Monday, January 31, 2011

REVIEW: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

    Synopsis

    In Mary's world there are simple truths.

    The Sisterhood always knows best.
    The Guardians will protect and serve.
    The Unconsecrated will never relent.
    And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

    But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her.

    And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?


    About the Author

    Carrie Ryan was born and raised in Greenville, SC and is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now pursues her true passion and writes full time. Although Ryan's 2009 novel, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, is set in a world roamed by the living dead, before meeting her fiance JP she was actually a self-proclaimed "scaredy-cat" who avoided horror movies. JP was the one who convinced her to go to her first zombie movie and opened a whole new world up to her, which is why she dedicated her first book to him. Her second novel, THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES, a companion to her first novel, will be out in March 2010. She lives in Charlotte, NC with two fat cats and one large puppy."

    Visit her website at www.carrieryan.com


    My Thoughts

    A village isolated from the rest of the world, and living under the belief that they are the last of mankind. Living behind a fence which protects them from the Unconsecrated (walking dead/zombies), the village is ruled by the Sisterhood. Mary has always been raised with stories of how things used to be-- buildings that touched the sky and salty oceans stretching out as far as the eyes can see. Despite the teachings of the Sisterhood, she still wonders whether there could be anyone else out there. Are the oceans still there? She's drawn to know what is beyond The Forest of Hands and Teeth that surrounds them.

    It's taken me so long to finally read this book. It's been a long time coming. So what did I think? Well, first of all, the thing most striking to me was how much this story felt like the movie The Village. Right down to the red vest Gabrielle wore, which reminded me of the "bad color" in The Village.

    I enjoyed the story, but it did start out a little slow. I expected it to be more about zombies, but it really wound up being more about Mary and her conflicted feelings and confusion. The zombies...well, their depiction is sort of...detached. They aren't generally described in great detail, and there is little interaction between them and the residents of the village. The zombies are simply a fixture in the everyday lives of the villagers.

    Final word- I enjoyed it. It wasn't quite as good as I had hoped (as I was expecting a more traditional zombie story- creepy and scary), but I still enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel.


    My Rating: 8 out of 10

Post Title

REVIEW: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan


Post URL

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (1-29-11 edition)

    NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

    Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

    I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is giving away 2 copies of 33 Habits of a Really Good Man. Deadline is January 30. US only.

    A Myriad of Books is giving away the entire Iron Fey series. Deadline is January 31. US/Canada only.

    A Good Addiction is giving away a copy of Fixing Delilah along with some maple and Vermont-themed "goodies". Deadline is January 31. US only.

    Black Fingernail Reviews is giving away a copy of XVI. Deadline is January 31. International!

    Libby's Library News is giving away 2 copies of the audiobook The Wolves of Andover. Deadline is January 31. US/Canada only.

    Lauren Oliver is giving away 5 signed copies of Delirium, along with 5 book thongs! Deadline is January 31.

    Bookish in a Box is having a big 1st blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is January 31. US only.
    Hooked to Books is giving away a book of choice from the Book Depostitory. Deadline is January 31. International!
    YA Highway is giving away 5 prize packs of two books each. Deadline is January 31. US/Canada only.
    A Good Addiction is giving away a copy of Delirium. Deadline is February 2. US only.
    Socrates Book Reviews is giving away 3 copies of How Sweet it Is. Deadline is February 3. US/Canada only.
    Library Girl Reads is giving away $45 for CSN Stores. Deadline is February 4. US/Canada only.
    Fantastic Book Review is giving away a set of the books Lockdown and Solitary. Deadline is February 5. US/Canada only.
    Books by Their Cover is giving away $65 for CSN Stores. Deadline is February 5. US/Canada only.
    A Fanatic's Book Blog blog is giving away a copy of The Long Weekend. Deadline is February 6. International!
    Readaholic is giving away 3 copies of How Sweet it Is. Deadline is February 7. US/Canada only.
    Bookalicious is having a huge two year blogging anniversary giveaway! Deadline is February 10. International!
    The Last Word is giving away your choice of her top 10 books of 2010! Deadline is February 10. 
    Between the Covers is giving away a copy of Radiant Shadows as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!
    Outhouse Reviews is giving away Kiss of Death and a goody bag as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International! 
    Hooked to Books is giving away a copy of Matched and $15 in book choices as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!
    One Book Shy is giving away a $10 book of choice and a $65 CSN gift code as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!
    Cici's Theories is giving away Twenty-Boy Summer and some other things as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. 
    See Scoot Read is giving away your choice of six books to 2 winners as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!
    The Book Rat is giving away your choice from a prize pool as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!
    Dark Faerie Tales is giving away a copy of The Iron Queen and an Iron Fey tee. Deadline is February 14. US only.
    My Bookish Ways is giving away a signed copy of Outside In. Deadline is February 15. US/Canada only.
    YA Booklover is having a big follower contest! 3 winners so far, and possibly more to come! Deadline is February 25. International!
    Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. International!

    *Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Post Title

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (1-29-11 edition)


Post URL

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Wanna...Room by Emma Donoghue

    To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

    Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

    Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Post Title

I Wanna...Room by Emma Donoghue


Post URL

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Introducing...The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

    Introducing books through the first chapter or so...

    My mother used to tell me about the ocean. She said there was a place where there was nothing but water as far as you could see and that it was always moving, rushing toward you and then away. She once showed me a picture that she said was my great-great-great-grandmother standing in the ocean as a child. It has been years since, and the picture was lost to fire long ago, but I remember it, faded and worn. A little girl surrounded by nothingness.

    -- The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Post Title

Introducing...The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan


Post URL

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's Releasing (01-26-11 edition)

    Books available the week of February 1st:

    The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels-- A Love Story by Ree Drummond
    "That's when I saw him—the cowboy—across the smoky room."
    I'll never forget that night. It was like a romance novel, an old Broadway musical, and a John Wayne western rolled into one. Out for a quick drink with friends, I wasn't looking to meet anyone, let alone a tall, rugged cowboy who lived on a cattle ranch miles away from my cultured, corporate hometown. But before I knew it, I'd been struck with a lightning bolt . . . and I was completely powerless to stop it. 

    Read along as I recount the rip-roaring details of my unlikely romance with a chaps-wearing cowboy, from the early days of our courtship (complete with cows, horses, prairie fire, and passion) all the way through the first year of our marriage, which would be filled with more challenge and strife—and manure—than I ever could have expected. 

    This isn't just my love story; it's a universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompassing love that sweeps us off our feet. 

    It's the story of a cowboy. 

    And Wranglers. 

    And chaps. 

    And the girl who fell in love with them.

    Delirium by Lauren Oliver

    Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't. 

    Lauren Oliver astonished readers with her stunning debut, Before I Fall. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it "raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful. An end as brave as it is heartbreaking." Her much-awaited second novel fulfills her promise as an exceptionally talented and versatile writer.

    The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

    One beautiful summer afternoon, Jody Linder receives shocking news: The man convicted of murdering her father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-three years since that stormy night when her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. Neither the protective embrace of Jody’s three uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents’ ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night.

    Now Billy Crosby is free, thanks to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his father’s innocence. Despite their long history of carefully avoiding each other in such an insular community, Jody and Collin find that they share an exclusive sense of loss. 

    As Jody revisits old wounds, startling truths emerge about her family’s tragic past. But even through struggle and hardship, she still dares to hope for a better future—and maybe even love.

    Merciless by Mary Burton

    No Pity

    Each skeleton is flawless--gleaming white and perfectly preserved, a testament to his skill. Every scrap of flesh has been removed to reveal the glistening bone beneath. And the collection is growing. . .

    No Compassion

    When bleached human bones are identified as belonging to a former patient of Dr. James Dixon, Detective Malcolm Kier suspects the worst. Dixon was recently acquitted of attempted murder, thanks to defense attorney Angie Carlson. But as the body count rises, Kier is convinced that Angie is now the target of a brutal, brilliant psychopath. 

    No Escape

    Angie is no stranger to the dark side of human nature. But nothing has prepared her for the decades-long legacy of madness and murder about to be revealed--or a killer ready to claim her as his ultimate trophy. . .

    Wanna read Merciless? Don't forget to enter my giveaway for both Merciless and Senseless. It ends 1/31/11.

    Also available this week:

Post Title

What's Releasing (01-26-11 edition)


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RECIPE: Author Mary Burton's Merciless Peanut Butter Brownies

    New York Times Best Selling Author
    Mary Burton’s
    2011 Valentine’s Day Recipe

    Whether she’s writing a bestselling romantic suspense novel or baking up a storm in her Rich­mond, Virginia kitchen, Mary Burton doesn’t do anything half-heartedly—and that includes her 2011 Valentine’s Day recipe, Merciless Peanut Butter Brownies.  This year she’s created a combo that’s mercilessly indulgent and deadly delicious.  Go ahead!  Feed it to your honey—by hand—on Valentine’s Day!

    Merciless Peanut Butter Brownies
    Love at First Bite


    Brownie Batter:

    ½ cup (1 stick) of butter
    1 cup of cocoa
    1 teaspoon of brandy
    2 cups of sugar
    ½ teaspoon salt
    4 eggs
    1 egg yolk


    Filling:

    1/3 cup of peanut butter
    1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
    1 teaspoon brandy

    Topping:

    8 oz of melting chocolate


    Melt butter and pour over cocoa in a mixing bowl.  Add in brandy, sugar and salt.  Mix in eggs and yolk.   Set batter aside and mix together peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Form into balls.  Evenly spread half the batter in a baking pan.  Arrange peanut butter balls on batter.   Cover with remaining batter.  Bake for 35 minutes.  When the brownies have cooled pour melted chocolate over them and let set.  Slice and enjoy!

    Don't forget! Bestselling author Mary Burton has just released her two books Senseless and Merciless, follow-ups to her hit Dying Scream. Don't miss out on your chance to win both Senseless and Merciless. Enter my giveaway for both books to a single winner! This giveaway has somehow managed to go unnoticed, and currently has no entries. This giveaway ends 1/31/11. Hurry!

Post Title

RECIPE: Author Mary Burton's Merciless Peanut Butter Brownies


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2011/01/recipe-author-mary-burton-merciless.html


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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

REVIEW: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

    Synopsis

    The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. 

    Who do they think should pay for the unrest? 

    Katniss Everdeen. 

    The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins will have hearts racing, pages turning, and everyone talking about one of the biggest and most talked-about books and authors in recent publishing history!!!! 

    About the Author
    from her website

    Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/​Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.

    While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.

    Thinking one day about
    Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find...? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part fantasy/​war series, The Underland Chronicles.

    At present, Suzanne is hard at work on the third book in her sci-fi series,
    The Hunger Games.

    She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.


    My Thoughts

    Katniss has been rescued from the arena of the Hunger Games, and is now within the enclave of the infamous District 13, believed by the other districts to have been wiped out years ago by the Capitol. Gale is with her as they work with the rebels to take down the capitol, and hope to find a way to rescue Peeta, who was taken hostage after Katniss was rescued.

    I liked Hunger Games, and I loved Catching Fire. I think that I enjoyed Mockingjay even more!

    I never like to give away too much of a storyline, so I always feel compelled to keep my assessment brief.

    There were some slow moments, but I liked the emotional degree in this book. I actually found myself tearing up quite a bit throughout this book as Katniss would touch on sensitive moments, and struggle to squash her emotions and gain control over herself. I fluctuated from wanting to wrap my wings around Katniss and protect her to cheering her on and telling her to go kick some ass!

    I worried for Peeta and hoped they would successfully rescue him swiftly. I've always been Team Peeta! He's always been so compassionate, self-sacrificing and level-headed.

    Prim is still a little duck, but growing up and becoming her own woman.

    I loved Mockingjay, and I thought it a fine ending to a good YA series (my first YA series!). If you haven't finished up the series yet, but have been thinking about it, don't fear- it's worth the wait.


    My Rating: 9 out of 10

    Reminder: Don't forget my double giveaway going on for both Senseless and Merciless by Mary Burton. Somehow it has gotten missed, and currently has no entries! It ends 1/31/11.

Post Title

REVIEW: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-mockingjay-by-suzanne-collins.html


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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (1-22-11 edition)

    NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

    Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

    Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of The Science of Kissing. Deadline is January 23. US/Canada only.

    Caroline Valdez Miller is giving away a signed copy of XVI. Deadline is January 27. International!
    I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is giving away 2 copies of 33 Habits of a Really Good Man. Deadline is January 30. US only.
    A Myriad of Books is giving away the entire Iron Fey series. Deadline is January 31. US/Canada only.
    A Good Addiction is giving away a copy of Fixing Delilah along with some maple and Vermont-themed "goodies". Deadline is January 31. US only.
    Black Fingernail Reviews is giving away a copy of XVI. Deadline is January 31. International!
    Libby's Library News is giving away 2 copies of the audiobook The Wolves of Andover. Deadline is January 31. US/Canada only.
    Lauren Oliver is giving away 5 signed copies of Delirium, along with 5 book thongs! Deadline is January 31.

    Bookish in a Box is having a big 1st blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is January 31. US only. 

    Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. International!

    Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away a gently used ARC of Wither. Deadline isn't mentioned, nor whether or not it's international.
    Bookaliciou.us is having a huge two year blogging anniversary giveaway! I can't see a deadline posted, and I'm not positive whether or not it is international
    *Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Post Title

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (1-22-11 edition)


Post URL

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Friday, January 21, 2011

I Wanna...Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes

    An incredible publishing story—written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, a New York Times best seller for sixteen weeks, a National Indie Next and a USA Today best seller—Matterhorn has been hailed as a “brilliant account of war” (New York Times Book Review). Now out in paperback, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead and James Jones’s The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.

    Matterhorn is a visceral and spellbinding novel about what it is like to be a young man at war. It is an unforgettable novel that transforms the tragedy of Vietnam into a powerful and universal story of courage, camaraderie, and sacrifice: a parable not only of the war in Vietnam but of all war, and a testament to the redemptive power of literature.

Post Title

I Wanna...Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes


Post URL

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Senseless and Merciless by Mary Burton


    Press Release:  

    BESTSELLING AUTHOR MARY BURTON FOLLOWS HER SUCCESSFUL “COMPELLING THRILLER,” DYING SCREAM WITH BACK-TO-BACK SUSPENSE IN SENSELESS, ON SALE IN JANUARY AND MERCILESS, ON SALE IN FEBRUARY.

    New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary Burton kept the murder rate soaring in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia for three years as each of her recent highly praised suspense novels was published. Now, it’s Alexandria’s turn. Burton raises the city’s 2011 homicide statistics by six before the groundhog even thinks about seeing a shadow, when SENSELESS and MERCILESS are published back-to-back in January and February.

    The people of Mary’s Alexandria, Virginia Homicide Unit, including Detectives Deacon Garrison and Malcolm Kier, are just one of the connections between her stories. Protagonists Eva Rayburn, a convicted felon, and her half-sister Angie Carlson, a high-profile, high-priced criminal attorney, are part of both stories, as is King’s, a no-nonsense neighborhood bar, and Alexandria’s unique mixture of history, prosperity and poverty. As always, Burton’s careful use of forensic detail is evident in each book, a result of her commitment to remain current with science and law enforcement evidence collection procedures.

    In SENSELESS, Eva Rayburn has cobbled together a living of sorts as a part-time waitress and bartender, process server, and night attendant at Hannah’s House, a homeless shelter. It is the latter that brings her to the attention of homicide detective Deacon Garrison when a fire destroys the shelter. Though everyone escapes the fire, the body of a woman who has been tortured and murdered is discovered in the yard. She has been branded. Fourpointed stars encircle her navel. That’s what brings crime journalist Connor Donovan into the picture. An anonymous tip alerts him to the branding and the fire. Both are hallmarks of the Sorority House Murder, the case he covered a decade ago that put him on the journalistic map.

    The Sorority House Murder and the subsequent fire ended Eva’s life as she knew it. Josiah Cross had raped her, and she remembered struggling, but after that had no clear memory of what happened. Eva, portrayed as a heart-sick scholarship student who became enraged when her rich boyfriend broke up with her, was charged, convicted, and sentenced to ten years in prison. The single star burned into her shoulder is a memento of those lost hours. Thanks to Connor, Eva is back in the media spotlight, her life an open book. Meanwhile, Garrison is certain she
    has something to do with murder at the shelter.

    As the killer’s confidence grows, another death occurs. Garrison wants answers. He’s determined to find the connection the victims share with a dead rich-kid-rapist and the girl convicted of killing him. Eva wants answers, too. She wants to remember every second of that fateful day. It’s been ten years and now—finally—she’s ready to fight for herself—even if it means dying.

    Burton ratchets up the suspense yet again in MERCILESS in which Detective Malcolm Kier and Angie Carlson come up against a brutal,brilliant psychopath who leaves behind the gleaming white and perfectly preserved bones of his victims. Kier—and most of Alexandria law enforcement—believes the murderer is Dr. James Dixon. They blame Angie Carlson for setting him free when she defended him at an earlier murder trial during which he was acquitted. Today, Angie’s not at all sure of Dixon’s innocence and is becoming more and more convinced that the police may be right—she helped let loose a killer. As lead after lead dead-ends a young man claiming to be Eva Rayburn’s half-brother shows up, bringing with him their dead father’s diary. Suddenly, two things are shockingly clear—the killer has always intended to make Angie his ultimate victim, and his madness has roots going back to the Sorority House Murder over a decade ago.

    In SENSELESS and MERCILESS, Mary Burton once again brings readers stories enhanced by inexplicable crimes, complex relationships and the strong sense of place they’ve come to expect and applaud, even as they are kept guessing as to whom among her suspects may be guilty and why.


    About the Author

    MARY BURTON’s southern family has always enjoyed tall tales and a good yarns.  Early on, MB realized that Story had tremendous power to inspire strong responses such fear, laughter, love and even sorrow.   It didn’t matter if the tale was found in the pages of a book, spoken in hushed tones around a Girl Scout campfire, or spouted at an old fashioned southern family reunion.  This appreciation of story motivated MB to earn an English degree from Virginia’s Hollins University.
    After decade of working in marketing and sales, MB became convinced she could write and sell one of the many stories buzzing around her brain.  Fingers crossed, MB left the marketing profession and devoted all her spare time to writing a novel.  Soon after, she sold her first manuscript to Harlequin Historicals.  Since that initial sale, MB had written twelve historical romances for Harlequin Historicals, four short romantic suspenses for Silhouette Romantic Suspense and a non-fiction book The Insider’s Guide to Direct Marketing.  Her first single title romantic suspense for Zebra I’m Watching You was a December 2007 release.

    In 2005, The Unexpected Wife was a finalist Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest and Wise Moves was 2006 nominee for the Romantic Times’ Critics Choice Award.  I’m Watching You received critical acclaim from New York Times Best Selling author Carla Neggers who said, “Taut, compelling and emotional, I’m Watching You is romantic suspense at its most riveting.  Mary Burton delivers a page-turner.”

    MB resides in Virginia where she enjoys yoga, cooking, hiking and the occasional triathlon.


    MARY BURTON TALKS ABOUT HER NEW BOOKS, HER NEW
    HOMICIDE DIVISION, AND WHY SHE LEFT HOME
    TO START KILLING PEOPLE IN ALEXANDRIA…

    First of all…

    In your new books, SENSELESS (January) and MERCILESS (February), you’ve left behind the characters and the Richmond setting of your last three novels.  Why?  And why Alexandria?
    I lived in Alexandria for several years and fell in love with the place.  It is not only very rich with history but it’s in the heart of the bustling DC metro area and the perfect setting for a little murder and mayhem.

    What challenges did you face in creating a new team of detectives? 
    The new team was much like meeting strangers.  I knew a little of Detective Malcolm Kier (I’M WATCHING YOU) but detectives Deacon Garrison, Jennifer Sinclair and Daniel Rokov were all blank slates.  The best way for me to get to know them was to throw them into tense scenes and see how they react. 

    Family seems to play a strong role in the relationships between your characters from book to book—especially the bond between sisters, such as that between Eva and Angie. Is this true?  And, if so, what pulls you to explore those bonds in so many different ways?
    Family can be your best ally and your greatest burden.  Families, especially sisters, can be complicated and complications means conflict and conflict means a page-turner of a story.

    What difficulties do you face integrating strong relationship subplots alongside the hard edged suspense writing you’ve become known for?
    I long ago learned that despite the difficulties of family you still have to get up each day and go to work.  Family conflicts only add to the job tensions.  And I do work to balance the family/relationship moments of suspense.  You need both to make a romantic suspense and it’s finding the right mix that is the trick.

    You’re extensive research of law enforcement and forensic procedures includes course work  with the Henrico County Citizens Police Academy, the Richmond FBI Citizens’ Academy and the Writers Police Academy in Jamestown, North Carolina.  Has that made you a better writer?  Does trying to stay grounded in fact make it harder to let you imagination soar? 
    Staying grounded in fact forces me to solve problems as a real policeman might.  I know sometimes the truth must be stretched a little for the sake of story but I do my best to solve the crimes with good detective work vs fancy DNA tests or high tech forensic equipment.

    You’ve said that your fascination with law enforcement, especially those who hunt serial killers, began during the twenty years that three different multiple killers—the Southside Strangler, D.C Sniper and Hampton Roads Killer—stalked your home state of Virginia.  How does that influence your writing and research? 
    I’ve never written a novel that’s straight from the headlines.  But I do pay attention to many aspects of serial killer cases. I pay attention to how the media covers an event.  I pay attention to what people in the community say and how they react to the case.  I pay attention to the killer when he’s captured and the reasons for why he did what he did.  All these details can add a human element to a story that makes it all the more interesting.

    The Hampton Roads Killer didn’t fit the profile of a serial killer, which may have delayed his capture. Do you consider the characteristics profilers attribute to certain types of killers when you create your murderers?  
    When I’m creating a killer the first and most important question I ask myself is why does he/she kill?  Is a character pure evil?  Or is he simply very troubled or misguided?  Or is he All of the Above?  The why tells me so much about the person behind the evil deeds and it sets the tone for the whole book.

    Detective Joe Horgas, the first police detective to solve a serial murder case with DNA evidence, is rightly credited for the arrest of the Southside Strangler. It’s been said that Horgas had a “personal quest to stop a serial killer.” Do you think that many in law enforcement do “make it personal?” Is that a good thing? Do any of your protagonists share that trait? 
    The detectives in my books do make catching a killer very personal.   This passion to solve a case is what makes a character or person interesting.  Often a driven person who is laser-focused can effect great change, such as catching a killer that no one else can.  However, that same focus can also create problems in their personal lives.  It’s only natural that if you funnel energy from one part of your life into another, the part that’s been short-changed will suffer.

    I like to think that what makes a character great can also destroy him.   My characters are searching for balance even knowing that only extreme drive will catch a killer.  And that to me is the beginning of great conflict.

    If you were able to choose any job in law enforcement, which would it be?  Why?  And do you think you would still write about crime? 
    I would go into forensics.  The folks who collect data can be so critical to a case.  I’ve talked to enough real forensics people to know the work can be very unglamorous and painstaking.  But the work is so fascinating that I’d be willing to traipse through waist high weeds, jump in a dumpster or photograph blood splatter patterns.

    Some writers have the harsh, gorier plot elements occur “off stage.”  You don’t and yet you also manage to blend a strong relationship story into your romantic suspense without it seeming awkward or out of place.  How do you achieve that balance? 
    It’s tough.  It’s hard to make time for the romantic moments when the characters on the trail of a killer.  But I think it’s so important to make time for the human moments.  Those are the moments that readers often carry away with them.  Those moments make readers care about what happens to your characters.

    Real life is scary enough.  Yet people gravitate to crime fiction in it’s multiple forms—books, television, and movies. Why do you think it’s so amazingly popular?  
    Real life is not only scary but it is also unfair at times.  In real life, the bad guy isn’t always captured and victims don’t always get closure.  However, crime novels and crime TV give their audiences a sense of justice and closure.  The bad guy is almost always caught. I like to give my readers a glimpse into my character’s futures.  These futures may not be perfect, but they are happy.  My suspense stories not only offer justice but hope as well.

    Your earliest books were traditional romance novels, another hugely popular genre of fiction.  Do you still believe in “happily ever after?” 
    I sure do.  And that’s why I always end on a happy note.  These ending notes may not be as sweet as the romances, but there is always a sense that ‘tomorrow will be a better day.’

    Note: You are welcome to visit Mary at www.maryburton.com and on Facebook.

    BUY THEM:


    GIVEAWAY: Win copies of Senseless and Merciless by Mary Burton (one copy of each to a single winner)

    Rules (you knew there had to be some):
    • You must be 18 years or older
    • Open to US and Canada residents only
    • To enter, just comment below. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment, or have it visible in your profile.
    • For extra entries, follow my blog, follow via Facebook or Networked Blogs, and/or blog about this contest. One extra entry for each. Sidebars are okay.
    • Leave a separate comment for each entry.
    • A maximum of 4 possible entries!
    • Those who don't follow the rules risk being disqualified.
    Deadline is January 24, 2011 January 31, 2011
     
    Good Luck! Ready, Set, Go!

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GIVEAWAY: Senseless and Merciless by Mary Burton


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Monday, January 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday (01-17-11 edition)


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    Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page.  Here are some of  the books I've received in the last week:

    Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith 
    Won from Reading Extravaganza

    Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

    Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.

    Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
    Won from Reading Teen

    Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything-- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

    Thanks to Reading Teen and Reading Extravaganza for the books!

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Mailbox Monday (01-17-11 edition)


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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (1-15-11 edition)

    NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

    Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

    Splash of Our Worlds is giving away your choice of a book previously reviewed on their blog. Deadline is January 15. International!

    In the Hammock is giving away a copy of John Lennon: Life Is What Happens. Deadline is January 17. US only.

    Confessions of a Bookaholic is giving away a $55 gift code to CSN Stores. Deadline is January 17. US/Canada only.
    PJ Hoover/Roots in Myth is giving away Fallen and Torment. Deadline is January 17. International!
    Yankee Romance Reviewers is giving away 2 audio books of The Wolves of Andover. Deadline is January 18. US/Canada only.

    Debs Here is giving away 2 audio books of The Wolves of Andover. Deadline is January 19. US/Canada only.
    Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of The Science of Kissing. Deadline is January 23. US/Canada only.
    Caroline Valdez Miller is giving away a signed copy of XVI. Deadline is January 27. International!
    Lauren Oliver is giving away 5 signed copies of Delirium, along with 5 book thongs! Deadline is January 31.
    Bookish in a Box is having a big 1st blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is January 31. US only. 
    Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. International!

    Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away a gently used ARC of Wither. Deadline isn't mentioned, nor whether or not it's international.
    Bookaliciou.us is having a huge two year blogging anniversary giveaway! I can't see a deadline posted, and I'm not positive whether or not it is international
    *Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

I Wanna...The Moral Lives of Animals by Dale Peterson

    The Moral Lives of Animals by Dale Peterson

    Wild elephants walking along a trail stop and spontaneously try to protect and assist a weak and dying fellow elephant. Laboratory rats, finding other rats caged nearby in distressing circumstances, proceed to rescue them. A chimpanzee in a zoo loses his own life trying to save an unrelated infant who has fallen into a watery moat. 

    The examples above and many others, argues Dale Peterson, show that our fellow creatures have powerful impulses toward cooperation, generosity, and fairness. Yet it is commonly held that we Homo sapiens are the only animals with a moral sense—that we are somehow above and apart from our fellow creatures. 

    This rigorous and stimulating book challenges that notion, and it shows the profound connections—the moral continuum—that link humans to many other species. Peterson shows how much animal behavior follows principles embodied in humanity's ancient moral codes, from the Ten Commandments to the New Testament. Understanding the moral lives of animals offers new insight into our own. 

    Dale Peterson's biography Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and Boston Globe Best Book of 2006. His other publications include Visions of Caliban (with Jane Goodall) and Demonic Males (with Richard Wrangham). Peterson lectures in English at Tufts University.

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I Wanna...The Moral Lives of Animals by Dale Peterson


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Thursday, January 13, 2011

REVIEW: Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall (audiobook)

    Synopsis

    Dr. Jane Goodall's revolutionary study of chimpanzees in Tanzania's Gombe preserve forever altered the very definition of "humanity." Now, in a poignant and insightful memoir, Jane Goodall explores her extraordinary life and personal spiritual odyssey, with observations as profound as the knowledge she has brought back from the forest. As a toddler she was entranced by all living things, and over the years the little girl inspired by Tarzan and The Jungle Book became the woman who found herself working with famed paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey; accomplished scientific breakthroughs in Gombe; and, ultimately, became a champion of the environment. It has been a life blessed with faith, resolve, and purpose, though not without its crises. Jane Goodall endured the horrors of the London blitz and World War II, postwar hardships, vicious rumors and "establishment" assaults on the integrity of her work, a terrorist attack and hostage taking in Africa, and her husband's slow, agonizing death. But throughout, her religious convictions, although tested, have helped her survive-and Jane Goodall's pursuit of science has enhanced, not eroded, her belief in God. In this book she candidly shares her life—talking of the love and support of her mother, her son, her late husband, of friends and strangers—as well as the Gombe chimpanzees she introduced to the world nearly forty years ago. And she gives us convincing reasons why we can and must open ourselves to the saints within each of us. At one with nature and challenged by the man-made dangers of environmental destruction, inequality, materialism, and genocide, Dr. Goodall offers insight into her perceptions of these threats and celebrates the people who are working for earth's renewal. Here, indeed, is Reason For Hope.

    About the Author

    JANE GOODALL was born in London on April 3, 1934 and grew up in Bournemouth, on the southern coast of England. In 1960 she began studying chimpanzees in the wild in Gombe, Tanganyika (now Tarzania). After receiving her doctorate in ethology at Cambridge University, Dr. Goodall founded the Gombe Stream Research Center for the study of chimpanzees and baboons. In 1975 she established the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation to promote animal research throughout the world.

    My Thoughts

    Well, considering that I think of Jane Goodall as practically a mentor or role model for myself, I was thrilled when my mother gave me this a couple of years ago. I just had to find it again, as I had accidentally packed it away.

    So I recently found it and deemed it time to dive in. This was the abridged version, so it went fairly quick.

    I love that Goodall narrated this herself. I could listen to her speak all day long! This book wasn't really that much about the chimps of Gombe, but about (as the title would indicate) her spiritual journey. Full of spiritual growth and discovery, and answering some questions that she often gets like how she can stand to go into laboratories and see chimps confined in tiny cages for experimentation and not go off on people, and whether she has any hope for the human race and our future and that of the earth, the abridged version just left me hankering for more. Now I'm thinking that this might be a good way (audiobooks) to explore all of her writings!

    Loved, loved, loved this audiobook! Jane Goodall is compassionate, grounded and reasonable, tempering scientific exploration with a spiritual grounding and strong emotional control. She's one of those rare scientists who believes in creationism as well as evolution. But even greater than that, she believes in the ability of the human race to redeem itself-- she believes in man. The only downside to this audiobook was that it was abridged, and left me hungering for more.

    Two thumbs and ten toes up!


    My Rating: 9 out of 10 (I'd probably have given it a 9.5 or 10 if it was the unabridged version!)

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REVIEW: Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall (audiobook)


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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

    Introducing books through the first paragraph or so...


    I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood. Over there was the kitchen table. The bricks of the chimney, which collapsed in a charred heap, provide a point of reference for the rest of the house. How else could I orient myself in this sea of gray?

    Almost nothing remains of District 12. A month ago, the Capitol's firebombs obliterated the poor coal miners' houses in the Seam, the shops in the town, even the Justice Building. The only area that escaped incineration was the Victor's Village. I don't know why exactly. Perhaps so anyone forced to come here on Capitol business would have somewhere decent to stay. The odd reporter. A committee assessing the condition of the coal mines. A squad of Peacekeepers checking for returning refugees.

    -- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's Releasing? (01-12-11 edition)

    Available the week of 1/18/11:

    The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

    A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home. 
     
    There is no problem that a library card can't solve. 

    The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.

    Caribou Island by David Vann
    The prize-winning author of Legend of a Suicide delivers his highly anticipated debut novel.
    On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, a marriage is unraveling. Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, and Irene, haunted by a tragedy in her past, are trying to rebuild their life together. Following the outline of Gary's old dream, they're hauling logs to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in health, to build the kind of cabin that drew them to Alaska in the first place. 

    But this island is not right for Irene. They are building without plans or advice, and when winter comes early, the overwhelming isolation of the prehistoric wilderness threatens their bond to the core. Caught in the emotional maelstrom is their adult daughter, Rhoda, who is wrestling with the hopes and disap-pointments of her own life. Devoted to her parents, she watches helplessly as they drift further apart. 

    Brilliantly drawn and fiercely honest, Caribou Island captures the drama and pathos of a husband and wife whose bitter love, failed dreams, and tragic past push them to the edge of destruction. A portrait of desolation, violence, and the darkness of the soul, it is an explosive and unforgettable novel from a writer of limitless possibility.

    Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog by Susannah Charleson

    In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Susannah Charleson clipped a photo from the newspaper: an exhausted canine handler, face buried in the fur of his search-and-rescue dog. A dog lover and pilot with search experience herself, Susannah was so moved by the image that she decided to volunteer with a local canine team and soon discovered firsthand the long hours, nonexistent pay, and often heart-wrenching results they face. 

    Still she felt the call, and once she qualified to train a dog of her own, she adopted Puzzle, a strong, bright Golden Retriever puppy who exhibited unique aptitudes as a working dog but who was less interested in the role of compliant house pet. Puzzle’s willfulness and high drive, both assets in the field, challenged even Susannah, who had raised dogs for years. 

    Scent of the Missing is the story of Susannah and Puzzle’s adventures together and of the close relationship they forge as they search for the lost—a teen gone missing, an Alzheimer’s patient wandering in the cold, signs of the crew amid the debris of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. From the earliest air-scent lessons to her final mastery of whole-body dialog, Puzzle emerges as a fully collaborative partner in a noble enterprise that unfolds across the forests, plains, and cityscapes of the Southwest. Along the way Susannah and Puzzle learn to read the clues in the field, and in each other, to accomplish together the critical work neither could do alone and to unravel the mystery of the human/canine bond.

    These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

    When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
    But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

    Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.


    Also available this week:

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Delirium and book thong giveaway at Lauren Oliver's!

    What a big, awesome giveaway that is going on over at Lauren Oliver's! She is giving away 5 signed copies of the up and coming Delirium, along with 5 book thongs by The Book Pixie!

    Contest runs through the end of the month. While you're at her website, why not get a Delirium countdown widget or check out the contest on her blog?

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Delirium and book thong giveaway at Lauren Oliver's!


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Monday, January 10, 2011

Mailbox Monday (01-10-11 edition)

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    Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. Here are some of the books I've received over the last week or two:

    Ansel Adams in the National Parks
    Won through Dewey's Read-a-thon

    With more than two hundred photographs - many rarely seen and some never before published - this is the most comprehensive collection of Ansel Adams' photographs of America's national parks and wilderness areas. For many people, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and other iconic American wildlands exist in the mind's eye as Ansel Adams photographs. The legendary photographer explored more than forty national parks in his lifetime, producing some of the most indelible images of the natural world ever made. One of the twentieth century's most ardent champions of the park and wilderness systems, Adams also helped preserve additional natural areas and protect existing ones through his photographs, essays, and letter-writing campaigns.

    Edited and with commentary by Andrea G. Stillman, the foremost expert on Adams' work, this landmark publication includes quotations by Adams on the making of numerous photographs and essays by Wallace Stegner, William A. Turnage of The Ansel Adams Trust, and journalist and critic Richard B. Woodward. This is a must-own for Ansel Adams fans and all those who, like Adams, treasure America's wilderness.

    The Good Sister by Drusilla Campbell
    Won from Amusing Reviews

    Roxanne Callahan has always been her younger sister's caretaker. Now married, her happiness is threatened when beautiful and emotionally unstable Simone, suffering from crippling postpartum depression, commits an unforgivable crime for which Roxanne comes to believe she is partially responsible. 

    In the glare of national media attention brought on her sister, Roxanne fights to hold her marriage together as she is drawn back into the pain of her troubled past and relives the fraught relationship she and Simone shared with their narcissistic mother. At the same time, only she can help Simone's nine year old daughter, Merell, make sense of the family's tragedy. 


    Cathartic, lyrical, and unflinchingly honest, The Good Sister is a novel of four generations of women struggling to overcome a legacy of violence, lies and secrecy, ultimately finding strength and courage in their love for each other.


    The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
    Won from Page Turners

    Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies-or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers. 

    Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him. 

    Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer-and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

    I also won both The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint and two things of nail polish from Good Choice Reading:

    Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

    The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry, glint in his eyes.

    The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boys' dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

    The non-stop sequel to The Dark Divine delivers an even hotter romance and more thrilling action than Bree Despain's first novel.  Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi.  She gave her soul to the wolf to save him and lost her beloved mother.  When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do.  She must become a Hound of Heaven.  Desparate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot - a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero.  But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel begins to crumble.  Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace becomes prideful in her new abilities - not realizing that an old enemy has returned and deadly trap is about to be sprung.  Readers, raveous for more Grace and Daniel, will be itching to sink their teeth into The Lost Saint.

    Thanks to everyone for the great books!

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Mailbox Monday (01-10-11 edition)


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REVIEW: Under the Dome by Stephen King

    Synopsis

    On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.

    Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.


    About the Author (like I need to tell you!)
    from Barnes and Noble

    Biography

    Fiction powerhouse Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine, in 1947. As a student at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, became active in political causes, and met his wife, the former Tabitha Spruce. In the early years of his marriage, King augmented his meager teacher's salary by selling short stories to men's magazines. Then, in 1973 he hit pay dirt: his novel Carrie was accepted for publication, and a major paperback deal provided the means for him to leave teaching and concentrate full-time on writing. Since then, the prolific author has never looked back. 

    Dubbed the Master of the Macabre for his domination of the horror genre, King has also written bestselling thrillers, mysteries, fantasies, novellas, and short stories, many of which have been turned into blockbuster films and miniseries (A partial list includes Carrie, The Shining, The Stand,, Misery, It, The Shawshank Redemption, The Langoliers, Stand by Me, and The Green Mile). He also has two works of nonfiction to his credit: a gorgeously crafted memoir/scribbler's how-to (On Writing) and Faithful, a chronicle of the Boston Red Sox' stellar 2004 season, cowritten with Stewart O'Nan. In 2003, he received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. 

    In between books, the indefatigable King performs in the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band that includes among its rotating personnel fellow authors Dave Barry and Amy Tan; attends as many Boston Red Sox games as is humanly possible; and contributes with his wife, Tabitha, to many local and national charities.

    Good To Know

    Don't believe everything you read about Stephen King. Among the gossip circulating about the scribe is the rumor that he is going blind. King assures his fans that while he is genetically predisposed to a disease called macular degeneration, which could result in blindness, he is not actually going blind.

    King is probably one of the most easily recognizable authors alive, and it's not just because of his string of bestsellers. King has appeared in a number of films based on his work, including Pet Semetary, Thinner, and The Stand. 

    If you've ever wondered why Stephen King has written several books under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, there is actually a very simple explanation: King is so prolific that he felt it necessary to create an alter-ego so that he could publish more than one book a year. The name was a hastily hobbled together combination of writer Richard Stark (ironically, a pseudonym for Donald Westlake) and Randy Bachman of rock group Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

    My Thoughts 

    What would happen if a dome suddenly appeared around a town, cutting it off from the rest of the world? That's what this book is all about. What happens from a scientific standpoint to the air, trees, water, etc? What happens to society? What questions get asked, like "Who is doing this?" and "Will it ever stop?"

    I’m a big Stephen King fan. I have been since I first read The Stand at age 12. So I’ve been eager for this book.

    At times King can be a little verbose, and I was tiring of the slow lollygagging way of the first 50 pages as King laid the groundwork for the rest of the story. I was impatient. I wanted to get to the meat! It was like nibbling on the bread while you wait for the meal to come.

    But when the meal did finally arrive, the flavors were bold and satisfying!

    This feels like old-school Stephen King. I haven’t been the biggest fan of some of his books that I’ve tried reading over the last 10 years or so. I’ve started a couple that I just put down. But this one felt more like the old Stephen King I loved from my youth! This book feels similar to me as King's The Langoliers (found in Four Past Midnight).

    A rich cast plays out this story, so rich in fact that there is a list of the cast in the beginning of the book to help you in keeping them all straight. Initially this was difficult, but then you "get to know them" and don't find it so difficult later on.

    Enjoyable, closer to classic King, I "lika daf one" (as my friend's boy said when he was young). While it may not register as one of my favorites, like The Stand and The Long Walk, it will definitely hold its own for me up at the top of the Stephen King list. If you like King, if you like creepy and complex societal breakdown, definitely give this one a try!


    My Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Post Title

REVIEW: Under the Dome by Stephen King


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-under-dome-by-stephen-king.html


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