Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Releases 6/2

Some of the new releases hitting shelves this week include:

Charmed And Dangerous by Toni McGee Causey - aka Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lipstick by Kyra Davis - fourth in the hilarious Sophie Katz series

Red Hot Lies by Laura Caldwell - first in a new thriller trilogy

Bloody Good by Georgia Evans - first in a WWII paranormal series

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan - first in a new horror trilogy about vampire infestation/infection

Angel's Advocate by Mary Stanton - second in the Beaufort & Company mystery series

Skin Trade by Laurel K. Hamilton - Anita Blake #17

Undead & Unwelcome by MaryJanice Davidson

Fugitive by Philip Margolin

The Lovers by John Connolly - latest Charlie Parker thriller

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

April and Oliver by Tess Callahan

Little Lamb Lost by Margaret Fenton

Secrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlaine - sequel to Before the Storm

New on DVD:
He's Just Not That Into You
Revolutionary Road

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Bloody Good
The Strain

Saturday, May 30, 2009

As Promised...

Some Toni McGee Causey news for you guys. 

Some of you may remember this post, from last May, when I reviewed Bobbie Faye's Very, (Very, Very, Very) Bad Day, after a particularly bad day myself. At the time, I was reading the second book in this fabulously, hilariously, southern mystery series -- Bobbie Faye's (kinda, sorta, not exactly) Family Jewels (see Tuesday's post). And now it's time for book 3 in the series, but first, the series is undergoing a bit of a re-branding and I wanted you all to be prepared. 

Tuesday, June 2, is the official release date of Charmed and Dangerous, aka Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day. Yep, they are one and the same. So if you haven't yet read about Bobbie Faye and her seriously funny escapades, this would definitely be the time to start!

Bobbie Faye's (kinda, sorta, not exactly) Family Jewels will be re-released as Girls Just Wanna Have Guns on June 30 and then book 3, When a Man Loves a Weapon, hits shelves August 4 (I've snagged a copy courtesy of the fantabulous Mrs. Toni, so watch for a review to come). 

Also, a little birdie told me that Toni will be running a contest on her website beginning next week, coinciding with the release of Charmed and Dangerous, AND you can read an excerpt of the books there as well. 

So, if you (like me) love super funny reads with charmingly witty heroines who have a knack for getting themselves into trouble, then you NEED to check out these books!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Infection Has Begun

I am so excited about the release of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan' s The Strain! First off, I know I previously posted about the book here in my week of "Books I'm Excited About" posts. And now it's finally (almost) here. The book hits shelves on June 2 and it's one you'll really want to sink your teeth into (yes, my cheesy attempt at being funny while this tired). 

The book begins with a plane. It's landed and all has gone dark. Upon investigation, all of the window shades prove to be closed and the emergency exit jammed. Eventually they are able to crack it open only to discover that all of the passengers are dead. The CDC is called in, specifically Dr. Ephrailm Goldweather and his Canary project. They find four passengers who are, surprisingly (and barely) hanging on and immediately transfer them to quarantine at a local hospital. The remaining bodies are divvied up between four boroughs' morgues. Then all of the bodies disappear. Ephraim and his team are in no way prepared for the outbreak that has begun. They are joined by Abraham Setrakian, a survivor of the Nazi death camps, who has seen these creatures and battled them before. Together, they must fight the infection before the vampires take over the world. 

Yep, classic vampire horror del Toro style! Del Toro, director of such films as Pans Labyrinth and Devil's Backbone, also directed Blade II, so it's probably no surprise that I'm seeing some parallels between those icky vamps and these. There are also tones of Dracula in the tale. I love Abraham Setrakian's interludes and his stories of the strigoi, kind of wish there was more, but this is only book 1 in the trilogy, so there's time for more Eastern European folklore specifics.  

What I'm wondering now is whether this will be made into a film with del Toro directing again? He's slated for The Hobbit and The Hobbit 2 and also has a slew of stuff basically categorized as "in the works," including Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and, surprisingly, Drood. We can only wait and see what comes to pass. Fortunately, we do know that the subsequent books in The Strain trilogy will be coming in the next couple of years. 

This one is going to be BIG folks. BIG, BIG, BIG! Buy it, love it, and tell everyone about is. And, visit the really cool website for more info on the vamps, story info, an interview with Guillermo del Toro, and even a look inside the book itself. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Christie Craig is Gonna Get You!

I first heard about Christie Craig in Toni McGee Causey's Murderati post here. Wait, that's not entirely true. As a total book junkie, it's not often that I come across someone who is completely and utterly unfamiliar to me. So yes, I first READ about here there, but I had seen her covers occasionally. (GUILT)

I know, I know, I can't possibly read every single fabulous author out there, but a junkie can try, right? Anyway, Toni McGee Causey is one of my faves (and she's from my home state, we gotta stick together) so of course I'm going to take her advice, along with every other author I like, when they tell me to try a new book. 

Christie Craig is one of the contributing authors to the Killer Fiction blog, something I discovered a few weeks ago, though I can't remember exactly how. Every single one of these ladies belongs on a big, fat summer beach-read table, in my opinion. I now own at least one book by each of them (I am not kidding). 

Anyway, luck has it that I got my grubby little hands on a copy of Craig's upcoming release (June 1, or earlier) Gotcha!, a lighthearted and candy-coated mystery/romance/comedy that I just couldn't put down. 

The book is about Houston gal Macy Tucker, who's experienced one disappointment after another when it comes to men. So she's sworn them off. But nothing can stop her from falling totally head over heels for detective Jake Baldwin when fate throws them together. Macy's younger brother has been serving out a sentence for an accidental robbery when he "meets" and steals a fellow inmate's girl. The inmate, a nasty character called Tanks, swears revenge, not only on the younger Tucker and his gal, but on Macy and the rest of her family as well. A jailbreak leads to Baldwin's involvement and Macy ends up under a multi-purpose surveillance. And as hard as she tries to resist the detective's charms, when he ends up coming to her rescue she starts to realize that resisting is pretty pointless. 

Gotcha! has all the elements of a perfect lay-in-the-sun, forget-all-your-worries read. It's fun and funny and hooks you from the very beginning, which, I understand, is pretty par for the course with Craig's books, all of which fall into the funny mystery category (or so it seems). 

Craig's other titles include:
Divorced, Desperate and Delicious
Divorced, Desperate and Dating
Weddings Can Be Murder
and the upcoming Divorced, Desperate and Deceived

Readers looking for something light and sweet to read this summer will love Gotcha!. I'll keep you posted as I read the other authors from Killer Fiction (Leslie Langtry, Kathleen Bacus, Gemma Halliday, and Jana DeLeon). Also, I have some Toni McGee Causey news coming up as well!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bloody Good is Bloody Great!

In the midst of all of the urban fantasy and paranormal romance releases, I never fail to be surprised at just how different each one is from the next. This weekend, I had the immense pleasure of reading Georgia Evans's debut, Bloody Good, -- it was utterly fabulous!

Bloody Good (June 1st) kicks off Evans's (aka Rosemary Laurey) Brytewood trilogy. It's WWII and the tiny village of Brytewood is in for a big surprise when German forces drop four vampires into the nearby countryside. Their goal, with the help of hidden spies, is to blend in and infiltrate, thereby gaining the advantage in the war. When Dr. Alice Doyle discovers a man impaled in a tree, she rushes him back to her clinic to patch him up. The man seems in dire condition, but when no one is looking, he gets up and walks away! Then some local livestock turn up listless and drained of blood. When a local farmer pops up dead, also drained, Alice and her friends decide something fishy must be going on. Course it's a little easier to believe that a vamp might be in their midst considering how many of the villagers, Alice included, have a touch of "other" in their blood. 

So much fun! I love the setting for these books -- an English village in WWII, fantastic combination. The characters are really likable -- there are pixies and fairies, werefoxes and even dragons in this series -- and I can't wait to see what happens next! Book 2, Bloody Awful, is due out in July and then the trilogy is rounded out in August with Bloody Right. 

Though Evans/Laurey's previous titles are also technically paranormal romance, it's my impression (based on info from her website and the use of the pseudonym) that these are a bit different stylistically. There's still a romance aspect, though, so no worries all you paranormal romance fans!

Readers who enjoy Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books are sure to love Georgia Evans (remember they're WWII England!). Highly recommended to anyone looking for something a little different in the paranormal romance realm. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Last Week's Movie Roundup

So Terminator: Salvation started last week and of course we had to go. I'm a HUGE Terminator fan. I saw number 3 for my birthday the year that it was released, and immediately upon leaving, turned to comment to my friends that they just had to make another. At that point, we'd still never seen any of the actual war with the machines--with the exception of the flashbacks. I have to say that I was immensely pleased with this latest installment. Sam Worthington was excellent as was Anton Yelchin as a young Kyle Reese. In fact, their parts of the story were the best parts. I was a little upset that so much had been given away in the trailers, though. I mean it's freaking Terminator! You can't tell me that you need to give away half of the movie (including what could have been a very effective introduction of the whole human/machine hybrid) in order to get people to see it. So, see it. It's fab! But, unfortunately, a lot of the film is shown in the trailers. 

In my rental queue from last week was Grudge 3. I like that they at least took the time to tie this in with the other films. I don't like the fact that they've decided to turn this into a franchise. I mean seriously, they can just drag this thing out, with no real resolution, into eternity. And, it's the kind of movie that I only really watch when I have nothing else to watch instead. It begins with the kid who survives in number 2 trying to explain what happens. Course no one believes him and the spirit is now haunting (and killing) in the apartment building. 

Kind of like Screamers:The Hunting. This is my WTF movie of the week. I mean, what in the HELL are they doing making a sequel to Screamers anyway? I guess I need to read the original Philip K. Dick story to see how closely the first film follows. I mean, is there any basis at all for the second film? It begins with a distress call from the mining planet, now supposed to be uninhabited thanks to the screamers.  And, like there wasn't enough going on, the planet is supposed to be hit by some storm that will basically kill anyone else left there. It was cheesy as all get out. There really was nothing all that redeeming about it at all. Very predictable. I think I'll stick with Peter Weller and the original all by its lonesome and forget I ever saw this one. 

Finally, in the trippy, arty, foreign category, I saw Eden Log. This is a movie that I think is about a utopian biosphere community gone wrong. I think. I really didn't get it. I can't say one way or another whether it was any good because I DIDN'T GET IT!

Am now working my way through season 1 of Supernatural, on dvd. Not much new out on dvd this week except a straight-to-video apocalyptic thriller with Cuba Gooding, Jr. I'm hoping it's really good. The preview is interesting. Drag Me To Hell and Up both start on Friday and I'm sure I'll see at least one of them. We'll see what else comes in in the meantime.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Releases 5/26

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff -- latest fabulous horror/paranormal thriller from one of my favorite authors. A must read!

Blind Sight by Terri Persons -- third in the Bernadette St. Clare series

Thriller 2 ed Clive Cussler -- second ITW short story collection

Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey -- new urban fantasy release about werewolves

An Honorable German by Charles McCain -- WWII thriller

Pulse by Jeremy Robinson -- an action/adventure thriller in the vein of Matthew Reilly and James Rollins

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison -- teen debut from the author of the Hollows series

New on DVD:
The Devil's Tomb

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Unseen
Blind Sight
Thriller 2
Lust, Loathing and a Little Lipstick by Kyra Davis

And it's almost the end of the month. Remember, the Bookbitch has tons of giveaways each month -- titles put up by publishers and the ITW -- so try your hand and enter to win. Titles change each month. 

Morning All

Hope some of you get to enjoy a day off on this holiday. 

Our weather here has me totally drained. I loved rainy, yucky, dreary days, and can definitely handle multiple, but this gray,, no rain until 6pm and then it only lasts 5 minutes, is kind of lame. 

So obviously I've taken a few days off. First, I had my training session on Thursday and came home totally beat up. I really didn't want to move again until yesterday (Sunday). I gave myself two days of recovery from the gym when I should have gone and worked out both days. Instead I took 4.5 mile walks with my neighbor. Walked again yesterday and then hit the gym for the routine and I can now safely say that I don't feel as though my rubberband legs are going to snap and fall off. 

I'm finding that since I'm sleeping at night, I'm falling asleep much earlier at night. Nice that I'm sleeping but I seem to be losing some reading time. Hm, some time management is in order. Too bad I can't cut work time to make up for it. 

Anyway, saw some movies and have a new release post to put up and have been reading some grand books I need to tell you about. I'll get going on that then. Right now. 

Also, in the next week I have some info from some authors who are running contests and we're going to be moving so I'll probably have some giveaways of my own again. 

Thanks for being patience and I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Ok, by random number generator (my other on his way to make a smoothie) the winners are:


I'm e-mailing the winners today for their addresses. 

Thanks for playing! Watch for more giveaways to come -- I've cleaned out my closet and we're moving soon so I've got some books to share!

And I forgot to mention 

If you didn't win here, you still have a chance to win a copy of Jack Kilborn's Afraid. Jenn over at Jenns Bookshelf is running the same contest through May 29. Here's her post and instructions. 

And, Vicki posted a link to this contest (runs through Mon, May 25). 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Night All

Alrighty. It's only about 10pm here, but I am totally beat. I'll be e-mailing winners tomorrow, but if it's not yet midnight, now's your last chance to get your name in to win a copy of Jack Kilborn's Afraid. Leave a comment here (follow the link) with your e-mail address -- open to US and Canada only, no PO boxes. The books are coming direct from the publisher and should take about a week once I have everyone's mailing addresses. 

Good luck and good night. 

Too Rested?

I think I've been operating under such a massive amount of sleep deprivation lately that it feels really weird to have actually slept through the night. Yep, that's right. I slept through the night -- second night in a row. With a little help from Mr. Ambien, that is. 

The side effect warning with this medication had me rolling. Something like, after taking this medication you may do things that you don't remember doing such as driving a car, having sex, eating... Considering the fact that my last insomnia med was a. not letting me sleep through the night and b. could possibly cause weight gain when I am trying so hard to lose, eating in my sleep would really suck. 

No noticeable side effects as of yet, thank goodness. The only downside of taking such a strong sleep med is that it only takes a few minutes to zonk you out, if you fight it bad things happen (hallucinations in my dad's case, or no sleep at all in my neighbor's case). That means that if you get a Deaver or a Coben or a Preston/Child going at bedtime, there's none of that just the next chapter, just the next chapter stuff going on. 

Fortunately, I finished last night's read before I passed out. It was the third in Terri Persons's Bernadette St. Clare (a psychic FBI agent) series. I posted something on the debut, Blind Spot, here. And, yes, this is the third, but there won't be any spoilers for you. 

In Blind Sight Bernadette and her boss, Tony Garcia, are called to the forests of Minnesota when the body of a teenage girl is discovered. The murder is particularly gruesome because the gild had been pregnant, and the body of the child is missing. Bernadette must again rely on a combination of her FBI skills and her sight (something that still has to remain secret from everyone except Garcia) to help track down the killer and to help discover what happened to the infant. Making matters worse, the girl just happens to be the daughter of a senator who is very outspoken against the FBI. 

This is one of those series that I think just slipped in under everyone's radar. Blind Spot was released around the same time as George D. Shuman's 18 Seconds (I posted something here). It's ok to like them both, readers. I find that stylistically they are different enough that they each stand out for me. 

Plus, if you enjoyed the short lived Violets series by Stephen Woodworth, you should definitely check out both Persons and Shuman. Makes for some fun summer reading in my eyes, and can't you tell I'm ready for it to be officially summer? I really wish I still got 2 months off for summer break. 

Persons's latest hits shelves next Tuesday, May 26.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Contest Deadline Approaching

Remember to get your name in by midnight tomorrow for your chance to win a copy of Jack Kilborn's (JA Konrath's) Afraid. US and Canada only, no PO Boxes and include your e-mail in the comment here so I can contact you if you are one of the winners. 

Good Luck!

Perfect Summer Chiller

Personally, I think any time is the perfect time for a scary read: Rainy weather, snowy weather, beach weather, and crisp fall weather, too. Really, if it's a great read, it'll creep the hell out of you even in the middle of a sunny afternoon and that's what makes Alexandra Sokoloff's latest, The Unseen, tops on my recommended reading list for this year. 

I read this book yesterday (writing this Monday evening). Yep, that's what I did on Sunday, with just a break to play some Fear and to go to the gym. And, honestly, even when I was away from the book, all I could think about was getting back to it! You got to love it when that happens. 

In The Unseen, Dr. Laurel MacDonald has picked up and relocated to North Carolina after a dream led to her discovery of her fiancee's infidelity, and she's accepted a tenure track job with Duke University in their psychology department. Though Laurel has lived her entire life in California, her family has a history in North Carolina and with Duke, a history that is mostly unknown to Laurel. In her first weeks at her new job, Laurel becomes fascinated with the Rhine papers, 700 boxes dating back to the university's infamous parapsychology department that was in operation from 1927 to 1965 that have only recently been opened to the public. As Laurel digs into the files, she becomes convinced that something terrible led to the closure of the department, something that has remained hidden all these years. It is this incident that Laurel decides will become the topic of her required research. But, as she gets closer to the truth, she is also getting closer to a danger that should never be released. 

I love that this book is based on actual fact. It's true. Duke University had a parapsychology department headed up by Joseph B. and Louisa Rhine, professors at the university. There was nothing suspicious about the department's closure -- Joseph Rhine reached mandatory retirement age and went on to open The Rhine Research Center -- but I think it's the perfect inspiration and setting for a story of this kind, and I think Sokoloff did an excellent job weaving her own scary tale around a fascinating part of paranormal history. 

I am increasingly impressed with each of Sokoloff's books. They all stand out for me as having truly original plots, great characters, and that special something that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up as you read them. Readers looking for these things should not miss any of her books: The Harrowing, a fabulous twist on a traditional ghost story; The Price, just how far would you go to save someone you loved; and now, The Unseen, a creepy psi thriller

So treat yourself to a truly creepy read and buy The Unseen when it hits shelves next Tuesday (May 26)! Curl up with it late at night and turn off all the lights (except one to read by) or take it to the beach, either way you're definitely going to sleep with the lights on when you're done!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Last Week's Movie Roundup

So of course we went to see Angels & Demons on Friday. Now, I've not yet read the book so I can't really compare content. I'm with Mike, my other, in that the story structure really isn't that different from that of Da Vinci Code. I found the major baddie kind of predictable, but it was a fund summer flick with some interesting historical points. I still love Tom Hanks (man his son looks just like him! Can we get more of Colin on the big screen?). I was pretty blown away by some of the art and architecture in this film. I know that some of the film was shot on location in Rome and, without knowing what was real and what was cgi (and not caring), it just cements for me the fact that I would love to see Rome up close and in person. 

I also finally got around to watching Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal's Rendition last week. It was quite disturbing and more than a little confusing. I question the editing choices somewhat -- the delivery could have been a little more clear in my opinion as far as the daughter's story went. Meryl Streep is fabulous in this movie, I literally wanted to throw things every time she came on screen (as a side, saw a preview of Streep and Amy Adam's in Julie & Julia, the film based on Julie Powell's book, and it looks super fun!).

One that I really enjoyed this week was the Masterpiece version of Dracula starring Marc Warren as the Count, Sophia Myles as Lucy, and Dan Stevens as Lord Holmwood. I have never, ever, ever been able to finish this book. Never. So I know that some creative license was taken with the plot (did I miss Renfield?) but overall it was a really good film version of the tale, in spite of the differences. 

One I was a bit on the fence about this week, Passengers, starring Anne Hathaway and Patrick Wilson (two Patrick Wilson movies in as many weeks?!). It was ok. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't blown away by it. In the film, Hathaway plays a therapist who specializes in disasters and she is called in to council the remaining survivors of a terrible plane crash. But there's a twist that's not too hard to figure out. And that was my disappointment. Not sure if it was the twist itself or the predictable nature of it. It was ok. I think I really like Patrick Wilson, though, in spite of having seen him in Hard Candy

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Releases 5/19

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton -- a debut thriller in the vein of Lee Child

The Sign by Raymond Khoury -- a new thriller/adventure tale from the author of The Last Templar and The Sanctuary

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith -- the sequel to the amazing Child 44

Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready -- sequel to the fabulous Wicked Game (actually due out May 16)

Whispers of the Dead by Simon Beckett -- third in the forensic anthropology series

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child -- Jack Reacher #13 (can you believe 13!)

New on DVD:
Eden Log

New reviews at BB.com:
The Secret Speech
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
The Tower by Simon Clark
Written in Bone by Simon Beckett

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pet Emergencies

Hi everyone. I will try to get something posted today, but I am up super early to take one of my kitties to the vet (she's a 2 now). I'm not sure what's going on with her. We went in on Thursday because her skin's been twitchy since Wednesday. We thought it was something irritating her skin but I can't for the life of me find anything she could have gotten into that would have caused it. I bathed her, I cleaned under the bed (where she's been hiding) and changed all of the sheets and pillowcases (cause my pillow has been commandeered as her safe spot). It had seemed as though the "attacks" were maybe less severe yesterday. She did venture out to play, but then it's like she's sitting in an ant pile. Her skin starts twitching and she jumps up and runs either under the bed or to my pillow. 

So, I have to drop her off for observation, something that's plaguing me right now because it feels like her worst fear come true -- they hate riding in the car and are always a bit better on the way home as though they know now that I'n not abandoning them. Well, this time she'll be staying for a while so it is like I'm abandoning her. 

She's miserable. I'm miserable. I'm not getting any sleep right now and this is our third visit to the vet this week. Sunday evening the dog somehow got her tail slammed in the door. We think she was trying to follow the roomie when he left, but he says he didn't see or hear anything. We heard her from the other room and still can't figure out how it would have happened. Anyway, she was in obvious pain and distress so we ended up with an emergency visit and an x-ray. She's fine now, totally back to normal. I'm just wondering what is up with my luck that Calypso all the sudden is hit with something strange and mysterious in the first place and in the same week as the tail emergency. I feel like I'm bankrolling the new vet office. 


Anyway, just added stress in my life. I'm also having meltdowns due to the diet not working (1500 cal a day and 3-5 gym visits a week and nothing is coming off!) that I'm sure are compounded by the lack of sleep. Needless to say, even though I have time to read, it's been hard to concentrate. Hopefully the vet can help my little one so she can go back to being the happy, healthy girl she should be and I can at least get rid of one worry. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mass Appeal

I love it when I read a book that's aimed at one audience and I find that it fits others as well. I'm sure authors love it, too. In this case I'm talking about yet another teen novel that will be a strong contender for my Best of '09 list. What is it? Lilith Saintcrow's teen debut, Strange Angels.

Granted, I knew this book would be a good because I'm already a fan of the author, but I also know by now that some teen books, while fun, don't really appeal to a lot of adults. This one, I really feel, could tempt many an adult if they just give it a shot. 

Really, with the exception of the fact that the characters are teens, Strange Angels could very well be an adult urban fantasy. I spent my Saturday night curled up with one of the cats and this book, the perfect way to relish an evening with no boys in the house. I was a happy girl. 

In Strange Angels, Dru Anderson finds herself all alone in a new town, certain that someone has intentionally killed her father. Well, gee, he was killed so it must be intentional, right? See Dru and her dad don't live a normal lifestyle. Nope. They're hunters who track down the things that go bump in the night, the things that, as Dru says, exist in the real world. So when Dru's dad goes missing only to turn up as one of the walking dead, Dru knows it was no accident. Dru finds an unlikely friend in a fellow classmate and begins the search for the truth behind her father's last days. In doing so, she will learn much more about her family and herself than she ever imagined. 

I think this is going to be an excellent series. I'm on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next for Dru and I'm 27, and I know my teenage sisters are going to eat this one up! In fact, I'm already prepared for them to be nagging me about the next book in the series (which hits shelves in 2010. In the meantime, though, Saintcrow (you'll find Strange Angels under Lili St. Crow) has been super busy! The third Jill Kismet book, Redemption Alley, is set for release this July and then Flesh Circus, book four, is due out in December. 

Adult readers who enjoy Saintcrow's other titles will not be disappointed. Urban fantasy fans definitely should check this one out for themselves and their teens. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


No, it's not a new sub-genre -- but it could be given the number of new classifications there are out there. Nope, it's the best way I can think of, other than GREAT, to describe today's book. 

I read Tom Rob Smith's debut, Child 44, and was completely blown away by it. Now I'm a little weird in that I've always been fascinated with Eastern Europe and Russia and would probably have found this one on my own anyway, but I do specifically remember reading an ad for the book that prompted me to seek it out. And I don't remember it having all that much info on the book other than that it dealt with a serial killer in communist Russia -- and that critics were raving about it. Shortly after beginning the book it was clear to me why all the hype: It was worth it! 

Well, the sequel, The Secret Speech, is due to hit shelves next Tuesday and I was lucky enough to snag a review copy, which I finished in one day over the weekend. So yes, it is very much time for me to get the word out to any stragglers out there who haven't had a chance to read the fabulousness that is Child 44, I mean it's kind of my civic duty, right? That way you  will be ready when The Secret Speech is released. All that said, here's my review of Child 44 from the BB archives:

In Stalinist Russia, the government would have you believe that Communism is the only way to live, that their system is the best, that they’ve eliminated crime and jealousy. To attempt to speak out and disprove the government means years of hard labor and even death. Everyone lives on edge wondering if they will be the next ones on the militia’s hit list. Leo Demidov, a war hero and well-respected member of the elite militia, has never questioned authority until now. His wife is accused of being a spy and Leo must show where his loyalties lie – with his superiors, or with his family. The wrong decision results in his exile and demotion. Then, a body is discovered. The accused is a mentally challenged teen from a local asylum. Leo knows that the boy can’t be responsible. In fact, Leo knows that this is not the first murder of its kind. But how do you prove there is a serial killer on the loose in a country that disavows even the possibility of crime. On his own, Leo discovers a second body in the area and, believing that he has proven the boy’s innocence, turns it over to authorities. Instead, the boy is killed for the first murder and a witch-hunt begins for a second killer, the government’s way of eliminating undesirables amongst their perfect society. A search through local records reveals over forty bodies and Leo will literally risk everything to find the real killer. This is one of the most talked about books of the year, and I’ve got to tell you, it definitely lives up to the hype. It’s a brilliant debut based on painstaking research. Smith’s attention, not only to the physical details of his setting, but to the emotional strain and motivations of his characters amidst this environment, are impeccable. This will be one of the best books you read all year.

Child 44 made my best of list last year hands down. And The Secret Speech is definitely a contender this year. Smith's debut earned him the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award for Best Thriller of 2008. 

Readers who enjoy smart thrillers in a slightly historical setting (post-WWII Russia) will love Smith's work. HIs research is impeccable (I've read articles where he claimed he was very careful not to write what's called a cranberry -- mistakes made by non-Russian writers), his setting is unbelievably perfect for this kind of thriller, and I love his characters. I really do. I hope there's another of these in the works, but I really don't know what Smith's got in store next. We'll all just have to wait and see. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Read Serial

Alright everyone, I've got a link and some instructions here for you happy readers!

As part of the extras for Jack Kilborn's Afraid, Hachette has also posted a free ebook written by Kilborn and Blake Crouch. And, as promised yesterday (remember to enter to win a copy of Afraid before midnight next Wed.). Here's the link for the story. When you get there, hit "Short Story Serial..." (choose your format) in the bottom right hand corner and you'll get the book! 

The story is 42 pages and then you get some fun bonus stuff including excerpts from both Kilborn's Afraid and Crouch's upcoming Abandon, and an interview with the authors. Here's what Brianne with Hachette had to say when she sent me the info:

It’s called SERIAL, a terrifying tale of hitchhiking gone terribly wrong by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch. SERIAL is a horror novella. Like a deeply twisted version of an “After School Special,” it is the single most persuasive public service announcement on the hazards of free car rides.


The SERIAL eBook also contains a Q&A with Kilborn and Crouch, author bibliographies, and excerpts from their most recent and forthcoming works: Kilborn’s Afraid and Crouch’s Abandon.

And while you're at the HBG site, hang around and check out some of the other books they have out. They even have the OpenBook option where you can read an excerpt for some of their titles like Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Cemetery Dance and many others.  

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wanna win a free book?

Hachette is letting me give away 5 copies of Jack Kilborn's (JA Konrath's) Afraid. To enter, leave a comment here by or before midnight May 20 (that's next Wednesday) and be sure to include your e-mail addy so that I can contact you if you win. Open to US and Canada residents only. 

Afraid is the first release under the Jack Kilborn name, but certainly not the last (there's a teaser chap at the end for the next title). Here's my review of Afraid from the BB archives:

When a helicopter crashes in the small town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin, the townspeople find themselves up against an enemy like nothing anyone has ever seen. Sheriff Arnold “Ace” Streng is a Vietnam vet and even he has never witnessed the brutality that his town will soon be facing. When he receives a call about the crash, Ace heads out to the site only to find his own cousin being tortured and the man’s wife butchered. The men behind this seem to want one thing and one thing only. They want to know where Warren is. It only takes Ace a minute to realize who they seek, but figuring out exactly why and how to rid his town of these enemies will take a bit longer. Jack Kilborn is a pseudonym for author JA Konrath, the man behind the Jack Daniels mystery series. This stand-alone thriller is a bit of a change of pace for Konrath, but is fast-paced and excellently plotted — extremely hard to put down.

This was another one-sitting read for me and it was intense! And stay tuned, tomorrow I should have a link for a free ebook by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch (you might remember that his latest, Abandon, is one I'm really anxious to read and he's in the upcoming Thriller 2 anthology). So be sure to check back tomorrow for that link. 

Recent Movie Roundup

Ok, so this month is HUGE at the box office with literally one blockbuster after another being released (one a week). I did see X-Men Origins: Wolverine and I have to say that I had no complaints. Hugh Jackman reprises his role (because they'd be dumb to have anyone else) as Wolverine, who, by the way, was never one of my favorites until Jackman put a sexy face to the character. In fact, my favorite was Gambit who can finally, finally be seen in this installment. I want more of him! I hear the next origins film will be Deadpool with Ryan Reynolds. I don't know enough about this character to be excited about it yet, but I like Reynolds. Oh, and Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth -- awesome! The effects were great and the action was dead-on. Overall, a fun summer flick. 

Now onto the other theatrical release that I saw this weekend -- Star Trek! While I had no complaints about X-Men and thought that it was a fun movie, Star Trek far surpassed it in every arena! It rocked. I have long heard it said that you are either a Star Trek fan or a Star Wars fan and while I watched Next Gen and all of the movies as a kid, I would have to put myself in the Star Wars category, until now! JJ Abrams was true to what I remember of the show and the characters, and the casting was PERFECT! Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, Simon Pegg as Scotty (my favorite character), yummy Karl Urban as Bones, John Cho rocked as Sulu, and of course Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk (he kind of looks like young Shatner). Everyone was amazing. And that's Eric Bana playing the baddie with Clifton Collins, Jr as his right hand man (get to know him! I've seen him in two films this year and in ads for a third). Star Trek is an absolute must see for moviegoers. Don't miss it! If you are unfamiliar with the originals, don't worry, you won't be confused and the only thing you'll miss out on is the inside joke with all the key lines. See it!

On the DVD front, last week I rented The Burrowers a new western/horror flick I'd been seeing advertised. Now my other makes fun of me for watching bad horror movies and every time he says something, I have to remind him that there is always a chance that the "bad" movie will turn out to be a good one. The Burrowers was like that. It's colonial times in the Dakotas and starts out with Coffey, played by Karl Geary (a steamy Irish man), visiting his beloved's home and finding the whole family missing. A neighboring family is found dead, having been shot by the father who then committed suicide. John Clay played by Clancy Brown, Coffey, and Will Parcher (played by William Mapother) head off thinking that Coffey's lady and her family have been taken by Indians. They team up briefly with Henry Victor (Doug Huchison of the Pirates films) and his soldiers in tracking down the tribe. Coffey and team soon figure out that Victor has ulterior motives and that recovering the family is just an added bonus to abusing native tribesmen. They still think that it may have been an Indian raiding party that took the family, but they are so wrong! I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. J.T. Petty wrote and directed and I can't wait to see what he does next. Worth the watch if you're a horror fan. 

One to skip would be Kim Basinger and, sadly, Lukas Haas' latest, While She Was Out. I say skip, but really I was just underwhelmed. It wasn't all bad for an evening with nothing better to do. Basinger kicks some hoodlum ass, but I was a bit confused as to why she hung around long enough. It would have made a pretty good made for tv. 

I watched various adaptations of Henry's Turn of the Screw and am still confused. 

And then this weekend I watched Lakeview Terrace a disturbing film about bad neighbors. Samuel L. Jackson is always a favorite of mine even though, as we say in our household, he's one of the hardest working men in Hollywood (he's in EVERYTHING lately). Karry Washington and Watchmen's Patrick Wilson play the young couple who are unfortunate enough to purchase the home next door to Jackson. Not all bad, but like I said, somewhat disturbing. 

I think, given the number of movies I watch, that I may make this a regular Monday post. We shall see. On my re-rent list last week was the fantastic Black Water, a creature feature from down under. Killer crocs in Australia are almost always good in my book and this one makes my skin crawl!

Up for next week's post: Anne Hathaway's Passengers and Angels & Demons, sadly I have not read the original book yet so I can't really compare content, but it's not going to keep me from seeing the movie. (I still lurve Tom Hanks). 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Releases 5/12

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child - latest Pendergast thriller and every bit as fantastic as I expected it would be

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow - Lilith Saintcrow's teen debut, and an absolutely amazing urban fantasy read for teens as well as adults

Worst Nightmares by Shane Briant - a horror debut from an acting veteran

Monster by A Lee Martinez - hilarious sci-fi/fantasy read

Beach Trip by Cathy Holton - I've read her Kudzu Debutante books and they were great, I've no doubt this one will be as well (it's on my bedside table)

The Last Child  by John Hart - Edgar winning author of Down River

Wicked Prey by John Sandford - latest in the immensely popular Lucas Davenport series

Down Home With the Neelys: Neely Family Cookbook by Gina Neely

New on DVD:
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Passengers (straight to dvd thriller that's been on my watch list for ages now)
The Boxer
The Grudge 3
Possession (another straight to dvd that I've been waiting on)
S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Cemetery Dance
Worst Nightmares

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Rec From My Reading Past

It's beginning to feel like summer-time outside and I love it! I just wish I had my parent's pool these days as well. I was 15 or 16 when they put it in and I can't even guess at how many hours I spent in it before I moved. The only bad thing about a pool in Louisiana, though, is that they tell you you won't need a heater and they lie. It rains so much that the pool would stay pretty darn cold during the hottest parts of the summer because of the number of thunderstorms we were getting. 

Anyway, I guess I'm a very reminiscent person because these old recs come to me at times that remind me of when I first read them. I don't recall exactly what prompted me to purchase this particular book, but I do know that I was working at the bookstore at the time. The authors, Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear, are probably best known for their First American books, but their genetics thrillers and this trilogy are right up my alley as a reader!

The Visitant, first in the Anasazi Mystery trilogy, was released in hardcover in 1999. The Summoning God, book 2, was released the following year, and Bone Walker, the final installment, hit shelves in 2001. 

Here's a bit of what PW had to say about The Visitant:

In the upper Sonoran desert of present-day New Mexico, a charismatic yet troubled archeologist named Dusty Stewart is unearthing a mystery that began about A.D. 1200. While excavating a site of the Chaco Anasazi Indians, Stewart and his team discover mass graves containing the bodies of young women, all with their skulls smashed. Using flashbacks to merge past and present into a relatively seamless tapestry, the Gears depict an ancient, waning Anasazi people plagued with drought, declining resources and rampant tuberculosis. Ash Girl, the wife of the tribal war chief, Browser, has been found dead her head crushed and a wolf mask at her side. Young girls continue to disappear from surrounding villages, and Browser, with the aid of his shrewdly eccentric uncle, searches for a serial killer. Meanwhile, in the present, a team of archeologists and anthropologists, most notably Dr. Maureen Cole, who's the heroine of this series launch, are also trying to solve the puzzle of the graves, using not only 20th-century technology, but, in addition, extrasensory perception that links them to the spirits of the past. Breathtaking descriptions evoke the harsh beauty of the desert in both winter and summer, while the lucid, erudite historical perspectives are informed by the authors' own extensive archeological experience. 

If you love archaeological thrillers/mysteries, you have got to check out this trilogy. All three books were rereleased in early 2008 and are still available. And, if you really like them, you can follow-up with People of the Silence, the Gear's First Americans title about the Anasazi. It's not technically part of the trilogy, but they still sort of go together. 

One of my favorite elements of this series is the way the authors go back and forth between the past and the present. In the present, you have Dusty and Maureen trying to uncover the truth behind the evidence they are uncovering and in the past you get the actual event right alongside all of their theories. For me, it's the perfect combination of historical fact and modern-day thriller -- makes me feel like I'm learning something while I'm having fun. I really wish that the Gears would do more of their thrillers, they really were fantastic. If you like these, you should check out their genetics books, Raising Abel and Dark Inheritance. And, of course, if you're a big fan of historicals, you should check out their multitude of First Americans books, each one focusing on a different Native American tribe. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stealing Doesn't Pay, or A Literary Couple Gets Their Just Desserts

What in the heck do I mean by that? Well, I've just finished Shane Briant's debut horror/thriller, Worst Nightmares, in which a bestselling author and his wife conspire to steal a dead man's story as their own. Yep, you can imagine where that's headed given the genre and my title. 

Author Dermot Nolan has a bad case of writer's block made worse by the fact that he's already run through his million dollar advance and has no way of repaying it. When an old man leaves a manuscript in his possession, Shane is immediately annoyed. His initial read of the thing leaves him completely disgusted given the subject matter -- a killer who targets his victims through a website that claims to help people overcome their worst nightmares. Nolan's wife reads the manuscript and can see that it would be a big commercial hit if they can make it theirs. Things are looking up for the Nolans when the man in question falls to his death with Dermot looking on. Hidden in the back of the book are the names and locations of the killer's victims and Dermot decides that in order to find out if the manuscript is for real, he should check it out. He neglects to tell his wife what he finds, however, and they move ahead with publishing the book, under Dermot's name. Well of course someone else is in the know and things can't possibly end well for the Nolans. 

Other than the fact that it's hard to feel too sorry for the main character (up until the end, that is), given his deception, this is a pretty darn good debut! Course, it makes it easier to swallow what happens to Dermot and his wife along the way since they have been so naughty, something I applaud Briant for -- creating realistic characters that elicit such a response from a reader. But the kicker is the end, when all is revealed and the Nolans' fates are being determined. Shocker of an ending, I'll tell you that much. 

Worst Nightmares hits shelves on Tuesday, May 12 so be on the lookout. It's kind of what would happen if Saw met the publishing industry, only a little less gory.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pendergast is Back!

Mark your calendars readers, the new Pendergast thriller is due out next Tuesday, May 12! 

When I was a senior in high school, I worked on a project in which I had to compare films and the books they were based on. At the time, The Relic was just out for rent, which was fortunate for me because I really wanted to see it, and because it got me hooked on Preston and Child

The Reliquary was already out when I read Relic, so of course I had to get it, too. 

Now, before the third Pendergast title, Cabinet of Curiosities, was released in 2002, I had plenty of time to catch up on some of the other titles Preston and Child released, one of which was Thunderhead, Nora and Smithback's story. In Thunderhead, Nora is involved in an archaeological dig in Utah, hoping to find the ancient city of Quivira, and Smithback is the weasly (so Nora believes) reporter covering the dig. 

If you've not had the pleasure of reading these books, you should know that the non-Pendergast titles can be read whenever you please, but I think it's key to read Thunderhead before you get too far into the Pendergast books, because Nora and Smithback are part of the "series" as well. As added trivia, Ice Limit gets some mention in other Pendergast books, though with a slightly altered title (Eli Glinn makes an appearance in a later Pendergast book as well).

The other two stand-alones are Mount Dragon a sort-of medical thriller about genetics, and Riptide, which has to do with pirates and treasure. 

But back to Pendergast. When Cabinet came out, it was the first time that I realized Pendergast was going to be BIG. And I mean, BIG. Or maybe it was the first time I truly realized how vastly awesome the character was becoming. He's a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. He's cool, calm, collected, and utterly brilliant. He even has an arch-nemesis and a creepy family (he's from New Orleans) and he just rocks as a character! He even has his own Wikipedia page

When you read Cabinet, you'll want to dive immediately into the rest of the Pendergast books (because you won't want to wait to see what's happening next!). Still Life With Crows comes next and is followed by the Diogenes trilogy, Brimstone, Dance of Death, and Book of the Dead. Then comes The Wheel of Darkness and now Cemetery Dance

In Cemetery Dance, within just a couple of pages one of the core characters is dealt a surprising blow. As a reader, my jaw literally dropped! I won't give it away, but seriously, I'm still reeling. I keep expecting them to jump in and say "Haha, just kidding!" Anyway, if you're a zombie and voodoo fan, this is it! Yep, Pendergast is investigating what appears to be a murder by zombie!

As usual, this latest is a combination of interesting history (some very made up, I don't believe The Ville exists in Inwood, though it would be pretty cool if I could find out if this was based on an actual place), science, "fringe" science, police procedural, and detective novel. And, as usual, it's been keeping me up at night! 

So again, save the date (May 12) and add the book to your "Must Have" list for this spring -- all of the cool kids will be reading it! 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Releases 5/5

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Darkborn by Alison Sinclair - first in a new fantasy trilogy with a great concept

Running From the Devil by Jamie Freveletti - a fast-paced and action-packed thriller debut

Ghost Ocean by SM Peters - new fantasy that I am really looking forward to

Flood by Stephen Baxter - a book about a cataclysmic flood that could end life on Earth

Wings by Aprilynne Pike - new teen fairy book with a twist

The Book of God and Physics by Enrique Joven - a book about a book

The Selected Works of TS Spivet by Reif Larsen - a debut that's been getting mucho buzz

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris - latest Sookie Stackhouse title

New on DVD:
Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Last Chance Harvey

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Bad Things
My Work is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bad Things = Good Read

That's Bad Things by Michael Marshall, of course! Marshal, aka Michael Marshall Smith (aka MM Smith) is not new to the thriller game. In fact, he's been around since the late 90s. But it was the release of The Straw Men that caught my attention. 

Yep. Back in my bookseller days... No but really. I did come across him through my work. The Straw Men was published in 2002 and was followed in 2004 by The Upright Man (The Lonely Dead in the UK), and Blood of Angels in 2005. And, in a marketing campaign for Blood of Angels, the publisher sent out complimentary copies of Straw Men. Of course I had come across it at work, but I was on a measly college kid budget with a part time job. Fortunately he never fell through the cracks for me and this was an opportunity I was not going to pass up. 

Straw Men is a thriller with some strange leanings, I can tell you that much. And, Marshall's latest, Bad Things fits that mold as well. It makes it hard to classify what the book is -- is it thriller, is it horror, is it paranormal? I would say all three, but mainly thriller and all good.

Bad Things begins with the death of a four-year-old boy and then cuts to three years later. John Henderson is now living in Oregon and working as a waiter at a beach restaurant when he receives a mysterious phone call from a woman who claims to know what happened to his son. So John picks up for a quick trip back to the town where his life was changed forever. When he meets the woman, Ellen Robertson, she is evasive and paranoid, giving him confusing information in almost riddle form. It's not until much later that John realizes that Ellen is in grave danger and that poking around in her troubles will lead to more of his own. The town of Black Ridge, Washington is about to reveal its secrets and John would be better off far away when it happens. 

Bad Things is everything you want in a thriller. It's captivating and keeps you turning pages long after you know you should be in bed. I am amazed that Marshall has yet to explode into the bestseller world. He belongs there, without a doubt. Check him out if you don't believe me. Other recent releases are The Intruders (2007) and The Servants (2007). For a complete list of his works, including his many short stories, check here and for insight into what makes the author tick, visit his blog here

Readers looking for a book that will keep them up all night should check this one out. Think Harlan Coben or Jeffery Deaver (two authors known for keeping me up late) with a twisted horror-like spin. 

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kingmaker, Kingbreaker

Alright, to round out my fantasy rec week, I have to mention Australian (technically Canadian) author Karen Miller, aka KE Mills. I was first introduced to Miller with the first part of her Kingmaker, Kingbreaker story, Innocent Mage and I thought it was fantastic! A little different in terms of pacing, but a fabulous tale. The story finished up in Awakened Mage

Here's my review of Innocent Mage from the BB archives, to get you started:

Aussie author Karen Miller makes her stateside debut with this marvelous fantasy. Six hundred years ago, the Doranen people were decimated through a catastrophic war. They fled their land and made a pact with the neighboring Olken people in what would become the Kingdom of Lur. The Doranen built a wall that was to be maintained by magic and would protect themselves, as well as the Olken, from the monster they left behind. An ancient Olken prophecy foretells a time when the wall will fall and death will follow in its wake. One of their own will save the world in its final days. This prophecy is a closely held secret known by very few.

Asher, a fisherman by trade, has come to the capital city to earn enough money to buy his own boat and support his father. Unbeknownst to him, he is about to become a pawn in a game he is ill prepared to play, for Asher is the innocent mage. This is a tale that is full of magic, political maneuvering, and the true tests of friendship and loyalty. Miller brings to life an intricate world with a complex history that is exciting and enthralling. I highly recommend this title even if you don’t normally read fantasy. The story concludes in the upcoming release, Awakened Mage

Since then, her Godspeaker series has also been released here in the US. It's a bit different, I have to say -- still fantasy but in a sort of Middle Eastern setting. The tone, the setting, and the characters are very different from those of the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker books. The trilogy, in order, is as follows:

The Riven Kingdom
Hammer of God

And now, under the name KE Mills, Orbit has released the first book of the Rogue Agent trilogy, The Accidental Sorcerer, which based on the synopsis, sounds a bit Terry Pratchett-ish. Book 2, Witches Incorporated, will be released in June and the final installment, Wizard Squared, is set for release next March.

Given my reading taste, I would say that all of the books I've posted on this week are similar in theme and such, so if you enjoy this kind of fantasy, you should check them all out. And if you're more of a funny fan, try Mill(er)s' Rogue Agent books!