Monday, January 31, 2011

Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver

Released: June 2009

Roadside Crosses is the second novel in Deaver's newer Kathryn Dance series. Always a huge fan of Jeffery Deaver, especially his Lincoln Rhyme series, I'm proud and excited to say I strongly favor his Kathryn Dance series more.

Kathryn Dance is an expert in kinesics, which is the study and analysis of body language. In addition to the contribution kinesics makes to the mystery in the novel at hand, it's interesting to learn about body language techniques since we can apply them to real life situations we face daily. Learning about crime forensics is fun too, but I highly doubt I'll be analyzing hair fibres from a shirt found on a piece of tape found at the crime scene of a murder anytime soon.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This is Gonna Hurt by Tito Ortiz

Released: July 2008

"Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Tito Ortiz has quite the interesting biography with This is Gonna Hurt. You won't need to be a fan of sports or even MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) to enjoy Tito's story; you'll definitely appreciate reading about his motivation and the stories about the ladders he climbed to earn his success. I've never been more satisfied with such a blunt, raw biography. Tito has no shame and nothing to hide, and this is part of what makes him so likable and fun to read about.

Regardless of having a co-author help with the writing of the book, Tito's voice is incredibly clear; the cadence and lingo of the biography is easy to fall into and you'll feel as if you've created a close, personal bond with the MMA pro. Tito proves to readers that despite his reputation as the ultimate bad boy, his goals and achievements have been reached due to his persistence, hard work, and dedication to the sport. I also love how Tito is another ultimate example of how a person can make their dreams come true as long as they're willing to follow-through with them, even as an underdog in life without the silver spoon being handed to them on a silver platter, so to speak.

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

Released: June 2009

Commencement is J. Courtney Sullivan's first novel and centers around a group of first-years at Smith College. Sullivan attended Smith as well, and writes for a number of magazines and various publications.

Celia, Bree, April and Sally are four young women who couldn't be more different from one another, but when they share the same level of a dormitory together, strong bonds and close friendships are forged. The novel spans back and forth between present day and college days, as we come closer to learning about the ups and downs in the lives of these four women.

All Souls Night: Blood Ties Book 4 by Jennifer Armintrout

Released: June 2008

Jennifer Armintrout's Blood Ties is the best contemporary vampire series I've read in recent years. Blood Ties tops out Charlaine Harris' "Sookie Stackhouse" series and also MaryJanice Davidson's "Queen Betsy" series by FAR! Our main protagonist and heroine Carrie has wit and intelligence that the ditzy, annoying and ridiculous females from the aforementioned series above lack considerably.

All Souls Night is the fourth and final book of the Blood Ties series in which Carrie and gang must conquer the evil Soul Eater, whom is close to establishing "God" status. Characters both alive and dead from the previous three books come back in All Souls Night to help Carrie win the battle of good versus evil.

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman

Released: July 2007

The Accidental Time Machine is Joe Haldeman's most recent stand-alone novel written in a quirky style rivaling Terry Pratchett's fun novels and even Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

Matt is a research assistant at MIT when the calibrator he's working on becomes a time machine by complete accident - hence the book's title. Upon discovering he's lost his job and his girlfriend to the man replacing him at work, Matt decides to take a trip with his time machine. We soon discover that the time machine can only move forward in time - not backward.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant

Released: April 2011

Catfish Alley is Mississippi-born Lynne Bryant's first novel -- and in reading it, I feel as if I've stumbled upon a rare gem!

Flashing back and forth between present-day and 1920s-1930s Clarksville, Mississippi, Catfish Alley is a story that puts racism and deep friendship to the test. The novel explores racism and segregation that is still very much present in the South, no matter what people these days are made to believe. Being a Biloxi-born Mississipian myself, I can completely understand and appreciate the complexity and beauty of Catfish Alley.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Seven-Year Bitch by Jennifer Belle

Released: May 2010

The Seven-Year Bitch is the fifth novel by one of my favorite all-time authors, Jennifer Belle. I fell in love with Jennifer Belle while reading High Maintenance after its release in 2001 and that particular novel still resides in my permanent collection. It bothers me that Belle is not more widely known because her writing is absolutely brilliant, witty, and hilarious -- more so than novels by MaryJanice Davidson, Charlaine Harris, or whoever else is considered funny these days by the mass public in the chick-lit sub-genre. If you're a fan of chick-lit, you must add Jennifer Belle novels to your wish list immediately!

The Seven-Year Bitch features 30-something character Isolde (Izzy) Brilliant, who has just had her first son and learns to juggle her career, mommy-hood, and marriage without losing her identity and charismatic, eccentric personality in the process.