Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beat by Stephen Jay Schwartz

Released: September 28, 2010

Beat is the second thriller by Stephen Jay Schwartz following Boulevard and once again featuring sex addict and LAPD detective Hayden Glass. The novel is due to release at the end of September 2010.

After Hayden Glass' sex addiction gets him into trouble, Glass has moved from seeking women on the street to watching internet porn from the safety of his home. When Glass becomes obsessed with a woman he meets through a web-cam sex site named Cora who soon goes missing, he finds himself pulled into an investigation with the FBI and smack-dab in the middle of a nasty sex slave trade operation.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

One For Sorrow by Christopher Barzak

Released: August 28, 2007

One For Sorrow is Christopher Barzak's debut novel, about a teenage boy named Adam who forges an odd bond with a reclusive boy from his school named Jamie. When Jamie's body is discovered near train-tracks in the nearby woods, he appears in the form of a ghost to Adam, who then decides to embark on building a deeper friendship with him, even though he's dead!

According to the synopsis for One For Sorrow, the novel is comparable to Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. As much as we love The Catcher in the Rye and because we're looking forward to some amazing similarities, I regret to say that Adam's character doesn't really resemble Holden Caulfield at all -- the differences are more comedic than anything. As a reader, I am unable to intimately relate to Adam, and the novel makes for a very detached experience.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Uncommon Enemy by Michelle Black

Released: 2001

Michelle Black's An Uncommon Enemy is the first out of three books in a series entitled "Mysteries of the Victorian West" featuring Brad Randall and family. An Uncommon Enemy takes us back to the days of General George Custer in fall of 1868.

Eden Murdoch is a white woman living among the Cheyenne indian tribe, captured by Custer when his men invade and attack their village. As Eden mourns her slaughtered Cheyenne family, she befriends Captain Brad Randall and opens up to him about her life with the indians and the story of how she came to live with them over four years ago.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Family History by Dani Shapiro

Released: 2003

Dani Shapiro is another hidden gem I am thrilled to have discovered -- but if only I had known about her sooner! Family History is a must-read for fans of contemporary literature, especially if you enjoy authors such as Jodi Picoult or Elizabeth Berg.

Family History is an insightful, behind-the-scenes look into your seemingly normal, average family. Rachel Jensen leads an incredibly happy life; she's got her loving husband, a beautiful teenage daughter, a fulfilling career and adorable infant son. When her daughter Kate comes home from camp one summer with a dramatic change in mood and personality, Rachel chalks it up to normal teenager blues until a terrible accident occurs. The events that follow put Rachel's happiness and family relationships to the test in the most realistic sense -- as this can happen to anyone.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Give a Damn's Busted by Carolyn Brown

Released: 2010

My Give a Damn's Busted is the third novel in Carolyn Brown's Honky Tonk bar series, regaling us once again with unlikely romance between two people and featuring sassy country-gal Larissa Morley.

The Honky Tonk bar resides in small-town Mingus, Texas. When city-bred Hank Wells literally crashes into bar owner Larissa with his truck, the possibility of true love mingles in the air, formulating flirtations and frustrations between the two.

In the midst of all this happy lovey-dovey chemistry, Larissa must deal with preventing business investors from buying the Honky Tonk and turning it into a grotesque amusement park. When Larissa learns how Hank is involved with the business deal, we must see if their love is strong enough to stand up to and conquer this major conflict of interest.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thrilled to Death by L.J. Sellers

photo courtesy of Amazon.com
Released: September 2010

Thrilled to Death is the third book in the Detective Wade Jackson mystery series by L.J. Sellers and the best I've read by her yet! It's official: the rest of Sellers' books are going on my wish list.

Thrilled to Death opens in a psychiatrist's office, where a young woman named Danette Blake is discussing the possibility of giving up her infant son for adoption. Shortly thereafter, Danette goes missing and her mother-in-law Kera hires Detective Wade Jackson to investigate her disappearance. The sick and twisted plot of this novel quickly thickens when another young woman named Courtney Durham goes missing on the same day. The mystery we're dying to figure out is: why does Courtney have such strange interests, and more importantly, where is Danette?

Monday, August 16, 2010

In the Dark of the Night by John Saul

Released: 2006

Now holding a title shared with many others of mass-market king, John Saul was one of my favorite authors as a pre-teen and throughout my young adult years. I first devoured Suffer the Children (1977) which is still wildly original and read everything written by Saul up through 1994, when I began to notice a tiring and homogeneous plot trend in his novels. I did revisit John Saul in 2006 to read his Blackstone Chronicles, which were super fun and renewed my confidence in Saul! Now, several years later, I have decided to read In the Dark of the Night.

                     Suffer the Children    The Blackstone Chronicles: The Serial Thriller Complete in One Volume

In the Dark of the Night features a trio of upper-class close-knit families who vacation in a lakeside community that thrives with tourism in the summer. Three teenage sons -- one from each family (who coincidentally just happen to be best friends) discover a hidden room in an old abandoned boathouse on one of the properties and begin poking around where they shouldn't. Alas, evil soon unleashes, people start to die, and the peaceful community is in an uproar. Throw into the mix some hateful, local teenage rivals that hate rich kids, and the evil intensifies.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

Released: 2004

Little Earthquakes is the third novel by bestselling chick-lit author Jennifer Weiner. When I read Weiner's first novel Good in Bed (2001) several years ago, I knew she was going to be one of those authors (which for me includes Chuck Palahniuk and Tracy Chevalier among numerous others) who produces such amazing work that you just have to read everything they publish. In saying this, I am ashamed that I allowed Little Earthquakes to linger on my shelf for so many years, because this novel is AMAZING!

Little Earthquakes centers upon four main characters that are all pregnant at the beginning of the book and forge their friendship by sharing "new mother" experiences with one another. We meet Becky, a pleasantly plump chef who runs her own restaurant but must deal with the worst mother-in-law on the planet, Kelly -- a perky, energetic event planner with a laid-off husband who more or less sits at home and does nothing, and Ayinde, the wife of a scandalous pro-basketball player who has gotten himself into quite the mess. In addition to these three women who bond over their newborn children, we also meet Lia, an ex-Hollywood starlet haunted by a tragic accident and desperate to start anew in her hometown of Philadelphia.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman

Released: 1997

Baltimore Blues is Laura Lippman's debut and first novel in the mystery series featuring heroine Tess Monaghan, a witty, wise-ass, intelligent, athletic (and pot-smoking!) reporter-turned-private eye you'll end up loving. In fact, Tess Monaghan is exactly why I'll be reading the rest of this series, which will soon be eleven books deep when The Girl in the Green Raincoat releases next year in 2011.

Tess' best friend Darryl "Rock" Paxton hires her to perform freelancing amateur detective work to follow around his girlfriend Ava, a stuck-up lawyer with an addictive shoplifting habit who has been acting strange and distant toward Rock. When Ava's boss and attorney Michael Abramowitz is found murdered, Rock is the prime suspect. With Tess caught in the middle, she devises numerous schemes to nab the true killer and clear her best friend's name.