Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Releases 4/28/15

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill

Depth by Lev AC Rosen

The Dismantling by Brian DeLeeuw

Charm by Sarah Pinborough

The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl

Black Run by Antonio Manzini

The Children Return by Martin Walker

Early Warning by Jane Smiley

Mirrorworld by Jeremy Robinson

The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari

Your Next Breath by Iris Johansen

The Vorrh by Brian Catling

The Silence that Speaks by Andrea Kane

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark

Gathering Prey by John Sandford

Grave Consequences by David and Aimée Thurlo

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Rogue by Julie Kagawa

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

New on DVD:
The Gambler
Inherent Vice
Accidental Love
The Boy Next Door

New reviews at
Hush Hush by Laura Lippman

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon

It's Saturday, what are you doing? I'm reading! Mike's class just happens to coincide with the Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon and while I'm not certain I can do all 24 hours, I can definitely commit to 12 :) So here goes.

I'm pairing this a bit with cleaning out my e reader. First up are:

Dark Screams v 2 edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar
Dark Screams v 3 edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

(These shouldn't take long, the two Dark Screams anthologies are about 200 pages combined and Loki is close to that. I'll add more to the list as the time goes by.

And for the opening meme ('cause I just woke up):

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Colorado - just outside Denver, to be specific

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Right now, Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

No clue, this is a totally spur of the moment thing for me.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Hm, I'm a total book junkie whose backlog of TBR titles is getting out of hand. I prefer physical books to e books, so my e reader gets seriously neglected when I pick new reads. Hence my attempt not only to take advantage of my husband being away by taking part in the read-a-thon but my focus (at the start at least) on e titles in particular for the day. 

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is my first Dewey's read-a-thon and I am most looking forward to seeing how many books I can read before the end of the day!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer

Hi, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Susan M. Boyer's third Liz Talbot mystery, Lowcountry Boneyard.

The disappearance of Kent Heyward has been all over the news of late. And when Liz is hired to dive into the investigation, she's both apprehensive and excited. Kent, a twenty-three-year-old working in advertising, recently graduated from college. She also recently announced her relationship with FIG head chef, Matthew Thomas, something her upper crust parents have been less than keen about. Given the circumstances and lack of evidence otherwise, the police have determined that Kent left of her own accord. But her family disagrees. Now it's up to Liz to either find the evidence to support the police department's determination or find the missing heiress.

I had two concerns going into Lowcountry Boneyard: first that it would be a bit too cute for my taste. I do love a good PI mystery, but I'm not a HUGE cozy fan. I mean I'm not opposed in general, but they are usually just too darn cute for me. My second concern was that with this being the third in a series I might be a bit lost. In spite of these, though, (suck up moment) I love what Henery Press is doing and have been interested in reading more of their titles so I figured it was worth a shot.

Fortunately, mystery fans, neither of these potential issues turned out to be issues at all. What I got from Lowcountry Boneyard was a super fun - and yes, a little cute - mystery packed to the brim with southern charm. There were indeed some references to previous cases, but nothing about this title was overly dependent on those previous installments - at least not to the point that it hindered my enjoyment anyway.

Liz is insanely likable and battling with an issue that pits her loyalty to home against her partner/lover - this made for a great subplot to the book and a little conflict as well. She's got a guardian spirit by her side to help her out (yeah, that was a little cutesy), but she's a good PI as PI characters go in my opinion.

The best part, though, is the strong sense of place. The series is set in Charleston, much of it focused on the fictional island of Stella Maris. Boyer spends such a great amount of time building the little details of Liz's life here that it not only feels like a real place, it feels as though it could be one of the characters.

Lowcountry Boneyard is a solid mystery and a great introduction to Liz and Stella Maris - it's sold me on this being a nice new PI series to add to my to read list as well.

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

For more on Susan and her work, you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What You Left Behind by Samatha Hayes

The village of Radcote is still reeling from a recent spate of suicides when another teen is determined to have taken his life. DI Lorraine Fisher isn't there to investigate, however. Nope, Lorraine is on a much-needed vacation visiting her sister. They're to spend the week as a family seeing the sites and enjoying each other's company. 

But Lorraine's hopes for a quiet and work-free week are dashed when she catches wind that this latest suicide might be anything but. And when another suicide is discovered and her own nephew disappears, Lorraine knows she can't sit on the sidelines any longer. 

Samantha Hayes's latest is a return to DI Lorraine Fisher of last year's Until Your Mine, but it's a spoiler-free return.

The book begins with this latest suicide, which the reader is well aware is actually an accident. And it's a pretty jarring opening. The plot moves quickly forward with Lorraine's arrival in Radcote and Hayes setting the scene for a promisingly tense family reunion. Not only do we know that the house in Radcote is the same Lorraine grew up in, but that her sister's ownership of the house was something of a hoped-for source of contention on the part of Lorraine's mother. And that's not even getting into the actual atmosphere of the house when Lorraine arrives, with her nephew being relentlessly bullied and her sister newly separated.

Whew! Like I said, Hayes sets the scene for a tense reunion.

Even those who haven't read Until Your Mine (like me) are quickly made aware of the fact that Lorraine is a driven cop who's often at risk of putting her cases before her own family. What's more, it turns out she has very real reason to be concerned about the local investigation thanks to her work experience. She's not quite tough-as-nails, though her sister might tell you otherwise, but Lorraine thankfully does not take any crap.

In other words, she's a heroine I can definitely get behind!

Hayes throws a few red herrings out, but I don't think I'm wrong in saying that a seasoned reader is unlikely to fall for them. Fortunately Lorraine is such a strong character that she easily carries the plot, making What You Left Behind (aka Before You Die) a pretty fun read over all.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Threshold by G.M. Ford

Hi, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for G.M. Ford's latest, Threshold.

Mickey Dolan is going through what some might call a rough patch. The detective has recently been popped for excessive force on two occasions and his personal life is quite out in the open - like PSA open. So his boss assigning him a touchy case is something of a second chance. 

A local politician's wife has disappeared with their two children. The wife is said to be suffering from some mental health issues and has lost custody of the kids, but some think they could be hiding out at a local battered women's shelter. Unfortunately, Dolan soon learns that this isn't simple custody case at all. The wife and children allege that the politician has been abusing them but that the reports have been covered up because of his position. And the politician isn't going to let things rest. 

Threshold is a bit of an odd duck. Ford alternates clipped bits of story beginning with a potential hostage situation in a hospital but before the reader has much information about what's going on, the scene switches to Mickey Dolan. And the story continues to play out in this manner for the entire length of the book - Ford feeding the reader bits and pieces of two alternating story lines, inching them both forward.

Threshold is a quick read and even though I was confused for the first 50 pages or so, I have to admit my interest was piqued even early on. Readers who can stick it through these opening sections will likely enjoy the read as a whole. There's a second storyline involving a woman who has the ability to bring people out of comas. She was a somewhat more intriguing element to me than Dolan and his case, but combined their plots - and crossover - do make for an interesting and suspenseful read.

Rating: 3/5

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Authors

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: top ten all time favorite authors.

This was a tough one! I feel like I have about six solids and the rest were whatever the heck I felt like were my favorites in the moment. Oh, well. 

Pleasantville by Attica Locke

Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Attica Locke's latest, Pleasantville.

It's 1996 and Houston is in the midst of a heated campaign that could result in its first black mayor: Pleasantville's own Axel Hathorne. When a Pleasantville girl goes missing while reportedly working for the campaign itself, though, things turn sour quickly. Hathorne's team denies any connection to the girl, claiming she was never an employee and definitely wasn't out on campaign business when she disappeared, but that doesn't keep Hathorne's team clear of suspicion. 

Jay Porter has been representing the people of Pleasantville in a big case against a nearby chemical plant. It's his only case at the moment and he plans to keep it that way; Porter aims to retire once the case has wrapped up. But the missing girl isn't the first to disappear in the area and when his clients ask for his assistance, Jay can't help but become involved even if it means once again returning to the courtroom.

Locke's latest involves everything from politics and race relations to environmental issues and, of course, a mystery. And this isn't her first Porter tale. Porter's previous outing, Black Water Rising, released in 2009 and was nominated for a number of awards including the Edgar. No worries, though, Pleasantville easily works as a stand alone.

The family dynamic is a big part of this story - not only in terms of the main plot, but for our lead character in particular. Jay's wife died while he was working a big trial and he's been plagued by guilt ever since. It's prompted his desire for retirement and his attempts to keep even his latest case (the one against the chemical plant) out of court. He's now a single father raising a teenage daughter and a young son. The relationships between the three, and between Jay and his friends, colleagues, and clients are all incredibly well drawn, adding further texture and substance to the story as a whole.

And yes, there's a lot of politics in Pleasantville. If you've ever read Locke (and I definitely suggest that you do, you can read my review of The Cutting Season here) then you'll know that this is to be expected. Fortunately, the politics don't overwhelm the story as a whole - and by that I mean a. you don't have to be an expert on regional politics and b. at no point does the story become dry or bogged down by this element of the book. Not at all, in fact. Locke does a fabulous job of weaving these aspects into the story while still maintaining a pacing and momentum that any suspense fan can appreciate.

Rating: 4/5

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

For more on Locke and her work, you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Bonus: Locke is on NPR today talking about the book.