Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Where the Hell is Matt?: Dancing Badly Around the World by Matt Harding

Released: June 2009

One of the most entertaining and fun travel books I've ever read, Where the Hell is Matt is not a memoir to pass up!

Several years ago, Matt Harding was a software designer in Los Angeles when he realized he didn't want to waste away sitting in an office day after day working on projects he hated. After quitting his job, he decided to take a break from corporate America and travel to various destinations across the globe. With what started as a silly whim, he began having people videotape him at each locale while dancing his now-popular, nearly trademark dance screaming of white-boy syndrome (which is actually shown as cool flip-art in the book).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

5 Creepy Horror Novels You Can't Miss

To me, horror novels are much like horror movies; it's very rare that I come across a book or film that genuinely scares me to death and sticks in my mind. Below are the best horror novels I've read to date that scare me to the bone when I read them and still give me nightmares years later.

If you know of any horror novels that have scared you just as badly, please please PLEASE let me know in the comments below! I would love to branch out and discover more time-worthy horror novels to scare my pants off!

Damaged by Alex Kava

Released: July 2010

Damaged is the eighth book in bestselling Alex Kava's series featuring FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell.

One of the shortest novels by Kava to date, Damaged opens off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, where a water-rescue team is retrieving a mysterious cooler found to be filled with random body parts wrapped in cellophane. Maggie O'Dell is called to the scene to investigate despite a powerful hurricane approaching the Gulf coast faster by the hour. Investigating his own isolated case just a short distance away, Maggie's boyfriend Benjamin Platt is looking into a potential deadly virus that is wiping out a large number of soldiers home from Iraq. Could the two cases be related?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Released: 2008

For months now, I've read about The Hunger Games everywhere; on Twitter feeds, on book blogs, on Facebook, and even the news. In addition to reading about everybody's obsession about this novel, the upcoming movie had driven me to finally read it and needless to say, I was blown away. I am FINALLY able to understand the commotion; The Hunger Games is simply amazing!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro

Released: October 2010

Kathleen Tessaro is highly underrated in the literature genre; especially in the sub-genre arena for chick-lit/women's fiction. All of her novels have a depth most authors fail to capture, with unforgettable plots that are emotionally impacting. The Debutante is Tessaro's latest novel.

Jack is a handsome, though humble antique cataloguing expert sent to the empty Endsleigh House, an estate at its liveliest throughout the 1920s-1930s -- and the home of the famous debutante Blythe sisters. Accompanying him is the beautiful and cryptic Cate, an artist who has recently moved to England to escape her painful past in New York. As if the history of the Blythe sisters isn't intriguing enough (the younger Blythe sister mysteriously disappeared and was never heard from again), Cate's interest is further piqued when she finds a secretive, locked room at Endsleigh. After stumbling upon a hidden shoe-box within that contains an old photograph, a Tiffany bracelet, a badge, and a beautiful pair of dancing shoes, Cate embarks on a mission to uncover new information behind the disappearance of Baby Blythe, learning more about herself in the process.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Released: February 2010

Little Bee is the second novel by Chris Cleave, inspired by his early childhood spent in West Africa and also by an "accidental" visit to a British concentration camp.

Little Bee is told from the first-person viewpoints of "Little Bee", a teenage, Nigerian refugee recently released from a detention center in the UK and Sarah O'Rourke, a well-off and esteemed British journalist from Kingston Upon Thames. Both Little Bee and Sarah are connected by an incident experienced two years ago while Sarah and her husband Andrew were vacationing on a beach in Nigeria, and the main denouement of the novel is built around this one major event. The two characters merge into each other's lives to help the other one out, but not without undergoing much pain and growth in the process.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

Released: April 2008

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea is Handler's second, extremely entertaining memoir, though somewhat tamer than her first memoir entitled My Horizontal Life, reviewed here: Dreamworld Book Reviews - My Horizontal Life.

This particular memoir features random memorable moments in Chelsea's life; and when I say random, I mean random -- from Chelsea's love of midgets to disgust with red-headed men, to killing pet fish...it's definitely tons of fun!

I've said this before of Sarah Silverman and I'll say it again in regards to Chelsea Handler...she's the raunchy girlfriend I always wished I could have, because seriously, nobody else would ever discuss the topics in this book with me in real life.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Altar of Bones by Philip Carter

Released: March 2011

Altar of Bones is the first novel by Philip Carter, a pseudonym for an author who is "internationally renowned", according to the cover flap and the author description on Fantastic Fiction.

At first glance, Altar of Bones seems like another 'Da Vinci Code'-type adventure in which contemporary beliefs and mores clash with ancient secrets and truths. However, Altar of Bones is nothing like what you would expect -- especially if you use its position on the bestselling list and its cover art to come to whatever predetermined conclusion you may have. In other words, it's not just another Da Vinci Code copycat -- but wildly original and shocking!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Enigma (Maximum Men) by Carla Cassidy

Released: April 2010

Enigma is part of a Harlequin Intrigue series called "Maximum Men". Carla Cassidy is an extremely prolific romance novelist and has contributed to several other Harlequin series.

Enigma opens in a hospital, where Jared Maddox has been in a deep coma for several months after being hit by a car. Jared is nurse Willa Tyler's "special project" because he's just too hot and sexy for Willa to resist caring for and helping, so her kind thoughts have been with Jared since his arrival. Lucky for Willa, she'll soon learn she invested her time wisely because Jared has a telepathic mind-reading ability. When Jared suddenly awakes in sensing enemies are near, he unknowingly recruits Willa into being his partner on the run to evade the bad guys that are after him. Jared soon reveals to Willa that he and his twin-brother Jack were the victims of terrible medical experiments that gave them both special healing powers and telepathy. Together Willa and Jared embark on a romantic, yet perilous journey to safety.

Always Something There to Remind Me by Beth Harbison

Released: July 2011

Due to release this summer is Beth Harbison's latest novel, Always Something There to Remind Me. Harbison's recent success as a bestselling novelist is helping to bring her debut, Shoe Addicts Anonymous (2007) to the big screen soon!

Always Something There to Remind Me is about the life of Erin Edwards, featuring two parallel story-lines that jump between her teenage years during the 1980s and the present-day as a single mother in her late thirties. When Erin's current hot-but-dull boyfriend proposes marriage, Erin instantly thinks of her high school sweetheart Nate Lawson, with whom she broke up with after having a simple miscommunication. Of course, since Erin can't stop thinking about Nate, she attempts to track him down and makes a few awkward discoveries. Erin learns that in order to ultimately be happy, she must be true to her heart.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Death of a Celebrity by M.C. Beaton

Released: January 2003

Death of a Celebrity is the eighteenth book in Beaton's cozy mystery series featuring Constable Hamish MacBeth.

This time, a beautiful yet slutty news reporter named Crystal French is the victim. Crystal has always tried sleeping her way to the top with no luck, until she catches her lucky break as the eyes and ears behind scandal in the sleepy town of Lochdubh. To maintain the high ratings for her show, the catty Crystal drudges up old news and rumors on the village's inhabitants, which brews up new feelings of hate for Crystal. When Crystal's body is discovered and the signs point to foul play, our trusty Hamish MacBeth starts nosing around to reveal the true murderer.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Released: December 2010

Alice I Have Been is Melanie Benjamin's debut novel and presents an historical account of the life of Alice Liddell Hargreaves -- the subject and muse of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

Spanning the late 19th century through the early 20th century, Benjamin chronicles Alice's life from childhood during which she met Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) to her late adulthood. Coming from a well-off, scholarly family, the rambunctious Alice compels Dodgson enough to inspire him to write Alice in Wonderland, which ends up more or less haunting Alice and changing her life forever. Weaved into the story of Alice's background is her alleged, intense longing for Mr. Dodgson and details behind their relationship. Alongside Alice, we witness and experience her numerous heartaches and very intense life throughout the years.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Released: October 2010

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is Tom Franklin's third novel and 2010 Edgar Award winner, also a current bestseller.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter takes readers down to Chabot, Mississippi, where the southern tongue and lifestyle are accurately and charmingly portrayed. Larry Ott is an awkward, reclusive bookworm who is considered an outcast after a girl he dated mysteriously disappeared back in the 1980s when Larry was in high school. Now, years later, when another young girl goes missing, Larry is not only the subject of town gossip once again, but a prime suspect -- especially when he winds up in a coma after being shot at point-blank range. Suddenly authorities must question whether the injury is self-afflicted or if a genuine killer is on the loose.