Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Love to Read With My Book Club, If I Had a Book Club

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: Books I'd Love to Read With My Book Club. And while I don't actually belong to any official book clubs, these are a few titles I'd love to read with one if I was part of one.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Deviation by Heather Hildenbrand

Good morning, readers! Today I'm taking part in a review blitz for Heather Hildenbrand's latest, Deviation. This is the follow up to Imitation, so if you haven't read that one yet you may want to avoid this post as there could be spoilers. (You can jump over here if you want to check out my review of that first installment.)

Now that that's out of the way I have to tell you that I was really looking forward to this one. When we last left Ven, she was in a bit of a precarious situation having discovered that her Authentic's boyfriend was in fact working against RogenCorp and trying to free the rest of the Imitations. 

With Daniel under lock and key and Titus Rogen dead set on learning his secrets, Ven finds herself even worse off than before. Her Authentic's father is putting increased pressure on the Imitation to find out where the rest of the rogue clones are being held and Ven knows it's only a matter of time before he decides she's no longer of any use to him. Ven has no choice but to continue living as Raven and pretending to be on Titus's side - not only does her own life depend on it, but she's the only real hope for both the escaped clones and the ones still remaining at Twig City. 

Sooo, I kind of didn't realize that this one wasn't the last one. As I got closer and closer to the final page I kept thinking there was NO WAY things were going to be resolved and of course they weren't. Deviation had just as much - if not more - of a cliffhanger ending than its predecessor! And there's no release date listed for the next book as of yet. Argh!

Ok. I'm good. Seriously, though, with much of the early character introduction and world building/set up out of the way, Deviation is pretty much all action. Hildenbrand ratchets up the tension by revealing a few key pieces of information that increases the danger for Ven and the other clones, accelerating their plan timeline and really launching the pace of the story into the stratosphere. The way the plot develops in this sequel is really great. Her relationships with the characters around her continue to evolve and Ven also finds a few new allies, which makes her own situation a bit less bleak and gives both the characters and the reader hope for what might come next. 

And I'm dying to know what that might be!

I think I actually found Deviation to be a bit more satisfying than Imitation. While the first book left me interested in reading more, this second has left me completely on the edge of my seat in anticipation of future Clone Chronicles titles. This is definitely a fun series, one that seems to be getting better with each new book. 

Rating: 4/5

For more info on Heather and her work (including news about a potential TV show and a giveaway), be sure to head over to Heather's site here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter

Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Releases 1/27/15

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

The Kings of London by William Shaw

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes

The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek

The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac by Sharma Shields

Ourselves by S. G. Redling

War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen

Breaking Creed by Alex Kava

Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey

The Jaguar's Children by John Vaillant

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

New on DVD:
Before I Go To Sleep
The Judge
Book of Life

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

So Benjamin Percy got a lot of attention with last year's Red Moon, which means anticipation for his next book is pretty darn high. (Especially MY anticipation!) The Dead Lands isn't due out until April but at least we all have something to look forward too, right?!

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

In Benjamin Percy's new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders. 

Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon. 

Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight. 

Um, "a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga" - yes, please! That sounds way too cool to miss!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Short Fiction Friday: Oasis of the Damned by Greg F. Gifune

Heather Richter was lucky to have survived the helicopter crash, but it seems her luck may have run out there. Richter doesn't know that yet, though. Another survivor from an earlier crash comes to her rescue and leads her to a nearby abandoned military post. But what at first seems to be a welcome oasis to wait out rescue is soon revealed to be the ultimate nightmare. Here Richter and Owens will have to fight to survive as the post withstands nightly attacks from a gruesome and never ending enemy all the while fighting to overcome their own demons as well. 

This latest from Gifune is short, coming in at just around 75 pages, but packs a wallop! It's the kind of tale that continues to stick with you well after reading, and I found myself going over and over the various layers of the tale in the days after I finished.

At the forefront is of course the main horror - Richter and Owens, trapped in the desert and forced to fight daily for their survival. But beyond that, each character is fighting other horrors as well: Owens has lost the rest of his crew in this nightly onslaught and Richter is plagued by memories of her brother. Their physical enemies force the two to face down the enemies they hold within themselves - their doubts, fears, and regrets - and it seems there may be no escape from any of it.

Oasis of the Damned is a dark tale and one I enjoyed immensely for its complexity. It was certainly unexpected to some extent simply because the story was so short, but given that Gifune is regularly praised by followers of the genre I have to admit I did have some grand expectation for my first reading of his work. I was not let down in the least!

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman

Good morning, everyone! Today I am super stoked to be part of the TLC book tour for Laura Lippman's very first Tess Monaghan mystery, Baltimore Blues. With the twelfth installment of the series set to hit shelves just next month, this seems like the perfect time to revisit this first of the series, something I've been meaning to do for quite some time anyway.

Twenty-nine-year-old Tess Monaghan is unemployed and unsure what she wants to do next. She spends her time freelancing here and there (mostly for her uncle, who doesn't really need her) and working at her aunt's bookstore. All of this because the paper she was writing for folded and the Beacon Light didn't hire her on. 

But one of Tess's friends has a proposal for her. Fellow rower Darryl Paxton, aka Rock, thinks his fiancĂ© has been acting strange. He wants to hire Tess to follow her and find out what's going on. Unfortunately, Tess's first foray into the investigating business leads to murder and Rock as the prime suspect. Now Tess has to find out who's really responsible and clear her friend before the case goes to trial. 

This Tess is so much lighter and less hardened than she becomes later on. In fact, she's almost a bit flighty - she comes face to face with the fact that she's been hanging onto the past (her career as a journalist) rather than moving on with her life.

Of course this book takes place before Tess officially hangs her shingle as a PI. She makes some rookie mistakes here, mistakes she definitely learns from. She also makes a few new friends who will come to help her along the way.

As a series kick off, it works perfectly. Tess is engaging and stands out - an athletic and inquisitive woman who's more than a bit judgmental but incredibly clever. It's been absolutely ages since I read this one, but I can see in going back just how much the character has grown and evolved. For readers who have been with the series for some time, it has been a few years since Tess's last appearance (though there's word of her in After I'm Gone). As I mentioned above, she's returning just next month in Lippman's latest, Hush, Hush.

While I haven't read all eleven of the current titles, I have read more than a few. Revisiting her start here has been a bit like reading it again for the first time, but if this is your first introduction to Tess, I kind of envy you. The full series listing (including the upcoming release) is as follows:

Baltimore Blues
Charm City
Butchers Hill
In Big Trouble
The Sugar House
In a Strange City
The Last Place
By a Spider's Thread
No Good Deeds
Another Thing to Fall
The Girl in the Green Raincoat
Hush, Hush

Be sure to check back here on March 3 when I'll be posting my own review of book twelve. And who knows, I might even have a chance to give away a copy of Baltimore Blues soon, too!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Laura Lippman and her work, you can find her on the web here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Releases 1/20/15

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

Perdita by Hilary Scharper

Fear the Darkness by Becky Masterman

Dead Red by Tim O'Mara

Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos

Unbecoming by Rebecca Sherm

Glow by Ned Beauman

Cane and Abe by James Grippando

Migratory Animals by Mary Helen Specht

The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

Blood Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison

Burned by Karen Marie Moning

Tides of Maritinia by Warren Hammond

Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella

Serpents in the Cold by Thomas O'Malley

Puzzled Indemnity by Parnell Hall

My Father's Wives by Mike Greenberg

A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor

Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski

See How Small by Scott Blackwood

The Ghost Shift by John Gapper

Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Polaris by Mindee Arnett

New on DVD:
The Zero Theorem
The Drop
White Bird in a Blizzard