Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Best True Crime Books (and Authors)

The true crime genre is loosely based on examining actual crimes and the actions of real-life people, and in most cases, closely evaluates the subjects of criminal psychology and social realism.

While many books in this genre cover popular, well-known, notorious crimes, other books will focus on lesser-known, obscure crimes. After all, the media only reports crimes that they feel the public can handle. Reading books in the true crime genre is an ideal way to learn about the gruesome and heinous crimes that may have taken place in your own backyard!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The 7 Best Cozy Mystery Series

The "cozy mystery" sub-genre initially emerged and exploded into popularity during the late 20th-century. In cozy mysteries, an amateur sleuth attempts to solve a murder that is usually executed by relatively "mild" terms, such as death by poison, or a staged accident.

Cozy mystery novels are often rich in humor, lack the gory and bloody police-procedural details, and have an ongoing theme in which the hero or heroine run a specialized business or have a unique hobby - such as owning their own bakery or bookstore business, or even being a wine connoisseur.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Steamed by Jessica Conant-Park, Susan Conant

Released: February 2007

Mother and daughter Susan Conant and Jessica Conant-Park have teamed up to write Steamed, the first book in the Gourmet Girl series. Susan Conant is the author of the much-popular Dog Lover's and Cat Lover's mystery series.

Chloe Carter is going to school studying social work although her real passion lies in the culinary arts. A victim of horrible relationships, the cute and perky red-headed queen of disaster ventures into internet-dating hoping to meet that special someone. When Chloe goes on the worst blind date ever, she's in for more than boredom when she stumbles upon her dead date in the restaurant's bathroom. While attending her blind date's funeral, Chloe meets and falls for Josh, a highly successful -- and sexy -- chef, but unfortunately he's also the murder suspect. Thus, Chloe must solve the crime and expose the real murderer before her culinary hottie is put behind bars.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Questions to Ask Before Marrying by Melissa Senate

Released: June 2008

Melissa Senate has written a slew of chick-lit books; Questions to Ask Before Marrying is her last title under the Red Dress Ink label.

Fraternal twins Ruby and Stella Miller have a lot of questions to answer before they turn thirty; such as -- why did their father abandon them years ago? Should Ruby (soon to be Ruby Truby) focus on her love for her fiance Tom or lust after her long-time friend Nick? Also, can Stella hunt down a man she experienced a one-night stand with -- to tell him she is pregnant with his child? To seek answers for all their questions, the Miller sisters embark on a cross-country road trip from Maine to Las Vegas before they are forced to make the biggest decisions of their lives.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ghost Music by Graham Masterton

Released: November 2009

Prolific horror novelist Graham Masterton veers away from his usual style of graphic, stomach-wrenching terror with Ghost Music, presenting readers with a haunting, yet faintly charming ghost story.

Jingle-writer Gideon Lake experiences love at first sight when he sees Kate Solway gazing at him through the window. Despite the fact that Kate lives in the apartment downstairs with her husband Victor, Gideon can't help but embark on a passionate affair with the gray-eyed beauty. When Kate begins taking Gideon on a series of romantic vacations in Europe, he begins to witness strange, spooky behavior from her friends -- and from Kate herself. Phantom images, violent nightmares, and ghostly apparitions follow Gideon wherever he goes and Gideon is forced to question his relationship with Kate. Taking the advice from his upstairs neighbor Pearl -- an eccentric old woman who forever waits for her true love to come back after a years-long absence -- Gideon must tread carefully before he becomes a ghost himself.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman

Released: September 2008

My So-Called Freelance Life is written by full-time freelancer Michelle Goodman. With over fifteen years of experience under her belt at the time this book was published, Goodman provides tips, tricks and advice on how to set yourself up for success in the world of freelance.

My So-Called Freelance Life is divided up into three main sections: Section One explains how to adjust to a work-from-home lifestyle after being caught up in the 9-to-5 rat-race for your entire working life. Section Two explains how to market yourself effectively using social networking skills both online and in person, while Section Three teaches how to manage your career once you're up and running and your freelance business is thriving.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Lust to Go by Nancy Pearl

Released: October 2010

Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers is renowned librarian Nancy Pearl's third installment of book recommendations for adults.

Book Lust to Go is a large compilation of book- and novel-titles dedicated solely to the subject of traveling and specific geographical locations. In her introduction, Pearl explains that despite being an armchair traveler, she has learned and experienced culture mostly through literary means, those of which are described in very specific detail throughout Book Lust to Go. The book is comprised of short sections arranged in alphabetical order and provides book-titles on works about various countries, cities, and destination-locales; from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from Baltimore to Los Angeles, and even provides titles you can't miss on the subjects of boating, maps, and imaginary places.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vampire Diaries Return: Shadow Souls by L.J. Smith

Released: 2010

Shadow Souls is the second book in L.J. Smith's ever-popular Vampire Diaries Return series.

Picking up immediately after Vampire Diaries Return: Nightfall ends, Elena Gilbert and gang travel to another dimension -- the Dark Dimension -- in an effort to save Stefan Salvatore from his imprisonment. Elena must find two halves of a magic key that will unlock Stefan's cell but in the process, she must pose as a slave to Damon Salvatore in the Dark Dimension, where supernatural leaders rule. As Damon teaches Elena how to control and exercise her newfound magic powers, she finds herself once again torn between trying to decide which Salvatore brother she ultimately wants to be with.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Black Friday by Alex Kava

Released: July 2009

Black Friday is the seventh book in the engaging Maggie O'Dell series by Alex Kava.

Black Friday is known as not only the day after Thanksgiving, but also as the busiest shopping day of the year in America. When three young men plan to wreak havoc by crashing the computer systems in Minnesota's Mall of America, society is in for a real shock when the men are detonated as suicide bombers instead. FBI profile-expert Maggie O'Dell is called to the scene to determine the identity of the evil mastermind behind this act of terrorism, learning that the suicide bombers are just the first step in a larger plan to kill many more people. Maggie must team up with former flame and detective Nick Morrelli to hunt down the killer before it's too late.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Picturing the Wreck by Dani Shapiro

Released: January 1996

Picturing the Wreck is Dani Shapiro's third novel.

Holocaust survivor Solomon Grossman is a psychoanalyst in present-day New York and has been searching for his estranged son Daniel for decades. When Solomon sees Daniel on the national news at the site of a horrific plane crash in Los Angeles, Solomon hops directly on a plane to catch up with him before it's too late. In addition to remembering the precious memories he has left of his son, Solomon is haunted by thoughts of Katrina Volk, an ex-patient of his from thirty years ago with whom he had a sexual relationship. As Shapiro takes us elegantly and seamlessly between past and present, we learn how the events of Solomon's life have shaped the person he has ultimately become.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Creepers by David Morrell
Released: September 2006

David Morrell's Creepers made it onto my wish list after I had read somewhere that the novel was about urban exploration (I think I discovered Creepers using StumbleUpon, which initially introduced me to the concept of urban exploration). I can't locate the exact article that piqued my interest, but I remember Creepers being mentioned alongside photos of abandoned office buildings that housed old computers with moss and decay growing across the monitors. I was instantly fascinated and intrigued by the idea behind urban exploration, and set out to hunt down a copy of Creepers.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris by Leanne Shapton

Released: February 2009

Illustrator and photographer Leanne Shapton has created a highly original and beautiful work of art with Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, a literary "auction" book detailing the four-year relationship of the people in question.

20-something Lenore Doolan is a cake-column writer for The New York Times, whereas Harold Morris is a freelance photographer in his 40s. Important Artifacts, et al. is a story told completely in pictures of the couple's personal belongings which include letters, lingerie, post-it notes, photographs, gifts from one another and much, much more. Miraculously, the book details the ups and downs of the relationship between Doolan and Morris throughout their beautiful and romantic four years together.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

Released: June 2010

Adam Ross' debut novel Mr. Peanut is extremely original and in a class of its own, with style that reminds me faintly of Chuck Palahniuk. The audience will be caught off-guard and lost in the enigma that is Mr. Peanut.

David Pepin is endlessly devoted to his wife of thirteen years, Alice. Despite their constant relationship ups and downs and Alice's obsession with eating and then losing weight, David has done almost everything imaginable to ensure her happiness. When Alice is found dead after ingesting peanuts which she is publicly allergic to, David becomes the prime suspect in this apparent homicide. The detectives assigned to David's case have their own history with marital problems and as both the "crime" and story unravel, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur dramatically.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Released: September 2010

Wicked Appetite is a new series by Janet Evanovich featuring Diesel -- a charming recurring character in the "Between the Numbers" editions of the infamous Stephanie Plum series.

Wicked Appetite is set in Salem, Massachusetts and features heroine Elizabeth "Lizzy" Tucker. Lizzy is a baker with a knack for making perfect cupcakes and is also descended from a line of witches. When sexy, bad-boy Diesel enters her life, Lizzy learns that she possesses a unique power to find "empowered objects" that Diesel needs in order to prevent his even more darker and dangerous cousin Wulf from ruling the world. Thus, hilarity and mishaps begin to follow Lizzy, Diesel, and her crazy friends throughout their adventure to locate the mystical objects.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve

Released: April 2007

Body Surfing is the fourth book in what is known as the "Fortune's Rocks" quartet by Anita Shreve; however it serves perfectly fine as a stand-alone novel.

Although Sydney is only twenty-nine years old, she has been both divorced and widowed. When she vacations with a prominent family at their beach-house in New Hampshire to tutor their daughter with slow learning problems named Julie, Sydney finds herself as the love interest torn between two brothers. Body Surfing is the tale of the classic love triangle and not only pits brother against brother, but pits the pauper-like Sydney against a well-off family.