Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Spiders

I'm getting everything ready for the big visit home for my reunion. Too bad I didn't stick to my diet! Yeah, yeah. I'll jump back on board when I get back, after eating all the fried greasy food my heart desires!

Today's a day. I gotta tell you. I'm totally beat, totally unmotivated, and totally lacking anything in the way of energy. What is wrong with me? I'm bummed about work, I'm bummed bout things around me. The only highlight is that I get to go home, but I may very well be unemployed when I return.

When did everyone decide that the economy crap was the excuse they needed to start screwing over workers? Why do I have to have the realization that if everyone out there had a job they loved, could afford to wait for that job to come around in fact, that there wouldn't be these issues. But everyone (almost everyone) has this issue. Some of us just fight the inevitable longer. And it's bringing me down!


Anywho, I guess it could be worse. We could be overrun by giant killer spiders. But, if I happened to survive, my work situation wouldn't be a problem anymore, would it? Kidding.

Anyway, you don't want to hear about my pity party. You want books! And hey, great reads are the best medicine in my opinion. That and Cajun food and seeing my seesters!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an entry here about Sarah Pinborough's Breeding Ground, a creature feature that was a super fun and chilling read. Well, the companion, Feeding Ground (I'd thought it was a sequel, but it's a parallel story, so I am corrected now), is out and hit the horror spot once again for me.

This time, there are two groups of kids fighting to survive the infestation while a drug lord believes he's found a way to train the creatures. I'll forgo any more of a synopsis and instead lead you to the look inside feature offered by Dorchester so you can check it out yourself -- and I highly recommend you do 'cause everyone could use some cool creepy reads this fall!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pandorum -- A Movie Post

So I think that Mike is finally over his whatever it was and we headed over to see Pandorum yesterday. I loved it. I really thought it was fantastic and it totally hit the spot. It's creepy and fairly original (in spite of some of the reviews I read that had it tagged as nothing more than a rip off of various strange combinations of films).

I would say that stylistically, if you enjoyed Event Horizon and like playing Dead Space (me! me!), then you'll probably like Pandorum.

The film begins with Ben Foster who plays Corporal Bower, a member of the Elysium flight crew, waking from deep cyber sleep to flocked in a dark control room with no power and all alone. He wakes Dennis Quaid's Lt Payton and the two devise a plan to get the ship up and running again: neither of them can remember much but their training and Bower believes he can reboot the ship's reactor, if he can find it. After climbing through some of the ship's ducting, Bower finally finds a vent that leads out, but not before discovering another member of the flight crew, dead. And what he finds on the other side are flesh-eating monsters and combatant humans running for their lives.

Simplified, in a nutshell synopsis, but you get the picture (hopefully). With nothing but remakes slated to hit shelves of late, Pandorum sticks out as a sci-fi/horror film that felt like a nice breath of fresh, original air. Sure there are elements that are similar to other films. But here I emphasize ELEMENTS. Everything has elements similar to something else. Pandorum has enough original plot to stand on its own and is atmospherically very dark and creepy. A great combo. Plus, the story delivered in a way that Event Horizon did not for me -- sorry EH fans. I wanted more story there.

There are multiple story lines at work in this movie, which can make some feel as though it's a bit hectic, but trust me when I say they all come together in the end. Overall, exactly what I was hoping it would be and a great way to spend a few hours and more than a few bucks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

One of the Best Book Trailers Ever!

Book trailers are cool. I love 'em. I just wish folks had easier access to a lot of them. Like how often do you stumble across one online? I'm usually looking at a publisher's site or an author's site or I go searching for them on YouTube occasionally.

I've seen some really great ones. Tess Gerritsen's The Keepsake comes to mind. It was basically a student film if I remember correctly.

The trailer for Kate Griffin's A Madness of Angels was also a really good one as is the trailer for Quirk Books' mash-up, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

There are a ton of other great ones out there, but I was especially pleased with the trailer for Sarah Langan's about-to-be-released title, Audrey's Door. It's truly creepy!

And imagine my surprise when I was alerted to the trailer thanks to a Facebook posting by Fearnet!! Yep, the horror network posted a link to a book trailer. That's big-time in my book!

Audrey's Door has been on my "To Buy" list since I first heard about the impending release, but now I want to run out and see if I can find it early (set for release 9/29 and I'm writing this on 9/24). There's an official Audrey's Door site and you can visit Sarah Langan's site for more info (and a special offer) as well.

And here's the fabulous trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Releases 9/29/09

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

Isis by Douglas Clegg -- with illustrations from Glenn Chadbourne

13 1/2 by Nevada Barr -- a stand-alone from the author of the Anna Pigeon series

Queene of Light by Jennifer Armintrout -- first in a new paranormal/fantasy trilogy

The Fury by Jason Pinter -- latest Henry Parker title and a lead in to December's The Darkness

Soulless by Gail Carriger -- first in the Parasol Protectorate series

Feeding Ground by Sarah Pinborough -- sequel to Breeding Ground

John Dies at the End by David Wong -- horror debut must-read

Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride -- latest in the Logan McRae series

Rizzo's War by Lou Manfredo -- debut crime thriller

Personal Demons by Gregory Lamberson -- first in the Jake Helman Files

Serpent in the Thorn by Jeri Westerson -- second in the medieval noir series

The Asylum Prophecies by Daniel Keyes

According to Jane by Marilyn Brant

Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam by Marilee Brothers

Mischief in Mudbug by Jana DeLeon -- second in the Ghost-in-law mystery series

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Rough Country by John Sandford

Audrey's Door by Sarah Langan

The Solomon Effect by C.S. Graham

New on DVD:
Monsters vs. Aliens
Away We Go
The Brothers Bloom

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Queene of Light
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda

Saturday, September 26, 2009

And the Other One

So I've got some "what I'm planning to read" posts for you because I'm trying to do a few in one day and get ahead while I get ready to leave. Yep, High School Reunion Countdown begins. And as I write this on Thursday, I'm hoping I still get to go.

If so, another recent release that has reserved space in my carry-on is Rhodi Hawk's debut, A Twisted Ladder. I've been waiting for this book for what seems like ages now. I first heard about it on the ITW site in their list of upcoming titles. A southern gothic tale set in New Orleans, I'm totally there!

Here's the PW review for you:

Hawk's promising debut, a Southern gothic thriller, introduces Dr. Madeleine LeBlanc, a staff psychologist at New Orleans's Tulane University with a special interest in cognitive schizophrenia. Maddy's father, Daddy Blank, suffers from the disease, as does her brother, Marc, whose suicide leads Maddy, who fears she may also be schizophrenic after psychic visits from a devil-child, to probe her family's past. Tulane neurologist Ethan Manderleigh provides support as terrible secrets surface about the family sugarcane plantation. Maddy's discovery that a creepy childhood friend is a murderer complicates her quest. Flashbacks to Prohibition-era New Orleans chart the early life of Maddy's clairvoyant, mean-spirited 114-year-old great-grandmother, Chloe, who's rather too spry for her age, despite her magical gifts. Voodoo and scientific research into neuroplasticity make an intriguing, if not always easy, mix.

I really prefer to be able to write my own synopsis for you, but as I read PW religiously and make many additions to my TBR stack based on the reviews, I find that they're pretty trustworthy.

But know this, the only reason I'm not reviewing it myself is because I've been holding this one for the past few weeks (since my order arrived) with the specific intention of taking with me on the plane. I can't get enough of gothic lit and I HATE flying. How are these two connected? Well, I figure if I bring a book I'm bound to love to totally absorb me and make me forget just how frustrating flying is, maybe I can turn my negative experience into a positive one.

I've done it before, brought a great book with me and not even noticed the time go by on the flight. Mario Acevedo has been my companion sitting in a plane that never left the runway. Clive Barker waited with me while a flight was delayed for eight hours for lord only knows what reason. Jasper Fforde kept me company while I sat in two different airports, flight and connection both delayed.

Yep, having a good book with you can make almost any situation bearable and Rhodi Hawk is going to be my companion, along with Alex Bell, on this trip. Here's hoping everything runs smoothly, but I think I'll be well prepared in case it doesn't.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Read Me to Sleep

So we've decided that Mike may have the flu. Regular old flu season flu. At this point, I'm crossing my fingers and looking up voodoo spells to ward it off. I mean, c'mon! We live together and my immune system seems to go on vacation the minute anyone even says the word virus around me. Colds last for months and develop into bronchitis, food poisoning that doesn't effect others will leave me out cold for a whole day and stomach viruses rumored around local schools hit me without fail.

But the flu? I can't say that I've ever had it. Strep, yes. All the time. Every year up until a couple of years ago when I had it with almost no symptoms and just plain didn't believe the doctor until he showed me the test results.

My ex had the flu once while we were together. He was laid up for a week. Mike seems to be better after just three days, maybe four 'cause we really thought it was just a cold. But of course, he's been at work all week and then in zombie mode when he gets home. Oh, and did I mention he's eating anything and everything he wants and I'm finally going home for a week, the first time since Christmas?

Yeah, it seem inevitable that I catch it. If I don't I'll consider myself having dodged a big bullet. It really wouldn't matter except that it's just a really inconvenient time! Can I call up the flu devils and reschedule? And I know I won't be eating anything if I get it. Yet another reason I still want to believe that it can't be the flu in the first place. But, I understand some people (apparently my SO) do not have stomach issues with the flu. News to me.

Anywho, I got an e-mail about a great offer that I wanted to share with you. Iain M. Banks's latest sci-fi tale Transition hit shelves this week and Orbit is offering a free podcast of the abridged audio version of the book. So, if you end up down with the flu this season, I would suggest signing up and letting someone else do the reading for you while you're sick. And here is everything you need to get started (or the link with all the info you need to get started).

Oh, here's the product description from Amazon for you:

There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past.

There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


We're heading to my 10 year high school reunion shortly and I'm trying to figure out what to pack. Every time we go somewhere I tell myself I'm not going to bring half of my books with me again and every time, I end up bringing no less than 6 titles -- one for just about every genre I might possibly want to read.

You can imagine how overloaded the bags end up being with books. I'm a sad case of indecision and overstretched reading goals! I always say, worst case scenario I need one for the plane, one in case I finish that one -- I've been stuck with an 8 hour delay before and finished my book before we even boarded -- so then I need two more for the plan ride home. And then you figure I probably need two books for the actual days there.

Except that I never get anything read because I'm actually doing stuff! It's like I think I'm going to some remote island where I'll be lounging on a beach all by my lonesome (hm, doesn't sound bad). Instead I'm going to visit my family and hang out with my teenage sisters, who I haven't seen since Christmas. The only time I read is before I hit the sack at night.

So again I'm trying to prepare myself to limit the amount of books I bring and I think I'm already failing : )

One of the books that will definitely make it to the bag is Alex Bell's debut, The Ninth Circle. I'd heard about this one after watching an author video from Gollancz featuring some of their sci-fi and fantasy authors. Their a UK publisher and I was curious as to whether some of the authors were being published here in the States -- well, the female authors, cause the men actually are published here already.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though a US publisher has picked up Bell yet, but her books are available to order. And, Ninth Circle was reviewed in PW a couple of weeks ago, which of course prompted my spontaneous buy need, so I ordered it that day.

It arrived on Monday and I've been salivating over it since. Here's an excerpt of the description from Bell's official site:

A man comes round on the floor of a shabby flat in the middle of Budapest. His head is glued to the floorboards with his own blood. There’s a fortune in cash on the kitchen table. And he has no idea where, or who, he is...

Something dark and disturbing in Gabriel’s past is trying to resurface. And as he pieces the clues together and fumbles his way towards the truth, segments of his past begin to fall into a sinister shape and events around him become increasingly dangerous. Gabriel Antaeus has a question to answer: is it really better the devil you know?

You'll have to check here for more, but doesn't it sound utterly fantastic?! I'll be checking out some of the other authors as well, but I thought I'd tell you about this one for today.

Bell is described as a horror/fantasy author, a perfect combo in my reading world. Her second title, Jasmyn, is also on my To Buy list, but I'll have to control myself for a while. Till then, this one will be on the plane alongside me!

PS, don't you just adore the cover? I do.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Release Update

I accidentally left one off this week's list. Actually, I had it down for next week, so my mistake.

Louise Penny's 5th Chief Inspector Gamache mystery hits shelves today. I'm actually reading this one at this very moment and I have to tell you, I really love it.

Normally I am very hesitant to start an ongoing series with any title other than the very first. Fortunately, I jumped with this one and it worked. Sure the characters are established, but I don't feel lost. I definitely plan to head back to Still Life, book one, however, and start from there when I finish this one.

Here's a little about the book for you:

When a body is discovered in a bistro in the small Canadian town of Three Pines, Gamache and his partner Beauvoir are once again called in to investigate (apparently the body count is quite high in Three Pines). Olivier, the bistro owner, is hiding secrets from his friends, including the fact that he knows the dead man's identity. But why? Throw in small town gossip and feuds and Gamache has his work cut out for him untangling this mystery.

Not a full synopsis by any means. And for that I must apologize. I started reading this late Sunday night and still have about half to go. But you get the gist, and for more you can check out Louise Penny's web site (link above).

As I said, I am really loving this one. The characters are fantastic and Three Pines is the kind of idyllic town that I'd love to settle down in one day -- with enough excitement to keep it interesting! Kidding.

Penny's series, of course, draws comparison to the great Agatha Christie and Gamache to Poirot (some also say Columbo, but Gamache doesn't do the bumbling act so I would stick to Poirot myself).

Penny's series should appeal to both cozy and non-cozy readers (I think it's on the lighter side of thriller but not quite cozy for me, which is a place I like my mysteries to be).

Psst, readers: High Crimes has autographed copies of The Brutal Telling available. For more info check here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jason Pinter's The Stolen

Hey readers! It's time for another Jason Pinter title to hit the shelves -- well, almost -- and I need to get you all caught up.

First came The Mark, where we were introduced to Henry Parker, a tenacious reporter who is caught up in a story that could mean his life. Just before the third book in the serious hit shelves, Pinter's publisher offered this one up as a free e-book, which I posted about here. If you missed the opportunity to check it out online, I highly suggest you make it a point to pick this one up at the bookstore on your next trip. It's a quick read and a great start to a new series to add to your must read list.

Next up was The Guilty. This was one of my very first posts as a blogger. A wonderful continuation of the series with a great plot.

Then, last August, the third book in the series hit shelves and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it, thanks in no small part to the teaser chapter in the end of The Guilty. Here's a little bit about the book:

Reporter Henry Parker once again lands himself in a mess of trouble when gets involved with Daniel Linwood's story. Five years ago, Daniel disappeared without a trace. Yesterday, he showed up on his parents' doorstep, five years older but otherwise healthy. Henry is given the assignment when The Gazette gains exclusive rights to an interview. With his nose for a good story, and trouble, it doesn't take long for Henry to suspect that there is something not quite right with the young boy. Though Danny claims that he has no memory of the past five years, his comments would suggest otherwise. As Henry digs deeper, he discovers another case similar to Danny's. The connection between the cases becomes more evident as Henry does more digging and leads the reporter to believe that there is something very strange going on and he's determined to be the one to figure it out.

Pinter's got two new installments to the series hitting shelves this year, The Fury, which should be on shelves any day now, and The Darkness, due out December 1.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Releases 9/22/09

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Test by Patricia Gussin

Collision of Evil by John J. Le Beau

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Hothouse Orchid by Stuart Woods

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

New on DVD:
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Observe and Report
Clive Barkers Book of Blood

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Perfect Little Ladies by Abby Drake
Breeding Ground by Sarah Pinborough
Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott
A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's the Weekend Already

I feel like today should be Saturday. The week goes by so fast and I'm totally uninspired to do anything even remotely productive when the weather is this nice. I want to lay in the hammock and read and maybe take a nap and then barbecue. But, I have work to do and I don't even own a grill : ) I do own a hammock, however, and I'm thinking lunchtime...

So I guess I'm off my horror kick temporarily. I have some in the review stack. (Pinborough's Feeding Ground, for one. I've started it but haven't finished it yet, so it will come later.) I have been reading some other stuff, though.

One of my reads this week was the amazingly wonderful literary mystery (hey, it's got literary elements and it's a mystery, ergo, literary mystery) A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory. This is Ellory's American debut, but he's got handful of books already available in the UK. Good news is that even though it's taken this long for the author to get his well-deserved break stateside, Overlook, the company that released A Quiet Belief in Angels, has plans to release at least two more Ellory titles here. YAY!

A Quiet Belief in Angels is the story of Joseph Vaughan. It begins in 1939, rural Georgia, when Joseph is 11. His father has just died and the bright young Joseph is facing mortality for the first time. Then a classmate is kidnapped and brutally murdered. Joseph is touched in a way that even many of his friends are not. He begins collecting articles on each new girl, because the killer does not stop with just one. He also becomes, in his mind, the protector of one of his young neighbors, promising to make sure that nothing happens to her. But then she, too, is killed and Joseph becomes convinced that he could have stopped it. Later, Joseph leaves his small town, but the murders follow him. He is unable to leave this chapter of his life behind and eventually he returns, dead-set on solving it for good.

This book is one of my favorites of the year. Ellory's style just pulls you in. It's amazing to think that this Brit has completely captured the essence of a small southern town. I can't speak for the era in which he's written -- it comes across as wholly natural and flowing for me, but I'm not old enough to attest to that! I can tell you, being from the south, that he's done an amazing job.

Interestingly enough, this is one of the issues his bio touches on as being a reason that he was unpublished for so long. British publishers did not want to publish books set in the States written by a Brit and American publishers had the same issue. Hope they're all biting their tongues and kicking themselves now!

And I can tell you right now, I think I've fallen a little in love with Joseph Vaughan. Such a great character.

For more on R.J. Ellory, his own interesting story, and info on other titles, visit his official site here. For more on A Quiet Belief in Angels, visit the official site here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Feeling Blech

I'm feeling a little off today (not sure if it's not enough sleep or possibly the bleach cleaner fumes I just inhaled while cleaning the tub -- swiffering floors next) so I'll make this a quick one.

In keeping with my horror theme of late, I decided it was time to post on Hank Schwaeble's debut, Damnable. Hank is part of ITW and Damnable is being billed as a noirish horror/thriller: I call it horror, but you can call it anything you like.

It's a story of armageddon. Of demons on earth and one man's plans to end it all by unleashing those demons and their spawn. Here's a bit more:

Jake Hatcher is set for another eight weeks in military prison when he is granted leave to attend his brother’s funeral. Strangely enough, Jake never knew he had a brother. When Jake arrives in town, the first thing he does is question his mother. She admits that Garrett was conceived and born while their father was away in the military. They later married and tried to find Garrett, but had no luck. After a brief reunion, Garrett is killed while trying to save a stranger in a cafe. The woman in question was snatched off her barstool and hauled into the street where Garrett and the assailant were killed. The woman miraculously survived. Jake decides to track down the woman to try and learn more about his long-lost brother. Another attempt is made on her life and Jake just happens to be the one there to save her. Now he's being dragged into a fight that is not quite of this world, as an unwilling pawn in a deadly game.

Though this is not true fallen angels, there is enough similarity that I think Schwaeble could be considered as leading the pack in that new vein. I know there's a slew of movies and books with that theme being released shortly and Damnable should definitely hit a chord with the same fan base.

Not to leave out the traditional thriller fans, though. This is also a good one for you guys as well. You can sort-of ease your way into more paranormal stuff. It is, after all, a traditional thriller -- it just so happens that some of the characters are demons and hell-spawn.

No word on whether Jake will make an appearance in future titles -- I could definitely see him holding his own. I'm definitely looking forward to what Schwaeble does next, though.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sarah Pinborough is my new favorite person

I know I'm a big dork for saying this, but Sarah Pinborough rocks! Wait, that's not what makes me a dork. She already rocked because she's a fantastic horror author. But now she rocks even more because I just found out that she penned a Torchwood book! Yay! It's Torchwood: Into the Silence and it was released last month. Awesomeness! And that's what makes me a dork -- a dork in great company, though, considering all other fans of the show out there.

Yeah. I think I might be going a little nuts with the Torchwood and Doctor Who off-season. I'm not even sure of Torchwood is coming back after Children of Earth.

Anywho, I saw this today after I did a search to make sure one of my new favorite books is still in print. I have to admit that our recent move has unearthed some of my TBR collection that's been festering since my bookseller days -- yes, I spent more of my paycheck than I actually brought home. And that was a good decision on my manager's part seeing as how it brought money back into the company ; ) I'm being cheesy.

But I received a copy of Pinborough's upcoming release, Feeding Ground, in the mail about a week ago and when I started reading, I thought it sounded familiar. As it turns out, it's a companion to 2006's Breeding Ground, a book that had been sitting in my TBR stack patiently waiting for me.

If you're not reading Pinborough, shame on you. I read Tower Hill on vacation (actually on the LONG car ride from Louisiana to Colorado, so the book made the drive much more bearable) last summer and really enjoyed it.

Breeding Ground is a totally different read genre-wise -- at the other end of the horror spectrum considering all the possible different horror subjects. It's the end of the world as we know it when women all over England (all over the world?) start giving birth to giant man-eating spiders. A small group of survivors makes their way to safety, but the continued survival of the human race is still at stake. Where the spiders come from, no one knows, but stopping the spread is the key. Unfortunately they aren't having any luck in that area.

I'm a sucker for a creature feature -- my mom loves them and I was raised on them -- so Pinborough's book is a bit of nostalgia on top of being a great read. It's a really creepy premise for one (women giving birth to spiders, icks me out just thinking about it again), and it's got that whole humanity being wiped from the face of the earth element. Which is another thing I love in horror fiction. Survivalist horror!

Alright, I know I've been on a horror kick (if you read this weekend then you already knew that) and Pinborough was what I grabbed after Doug Clegg kicked it off for me in the nasty gloomy weather we had Saturday. I'm still riding high over how great the books have been and hope to keep it up considering I still have a ton of horror stockpiled (for my own apocalypse -- gotta make sure I still have stuff to read if everything starts going in the killer spider direction, you know?).

I'll keep you posted on Feeding Ground (due out Sept 29). And, Pinborough also has a thriller coming out in March from Gollancz called A Matter of Blood.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One of My Favorite Horror Guys

I told you I was in the mood for some great horror lately, and it's all Doug Clegg's fault. Horror is like a creeping addiction for me, once I read one I have to continue. It nags at me and nags at me until I get enough to temporarily satisfy the need and then I'm good for a while, but a new one will set me off again.

I do this with King a lot. I get King cravings!

This time it was Clegg that set me off (he's been known to do it often -- anytime I get a new one, I have to read more). I managed to snag an early copy of Isis for review (which will go up at bookbitch.com closer to the 9/29 release date) and couldn't wait any longer!

Isis, a novella, was originally released as a limited collector's edition from Cemetery Dance and is being re-released later this month by Vanguard Press as a very lovely (can creepy be lovely?) illustrated hardcover. At just over 100 pages, this is a one-sitting read that you'll want to savor as much as you can, which will be hard because it's a tale that kind of begs to be read fast.

(Glenn Chadbourne is the immensely talented illustrator whose pictures supplement the book.)

The story ties into Clegg's Harrow House "series" -- I have that in quotes because it's not so much a true series as it is a collection of connected stories. Isis is mentioned quite a bit in the other books, but this is her own story.

Think of Isis as a scary fable for adults, a warning against playing with things that are best left alone. You can read it and enjoy it all on its own even if you haven't read the other Harrow House books (but I recommend reading them all because they're fantastic and horrific). And if you are so inclined (as I hope you are after reading this) they fall into the following order:

The Necromancer
Nightmare House
The Infinite
The Abandoned

For more on Isis (and a super cool book trailer) check out the official site here. And for more on Doug Clegg and his other titles, visit his official site here (psst, if you sign up for his newsletter you get access to free stuff!).

And if you've noticed, some of the books listed above are unfortunately out of print. I'd suggest getting your hot little hands on them any way you can!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Rec From My Reading Past

So Saturday I was seriously in the mood for some great horror and my favorite kind right now is the "classic" horror of the 80s and early 90s. I love the style and it's great because I haven't read a lot them -- I was too young. So all them are new to me! The fun thing is that they are reprinting a ton of it right now (and I think it's the right idea because really some of it is super fantastic!).

One of my discoveries was, of course, James Herbert. He's still around and writing away, though I'm not sure when his newest book will be released. It's rumored to be the third David Ash title, so I thought it would be appropriate to do a post on book 2, The Ghosts of Sleath. I'm not sure why this one doesn't get much attention, seeing as how it's creepy and totally amazing, and it's the follow-up to Herbert's Haunted, one of my favorite horror reads ever.

And, I'm forewarning you, but unfortunately the book is out of print in the US (even though Haunted is not). It is, however, still available in the UK, which means that if you're determined (like I would be) you can special order it through various channels, or you can just hunt it down used (so worth it).

Here's some info on the book if I've caught your attention:

Paranormal investigator David Ash returns in this chilling and atmospheric sequel to Haunted. Ash specializes in investigating and disproving paranormal activity, but he is still suffering the ill effects of his investigation three years ago at Edbrook. Still, cynical and slightly too reliant on his flask of vodka, he is one of the best the Psychical Research Institute has on staff. It is with some hesitation that the institute sends David out to the village of Sleath where multiple hauntings have been reported. The local vicar’s daughter has requested the institute’s help after her own father admits to having seen one of the specters. It begins with the death of a local woman’s son. After the funeral she becomes a shut-in unwilling to leave or even admit guests. It’s not that she’s upset by her loss, it’s that she believes her son has been visiting her from beyond the grave. Then, a local teenage girl wakes to find her childhood abuser standing over her in her sleep. The man died in prison not long after being sentenced, though. Something is very wrong in the village of Sleath and it’s David’s job to uncover the dark secrets behind these events. Herbert is great at combining psychological horror with the truly grotesque.

Herbert writes my favorite kind of horror: the kind that sneaks up on you. He's got some amazingly horrifying imagery as well. I think the combination of the quiet horror plus the gore is an effective one for me because the underlying creepiness gives you that hair-raising feeling and then he throws the really gory stuff at you all at once -- kind of like someone jumping out of a closet when you're walking around a quiet house at night and you're already sort of worked up and creeped out. It's the best of both worlds and it allows you to really get into the story knowing that the scary stuff is coming, and being on your toes waiting for it to hit.

I highly recommend any and all of his stuff to anyone looking for a great horror read. As I said, this is the follow-up to Haunted, which you can read more about on here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Releases 9/15/09

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott

The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda

The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise by Claude Izner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Top Producer by Norb Vonnegut

New on DVD:
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Doctor Who: The Next Doctor
Next Day Air

New Reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Damnable by Hank Schwaeble

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fall is in the Air


Just kidding. I actually really like fall -- I just prefer having the heat of summer so I can run around wearing shorts and no shoes. I do not like being cold!

I was reading some other blogs where they mentioned the fact that certain seasons put them in the mood for certain kinds of reads. The most recent was a post regarding fall/halloween and the desire to read creepy stuff.

I'm always in the mood for creepy stuff! Not kidding. I love a good horror read any time of the year. But I found myself making the same fall connection yesterday when I pulled my copy of Douglas Clegg's fantabulously creepy novella Isis out of the TBR stack. I read it last evening and now all I want is more horror! Horror movies, horror books, even creepy dark music (is it just me or is Placebo like the perfect trailer music -- nope not just me, it's being used as much as the various incarnations of Clint Mansell's "Lux Aeterna" from Requiem for a Dream), and video games (I'm dying to buy Fear 2, that's how long it hasn't been in the budget!).

I've got some classics waiting for me on my reading shelf and I am seriously considering a couple of days "off" to read some James Herbert, Dan Simmons, and Peter Straub before the new Stephen King hits shelves in November.

Agh! I've got Sarah Pinborough in my TBR stack and the new Sarah Langan on the list to buy as well, and I did some online shopping this week so I've got Rhodi Hawk's debut A Twisted Ladder now, too.

The movie front is a bit drier. Jennifer's Body looks amusing (Daiblo Cody's horror movie) and I'm really hoping that Pandorum and Daybreakers live up to my expectations, (Jennifer's Body and Pandorum are both due out this month, but Daybreakers is not set for release until next year). Then there's Legion, due out in January. Hmm, fallen angels seem to be hot right now -- there must be some horror reads in this vein, anyone know of any? I'm seriously hoping none of these suck. I don't know. I'm totally leery about horror movies right now after some pretty horrific remakes and releases lately.

What can I say? Apparently I have higher expectations than the production companies expect horror fans to have. And I'm not alone. There's been a lot of talk about the state of the genre of late. There's tons coming out but not much of quality. And much of what we're seeing these days are remakes of not-so-old films to begin with.

Is it so wrong to want to be totally blown away by something new? I don't think so, but what's with this fear of making anything worthwhile and new in movies these days? I can think of some worthy remakes, but Friday the 13th is definitely not one of them. What the heck is wrong with the original anyway? Not a damn thing.

On a positive note, I've been in the mood to rewatch An American Werewolf in London after watching season one of Being Human and just learned that it's being rereleased this week on dvd and Blueray, so if it's on your list to buy, now's the perfect time.

On the negative side, just learned that they remade Stephen King's Children of the Corn and I gotta say I'm not too happy about it. I will be tuning in to Syfy on Sept 26 just so I'm not a total hypocrite. After all, if it totally sucks then I have all that much more reason to say it shouldn't have been done in the first place, right? I really like the original and the only issue I have with it are the dated effects at the very end, otherwise I think it's a great movie based on what is one of my favorite short stories.

I'm ranting. Anywho. I've been a bit neglectful of my blog lately. Think of it as a bit of a vacation.

Coming up, Doug Clegg's Isis (I'll wait just a bit because it's due out later this month), posts on Hank Phillippi Ryan's Charlotte McNally series, R.J. Ellory's A Quiet Belief in Angels, Hank Schwaeble's Damnable, and plenty of others (see, I have been reading!).

Alright, I'm going pull something great out of the stack for this gloomy afternoon. Perfect horror reading weather!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In This Case, It Really Does Glow!

Ever had a recommendation from a friend that you just put off and put off indefinitely? There's no reason for the delay, it just somehow never makes it to the top of your ever growing TBR pile. Even more embarrassing is when the friend checks on you to see if you've read it yet -- yikes! Then you feel guilty and you finally break it out only to discover that it is truly as fabulous as promised. So you kick yourself and swear it will never happen again -- only to repeat history next time around.

Yeah, some very obvious guilt on my part here.

I need about a month with absolutely nothing to do but read. No obligations, no bills (and no need for money), maybe a private chef so I don't even have to make food decisions. Ah, that would be nice. Then I could catch up and maybe feel like I've accomplished something.

Don't get me wrong. I'm getting things done and I'm getting books read, but damn if there aren't more fantastic books in the world than there are hours in the day. I want to read them all! Have you read Jasper Fforde? I want to work for Jurisfiction and hang out with the Cheshire Cat in the Great Library. Or I want to live in Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Either one would do fine for me.

I saw Shelfari posted pics of Neil Gaiman's own book collection recently -- one of these days I'll have shelves like this.

This weekend I finally started reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Each new installment is a doorstopper in its own right, and book one, Outlander, weighs in at 850 pages. Readers have been recommending this series to me ever since my bookseller days. In fact, my store manager brought me a t-shirt that I've been wearing for at least 5 years now.

Again I have to come to my defense, I've owned the whole series since that time, buying each new installment as its released and adding it to my TBR pile so that I have the whole series when it's time to read them. I know that sounds terrible!

Well now it's time. Now I'm reading. I'm squeezing them in and going to read them around my other books and I am joining the ranks of rabid fans impatiently waiting for each new installment to the saga. And I plan on getting caught up in time for the newest title, An Echo in the Bone, when it hits shelves on Sept 22.

Big plans! It'll be a highlander marathon! I'm sure many of you a clucking at me and tsking my behavior right now. I know, I know. I'm terrible. I'm making my amends, though. Maybe by the time I get caught up it will be time for the new Stephen King and then I won't go into withdrawal quite so bad -- I hear that can happen from a massive reading marathon like this. Just look at all us readers who fell into Twilight last year (yep, that was another one I put off until the last book was released and then totally adored). So far Outlander is totally living up to the reviews others have given it.

So what book have you been putting off? Is Gabaldon languishing in your pile somewhere as well? If so, pull it out and read along with me!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

Are you working or playing today?

I'm doing a bit of both. The office is closed, but if I want to get paid, I have to put in some hours. I'm also waiting for our new mattress to arrive. Yay! We've waited quite a while to buy one and it's kind of a big deal -- as any of you also sleeping on a crappy mattress would know! I'm hoping it magically fixes my sleep issues. We'll see.

I'm also starting to come up with a list of more items that have vanished in the move. Actually, probably just as yet uncovered. One of those is my massive binder that I've been collecting recipes in for the past 4 years. Yep, Hatch chiles are in season right now and though it never coincides with actual chili season, I'm not going to miss out on using them this year. I bought a big pack of roasted ones and a pork roast and I'm making pork chili verde today. I started it about an hour ago and plan on cooking it until 6 or 7 tonight. We'll see how it turns out, though, because I can't find my notes from last time I made it. Frustrating!

Ah! As I was writing this, the delivery guys showed up with my new bed! Trying to tell myself that napping is not a good idea.

Anyway, I hope some of you made it to the movies this weekend. There's a ton out that I want to see right now and of those, three opened this weekend alone. All About Steve, Gamer, and Carriers are/were all on my list. I did make it to see Carriers yesterday morning, though.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty good movie. It takes place after a virus has spread all over the country. Those not yet infected have to stay on their toes and have all come up with their own set of "rules" or practices to keep themselves from catching it. Four twenty-somethings have stolen a car and are trying to make their way to Turtle Beach where they believe they can ride out the epidemic. Rule number one on their list is to avoid the infected at all cost. Of course complications occur beginning with their meeting a father and daughter who are on their own way to a facility that claims to have a cure.

There's never any explanation about the virus itself or anything about how/when it initially hit and spread. It's more a look at what has happened in the aftermath of the outbreak, and before the end. It's the kind of movie that could have gone on much longer and I would have been thoroughly entertained! And that's not a negative comment at all. The film runs at just under 1 hr 30 min and each of the characters is faced with not only their fate in regards to the virus, but the fate of their own humanity -- and the humanity surrounding them as well. Kind of a bleak look at what humans are capable of. It is a full story, but I really like this sort of thing and so my earlier statement is a testament to how well I feel it was done.

This is one of those movies that can really let your imagination run loose. I'm not sure if that was totally intentional, but I felt that some of the scenes that I wanted more of -- some of the scenes that could have been expanded upon -- are scenes that I then roll over in my head and sort of fill in the blanks myself. Yeah, my imagination has been in total overdrive since seeing the movie and I think that's just super cool.

This is kind of a sleeper, guys. Very low-key, not much advertising (at least not in my area), and there's only one theater near me that's actually carrying it. If you're in the mood for a suspenseful horror/thriller this weekend, I recommend checking it out.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Releases 9/8/09

Hello! Hope you're having a great holiday weekend so far. I know, it's already more than half over! I'm trying to convince myself that a nap would be a waste of my time off, but it's oh, so tempting.

So, some of the new titles hitting shelves this week include:

Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay -- yay!

Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony Zuiker

In Their Blood by Sharon Potts -- debut mystery/thriller

The Gastronomy of Marriage by Michelle Maisto

Drawn in Blood by Andrea Kane -- follow-up to Twisted

A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory

Sometimes We're Always Real Same Same by Mattox Roesch

New Reviews at Bookbitch.com:
In Their Blood
The Gastronomy of Marriage
Night Runner by Max Turner
Soulstice: The Devouring Book 2 by Simon Holt

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Promised Book Post

Ok, so sorry about the abrupt leave-off earlier. I was telling you all about my weird and stressful week. So glad the weekend has hit, by the way. Here's hoping I get to hit the gym (no excuses) and get a little r&r. Off to bed early, no more 2am bedtimes -- it's happened way too often in the past few weeks and I have no doubt that it plays a bit part in the whole headaches and stressing out over every little thing game I've been playing.

Oh, my rent check went missing. That was the other big, headache inducing, pulling my hair out occurrence this week. Thanks USPS. Here's a thought, if you want to work on your whole losing money to online bill pay and other alternatives, maybe you should work on your PR for a while. Delivering open, empty packages, losing mail, and charging me twice as much for a redirected package from up the street as it cost to ship it from NYC in the first place are not good ways to build customer relations.

I feel as though the post office is a necessary evil at this point. It's not like anyone can fight them on anything. My mom asked me why I didn't report the empty package. Um because they wouldn't give a fig. Seriously. Why would they care? They deliver mangled mail all the time and it says very clearly that they take no responsibility for it. So why would they care? They delivered the package, it's not like I could say one of their workers opened it and did it on purpose. It's idiocy at work and there's no recourse against idiocy.

It would almost be better if I could say that it was some conspiracy against me. If I could say that some one person had it out for me over there. I can't. It's simply not the case, or at least I'm pretty sure it's not the case. It's simply a random set of coincidences, but the fact that they're happening at all proves the severe inefficiency of the postal service these days. I mean, c'mon. All of these things have happened to me in less than a month. Not kidding.

Alright, done with my rant.

On to the book post because I have been so delinquent in that lately. Today's title is a must-buy for any and every urban fantasy reader out there. Why? Because it's a collection of tales that are great extras for fans already reading the various series represented and it's a great starting off point for anyone who hasn't read any or all of these authors.

Unbound is a collection of five novellas. In Kim Harrison's tale, "Ley Line Drifter," everyone's favorite pixy is hired to work a case on his own. In Jeaniene Frost's story, "Reckoning," Bones is pre-Cat and working a case in The Big Easy that has him chasing down the notorious Lalauries. Fans of Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac books will recognize the characters in "Dark Matters," a story that is touched on in book 4, City of Souls, but it works just as well as an introduction to the Zodiac troop as well since it takes place prior to The Scent of Shadows. Jocelynn Drake's "The Dead, The Damned and The Forgotten" has Mira investigating the death of a fellow nightwalker. And Melissa Marr's "Two Lines" marks her debut into the adult fiction world -- Marr is the uber-popular author of the teen Faerie series that began with Wicked Lovely. The JJs love this series, but I'm trying not to buy duplicates so I'll have to wait until I get to visit to borrow theirs (hey, I bought those copies!).

Alright. I know it was on the radar already for many of you, but if you have yet to snatch it up, now's the time! Each story can be read in one sitting and at under 100 pages each, they make some great reading for when you're short on time -- waiting rooms, lunch breaks, bedtime reading. And trust me, you'll want to know more about each series behind the tales if you don't read them already, so you'll be adding to your TBR stacks for sure when you finish. My sisters are chomping at the bit for me to send a copy of it to them so they can get a little taste while they're waiting for each author's new installments to come out.

Also, just and FYI because I've only read the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series, but if you're a fan, they're releasing a hardcover collection of Charlaine Harris's SS short stories in a volume called A Touch of Dead. Each of the stories has appeared in other publications prior to this, but now you can have them in one place! One of the JJs has zoomed through this series so it's going to be an IOU for her b-day. The book's release is set for October 6. Super cool of the folks at ACE to release this one.

Hi, All!

Ok, not sure how long this will be right now, but if I get cut off, I'll post a book post later today. I'm waiting for a phone call from work so that I can then go in to work and turn in the latest cookbook so they can send it out on Tuesday (I'll be working on Labor Day, but no one in the office will -- fun stuff).

Anywho, the migraine hit the other night around 10pm after I watched an episode of Desperate Housewives. Season five arrived this week from the rental queue and now I want to have a marathon! I was up until 4am that night, not watching DH. In fact, I ended up watching the movie Charlotte Gray, based on the Sebastian Faulks novel. It's a good movie for anyone who hasn't seen it. Cate Blanchett plays a woman who ends up being sent to France to be a spy for the allies during WWII.

Gotta go. Work calls. Talk to you laters.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Migraine Fun!

Sharing space with the gift that keeps on giving -- migraine pain!

In short, I feel like poo. I'm still trying to get some reading in, though, so once my head no longer feels like a gremlin is going to explode out of it, I'll get some schtuff posted here.

: )