confirm the book is as awesome as everyone expects it to be. Let's face it, a lot of us have been antsy pantsy about this release. I lucked out big time and got an early copy and whether you need it or not, I'm gonna go ahead and talk about how fabulous a read it is :)

Concept wise there's no way this could be anything but a win in my opinion. I'm sure carnivals mean all kinds of things to all kinds of readers. For me, there's a mystique and a romanticism around the idea of a carnival but the reality is much more dirty and creepy for me. But whether you fall into the category of people who romanticize carnivals or the category like me whose skin crawls even thinking about those dirty rags wiping the ick off the seats of the ride you're about to get on (ewwww!), Carniepunk does have something for us all. (An anthology of carnival based tales by some of the hottest urban fantasy authors out there is just gonna work.)

Some of the stories are series tie ins while others are totally new characters, but they all stand on their own even if you haven't yet read the author's backlist. Be warned, though, my must have list is bursting at the seams already and any of the authors here I haven't previously read have been added to the list now, too!

Here's the lineup and story list for you (in order they appear in the book):

"Painted Love" by Rob Thurman
"The Three Lives of Lydia" by Delilah S. Dawson (a Blud story)
"The Demon Barker of Wheat Street" by Kevin Hearne (an Iron Druid Chronicles story)
"The Sweeter the Juice" by Mark Henry
"The Werewife" by Jaye Wells
"The Cold Girl" by Rachel Caine
"A Duet With Darkness" by Allison Pang (an Abby Sinclair story)
"Recession of the Divine" by Hillary Jacques
"Parlor Tricks" by Jennifer Estep (an Elemental Assassin story) - available as a free e read right now
"Freak House" by Kelly Meding (a Strays story)
"The Inside Man" by Nicole Peeler (a Jane True story)
"A Chance in Hell" by Jackie Kessler
"Hell's Menagerie" by Kelly Gay (a Charlie Madigan story)
"Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea" by Seanan McGuire

Some of my faves:

"The Three Lives of Lydia" - I've never read Dawson before but a quick search proves the cover of her first Blud book is definitely familiar. This is a world I want to dive wholeheartedly into now!

"The Sweeter the Juice" - Mark Henry has been talking up Carniepunk and his tale for a while so this one came with big expectations (I had to force myself to read in order rather than jumping directly into this one). It's excellent but also quite nasty!

"The Cold Girl" - just because. Once you read it, you'll know.

"Freak House" - like Dawson, Meding is new to me and I definitely need to read this series now.

"Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea" - Seanan McGuire is so awesome. I've read her work as Mira Grant and have the first in her October Daye series in my TBR. This story is a little different from the others in that the carnie folks are the main characters. It's something of a bittersweet tale and utterly fabulous in every way.

A must, must, must have for any fan of urban fantasy/paranormal romance!

Rating: 5/5

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

As I mentioned, today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Nancy Bilyeau's The Chalice. (These books consumed my weekend, in a good way!)

It's been just one year since the dissolution of Dartford Priory. Joanna and some of the other nuns have made their home in the neighboring village but the transition hasn't been easy. The attitude towards the Catholic Church and their old order is hostile at times, thanks to the current political climate, but they're determined to move on. Then Joanna is offered a chance to visit her cousins in London. The invitation comes at an opportune time for Joanna and her ward, but soon turns out to be the first step in fulfilling a prophecy Joanna has long feared. This prophecy, set in motion when Joanna was just a teen, would have her on a course that could change history and restore the Catholic Church. But at what cost?

More political intrigue with a twist of the mysterious for Joanna! The Chalice takes us beyond Dartford and and England as a whole, exploring the next piece of British history following the events of The Crown.

Joanna evolves quite a bit in this second book. While she'd never be described as a character who stood by and accepted her fate, she did make an attempt to accept what had happened at the start of The Chalice. That soon changes, and her willingness to once again take an active role in preventing what's happening comes about once again (admittedly her motives in The Crown have more to do with protecting her loved ones than herself).

She also has to face changes in herself that result from no longer being part of a holy order. Since the priory was dissolved before she was able to take vows, she was never officially a nun. Her feelings for both Geoffrey and Brother Edmund presented interesting new aspects of the story.

Fans of historical fiction, suspense/thrillers, and what I like to call literary puzzles will love this series. Bilyeau has another installment due out late next year called The Covenant.

Rating: 5/5

To see more stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Nancy and her books, visit her official website and follow her on Twitter.

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

Hi, all! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Nancy Bilyeau's latest, but I wanted to quickly cover her debut, The Crown, first. (The Chalice is up next.)

When Joanna Stafford hears that her cousin is to be burned at the stake for protesting King Henry VIII's position with regards to the Catholic church, she abandons her position with the Dartford Priory to be at her side. Joanna is a devoted novice on her way to becoming a nun but the call of a family member in distress is more than she can bear. The seriousness of Margaret's crime means that no one in the family is likely to be present at her death but she and Joanna shared a special bond. Joanna is mistaken, though. There is someone else in the family there to give support to Margaret: Joanna's own father. The two are soon arrested and imprisoned at the Tower of London for interfering with Margaret's punishment, leaving Joanna in a desperate position. She is offered the chance of release and a return to Dartford only if she will agree to serve as eyes inside the priory for the Bishop of Winchester, a man whose motives and reliability are questionable. The Bishop wants something, something rumored to be hidden within the walls of the Dartford Priory, and if Joanna can find this item she may be able to free her father. If she fails, it could mean the end of the Priory as well as her father's life.

The Crown is a truly captivating literary thriller and puzzle set during the English Reformation and based in very real history. Joanna is completely fictional, but Bilyeau moves her around this history with a mastery that's admirable for a debut author.

It is clear in reading The Crown that Bilyeau has paid very close attention to historic detail and it's this detail - paired with an undeniably appealing heroine and a great plot - that makes the book a stand out both in terms of historical fiction and in terms of thrillers.

This is the kind of book that sends me immediately searching Wikipedia and other online history links to find out just how much of the story is based in fact and I discovered that in this case it's surprisingly quite a lot! While Joanna is fiction, the Staffords are very real - my grandmother was a big Tudor history buff but I know surprisingly little about this particular family even though my grandfather shared their family name (you'd have to trace back pretty far to find a connection, I'm sure). Athelstan is real though his crown is still rumor :) and many of the characters in the book are actual historical figures in Henry VIII's court. Even Dartford Priory and its history is real, though not necessarily the part about the crown. Bilyeau discusses some of these things in the Q&A in the paperback edition of the book and on her blog.

While The Crown is the first in the trilogy, and the introduction to Joanna, I should point out that you do not have to have read the book before diving into the follow up The Chalice, but reading the two books back to back has been particularly enjoyable for me and I definitely recommend it.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Releases 7/23/13

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Carniepunk by Rachel Caine et al

A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan

The White Princess by Phillippa Gregory

The Seventh Trumpet by Peter Tremayne

First Frost by James Henry

The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Chimera by David Wellington

Unleashed by David Rosenfelt

The Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey

Extremeties by David Lubar

Shadows of Glass by Kassy Taylor

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell

New on DVD:
Welcome to the Punch
Kiss of the Damned
The Silence

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan
The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn

Friday, July 19, 2013

Two Short e Reads From Carrie Ryan

Forest of Hands and Teeth extras! Who doesn't love extras?! Carrie Ryan has two e shorts that tie into the Forest of Hands and Teeth world - both prequels to the series as a whole. "Hare Moon" was released in 2011 and "What Once We Feared" is brand spanking new as of May (though timeline wise it comes first).

In "What Once We Feared" a group of classmates finds themselves in the midst of a zombie attack while on a school field trip. The first resurrected have already popped up elsewhere but everyone has been told it's under control. When bodies start falling from the sky, it quickly becomes clear that control has flown out the window. Jonah and his friends quickly seek refuge in a nearby apartment building but soon learn that their escape isn't necessarily the salvation they'd thought it was. 

This is the first peek we've gotten of the outbreak itself!

In "Hare Moon" Tabitha has only ever known the village she lives in but longs for more. One day she sneaks outside the main fence to the path beyond. Gradually, as days pass, she makes her way further down the path until one day she meets a boy. She'd thought her village was the only one left. Now she knows different, but her adventures could place everything she loves at risk. In the end she'll have to decide what's more important. 

I feel like it's been so long since finishing the final installment in Ryan's series! I came across both of these stories when I heard about the release of "What Once We Feared" and fortunately actually have an e reader at this point (it wouldn't have mattered much if I'd come across "Hare Moon" in 2011 considering I didn't have the e reader then and likely wouldn't have bought it to read on my computer).

I am quite loving all these little e short extras these days. Granted I do hope that one day they'll be released in a physical collection (so I can keeps it FOREVER) but I heartily welcome the return to worlds like that of this series.

Both stories are the kind that sit with me long after finishing them. They're quite short at just under 30 pages each, but they're just as thought provoking as the actual series books themselves. In fact, depending on my mood they can both be viewed as either hopeful or bleak tales!

Rating on both: 5/5

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila

Morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Kristiana Kahakauwila's This Is Paradise.

This debut short story collection from Kahakauwila highlights Hawaii in a way that will surprise and please readers, I think. Each story presents a slightly different look at the state and the people who live there. In "This is Paradise" it is - as the book synopsis calls it - a "chorus" of women telling the tale. Central to the story is the observance of a tourist whose choices show that Hawaii isn't always paradise for everyone. The second story, "Wanle," is about a young woman embedded in the cock fighting world whose ultimate goal is to avenge her father's death. "The Road to Hana" and "Thirty-Nine Rules for Making a Hawaiian Funeral Into a Drinking Game" both deal heavily with the native vs haole issue.  There's also a heavy focus on family and relationships throughout the book, as in the last two tales, "Portrait of a Good Father" and "The Old Paniola Way" (and stories previously mentioned).

While I enjoyed this sort of insider's look at Hawaii, I only wish that I could list it as one of the places I've visited in my life. It would give me as a reader a chance to contrast the touristy Hawaii with Kahakauwila's Hawaii. That said, the author does a wonderful job instilling a strong sense of place and an appreciation of the people who call it home.

This is Paradise is a great showcase of Kahakauwila's writing skill and talent in storytelling. One can only hope that there will be a full length novel somewhere down the line - something to really sink your teeth into - but until then this collection is a wonderful introduction to this author.

To see other stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Kristiana and her work, visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

Morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Stephanie Evanovich's debut, Big Girl Panties.

A rescheduled, overbooked flight leads to a fateful meet up for Holly Brennan and Logan Montgomery. Holly is returning home after a trip to clear up some business obligations left unfinished after her husband's untimely death. Logan is returning from an "emergency" training visit with his best friend, pro baseball player Chase Walker. The two end up seated next to one another, much to their disappointment, but soon strike up a conversation. Holly is in desperate need of a change and has gained more than a little weight in the wake of her husband's death. Logan believes he might be able to help. He takes her on as a new client, intent on helping Holly change her habits and get in shape. What neither of them counted on, though, was falling for one another.

There's something about reading a book that lays bare some of your own insecurities that really helps to connect with a character! Goodness. I've been in Holly's boat - sort of - and did really well with the help of a trainer. Unfortunately I fell off the wagon and need to toss those bad habits once again :)

I've seen a lot of grumbling concerning the fact that this book is about a fat girl who needs to lose weight before being able to attract the attention of the hot guy. Personally, that's not what I got from this. In my opinion, it was Holly's overall transformation and her influence over Logan (and his sort of transformation as well) that allowed the relationship to spark.

See, Logan is a bit shallow in terms of his relationships. I quite enjoyed his talks with Chase - especially when Chase begins to address Logan's lingering doubts about Holly (which are admittedly a bit of a turn off when he starts focusing on those last 20 pounds!).

Holly, on the other hand, in addition to the weight issue that brings them together in the first place, is grieving - something Logan realizes very early on. Not only that, but it's perfectly believable to me that as Holly sheds pounds, she becomes more confident and that this also plays a big part in the way Logan's feelings for her change.

I definitely appreciated the fact that Evanovich took the time to build the characters' relationship from meeting and becoming friends to becoming love interests. I thought this particular part of the story was done really well and was something I liked quite a bit.

While Big Girl Panties is not a flawless debut, it is one that I found entertaining and enjoyable. I liked Holly, I liked Logan (most of the time), and I liked Chase and Amanda - though their fetish became a bit overplayed and cartoonish towards the end.

It's kind of impossible to notice that Stephanie Evanovich is related to Janet E. so I'll just go ahead and say that while Big Girl Panties is funny - laugh out loud at times - it's not quite Stephanie Plum funny. Instead, Big Girl Panties is more of a heartfelt and humorous romance (with LOTS of steamy scenes).

Rating: 3/5

To see what others on the tour thought, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Steaphanie, you can like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Never List by Koethi Zan

Best friends Sarah and Jennifer faced death as children and managed to survive. Jennifer's mother did not. As they grew older, the two concocted lists meant to protect them from anything that could cause them harm. But as careful as the girls were, nothing could protect them from Jack Derber. Sarah and Jennifer were abducted and kept captive in a basement for over three years along with two other girls. When Sarah and the other girls were finally saved, Jennifer was already dead. Now, with Jack Derber up for possible parole, Sarah must face the demons she's fought so hard to overcome.

So a big Happy Book Birthday to Koethi Zan today! The Never List has made many a summer reading list this month and it's finally out in stores! I was lucky enough to get an early copy and spent part of this past weekend buried in this book.

Koethi Zan has a freaking scary imagination! The Never List hit like a ton of bricks. My reaction here was similar in a lot of ways to my reaction upon reading Elizabeth Haynes's debut, Into the Darkest Corner. A few warnings, though, in reading either or both books - don't start them late at night unless you're prepared to stay awake to the very last page and lock your doors! The Never List is most definitely one of those books that will make you look over your shoulder at night.

Without giving too much away, Sarah is the kind of heroine that you definitely root for but hasn't quite faced up to all of the things that she's been forced to face. This becomes clear very soon in the book and makes you want to stand by her even more.

Zan's book isn't perfect but any flaws are quickly forgotten. Not only does the book begin with Sarah and Jennifer's abduction, kicking it off with a bang, but Zan manages to throw in new twists and surprises throughout the story, each one possibly more chilling than the last.

Strangely - or not - there are a slew of thrillers concerning kidnappings due out this summer as per this post from BookPage's The Book Case. (In addition to Never List I've got two more of the four books listed in my TBR right now.) I say or not because some of the best thrillers out there play on the things that scare us most and trust me when I say that this is one scary plot.

Rating: 4.5/5

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors who deserve more recognition

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition.

You might recall seeing this topic here on the blog recently - back in April there was a rewind week and I chose this exact topi! As such, here's the link to that post and here are ten more authors who deserve more recognition :)

1. Ben Aaronovitch - I love Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series. LOVE it! I've heard it's to be adapted for tv over in the UK and I seriously hope it makes it's way here. This is a series that should be embraced by fans of 

2. Erin Kelly - after reading Kelly's debut, she was a definite on my must have list! Creepy psychological UK suspense that's always excellently plotted.

3. Jessica Anya Blau - Wonder Bread Summer was my first outing with Blau and I loved it! I've since added another of her titles to my TBR stack as well.

4. Rob Thurman - Thurman is the author of the Cal Leandros series as well as a number of other titles. If you like darker urban fantasy and haven't tried her, I definitely recommend giving her a shot.

5. Katherine Webb - if you like Kate Morton, you'll definitely like Katherine Webb. She combines historical fiction with a hint of mystery to create deliciously captivating reads!

6. Tamara Thorne - Thorne has been one of my favorite horror authors for quite some time, but I noticed that her titles have been rereleased over the last couple of years. Hopefully she'll find some new readers with these brand spanking new editions.

7. Anton Strout - Strout's the author of the Simon Canderous series as well as the new Spellmason Chronicles. He's funny as all get out and another must if you're an urban fantasy fan.

8. Tom Rob Smith - when Child 44 was released, I could not get enough! There was quite a lot of buzz and so Smith may not be quite right for this list but I don't think his follow up titles got as much attention. There's a Child 44 movie in the works with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace so I think this will change soon.

9. Gail Z. Martin - if you're looking for something to tide you over while you wait for the next Song of Ice and Fire release, I suggest you check out Martin. Her linked Chronicles of the Necromancer titles and the Fallen Kings duo should do the trick nicely.

10. Greg Keyes - same reason as Gail Z. Martin. While Keyes's Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone has been out for quite some time, it was a series that prompted me to do much more browsing in the fantasy section during my college years. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Darynda Jones Guest Post + a Giveaway

Happy Monday, everyone! That's not usually a good thing in my book but today I have a second post for the Fifth Grave Past the Light tour, which surely makes this Monday infinitely better! This time it's a guest post from Darynda Jones herself. I've also got another chance for you to enter the tour giveaway (one signed copy of Fifth Grave Past the Light) at the end here.

So a big, big welcome to Darynda Jones!

Charley’s ADD Self-Diagnosing Quiz 

So, yeah, I suffer from ADD, aka attention deficit disorder. Most people know that about me. It figures that I’d suffer from a condition in which caffeine is a remedy. Still, I don’t think my ADD bothers me nearly as much as it does others. I have a short attention span. So do lots of people. Shiny objects are statistically distracting for 78% of the population, not just sufferers of ADD. And every person on the planet, at some point in his or her life, has left the remote control in the refrigerator. 

But what about you? Do you suffer from ADD? Not sure? Want to find out? We can help! Because missing just one trip to Starbucks can prove fatal. 

Take this simple quiz to determine whether or not you suffer from this terrible affliction. And if you do, rejoice! No one can ever complain about your multiple trips to the coffee pot at work again. It’s a win-win! 

Answer the following Yes/No questions. 

1. Do you often misplace your set of car keys? 
2. Do you often misplace your spare set of car keys? 
3. Do you often misplace your children? 
4. Do you have trouble following a conversation because the fluorescents overheard are flickering? 
5. Do you lose items when you haven’t moved from your seat? 
6. Do you read more than one book at a time and never finish any of them? 
7. Do you –SQUIRREL! 
8. Do you forget what you were talking about before you sneezed? 
9. Have you ever put the cereal in the refrigerator and the milk in the cabinet? 
10. Do you stare at your wrists for several seconds before realizing you forgot your watch? 
11. Do you ever miss you turn while driving? Seven times in a row? 
12. Have you ever spent an hour looking for your glasses only to find them on top of your head? 
13. Do you ever make piles to sort your piles? 
14. Have you had seven different jobs in seven different fields in under two months? 
15. Do you have 3,000+ bookmarks in your browser? 
16. Did your class vote you “Least Likely to Survive?” 
17. Do you ever get billed for missed appointments? 
18. Have you been going to college for 9 years and have yet to get an associates? 
19. Have you ever shown up for school on a Saturday? 
20. Have you ever dialed a number then, as it was ringing, forgot who you were calling? 

For every ‘yes’ answer, give yourself one point then see the results below and follow up with your doctor if necessary. 


Some of these things are natural on occasion. You should be fine. But just to be safe, you might want to up your caffeine intake by one cup a day or switch to dark roast. 

You should probably see your physician and explain what you are going through. And just to make ME feel better about YOU, drink more coffee. 

See your doctor ASAP. And to avoid a trip to the funny farm, you definitely want to increase your caffeine consumption by about a gallon a day. Don’t worry about those jitters. Lost of people shake. And can thread the needle of a sewing machine while it’s running. 

REJOICE! I see much coffee in your future, ‘cause you are out there, baby. Best get thee arse to a doctor who can diagnose ADD/ADHD and invest in a commercial coffee maker. And/or a coffee plantation. Better yet, learn to grind coffee beans in your mouth. And don’t be afraid to lick the coffee pot clean in public. All the cool kids are doing it. 

I hope this helps with your diagnosis. I aim to please. And annoy. Mostly annoy. 

All that being said, trusting an online quiz to diagnose such a serious condition is just silly and you should probably see a doctor either way. Preferably a licensed psychiatrist. 


Haha! Gotta love it!

For more on Darynda, Charley, and the Darklight series, be sure to check out Darynda's website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

And now for the giveaway - just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter to win. Remember, the more stops you visit the more chances you have to enter (click the banner up top for the whole tour schedule). Good luck!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Releases 7/16/13

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton

Countdown City by Ben Winters

The Never List by Koethi Zan

The Homecoming by Carsten Stroud

Helen and Troy's Epic Road Trip by A. Lee Martinez

Nearer Home by Joy Castro

The English Girl by Daniel Silva

Mist by Susan Krinard

Mystery Girl by David Gordon

Stranded by Alex Kava

Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews

These Mortal Remains by Milton T. Burton

A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames

Downfall by Jeff Abbott

Storm Riders by Margaret Weiss and Robert Krammes

Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron

Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant

Hunting Eve by Iris Johansen

The Poisoned Pilgrim by Oliver Potzsch

The Smart One by Jennifer Close (PB)

No Easy Way Out by Dayna Lorentz

Replica by Jenna Black

New on DVD:
The Host
Spring Breakers

Friday, July 12, 2013

To See Or Not To See: Pacific Rim

My husband and I headed out for an early showing of Pacific Rim last night with pretty high expectations. We've been hearing about this movie for ages and it's a Guillermo del Toro project (you know, Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, etc).

We got there a bit early - first ones in the theater - and I immediately started to worry. See, I have beef with Hollywood of late. For the past couple of weeks I've been hearing ominous predictions of Pacific Rim's inevitable demise. Earlier this week I even came across dismal predicted opening earnings. It's all kind of pissing me off.

Pacific Rim is a big budget movie packed with special effects. It's a movie I've been looking forward to for a very long time. To hear that Hollywood is ready to write it off as a failure before it even hits screens is aggravating, not to mention possibly influencing of potential audiences.

In a time when every other movie that's released is a remake or reboot or sequel (the majority of which should never have been made due to a number of factors: Why remake a movie that's only a few years old? Why remake a movie into crap? Why change the genre of the original in the first place? Why bother with a remake if it's got a name big enough to carry a generic pic of the same genre? I can go one and on.) it's discouraging - to say the least - to hear that no one expects Pacific Rim to be a hit. Personally, I'll grab at just about any opportunity to see a new movie that's an original concept and that's exactly where I'm going to spend my money. If my options become limited to Grown Ups 2 and the remake of (pick your favorite movie growing up), I'm probably not going to spend my money at the movies anymore.

Anyway, the theater never did get packed to the gills but it was a decent showing and it was playing on two other screens at the same time (in 3d and on IMAX, no less).

So, Pacific Rim (no spoilers unless you want to go in with NO knowledge of the movie):

The movie begins after the kaiju have made their appearance and the jaeger are up and running as our defense. There's a good bit of exposition explaining this in the beginning (and in the trailer linked above) so I won't go into it. The world is getting pretty desperate as these giant creatures have wrecked every defense we have against them. Charlie Hunnam plays Raleigh, a talented jaeger pilot who's been off the scene for a while thanks to events at the beginning of the film. He's approached by his old commanding officer, Stacker Pentecost (the excellent Idris Elba) to participate in a new project involving the jaegers. Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) has been helping to restore the old jaegers, Raleigh's in particular. And then you have Newton and Gottlieb (Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Charlie Day and Torchwood's Burn Gorman) the science team trying to unravel the mysteries of the kaiju. They add a bit of levity to the movie and prove to be an interesting aspect of Stacker's project as a whole. 

The effects are freaking awesome! I mean, really freaking awesome! But that's never enough to carry a movie in my opinion. Sure it's looks nice and shiny, but is there a story? In this case, yes. Hubs felt there could have been a bit more going on story wise but I thought that the just over two hour film struck a good balance between effects/action and actual story development/plot.

There is a bit of a comic book element to the movie - particularly where Newton and Gottlieb (and the necessary Ron Perlman inclusion) are concerned but that's pretty typical of del Toro's style as a whole in my opinion and wasn't unexpected. At any rate, I never felt like it made the movie overly comical or detracted from the entire experience as whole anyway, so again - a good balance.

Pacific Rim is a definite see in my opinion - if you couldn't tell. It's kind of the perfect summer blockbuster but certainly one with a bit more going on than the usual popcorn fare.

Rating: 5/5 (or in other words, I'll be buying it when it comes out!)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

This Is W.A.R. Playlist

Hello, readers! Just a reminder, there's still a few days left to enter my giveaway to win a copy of Lisa and Laura Roecker's This Is W.A.R.

As a little bonus the authors have put together this snazzy playlist for your listening pleasure, perfect for reading along to:

My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark--Fall Out Boy

One Foot--Fun

Little Talks--Of Monsters and Men

My Body--Young the Giant

Today’s the Day--Aimee Mann

Intervention--Arcade Fire

When I Go--Brett Dennen

Lucky Now--Ryan Adams

Time to Pretend--MGMT

Vindicated--Dashboard Confessional

For more on Lisa and Laura, be sure to check out their This Is W.A.R. website. You can also follow them on Twitter.

The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay + a Giveaway

Morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on The 7th Woman tour hosted by France Booktours.

First a bit about the book from the publisher:

There’s no rest for Paris’s top criminal investigation division, La Crim’. Who is preying on women in the French capital? How can he kill again and again without leaving any clues? A serial killer is taking pleasure in a macabre ritual that leaves the police on tenterhooks. Chief of Police Nico Sirsky—a super cop with a modern-day real life, including an ex-wife, a teenage son and a budding love story—races against the clock to solve the murders as they get closer and closer to his inner circle. Will he resist the pressure? It has the suspense of Seven, with CSI-like details, giving a whole new dimension to Paris.

When I was contacted about this tour, I was super excited to get on board. The book sounded intriguing and the added bonus of it being an award winner in France was a plus for sure. It also fit nicely with the 2013 Translation Challenge I signed on for. But I think what most drew me to it was the publisher, Le French Book, and what they're doing: translating and distributing previously unavailable French fiction for English readers. How freaking cool is that?!

The Seventh Woman takes place over the course of just seven days, which makes for quite a quick and intense read. Molay throws in a few red herrings - both for the reader as well as the characters themselves - and all in all the mystery itself is fairly well plotted and interesting. I can't say it was all that hard to see around the false leads or to figure out who the killer was, but it was still interesting to see the case unfold for the characters.

My only serious issue with The 7th Woman was the insta-love. It's not usually a big beef of mine - other readers are far less forgiving of it than I typically am - but in this case the progression of Sirsky's relationship was just a bit too quick for me. I understood the need to attach Sirsky to a love interest but it's something that I felt could have been already in progress when the book began as opposed to the overnight infatuation Molay created here.

The 7th Woman is translated by Anne Trager and works quite well. There were some instances where the dialogue and narrative felt a bit simplistic but I'm not at all certain whether that would be chalked up to a basic translation or the actual writing (I'm assuming it would be the writing itself). It wasn't anything that detracted from the reading at all, simply an observation I'd had with the style of the book as a whole.

Rating: 3.5/5

To see more stops on the tour, hit the banner at the bottom of this post.

About the author:
Frédérique Molay graduated from France’s prestigious political science school Science Po and began her career in politics and the French administration. Meanwhile, she spent her nights pursing a passion for writing she had nourished since she wrote her first novel at the age of eleven. After The 7th Woman took France by storm, Frédérique Molay dedicated her life to writing and raising her three children. She has five books to her name, with three in the Nico Sirsky series.

And now for the giveaway. Thanks to the publisher, I'm able to offer up one eBook (epub or mobi available). To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before July 21. This contest is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

Morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Ami McKay's The Virgin Cure.

Moth is just twelve when her mother sells her as a servant to a wealthy socialite. The young girl is convinced it's what's best for both of them even when it means braving abuse at the hands of her new mistress. Moth is soon saved but her mother is nowhere to be found. Now on her own, Moth must brave the streets of New York City and find her own way in the world. 

Sorry for the short synopsis this morning, folks - first, I simply don't want to give too much away. Moth's story is an enchanting one and I wouldn't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment (why should I have all the fun?). Second, things are crazypants here thanks to a brief weekend vacation!

I'd set The Virgin Cure on par with last week's reads by Kate Kerrigan - they're historical fiction set in New York (though two different time periods) and they both feature headstrong and resourceful lead characters. Moth is a fabulous narrator - a clever twelve year old living through some tough situations - and McKay has brought her to life glowingly.

One thing I particularly enjoyed were the inset anecdotes and factoids from "Dr. Sadie." They vary as to content and there are extra "articles" dispersed throughout the book as well. They all help set the tone for the time and place - late 19th century New York City.

Now, you may think based on the description that The Virgin Cure might not be the best relaxing summer time read. Normally I might agree except for the fact that having read McKay's latest, I can attest to it being a super enthralling and surprisingly easy read. I actually gobbled up over half the book in just one sitting! So if you're craving a great historical fiction read with a strong female lead, I definitely recommend The Virgin Cure!

Rating: 5/5

To see what others on the tour thought, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Ami McKay and her books, you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best and Worst Movie Adaptations

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: Best/Worst Movie Adaptations.

Okey doke, I'll start with best:

1. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton - I lurve this movie and book! Though parts of the book are held over for the third movie (pterodactyls!) I thought this was a really great adaptation. 

2. The Ruins by Scott Smith - agh! The perfect summer time thriller. The movie and the book are both great, though you definitely get more of the psychological impact from the book as a whole. 

3. Tell No One by Harlan Coben - strangely this one was actually adapted in France before anyone in the States jumped on it. It's probably better off. I love the director, the cast, and the movie as a whole. 

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - they really did a phenomenal job bringing this book to life on screen. Can't wait to see Catching Fire this fall.

5. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding - still one of my all-time favorites. And I have to watch the movie at least once a year.

6. The Harry Potter series, of course

7. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane - I loved this book and I thought the movie was really well done. I was glad that I'd read it before seeing it, though.


8. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern - While I don't totally hate this movie, any fondness I feel for it is simply because it's based on the book. The movie just doesn't live up to the promise of the book and the cast felt all wrong with a few exceptions.

9. The Twilight series - I did really enjoy the books. The movies had me seriously questioning that!

10. The Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child - the movie is kind of campy and kind of fun. As the book that introduces Pendergast, though, it sucks that his character was eliminated from the film altogether.

A few movies I can't wait to see:

1. Austenland by Shannon Hale - the book was super cute and I love that Bret McKenzie (of Flight of the Conchords) is in it.

2. Pure by Julianna Baggott - the movie rights were sold before the book even hit shelves. No word on when/if an actual film will go into production.

3. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith - Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace, I can't freaking wait!