Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Wednesday!

Wow! This week has gone so quickly. This is just a random up to date post as I watch my neighbors' dogs run off yet again (the cute little one attacked the mailman today -- the anklebiting dog, that is).

I have been reading. I swear. I've struggled, though, because one of my most recent reads was highly, highly disturbing. And it takes a lot for me to say that.

My weekend reading in the hammock left me with the heebie jeebies. It wasn't a poorly written book by any means. In fact, it's probably a testament to how well the author can write that she freaked me completely out.

My next read, was Saturday's pre-pub post, Michael Marshall's Killer Move. And I loved it. I know, I probably should have gone with something light and breezy to clean off the cringing feeling the other book left me with. But I went with the page-turning thriller instead.

Page-turning is one of the best (even if it's overused) ways to describe what Michael Marshall does. Like his last release, Bad Things, about half of the book is somewhat misleading in terms of the game changing twist that he throws at you.

I've got an ambitious weekend of reading plans ahead. We'll see if I'm able to accomplish it all. I'm starting S.J. Bolton's Now You See Me (about to hit the hammock again now that the work day is over).

Also, if you're interested in podcasts at all, I encourage you to check out the Orbit podcasts. The latest features Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire). I find these highly entertaining and Grant talking about zombies and the flu is awesome!

Ok, I'm off to hit the books. The only thing I need to make this perfect is a pool and a cool lounge chair!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New Releases 6/28/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Flashback by Dan Simmons

Eat, Slay, Love by Jesse Petersen

A Stranger Like You by Elizabeth Brundage

Blood of the Reich by William Dietrich

Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan

Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Killer Move by Michael Marshall

Heart of Evil by Heather Graham

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

Heartless by Gail Carriger (7/1)

Burn the Night by Jocelynn Drake

The Final Evolution by Jeff Somers

New on DVD:
Season of the Witch
Sucker Punch
The Warrior's Way

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Killer Move by Michael Marshall

Michael Marshall should be a household name by now. Stress the SHOULD. The UK author also known as Michael Marshall Smith has blown me away with past releases, so when I saw that his latest, Killer Move, was coming out, I immediately added it to my must have list.

(Backlist titles: The Straw Men, The Upright Man/The Lonely Dead, and Blood of Angels - trilogy, The Intruders, Bad Things, and The Servants, amongst others -- I've not finished the trilogy and The Intruders is in the TBR)

Here's a bit about Killer Move from the publisher's official site:

Stephen King hailed Michael Marshall's novel Straw Men as “a masterpiece . . . brilliantly written and scary as hell.” Now, Marshall returns with this latest unnerving tale—a creepy, fast-paced thriller that grips you from the first page straight through to its shocking end.

Bill Moore already has a lot, but he wants more . . . much more.

He's got a lucrative job selling condos in the Florida Keys, a successful wife, a good marriage, a beautiful house. He also has a five-year plan for supersuccess, but that plan has begun to drag into its sixth year without reaping its intended rewards. So now Bill's starting to mix it up—just a little—to accelerate his way into the future that he knows he deserves.

Then one morning Bill arrives at work to find a card waiting for him, with no indication who it's from or why it was sent. Its message is just one word: modified.

From that moment on, Bill's life begins to change.

At first, nothing seems very different. But when things begin to unwind rapidly, and one after another, people around Bill start to die, it becomes increasingly clear that someone somewhere has a very different plan for Bill's future. Confused and angry, Bill begins to fight against this unseen force until he comes to a terrifying, inescapable realization: Once modified, there's no going back.

You can browse inside and read a sample of Killer Move here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

And Finally... Good Omens

It was fortunate and timely that the publisher released a new hardcover edition of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens in 2006.

Flash back to high school (the book was originally released in 1990 and I graduated in 1999) when classmates were passing this book around laughing out loud and reading passages aloud in the band room. Now flash forward to 2004 when Mike and I "met." (We went to the same high school with those same people.) Mike read a bit, but by no means did he have a collection. And being a book junkie, everyone gets books as gifts at some point. So Good Omens seemed like a good gift possibility at some point. And it's become his favorite book since.

So the new edition also became a good gift option. Love it when it's that easy. And then an even better "gift" opportunity was when Terry Pratchett came to town and signed it. And then Neil Gaiman came, but we didn't get to get him to sign it. Too many people.

Anyway. The new edition came out around the time that the original paperback edition I bought him got smooshed with a banana in a work tote one afternoon. (So ours didn't end up in the bath, but did get ruined. See new edition foreword.) And Mike's been trying to get me to read this for just about the whole time.

So I finally did.

Good Omens is the end of the world via Pratchett's and Gaiman's particular views of the world. They're smart. British smart. And British funny to boot. Which makes Good Omens a read that appeals to a wide range of folks.

My favorite parts, though, are the notes from the authors. The foreword, the interview, Neil Gaiman on Terry Pratchett, and Terry Pratchett on Neil Gaiman. I actually have found this kind of thing appealing for a while: the writer looking back after years of success and talking about what it was like when... Dan Simmons's new edition of Summer of Night arrived this week with his own retrospective comments on that book coupled with reading Gaiman's and Pratchett's this week have all struck a chord with me. King's updated intro on The Gunslinger was another one I loved. I'm looking forward to cracking open Gaiman's American Gods now, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Devil and the White City -- A Roadtrip Audio Post

Whoa! I'm late coming to this one, I know -- Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City was pubbed in 2003 and here I am posting after I listened to it on audio on our trip home from Texas. It was one of two picks we made to get us through the fifteen hour drive to Austin (then San Antonio) and back home (yeah, we pulled into our drive at 2:30 this morning and I'm totally beat!). After all, whether you choose to drive the highways of New Mexico or Oklahoma, there's a lot of dead air space between Colorado and South Central Texas (or Louisiana as is usually the case), so we go in for the LONG audio books.

I chose Devil for a couple of reasons: one, because the book's been of interest to me since it came out, but I'm really picky when it comes to nonfiction. Two, because Tony Goldwyn is the narrator. I'm actually not big on audios -- I prefer to read at my own pace (but would actually like if I could get some audios read by the authors themselves). Narrator is a big deciding factor for me if it's actually someone I recognize. I like Goldwyn and figured he'd be nice to listen to (and he was).

The book, if you're one of the last people left (like me) who hasn't read it yet, is about the Chicago World's Fair and the serial killer H.H. Holmes. Mike wasn't a huge fan of the tie in between the two and said he'd have preferred the book be focused more on one or the other, but I thought it was fascinating. First, you have the massively, seemingly ridiculous and impossible undertaking of putting together the world's fair. I can't honestly see an event of this magnitude coming together ever again -- but it would be kind of cool if it did. Then, you have this serial killer who by all accounts is incredibly creepy and insane! The man built a freak show, torture chamber filled mansion in the middle of Chicago and is thought to have killed anywhere between 9 and 100-200 people! It's a who's who of name dropping -- even the Pinkertons were called in to investigate and Holmes sold his own confession to Hearst.

Some say that Holmes was America's first serial killer. It's amazing that he was able to get away with what he did for so long. And truly, the man was a psychopath to rival the worst I've heard of. Both of us (Mike and myself) would have liked more on Frank Geyer, and since the audio we found was abridged, I'd like to go back and read the actual book to see if there's more to his story as well. The end of the book was especially disturbing, even if it is a bit of a strange connect the dots game regarding the deaths of those surrounding Holmes.

At this point, I'd like to fit Larson's other books into the TBR somewhere. Thunderstruck would probably be my next choice seeing as how it's about Crippen, but Isaac's Storm, about the hurricane that destroyed Galveston in 1900, or the new one, In the Garden of Beasts, both sound equally interesting.

Ah well, I'm working on Good Omens as we speak (Mike's been on me to read it for years now) and trying to recover from our little vacation :) Oh, and if you're interested, rumor has it Devil rights have been sold and Leonardo DiCaprio has expressed interest in playing Holmes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New Releases 6/21/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Long Gone by Alafair Burke

A Bad Day For Scandal by Sophie Littlefield

Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

Watch Me Die by Erica Spindler

Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

The Dark Inquiry by Deanna Raybourn

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

The Devil Colony by James Rollins

The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons

Love Always by Harriet Evans

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Disturbance by Jan Burke

Trespasser by Paul Doiron

Season to Taste by Molly Birnbaum

New on DVD:
The Adjustment Bureau
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
The Eagle

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Dark Inquiry by Deanna Raybourn

Oh, my! I didn't even know this book was coming out! I'm such a big fan of Deanna Raybourn's books that I consider this a mighty travesty on my part. Shame on me! Well, I'll remedy it Tuesday (June 21) when I run out and buy a copy :)

The spirits speak of secrets....

Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let alone Brisbane’s private enquiry business.

Among the more unlikely clients: Julia’s very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be left out of anything concerning her beloved—if eccentric—family, spirited Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation.

It leads to the exclusive Spirit Club, where the alluring Madame Séraphine holds evening séances...and not a few powerful gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of murder, espionage and blackmail, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust.

Shocked to find their investigation spun into salacious newspaper headlines, bristling at the tension it causes between them, the Brisbanes find they must unite or fall. For Bellmont’s sake—and more—they’ll face myriad dangers born of dark secrets: the kind men kill to keep...the kind that can destroy a fledgling marriage.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reading Out of Order

I'm really bad about reading books in order. It can be sort of a stalemate position when it comes to new books. When I do take a chance and read something midway through a series, I'm always pleased as punch to discover one that can stand alone as a whole. Alafair Burke's 212 is this kind of read. Technically the third in her Ellie Hatcher series, 212 can be read without any confusion by newcomers like me.

When a body is found in a rich real estate mogul’s apartment, Ellie and her partner, J.J. Rogan, are sent to investigate. Ellie promptly arrests the exec for disturbing her scene, and the fallout from that action is swift. Though Ellie suspects the man may have had a hand in the murder, he becomes all but off limits. A few months later, the case still open and no concrete leads to speak of, Ellie and Rogan are sent to a new scene. This time, a college coed and her roommate have been brutally attacked, the roommate barely survives and the other girl is pronounced dead on the scene. Turns out, the girl was being harassed on a popular college gossip site. She and her parents approached the police just one day before the murder and were told there was nothing they could do. With two high-profile cases weighing heavy on her, Ellie has her hands full, but she is dead-set on solving them both.

Burke has a new standalone due out June 21 (Long Gone) but 212 is out in paperback now. As my own little Burke story, many of you know that Alafair is the daughter of Louisiana writing LEGEND (because I worked in bookstores in Louisiana and everyone was itching to get him in for a signing) James Lee Burke. I once traveled to Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale (AZ) where they happened to be selling James Lee Burke tees. My mom thought it was hilarious that I went all the way to Arizona to buy a Louisiana tee shirt. What can I say? We didn't have the shirts at our store.

Remember, you can still enter to win weekly prizes over at Alafair's official page, http://alafairburke.com/, simply by participating in her Duffer Awards. You can also read bi-weekly posts by Alafair over on the Murderati blog.

Good luck and happy reading!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Ruth Rendell Rec From My Reading Past

Way back in 2005, I came across Ruth Rendell's (then) latest book as a review copy (I was a bookseller at the time). Now Rendell wasn't totally foreign to me, although I'd not yet read any of her books. My grandmother, whose shelves I frequently perused, had a small collection of Rendell's Wexford books (#23, The Vault, is due out in September). Thirteen Steps Down was, however, the first Rendell title I tried for myself (it's a standalone). And I loved it! I've since inherited those Wexford mysteries and started my own collection of her other standalones and Barbara Vine books as well.

I came across my copy of Thirteen Steps Down recently and knew I had to take a chance to make it a way back when rec!

Now, my memory is not that fantastic, so I'm stealing the product description from Random House:

Mix Cellini has just moved into a flat in a decaying house in Nottinghill, where he plans to pursue his two abiding passions--supermodel Nerissa Nash, whom he worships from afar, and the life of serial killer Reggie Christie, hanged fifty years earlier for murdering at least eight women. Gwendolen Chawcer, Mix’s eighty-year-old landlady has few interests beside her old books and her new tenant. But she does have an intriguing connection to Christie. And when reality intrudes into Mix’s life, he turns to Christie for inspiration and a long pent-up violence explodes. Intricately plotted and brilliantly written, 13 Steps Down enters the minds of these disparate people as they move inexorably toward its breathtaking conclusion.

I've been thinking a lot about great vacation reads and while there's no one genre in particular that I think fits, I think it's totally up to your mood, your taste, and the kind of vacation you're taking. Psychological suspense is best for vacations where you can spend hours lounging around without distraction. This one in particular will give you chills even in the middle of summer! It will always be my favorite of Rendell's titles simply because it was my first.

Check out the official Random House page for an excerpt. And Rendell's got a hell of a backlist if you're looking for a new author to try this summer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How About a Giveaway?

Guess what I've got my hot little hands on?! The anniversary edition of Neil Gaiman's American Gods! I'm keeping it. But, I find myself now in possession of two copies. What a reader's dilemma.

So, if you want a slightly loved copy of Neil Gaiman's Hugo, Stoker, and Nebula (just to name a few) award-winning fantasy novel, leave me a comment here before midnight Tuesday, June 21 (US only, please).

Apparently, American Gods will soon be joining the ranks of HBO series (can't wait!) courtesy of THE Tom Hanks. That is, if this article is to be trusted. And I hope it can.

The tenth anniversary edition of the book is set for release June 21. I am ashamed to say that this is one of the only Neil Gaiman titles I have yet to read. Good Omens would be another (I know, my husband's ready to string me up!). In my defense, I've read most, if not all, of the others! Including the "sequel" to Gods, Anansi Boys.

If you haven't read Gaiman yourself, now would be a good time! Here's some info on the book:

A storm is coming . . .

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

Relevant and prescient, American Gods has been lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is, quite simply, an outstanding work of literary imagination that will endure for generations.

Monday, June 13, 2011

First One Down!

So as I mentioned the other day, I've begun a valiant effort to knock out some of the TBR -- especially before I start adding newer buys to it this summer :)

I've got the first of my chosen stack down! Woohoo! Over the weekend, I finished up reading Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path. A whopper of a read and the first in his new series. But now to describe it to you all!

It's a little tough. See The Dragon's Path is essentially the introduction to the story (I believe). Not much of it can stand on its own, but it serves as an introduction to the world, the characters, and the larger plots and schemes that I think will play out through the entire five book series. Fans of large epic fantasies will love sinking their teeth into this one. The characters are fantastic (lots of gray -- everyone has different motivations but no one is entirely good or bad in this series so far.) and Abraham has carefully envisioned a rich world with a fabulous history -- one that I hope we get much more of a taste of in later books.

I found this to be a fairly easy read. I've tried my hand at some epic fantasies in the past with mixed results. Some I've enjoyed very much while others have proven to be a bit too much for my sometimes feeble reading mind to handle. They can be daunting in size and intimidating in plot. Yes, Abraham's book is rather large, but I have to say that the story moved really quickly. It helps that I liked the characters so much -- and some I wish I'd seen more of and can't wait to greet again in subsequent books.

Well, I'm off to tackle the next read. No word yet (that I can find) on the release date for the second installment in this series. Abraham is a busy, buys guy, though.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Releases 6/14/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Wreckage by Michael Robotham

The Profession by Stephen Pressfield

The Oregon Experiment by Keith Scribner

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Dark Dividing by Sarah Rayne

Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

Break the Skin by Lee Martin

Passion by Lauren Kate

Against All Enemies by Tom Clancy

Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver (007)

Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank

Tigerlily's Orchids by Ruth Rendell

Leviathan Wakes by SA Corey

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

New on DVD:
Battle: Lost Angeles
Red Riding Hood

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Goonies, It, & Now Super 8

Sooo Mike and I just got home from seeing JJ Abrams's new movie, Super 8, and I thought it was fantastic. Mike said it was probably the first film he's been really impressed with this year, and I have to agree. Which is awesome because I was really afraid that after so many letdowns this year, Abrams might have joined the ranks. But no! He came through! Again! (Just one more step towards world domination on his part.)

And in thinking about it, I realize how much I really love kids as the narrators/protagonists in books and movies -- not to be confused with kids' movies, which yes, I'm aware The Goonies technically is. But it's one of my favorites. So I'm including it. No, kids as the driving force in adult fiction. It sort of makes it ok to go beyond the boundaries of the totally believable. And because it's told from a kid's point of view, everything becomes larger than life. Plus, they make the adults all look like they don't have a clue (cause they never do) and the kids have to save the day.

Having read It and Summer of Night and a lot of Doug Clegg's stuff, I'm sort of drawing a blank on other potential reads using this particular vehicle for storytelling (does that make sense, because I'm beat). Anyway, any ideas fellow readers? Sort of an, if you liked this, you should try this... suggestion? Others I can think of are Jeffrey Ford's The Shadow Year and Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Find me something I haven't read (and McCammon's Boy's Life is in the TBR, I believe).

Another Sign I'm a Book Nerd and a Rec From My Reading Past

Normally I really enjoy reorganizing my books (sign one). Normally. Right now, I don't. I'm trying to update my spreadsheet (sign two) and consolidate some stuff (I want to be able to go to one spot and find all my Lisa Lutz or all of my Stephen King, things like that). This project has also reminded me of some past reads neglected here on the blog. Like Lee Martin.

Martin's River of Heaven marked my introduction to his work. Released in 2008, it's a literary mystery of sorts that really captivated me: it's one of those books that stays with you long after you've finished.

Sam Brady is a solitary bachelor who has taken great pains to ensure that his homosexuality remains a secret to those around him. After his neighbor’s wife dies, it becomes harder for Sam to keep himself closed off. He and Arthur strike up a tenuous friendship at first, bonding over the building of a custom doghouse for Sam’s basset hound, Stump. The doghouse, a small ship with a deck and cannon ports, attracts the attention of a columnist with the local paper, a writer whose great uncle, Dewey, was once Sam’s best friend. At the age of 15, Dewey committed suicide on the train tracks near his house. The reporter has some questions about the events though, and it is soon revealed that Sam has some other secrets in his past that he would rather not come to light. Enter Cal, Sam’s long lost brother. Cal has just recently survived a nationally broadcasted hostage situation and shows up on Sam’s doorstep, bringing more than a little trouble along with him.

Martin, whose book The Bright Forever earned him a Pulitzer nom, is a very good writer indeed. River of Heaven is a story of loneliness and secrets, but also ultimately one of forgiveness. At just 288 pages, it also made for a really quick read and one that I highly recommend to anyone looking for something new to try this summer. Martin's newest book, Break the Skin, is set for release next week.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pseudonyms and Such

Ah, I'm winding my way through Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path, first in the Dagger and the Coin series, now under contract for five titles. As always, I tend to google the heck out of authors that I'm reading. Interestingly, it was a side note about a totally unrelated author that had me on the pseudonym search, but when I hit up Abraham's site in the wake of that, I found that he too has multiple personalities. Which means more books to add to the Must Read list when I finish this one : )

The first title I came across is actually one that I really, really want to read and have been anticipating since seeing it in the Orbit catalog. Leviathan Wakes is appealing to me for so many reasons, even though I do tend to shy away from Sci-Fi books. Sad, but true. Here's a nice little piece on Curiosity Killed the Bookworm that refers to some of the same issues I suffer from. Her post comes in the wake of the recent slew of articles about sexism in publishing (lordy, men's fiction vs women's fiction vs genre labeling vs who gets reviewed where vs whether genre fiction is respectable, it's making me dizzy!).

Anywho, Ellie's points ring true for me anyway, a lot of the time I just feel like Sci-Fi goes completely over my head for one reason or another (books that is, movies I have no issue with). I have hopes that Leviathan Wakes will be different -- because I so want it to be! Abandoned ship fits right in with my whole weird obsession with abandoned hospitals, orphanages, and such. Plus there's the whole detective aspect in it as well. Here's chapter one if you're curious.

Leviathan Wakes is set for release on June 15, by the way, and is a team effort -- author James S.A. Corey being Daniel Abrahams and Ty Franck. But that's not all for busy bee Abrahams. Seems he also writes as MLN Hanover, author of the Black Sun's Daughter series.

I mean wow. It's no secret or anything, which is nice since I didn't completely unravel the mystery I was searching out originally pertaining to that other author.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Screw Spring, We're Heading Straight For Summer

After months of whining about how cold it was, it seems I may finally be getting some relief in the form of summer. Colorado has skipped spring altogether and is diving headfirst into my favorite season. Now if only I had a pool. But I do have a hammock (and need to find the sunblock, apparently!).

I've broken out the flip flops, the shorts, and *gasp* may even buy some new clothes (I'm working on that one). And, I'm making a renewed effort to tackle the bookshelves. We're talking organization, knocking out some TBRs, and renewing relationships with some oldies that I've seemingly forgotten about.

I'm inspired by Mark Henry and others who are trying their own book buying bans -- I won't got that far just yet seeing as how June seems to have a plethora of must-haves -- but I'm trying to make a deal with myself and read some of the other acquired titles before adding to the shelves. And while I'm not going to be totally strict as in all-I-can-read-are-the-chosen-TBR-titles, my goal is that within the next two to three months, I will have read all of the A-E picks I've made.

My strategy was to take about three titles from each letter, pick one from the bedroom shelves (those are the newer releases) and at least one from the living room shelves (those are the older ones). We'll see what happens. For "A" alone, I've got Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path, Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper, and Kate Atkinson's Case Histories. Two news, one old (and in true junkie form, I've already got the rest of Atkinson's series in house as well, having read book three first). I'll keep you posted on progress. I've started Abraham this afternoon.

In the meantime, I have some brief follow ups for you from some of the past Pre-Pub titles I've had a chance to read since posting (Pre-Pubs are usually the only time I post about books I've either not read, or books that aren't out yet. I put publisher's info any time I haven't read them myself and I thought I'd bring you up to speed on some of those in case you don't read the BB reviews):

Last week's book, S.J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep, is utterly fantastic in it's mind-bendingly twisted Memento-ish way. I literally just finished reading this one and you can do it in one sitting. Trust me. Super quick, intense, and makes your head go all over the place trying to figure it out!

The White Devil by Justin Evans is another fantastic one. Very, very dark! I loved the multiple stories going on: the historical mystery intertwined with present day. And a nice gothic tone as well.

Graveminder by Melissa Marr was HOLY SMOKES good! I've not read any of Marr's teen books as of yet, but I'm going to have to snag them from the JJs after this one. Loved it -- completely original concept and not at all what I'd expected.

And finally, Amanda Stevens's The Restorer is a fantastically creepy supernatural mystery. This was another first for me. Though I'd come across Stevens before, this was my first read by her and I've got two more of her books in the TBR now while I wait for the second in this series.

These are all pretty dark reads. Since late April, I've read 21 books. Of those, I'd say about a third of them were what I would consider dark -- not genre specific, but really twisted reads. In fact, because I'm curious, here's a super, super basic breakdown:

Mystery/Thrillers: 9
Paranormal/Sci-fi: 8
Other fiction: 2
Nonfiction: 2

Anyway. I'm rambling. It's that kind of day. Hope you had a fantastic weekend and got some great reads in!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Releases 6/07/11

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton

My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock

You Belong to Me by Karen Rose

Shadowborn by Alison Sinclair

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hays by Marcus Sakey

The Amateurs (PB) by Marcus Sakey

State of Wonder by Anne Patchett

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson

Exiles by Cary Groner

The Borgia Betrayal by Sara Poole

A Simple Act of Violence by R.J. Ellory

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

Hit List by Laurell K Hamilton (Anita Blake #20)

Everlasting by Alyson Noel (Immortals series)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott

The Ridge by Michael Koryta

New on DVD:
True Grit
The Company Men
Just Go With It

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
How to Eat a Small Country by Amy Finley
The Cypress House by Michael Koryta
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Oh, man! I'm a big Terminator fan. Huge. So big in fact, that I threaten to join the resistance frequently. See, technology is nice and handy until it goes wrong and then my own reliance on it becomes a huge inconvenience. So I can relate to an uprising against machines. That scene in Office Space where they take the fax machine out and beat the crap out of it. Those computer commercials where folks are throwing their computers out the windows. Yeah. Take it from someone who had two computers crash within the space of a month, technology gone wrong sucks.

So when Daniel H. Wilson's Robopocalypse arrived, I couldn't wait to dive in! And I got my chance last weekend. It was sunny out, so I took my robot apocalypse book in the backyard and got in some quality time before the neighbors started partying. It was fun. I got sunburned. It happens.

Robopocalypse tells the story of the war between humans and robots. It begins with a virus, machines malfunctioning, things going wrong, all in the wake of the creation of Archos, a computer that has the capability to learn. Soon the war has begun, but rather than a straight narrative, Robopocalypse tells the story through a series of events pieced together by one of the key members of the human resistance. The short chapters make for a quick pace and before you know it, it's the middle of the night and you're in the midst of the conflict -- no way are you going to put it down before you finish!

Guaranteed to be one of the best books you read this year and a film version is already said to be in production! Robopocalypse is set for release on June 7.

Friday, June 3, 2011

When Books Make You Hungry

Wow. Food. If there's anything I love as much as books... (and yes, both habits show). Food in books kicks off cravings (food on tv does the same). My husband knows me so well, he usually picks up on it.

Fortunately, coming from Louisiana, I don't crave a lot of really strange stuff. It's coming in handy a bit with my current read. Louisiana traditions are steeped in French traditions and folks didn't have a lot of money. I've got no desire to eat some of those things. Just, no. But the methods, yes. Braising, slow cooking, local ingredients... and the idea of traveling around, experiencing a country through its food is one that I admire greatly. Reading about it is the next best thing.

Amy Finley, Food Network Next Food Network Star winner from season 3 (yeah, it was kind of a disastrous end of the season. And can I just say that the "branding" way of picking chefs on that show is extremely irksome? It is. Just saying.) has released a food memoir. How to Eat A Small Country: A Family's Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time chronicles the aftermath of winning the show and giving it all up for her family.

And she doesn't hold back in saying just how frustrated she was over the decision (in fact, frustrated is a reserved way of describing it -- I would say there was an intense dislike of her husband for a while and it shows in the book, which kind of leaves me wondering how the book came to be, all things considered). Anyway, in the aftermath -- after the D-word came into play -- Finley decides the only hope is to move the family to France. To get away from it all, focus on each other, and try and put the marriage back together.

And it seems to have worked.

I like Amy Finley. She can write! And she can cook! And while French food as a whole has never been one of my go-tos (cheese, yes! frites, yes! frogs, no!), this book makes me hungry. As I said, I'm keeping it a bit in check. As the family winds their way through the country, hitting up local spots for regional specialties, some are definitely more appealing than others, but Finley's passion for it all comes through so clearly. And rumor has it that Finley is currently working on a cookbook -- I sincerely hope its true.

Be warned, Finley is completely honest about everything (or at least that's how it appears in reading the book), cooking methods, arguments, all of it. Don't say I didn't warn you if you're upset over Thumper as dinner.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Morning, All!

Hey there, readers. So I promise I have some review posts coming, but I wanted to tell you about a fun month of contests being hosted by Alafair Burke over on her website: http://alafairburke.com/

Alafair's upcoming book, Long Gone, is one that I am dying to get my hands on and her Duffer Awards (named for her dog) are a great chance to win copies and other weekly prizes. Head over and check it out!

Here's some info from the email I received today:

You may remember the inaugural Duffer Awards from March. Those were so much fun that today I'm rolling out the first Annual Duffer Awards... and you get to be the judge!

For the entire month of June, my website will host the first annual Duffer Awards. Each day will feature two beloved crime fiction characters, matched head-to-head for very, very serious award categories like Most Likely to Win a Hot Dog Eating Contest and Best Shoes.

Post a comment beneath your vote, and you'll automatically be entered to win weekly prizes including signed copies of my books and $50 gift certificates to your favorite bookseller! The more you comment, the more you're entered to win.

First Up?
Most Likely to Marry His Ex-Wife! To see the nominees, click here and start voting today. Be sure to come back every day in June to vote on a new Duffer Award. (And please help spread the word. This should be fun for anyone who reads crime fiction!).

And as a special treat, here's the trailer for Long Gone!