Thursday, April 28, 2011

5 Must-Read Fantasy Books

As a person who reads hundreds of books per year, I must disclose that the fantasy genre is one of my least-favorite genres. For lovers of fantasy, you'll probably read this post and think I'm being awfully blasphemous, but it's the truth!

Reading books with characters whose names I can't pronounce as well as reading elf-language and jargon just isn't my cup of tea. For example, Shadow of the Seventh Moon by Nancy Varian Berberick fit the above criteria perfectly. I tried reading the first page twenty times, then tried reading it to my friend, who also had no idea what the f*** it meant. Kudos to people who can lose themselves in a fantasy world so explicit in detail -- I envy you for the great escape!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heart of Evil by Heather Graham

Released: June 2011

Heart of Evil is the second book in the Krewe of Hunters series by Heather Graham featuring a team of paranormal, forensic investigators that bounce from one location to the next solving crime.

Heart of Evil takes us to the Louisiana bayou-country, where an old plantation is experiencing sightings of hauntings and terrible murders. Ashley Donegal runs Donegal Plantation, also an historical site of the Civil War, where tourists flock annually to watch re-enactments. When a body turns up dead on the plantation grounds, Ashley's grandfather calls in a special task-force comprised of members with special paranormal intuitions to investigate the murders. One of the investigators named Jake Mallory coincidentally happens to have a romantic history with Ashley, making everything more intense than it already is.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mini-Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Released: Fall 2010

Mini-Shopaholic is the sixth book in the wildly hilarious and crazy Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella.

Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is up to her obsessive antics again in Mini-Shopaholic, and this time the obsession in question is a surprise birthday party for her husband Luke. The main catch is that Becky has to be as economical and spend as little money as possible, since a huge financial crisis has England in an uproar. Despite her inability to shop and throw around her husband's money as she normally does, Becky is persistent and dedicated to throwing the most awesome birthday bash ever -- through bartering her precious clothing online, to wearing everything in her wardrobe three times before buying anything new and finally, to shopping at a thrifty shop where everything is only a pound. Oh yeah, not to mention that Becky has the most out-of-control 2-year old girl in the world and must learn how to handle her better.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler

Released: May 2005

My Horizontal Life is the first memoir by late-night talk show host and stand-up comedian Chelsea Handler.

This memoir details Chelsea's sex-life and sexual escapades over the years in a series of quirky and jaw-dropping short stories. From talking about her obsession with the black man's penis and numerous one-night stands to skid-mark accidents in her panties, Chelsea's book falls in a class of its own.

My Horizontal Life reminds me a lot of Jenny McCarthy's memoirs. I really enjoyed this book because Chelsea's guts to share her stories with the world are admirable. Although I've had my own mortifying experiences with men and one-night stands, I'd never share them publicly as Chelsea does.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson

Released: January 2010

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To is DC Pierson's wildly, original debut novel that combines common coming-of-age experiences with an eccentric, though exciting plot that involves running from the government.

Narrator and teenager Darren Bennett is an artist (not a draw-er, as some lame, prissy high-school girls call it) who keeps to himself for the most part. Dwelling in his own brilliant and creative imagination, all he wants to do is draw and work on a screenplay without bringing unnecessary attention to himself. When the odd and somewhat nerdy Eric Lederer approaches Darren one day to compliment him on his artwork and offer original ideas and plots for the screenplay, the two forge an incredible friendship.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Author Spotlight: Tiffany Craig Brown

Since its release in May 2010, Tiffany Craig Brown's debut of Heaven's Rage has garnered a phenomenal rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on out of 54 ratings, not to mention a stellar rating of 4 out of 5 stars on!

The daughter of a military officer with years of traveling the world under her belt, Tiffany Craig Brown used her military experience as a backdrop for her first novel Heaven's Rage, a murder mystery about a retired helicopter pilot found dead -- and the four women from his past.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir by Elna Baker

Released: October 2009

This hilarious memoir from Elna Baker is definitely worth the read. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance -- a title that actually seems like an oxymoron -- tells of Baker's experiences as a single Mormon woman "coming of age" in New York City.

Baker's memoir is genuine, highly entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny throughout its entirety. Considering Baker is under thirty years old at the time of this writing, I'm truly hoping she releases future memoirs and comedic tales. Her style and ability to write humor rivals that of Tama Janowitz and Jenny McCarthy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson

Released: July 2010

Undead and Unfinished is the ninth book in the bestselling Queen Betsy vampire series by MaryJanice Davidson.

Just days after Elizabeth "Betsy" Taylor has returned home from meeting with the Wyndham werewolf clan, Betsy begins to feel guilty about her lack of knowledge on the history of her husband Eric Sinclair and assistant Tina. Considering all the dramatic events that have unfolded since Betsy became a vampire, not to mention becoming the "Queen" of all vampires, she realizes she has never had the time to properly get to know her extended family. As if this new task weren't enough to keep her busy, Betsy's dead stepmother (otherwise known as "The" Devil) Antonia, arrives to take Betsy and her sister Laura on a tour of Hell -- after all, Laura will inherit the task of running Hell one day. Laura's newfound talent of time-traveling also adds spice to the latest (and BEST!) novel to date in the series.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Exiled by Posie Graeme-Evans

Released: 2003

The Exiled is the second novel in the War of the Roses series featuring Edward IV and Anne de Bohun.

In the first novel of the series, The Innocent, Anne worked her way up into the king's court as a servant and all-knowing medicine-woman attending the queen. Anne's gentle ways, intelligence and beauty caught the eye of King Edward IV, and the pair worked carefully to keep their love for each other a secret. In The Exiled, Anne de Bohun, now having full knowledge of her true identity and royal bloodline, has escaped to Brugge, where she has established herself as a successful merchant and businesswoman. Much to Anne's dismay, she finds herself still in danger as several assassination attempts are made on her life, with Queen Elizabeth Grey as the prime culprit behind the attacks. Therefore Anne must be more cautious than ever, relying on her intelligence, wit, insight, and strategic abilities in order to survive; all while her love for King Edward IV burns as strongly as ever.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Killing Floor by Lee Child

Released: March 1997

Killing Floor is the first book in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. At the time of this writing, there are a total of fifteen books in the series, with the sixteenth book The Affair being released later this year October 2011.

Jack Reacher is a wanderer with no home, no family and no job. An ex-military detective expertly trained in self-defense, Jack finds himself in deep trouble when his roaming takes him to a desolate town in Georgia where he is wrongly accused of murder. After Jack is found innocent early on in the novel, he steps in to help a trustworthy local detective find out why people keep turning up violently murdered.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Aunt Dimity Down Under by Nancy Atherton

Released: February 2010

Aunt Dimity Down Under is the fifteenth book in the paranormal cozy mystery "Aunt Dimity" series and the FIRST novel in a cozy mystery series that has ever brought tears to my eyes.

Lori Shepherd and the entire town is abuzz with the preparation for the wedding between Nell and Kit; the most beautiful couple in all of Finch. However, the wedding is put on hold when Finch's notorious elderly twins -- the Pym sisters Ruth and Louise -- are suddenly on their death-bed. Because Lori is well-known for her sleuthing and ability to solve various mysteries over the years, she is called upon by the Pym sisters to locate their long-lost relative named Aubrey. Lori's lead takes her all the way to New Zealand, where she takes on one of the most important tasks she's ever had in her life -- and perhaps the lives of the Pym sisters as well.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

Released: October 2010

Journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett presents a captivating combination of true crime and the art of antique book collecting in her debut book The Man Who Loved Books Too Much.

After an intriguing introduction in which she shares her own personal experience with an alleged stolen, centuries-old German book, Bartlett gives us insight into the antiquarian book world and the bibliophilic thieves that threaten the business. More specifically, Bartlett delves into the world of book-dealer turned detective Ken Sanders and his quest to apprehend notorious book thief John Gilkey. Not only does Bartlett interview Gilkey in prison, but upon his release she personally accompanies him on his "shopping expeditions" to antiquarian book stores. In one of the most interesting, engaging and page-turning true crime books I've ever read, Bartlett dissects the dark side of the book-dealing business.

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse, Chris Garrett

Released: 2008 (First Edition)

ProBlogger is written by two professionals and experts on the act of blogging to generate income; Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett. An updated second edition of this book was released in April 2010, although now a year later the industry has changed further, as it continuously does. Nevertheless, ProBlogger is a great how-to guide for those who aren't quite as business-savvy when it comes to blogging as a means for regular income.

From instructions on how to channel and find your blogging "niche", to selecting the perfect blog platform to social networking, ProBlogger shares valuable tips and tricks of the trade. Stressing on how content is key and touching on SEO strategies, ProBlogger hits the nail on the head -- although much of it is common sense for those who regularly spend their time online reading and writing blogs.