Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer

Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Kodi Scheer's debut, Incendiary Girls, a collection of shorts that are (as the copy reads) "...inspired by science, medicine, and the power of healing with a magical twist."

This is a bizarre collection of pieces to be sure. My usual approach to any short story collection is to read straight through in order, just as I would chapters in a novel. This time, though, I mixed it up a bit. We have company in this week so shorts were definitely the perfect read but with time in mind I skipped around and read out of order. And so the story "Miss Universe" was one of the first I read rather than the third in order. This is a brutal little tale about Miss Universe competitors literally tearing apart the competition! I was surprised when I read it, but as I progressed further through the collection I realized it was indeed a perfect fit.

Other stories include "Transplant" where a woman adopts a new religion in the hopes that her prayers will be answered. "Fundamental Laws of Nature" finds a woman facing the same potential death sentence that took her mother but she finds solace in imagining that her daughter's horse is in fact her reincarnation (the dead mother's, that is). In "No Monsters Here" a woman whose husband is off fighting in Afghanistan begins finding pieces of him throughout her home and begins to fear the worst. "Salt of the Earth" was probably my favorite story in the bunch. In this tale a town is plagued by a love virus!

With Incendiary Tales I think Scheer has proven that she is a wonderful talent! Each of the stories is rich in emotion. They're quirky and a bit dark - depending on how you approach some of them - but they're also the kind of stories that grab hold of you from their first lines. I definitely recommend the collection not only to readers who enjoy a bit of an odd twist in their reading, but to readers who like to mull over and ponder the deeper meanings in stories that obviously deal with loss, fear, and love.

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

For more on Kodi Scheer, you can visit her here on the web. You can also follow her on Twitter.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson + a giveaway

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Holly Peterson's latest, The Idea of Him. And to go along with today's post I have a super fun giveaway thanks to the publisher. Be sure to read through to the bottom for dets and entry.

Allie Crawford has everything - a great job, a great husband, a great family. But all of that changes the day her husband drops a $5,000 casino chip on the bedroom floor. Allie might not have suspected anything had Wade not covered it up so quickly. Just a few weeks later Allie finds Wade locked in their laundry room with a leggy blond and everything starts to go downhill. The woman, Jackie, claims there's something serious going on. Something that will ruin Allie and her family. Jackie wants her trust but with very little to go on Allie isn't so sure. Could the man she married really be so different than she'd thought he was? And what - beyond an affair, that is - could he be involved in that would be so detrimental to the life they've built together. 

Author Elin Hilderbrand called The Idea of Him "...a coming-of-age book for grownups." This is something I found so appealing in going into Holly Peterson's latest. Here you have a thirty something woman who seems to have everything together, forced to face the realities around her - realities that differ greatly from her actual idea of life.

There were intriguing aspects of the book: what Allie's husband is involved in, what role the mysterious Jackie plays in them, and of course the tantalizing detail that whatever the big secret is could ruin everything. But while The Idea of Him had a definite hook ultimately it just didn't live up to its promise for me. I found the big reveal to be a bit of a letdown given how it was built up. I also found there were a few too many threads to the story - elements that I felt were more distracting than supporting of the main plot.

Peterson's voice is incredibly engaging, however, and I did find myself drawn along into Allie's tale. All in all a The Idea of Him was good way to spend my weekend reading time.

Rating: 3.5/5

And now for the giveaway: the publisher is offering up one copy of Holly Peterson's The Idea of Him along with a handmade candle from Andrea Schroder (you can check her items out on her website and follow her on Twitter).


To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, May 5. US only and no PO boxes please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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

For more on Holly Peterson and her books visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

New releases 4/22/14

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

On the Rocks by Erin Duffy

The Furies by Mark Alpert

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach

The Forever Watch by David Ramirez

From the Charred Remains by Susanna Calkins

Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman

Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy

Don't Ever Look Back by Daniel Friedman

A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

'Till the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma

The Target by David Baldacci

Everything to Lose by Andrew Gross

The Forever Watch by David Ramirez

Lovers at the Chameleon Club by Francine Prose

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell

The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gamache Reread Campaign

Morning, readers! I'm super excited about this (haven't you noticed I get pretty "super excited" about lots of book stuff?!) - Louise Penny and Minotaur Books have started an official Gamache Reread Campaign!

Since I've been reading this series completely out of order and had planned to read through from beginning to end anyway, this is pretty spectacularly perfect timing for me.

The reread begins next week (April 21) with book one, Still Life. Here's the official news:

This is a virtual, online club to re-read the Gamache series, beginning officially on April 21st. Each of the 9 books in the series will be discussed for two weeks, culminating in to the publication of Louise Penny’s latest novel, THE LONG WAY HOME, which is on sale August 26th.

There will be special guests, giveaways, discussion questions, and more! Here is the link.

So there you go folks. Sign up and join in on the reread. And if you're new to the series find out why Gamache and Three Pines are so adored by mystery fans everywhere!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spin by Catherine McKenzie

By now you all know that I'm a HUGE fangirl for Catherine McKenzie's work. Ever since Spin hit shelves here in the States in 2012 (actually, her first three books were all released here in the States in 2012 and her fourth, Hidden, released just this month).

When Spin released, I hosted an interview with McKenzie, which you can see here. Somehow, though, I did not end up posting an actual review of the book here on the blog (I did review it for Bookbitch.com at the time). With the novella follow up to Spin - Spun - releasing in just two weeks I thought now was as good a time as any to introduce you to that fabulous debut!

When Kate Sandford blows the job of a lifetime by showing up massively hung over at her interview with The Line magazine, she's sure she's done for. Fortunately for Kate, the magazine is willing to give her a second shot. The catch -- Kate has to go undercover in rehab and report on Amber Sheppard, the latest IT girl to gain notoriety for her drug abuse and crazy antics. Thirty days in rehab seems doable, especially if it means landing her dream job, but when Kate begins to really get to know Amber she starts to have serious doubts about completing the assignment. 

Spin is a super fun read. While the idea of alcoholism and rehab is quite serious, McKenzie handles her subject very well, keeping the book light and entertaining while never belittling the actual issue. It's a nice balance that works quite well.

McKenzie actually had a poll on which of her books readers would like to see a sequel to and it seems Spin won. I absolutely adored the characters in Spin and really can't tell you how excited I am to return to them. Spun will see us return to Amber's story.

Spun is due out April 29. Be sure to check back here on May 1 when I'll be posting my review as well as offering up an e copy of Spin (for Kindle) to one lucky reader! In the meantime, all of Catherine McKenzie's earlier titles (Spin, Arranged, and Forgotten) are available in all e formats for just $1.99 through April 28th.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Guest Post by Kimberly Pauley

Good morning! I've got a very special treat for you this morning Kimberly Pauley's latest hit shelves just last week and as part of the tour SoHo Teen has arranged I'm able to offer up a guest post from Kimberly herself!

But first just a bit about the book from Goodreads just in case you haven't read it yet:

Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone. 

But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.

Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.

And now to hand things over to Kimberly!

What’s in a Name?

Coming up with character names is always an interesting process. Like in all my books, ASK ME’s character’s names came from a mix of sources. I am incredibly thankful to CJ Redwine (author of Defiance) for helping me come up with Aria’s (the main character) name. It’s perfect for her, the girl who hides behind music, who goes through life apart from others. She is a melody sung solo, a self-contained piece of music for a single voice. Aria can also mean noble, air, or lioness. All of those things work really well for this girl who is an oracle, not by choice but by birth.

William means strong-willed warrior and Will from the book is definitely confident in himself. I also had a good friend in middle school and high school with that name (though he was as completely unlike Will in the book as he could be).

Both of the main male characters in the book, actually, have strong names. Alexander (Alex) is another powerful name. Think of the famous Alexander the Great. The name itself means “defender” or “defender of men.” Alex is also named after a good friend of mine from high school (though, again, he’s not much like his namesake since my friend was more of a skateboard punk rocker who has grown up to be a real-life version of The Dude).

Delilah in the book is actually named after the author Delilah Dawson, a writer friend of mine. Aria’s Granddad is also named after a family friend named Porter (who was just as irascible in real life as the one in the book). Mrs. Rogers, Aria’s art teacher, is named after the art teacher I had in high school. Shelley is named after one of my loyal readers who volunteered it for use on my Facebook Fan Page (even though I warned her I couldn’t guarantee the character would be nice).

Aria’s grandmother’s name is Ellie, which means “bright shining one” or “shining light.” I like to think that she’s a bit of a beacon for Aria, even if Aria doesn’t always see it.

Even the town’s name (Lake Mariah) has a meaning for me. The town is loosely based on a real location in Florida (Lake Placid), but the image I have held in my mind from the beginning is of a girl with her hair blowing in the wind. Bear with me here...there’s an old movie with a young Clint Eastwood called Paint Your Wagon and there’s a song in it named “They Call the Wind Mariah” sung by Harve Presnell. Really great song. Very roundabout, I admit, but it works for me since it is both a famous song and has to do with the wind.

It’s a bit of a mish-mash of deeper meanings and personal memories, but that’s how it often goes!

About the author:
Kimberly Pauley is the award-winning author of Sucks to Be Me, which was honored on the YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list. Born in California, she has lived everywhere from Florida to Chicago and has now gone international to live in London with her husband and son. She is also the founder of YA Books Central, one of the first and largest teen book websites in the world. Visit her online at www.kimberlypauley.com.

For more on Kimberly you can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. To check out an excerpt of Ask Me, visit the official SoHo Teen page here.

Big, big thanks to Kimberly for being on the blog today and thanks to the folks over at SoHo Teen for setting it up!

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates + a Giveaway

Morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Christopher J. Yates's Black Chalk. Plus, there's a giveaway open internationally!

I know I mentioned this one a while back, around the time Donna Tartt's Goldfinch was hitting shelves in fact. The reason being I came across this title on a readers who like this will also like... post on BN. And of course, as I also mentioned, it immediately got added to my wish list. And oh, I'm such a FANGIRL for this book!

Chad, Jolyon, Jack, Mark, Emilia, and Dee were just freshmen when they met at Pitt. Together they devised a game, one involving tasks of increasing humiliation. According to the rules, they would fall one by one leaving just one winner to take home the prize. But then the game became something different and one of them died.

Fourteen years later it's time for them to reunite.

I really, really don't want to give anything away but I will say that there were many points in this book where I got those tingly goosebumps that tell you this is something really special. (PAGE 114!!!)

The story plays out in an interesting way, with a narrator intersperced between the characters' Oxford days. This narrator is writing the story and the reader isn't quite sure who it is until around 60 or so pages in. This was the first one that threw me for a loop because it really was not who I expected it to be. And the narrator has some pretty big issues that of course make you wonder how far you can really trust them and the story they're telling.

Agh! I want everyone to read this so I can talk about it!

Anyway, if you like truly clever thrillers and unreliable narrators (and Donna Tartt apparently) you should most definitely check out Christopher J. Yates's debut! If you're curious but not sold, do head here to read an excerpt.

And now for the giveaway! The publisher has allowed us each to offer up a copy to one of our readers and (and this is a big AND) the giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!!! To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, April 28.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To see more stops on the tour be sure to visit the official TLC tour page here. And for more on Yates and his work you can find him on the web here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Do note apparently there have been some issues with the paperback and American retailers have been struggling to keep it in stock - we've been told the publisher will update us once the pb stock issues have been resolved.