Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #28 - The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week the book I am waiting to get my hands on is The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag. It's due out in paperback March 25, 2014 from Penguin Books. There are a few things that appeal to me about this book. One is that it is supposed to have a sort of magical realism. Another is that the protagonist, Alba, is a book lover. And finally there are portraits of famous women on the walls, many of them literary figures, that speak to each other and to the people in the house. 

From Goodreads.com 

When Alba Ashby, the youngest Ph.D. student at Cambridge University, suffers the Worst Event of Her Life, she finds herself at the door of 11 Hope Street. There, a beautiful older woman named Peggy invites Alba to stay on the house’s unusual conditions: she’ll have ninety-nine nights, and no more, to turn her life around. Once inside, Alba discovers that 11 Hope Street is no ordinary house. Past residents include Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Parker, and Agatha Christie, who all stayed there at hopeless times in their lives and who still hang around—quite literally—in talking portraits on the walls. With their help Alba begins to piece her life back together and embarks on a journey that may save her life.

Filled with a colorful, unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a wholly imaginative novel of feminine wisdom and second chances, with just the right dash of magic.

So, What book are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Madam by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of 
Rules:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my Teaser comes from Madam: a Novel of New Orleans by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin. 

The people Mama spoke of were larger than life, and Mary wanted to be just like them. 

She'd curl up on Mama's lap in a rocker on the porch of the brothel, back when whores could live a dozen to a  house without fear of being cleared out by the police.

"Did I tell you about America Williams, the World's Strongest Whore?" Mama would ask.

I know that's 3 sentences, but they fit together so well.
- From 5% through on  my Kindle.

What's your teaser this week?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nominees for the Georgia Peach Book Awards for Teen Readers 2014-2015

These are the 2014-2015 Nominees for the Georgia Peach Book Awards for Teen Readers



Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Winger by Andrew Smith
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
March: Book One by John Lewis


Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Me, Him, Them, and It by Caela Carter
The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan
Torn by David Massey


Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson


The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
Orleans by Sherri L.Smith
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

There's one winner and 2 honor books. Any predictions?


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #27 - Hyde by Daniel Levine

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Sometimes all it takes to make an old story new is a change of perspective. Daniel Levine does just that with The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his new version entitled simply, Hyde. This is the first time that the story has been told from the viewpoint of the monster, and maybe he's not as bad as he's been made out to be. 


From Goodreads:

A reimagining of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the monster's perspective, Hyde makes a hero of a villain. As a bonus, Stevenson's original novel is included at the back. 

Mr. Hyde is hiding, trapped in Dr. Jekyll's surgical cabinet, counting the hours until capture. As four days pass, he has the chance, finally, to tell the story of his brief, marvelous life.

We join Hyde, awakened after years of dormancy, in the mind he hesitantly shares with Jekyll. We spin with dizzy confusion as the potions take effect. We tromp through the dark streets of Victorian London. We watch Jekyll's high-class life at a remove, blurred by a membrane of consciousness. We feel the horror of lost time, the helplessness of knowing we are responsible for the actions of a body not entirely our own.

Girls have gone missing. Someone has been killed. The evidence points to Mr. Hyde. Someone is framing him, terrorizing him with cryptic notes and whisper campaigns. Who can it be? Even if these crimes weren't of his choosing, can they have been by his hand?

Though this classic has been often reinvented, no one ever imagined Hyde's perspective, or that he could be heroic. Daniel Levine changes that. A mesmerizing gothic, Hyde tells the fascinating story of an underexamined villain.

I'm looking forward to this one. What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandian

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of 
Rules:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teasers come from a new mystery called Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandian. It was released February 11, 2014 from Henery Press.



"He realized he had been too vocal in support of their ideas, for he heard the maharaja was not pleased with the work he was doing.Though he was not afraid, as he was told he should be, Anand nevertheless thought it a prudent time to follow his heart and see more of the world."
Chapter 5, Location 578 on my Kindle

A century-old treasure map of San Francisco's Barbary Coast. Sacred riches from India. Two murders, one hundred years apart. And a love triangle... Historian Jaya Jones has her work cut out for her.

1906. Shortly before the Great San Francisco Earthquake, Pirate Vishnu strikes the San Francisco Bay. An ancestor of Jaya's who came to the U.S. from India draws a treasure map...

Present Day. Over a century later, the cryptic treasure map remains undeciphered. From San Francisco to the southern tip of India, Jaya pieces together her ancestor's secrets, maneuvers a complicated love life she didn't count on, and puts herself in the path of a killer to restore a revered treasure.

What's your Teaser this week?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur

Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur is the first book in the Damask Circle. It originally came out in 2001, but the Kindle edition was just released January 28, 2014. A newer paperback version was also released at the same time. The edition that I read was the Kindle version.

Maddie Smith has made herself a mostly comfortable retreat where she grows roses and stays away from others. She's afraid of her psychic talents, clairvoyance and pyrokinesis, which she doesn't quite have a handle on. Then the "ghost" of Jon Barnett starts appearing to her.

Teenagers have been going missing from their homes. When some of the bodies are found, they are completely devoid of blood. Maddie dreams that her nephew Ethan will be one of the next victims. She will have to leave her safe haven.

Jon Barnett knows that in spite of appearances, this isn't a vampire at work. It's something more evil. And it has relocated to Taurin Bay. Jon realizes the more he gets involved in fighting this black magic that he needs help. Maddie is the one that can help him the best.

Maddie and Jon become attracted to each other in the course of working together to locate the teens. But each for their own reason tries to deny it. But how long can you deny a love that seems to come once in a lifetime?

The main characters were well developed. I wish some of the background about Maddie's ex-husband had come out a little sooner than it did. It seemed to drag out. I think it's interesting that the evil was in 2 parts, male and female. And that one side was seductive and the other side perverted. Jon and Maddie will make a great couple if they let their reservations get out of their way. Whether they do or not, you will need to read the book to find out. The rest of the supporting cast was less developed as to how important they were to the plot and character development of the main characters. I liked the use of shapeshifters other than wolves for a change. The plot had good momentum. There is really only one full blown sex scene; it is well written. There is lots of flirtation of sorts and romance. Read it because you like the plot and not because you want some erotica, and you will enjoy this book.

Overall, this was a good book. I enjoyed it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #26 - The Dirty Book Murder by Thomas Shawver

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. This week I am anticipating a mystery by a debut author. It's The Dirty Book Murder: An Antiquarian Book Mystery
by Thomas Shawver due out May 6, 2014 from Alibi. It even has a book lover as the protagonist. 


From Goodreads:
"Book merchant Michael Bevan arrives at the Kansas City auction house hoping to uncover some hidden literary gold. Though the auction ad had mentioned erotica, Michael is amazed to find lovely Japanese Shunga scrolls and a first edition of a novel by French author Colette with an inscription by Ernest Hemingway. This one item alone could fetch a small fortune in the right market. 

As Michael and fellow dealer Gareth Hughes are warming up for battle, a stranger comes out of nowhere and outbids them—to the tune of sixty grand. But Gareth is unwilling to leave the auction house empty-handed, so he steals two volumes, including the Colette novel. When Gareth is found dead the next day, Michael quickly becomes the prime suspect: Not only had the pair been tossed out of a bar mid-fistfight the night before, but there is evidence from Michael’s shop at the crime scene. 

Now the attorney-turned-bookman must find out who wanted the Colette so badly that they would kill for it—and frame Michael. Desperate to stay out of police custody, Michael follows the murderer’s trail into the wealthiest echelons of the city, where power and influence meet corruption—and mystery and eroticism are perverted by pure evil. Unfortunately for Michael, one dead book dealer is only the opening chapter in a terrifying tale of high culture and lowlifes."

 It sounds to me like it has the makings of a very interesting  mystery. I am already rooting for Michael, and I haven't gotten my hands on the book yet. What book are you waiting on this week? 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of 
Rules:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teasers come from Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur. This is book one in the Damask Circle. This is sort of a new and old book. It was originally published in 2001, but the kindle edition was just published this past January 28, 2014. At any rate, it's new to me.

This is at 14%, the end of chapter 2. 

"Again the shadows moved, and this time he saw it. The creature was big and black and moved on four legs."
And it was no animal.

 So, what are you reading this week? What's your Tuesday Teaser?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Review: The Invisible Code by Christopher Fowler

The Invisible Code by Christopher Fowler is #10 in the series of Bryant and May Peculiar Crime Unit mysteries. It was published December 17, 2013 by Bantam.

Two children playing "Witch Hunt" follow their selected witch to St. Bride's Church. Inside the woman collapses and dies with no apparent cause of death obvious. Arthur Bryant expects that this case will be handed over to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, but instead the city police investigate it.

Then, Oskar Kasavian, the head of Home Office Security who also happens to be their nemesis, calls them and asks them for help. His wife has been acting increasingly erratically, and he wants them to get to the bottom of it.

When a second death links the 2 women's cases, Bryant and May end up all over London looking into the case to catch the killer whether arcane or not.

This is a good mystery. It has some dark humor to it, which certainly doesn't hurt. "As a student of human nature he would have made a fine pastry chef." "The Peculiar Crimes Unit was the flea in his ear, the pea under his mattress, the ground glass in his gin, but at least he had lately abandoned his attempts to have it closed down."

As it goes along it waffles between hinting at an arcane solution to the mystery and a logical scientific type answer. As a result, when the answer does come, it's a bit of a surprise. I didn't guess the outcome in advance which was nice. This was my first Bryant and May mystery. I am wondering if all their mysteries are as twisty and delightful as this one. These 2 detectives may be as the author says in the afterword, Golden Agers, but they are sharp as tacks. It's a pleasure to see them work.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked it.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my  honest opinion.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Review: The Classic Horror Stories by H.P. Lovecraft edited by Roger Luckhurst



Throwback Thursday is a feature that will appear sporadically. In this case, it is to spotlight a book that could be considered a sort of complimentary volume to the Waiting on Wednesday feature of Lovecraft's Monsters edited by Ellen Datlow.

The Classic Horror Stories by H.P. Lovecraft edited by Roger Luckhurst was published May 9, 2013 by Oxford University Press.

There is a fantastic biography to start the reader out. Then it is followed by a selection of  9 stories that follow the Cthulu mythos. These have the author's notes in them as well giving additional interesting material. Then, there are also excerpts from his critical essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature."

The stories that appear in this collection originally appeared in the pulp magazines. The versions in this book are the edited versions that appeared there rather than the versions that Lovecraft and many scholars prefer.

However, this book presents a wonderful opportunity for new readers of H.P. Lovecraft to become acquainted with his writing. Then they will begin to see his influences on other writers and film makers etc.

I liked it myself because I didn't know the half of what was in the biography. And while I had read Lovecraft before, I hadn't read the complete Cthulu mythos. I even found many of the author's notes interesting rather than distracting. All in all, it's an interesting book. It's by no means a complete catalog of his works. Many of them are longer than short story length. To be honest, I struggled a little bit to get through some of Lovecraft's language to finish the story in the longer pieces. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Waiting on Wednesday #25 - Lovecraft's Monsters edited by Ellen Datlow


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. This week is one for fans of classic horror, Lovecraft's Monster's edited by Ellen Datlow.


Let me say first that Ellen Datlow is an excellent editor. Her choices for inclusion in her anthologies have always been first rate. That being said, H.P. Lovecraft's horror isn't for everyone. But this isn't exactly his horror, but based on his monsters. One of the most interesting aspects of this anthology is that it is illustrated by World Fantasy Award-Winning artist John Couthart who also illustrated The Steampunk Bible. I look forward to getting my hands on a copy and checking it out. It's due out April 15, 2014 from Tachyon Publications. 

From Goodreads: 
This deliciously creepy and loving tribute to the master of modern horror features riveting illustrated stories of his wicked progeny.

In the century since the master of horror, H. P. Lovecraft, published his first story, the monstrosities that crawled out of his brain have become legend: the massive, tentacled Cthulhu, who lurks beneath the sea waiting for his moment to rise; the demon Sultan Azathoth, who lies babbling at the center of the universe, mad beyond imagining; the Deep Ones, who come to shore to breed with mortal men; and the unspeakably-evil Hastur, whose very name brings death. These creatures have been the nightmarish fuel for generations of horror writers, and the inspiration for some of their greatest works.

This impressive anthology celebrates Lovecraft's most famous beasts in all their grotesque glory, with each story a gripping new take on a classic mythos creature and affectionately accompanied by an illuminating illustration. Within these accursed pages something unnatural slouches from the sea into an all-night diner to meet the foolish young woman waiting for him, while the Hounds of Tindalos struggle to survive trapped in human bodies, haunting pool halls for men they can lure into the dark. Strange, haunting, and undeniably monstrous, this is Lovecraft as you have never seen him before.

Contents
"Only the End of the World Again" by Neil Gaiman
"The Bleeding Shadow" by Joe R. Lansdale
"Love is Forbidden, We Croak & Howl" by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan
"Bulldozer" by Laird Barron
"A Quarter to Three" by Kim Newman
"Inelastic Collisions" by Elizabeth Bear
"That of Which We Speak When We Speak of the Unspeakable" by Nick Mamatas
"Red Goat Black Goat" by Nadia Bulkin
"Jar of Salts" and "Haruspicy" by Gemma Files
"Black is the Pit From Pole to Pole" by Howard Waldrop and Steven Utley
"I've Come to Speak with You Again" by Karl Edward Wagner
"The Sect of the Idiot" by Thomas Ligotti
"The Dappled Things" by William Browning Spencer
"The Same Deep Waters as You" by Brian Hodge
"Remnants" by Fred Chappell
"Waiting at the Cross Roads" by Steve Rasnic Tem
"Children of the Fang" by John Langan

What book are you waiting on this week?