Monday, August 29, 2011

Incoming Books ~ August 29th, 2011


sweet books

Incoming books! ~ Remember the adage from The Wizard of OZ – “There’s no place like home.”  We do have to agree.

As expected we have quite of few “delicious books” to add to our teetering pile. All collected from over the past few weeks while we have been away; I do have to mention that for a book lover what a joy it was to come home to!

Now I ask all our friends and readers the most fun and best question of the day (which definitely beats “When will you get that 900 page report done?” or “What's for dinner Mom, I’ve brought the whole football team?”):  Which of these “sweet books” would you choose to read first?

Books from Tor/Macmillan


Awakenings ~ by Edward Lazellari (August 30, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Urban Fantasy – Horror

Cal is a New York City cop with a loving family. Seth is a washed-up photographer who has alienated everyone. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance and their lives are turned upside down as they are stalked by otherworldly beings who know about the men's past lives. With no clue why they're being hunted, both must accept the aid of a strange and beautiful woman who has promised to unlock their secrets.  

crickley hall

The Secret of Crickley Hall ~ by James Herbert; 640 pages (July 5, 2011)  US|UK|Canada. Horror

Would you stay in a haunted house for more than one night? The Caleighs did, but they had their reasons. They should have known better though.  As the terror mounts, they begin to regret their decision.  As the horror rises, they realize their very lives are at risk....and so is their sanity.  For the secret of Crickley Hall is beyond all nightmares.

unicorparated man

The Unincorporated Man (book 1) ~ by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin; 496 pages (April 27, 2010) US|UK|Canada. Science Fiction

This first novel in the series won the 2009 Prometheus Award for best novel.  A billionaire businessman from our time, frozen in the early 21st century, is discovered in the far future. He awakens into a civilization in which every individual is formed into a legal corporation at birth. He is Justin Cord, the only unincorporated man in the world, a true stranger in this strange land.

unicorporated war

The Unincorporated War (book 2) ~ 464 pages (May 11, 2010)  US|UK|Canada.

The central character Justin Cord is now exiled from Earth to the outer planets, where he is a heroic figure. Corporate society, which is headquartered on Earth and rules Venus, Mars, and the orbital colonies, wants to destroy Justin and reclaim hegemony over the outer planets. The first interplanetary war begins as the military fleet of Earth attacks.

unicorporated woman

The Unincorporated Woman (book 3) ~ 416 pages (August 16, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

There’s a civil war in space and the unincorporated woman is enlisted since Justin Cord, is dead. General Black cannot wage war from behind the President’s desk. So there must be a new president and who better than the only woman scientist who created Cord’s resurrection device, the only born unincorporated woman. The perfect figurehead, a force that no one anticipated, and no one can control.

stand on zanzibar

Stand on Zanzibar ~ by John Brunner; 576 pages (August 16, 2011) US|UK|Canada.  Science Fiction

A dystopian science fiction novel first published in 1968. It won the Hugo Award in 1969, the British Science Fiction Award and the Prix Apollo, and is #15 in the Millennium SF Masterworks series. The world is overpopulated by the billions and society is squeezed into hive-living madness by god-like computers, where it is mass-marketed psychedelic drugs and genetic engineering. Norman House is an executive at General Technics, one of a few all-powerful corporations. His is leading it to the forefront of global domination, and its about to take over a country in Africa.  Donald Hogan is his roommate, a seemingly sheepish bookworm. But Hogan is a spy, and he's about to discover a breakthrough in genetic engineering that will change the world...

kitty's greatest hits

Kitty’s Greatest Hits ~ by Carrie Vaughn; 320 pages (August 16, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Urban Fantasy – Horror

Urban fantasy shorts from the author of the nine book series. A first-ever story collection from the New York Times bestselling author, including two all-new works. Kitty Norville is everybody’s favorite werewolf DJ and out-of-the-closet supernatural creature. Over the course of eight books she’s fought evil vampires, were-creatures, and some serious black magic. In this collection Kitty gives new readers and longtime fans an introduction and a window into the origins of some new and favorite characters.

moon maze game

The Moon Maze Game (book 4) ~ by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes; 368 pages (August 16, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Science Fiction

Book 4 in this virtual reality online gaming series: Its 2085 and humanity has spread throughout the solar system and Lunar tourism is on the rise. “Close Protection” specialist Scotty Griffin, is offered the opportunity to shepherd the teenage heir to the Republic of Kikaya on a fabulous vacation where he will participate in the first live action role playing game conducted on the Moon itself. Live Action Role Playing attracts a very special sort of individual: brilliant, unpredictable, resourceful, and addicted to problem solving....this is the game for which they’ve prepared their entire lives, and they are going to play it for all it’s worth.

the faster i walk 3

The Faster I Walk the Smaller I Am ~  by Kjersti A. Skomsvold, and translated by Kerri Pierce from Norwegian; 112 pages; Dalkey Archive Press (October 25, 2011)  US|UK|Canada. Literary Fiction

A book that is a macabre twist on the notion that life "must be lived to the fullest."  Mathea Martinsen has never been good at dealing with other people. After a lifetime her only real accomplishment is her longevity: everyone she reads about in the obituaries has died younger than she is now. So she takes action afraid that her life will be over before anyone knows that she lived.

the very thought of you

The Very Thought of You ~ by Rosie Alison; 336 pages; Washington Square Press; (July 5, 2011)   US|UK|Canada.  Historical Drama

A story of longing, loss and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation. England, 31st of August,1939 and the world is on the brink of war. Thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate with Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unraveling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes - and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair, with unforeseen consequences.


Fallen ~  by Tracie L. Slatton; 242 pages; Telemachus Press, LLC (July 27, 2011)  US|UK|Canada. Apocalyptic/Horror – Paranormal Romance

In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test . . . Lethal mists have scourged the planet, killing billions of people. As chaos and madness descend, one woman with mysterious healing power guides seven children to safety. When Arthur offers her and her wards a haven Emma falls for him. At the moment of their sweetest love, he reveals his devastating secret.


Bricks ~ by Leon Jenner; 320 pages; Hodder & Stoughton (May 1, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Historical Fantasy

Originally published online as an audio book Bricks received over 250,000 downloads. With a flair of mysticism and myth from Britain’s heritage this is a story told through the eyes of a modern day bricklayer. Not your ordinary craftsman, he is a member of an ancient line of apprentices who has a proficiency in his craft forged by his past life as a Druid priest. As he regresses into his life as a Druid he remembers his part in thwarting the invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar and the lasting effect this chain of events had on the history of Western civilization. But as his narrative progresses and his vision of ancient Britain begins to fray the reader is left to wonder if the story is fact, fantasy or delusion.  


On The Odd Hours ~ by Eric Liberge; 71 pages;  NBM Publishing (April 1, 2010) US|UK|Canada. Fantasy – Graphic Novel

In this book the author invites the reader on a tour of the Louvre museum, as a deaf night watchman guides the reader while he communicates with the works of art. Nominated for the Eisner Award this is the third graphic novel in a co-publishing program with the Louvre Museum. The first two in the series: Glacial Period by Nicolas De Crecy and Museum Vaults by Marc-Antoine Mathieu, and the last The Sky Over Louvre HC by Carriere Yslaire, comprising  "4 Nights in the Museum."

Bending the Boyne

Bending the Boyne ~ by J. S Dunn; 350 pages; Seriously Good Books (March 17, 2011)  US|UK|Canada. Ancient Historical Fiction

2200 BCE: Marauders invade ancient Eire seeking copper and gold. An astronomer Boann, and her fellow clansman Cian must use their wits to save their people from invaders. As tensions between new and old cultures ultimately explode, what emerges from the rubble of battle is a fresh take on Ireland's oldest legends. In this well researched fictional take of ancient history, it draws on 21st century archaeology to show the lasting impact when early metal mining and trade take hold along north Atlantic coasts from the Pyrenees up to the Boyne.


Outpost ~ by Adam Baker; 400 pages; Hodder Pb (August 4, 2011) US|UK|Canada.  Apocalyptic Zombie Horror

They took the job to escape the world. They didn't expect the world to end. Kasker Rampart is a derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean. A skeleton crew of fifteen wait for a relief ship to take them home. But the world beyond their frozen wasteland has gone to hell due to a global pandemic. Rampart’s crew must survive the long Arctic winter, then make their way home alone, unaware that the deadly contagion that has devastated the world is heading their way…

hard spell

Hard Spell ~ by Justin Gustainis; 400 pages; Angry Robot (July 26, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Urban Fantasy Horror

Stan Markowski is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton PD's Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit. He’s got an uneasy 'live and let unlive' relationship with the supernatural. When a vamp bites on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that's when they call Markowski. He carries a badge, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

low town

Low Town ~ by Daniel Polansky; 352 pages; Doubleday (August 16, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Horror

Drug dealers, hustlers, brothels, dirty politics, corrupt cops . . . and sorcery. In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of another town called Rigus, you will find Low Town, an ugly place. Low Town’s cham­pion Warden is a disgraced intelligence agent, forgotten war hero, and independent drug dealer. After his fall from grace five years ago, he leads a life of crime. When his life is shaken by the dis­covery of a murdered child down a dead-end street . . . it set­s him on a collision course with the life he left behind.

Titled: The Straight Razor Cure in the UK, it also has an interesting and different cover.

immortality virus

The Immortality Virus ~ by Christine Amsden; 272 pages; Paladin Timeless Books (June 15, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Science Fiction

In the mid-21st century, the human race stopped aging. Those who know why aren't talking, and the few who are brave enough to ask questions tend to disappear. To an elite few, The Change means long life and health, but to the increasing masses, it means starvation, desperation, and violence. Four centuries later Grace Harper, a blacklisted P.I., sets off on a mission to find the man responsible for it all and solicit his help to undo The Change - if he's still alive.

ladybird ladybird

Ladybird Ladybird ~ by Abra Ebner; YA; 172 pages;  Crimson Oak Publishing (September 15, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Young Adult Fantasy

When three worlds collide... fires burn.  Samantha was born on a full moon to a mother already dead. Revived by doctors and given to her unloving father, her only friend the ghost of her mother who speaks to her through keys. Sam burned with life, a fire so vivid it kept her peers at a distance, all except one. Leith, a quiet farmboy with a broken heart and demons of his own, enjoys the seclusion his classmates grant him, the seclusion that is all too familiar for Sam.

banksy v1 expanded

Banksy: Locations & Tours – Vol 1 ~ by Martin Bull; 180 pages; PM Press;(September 1, 2011) US|UK|Canada. Art & Social Commetary

Banksy: Locations & Tours – Vol 2 ~ 180 pages (September 1, 2011) US|UK|Canada.

When it comes to art, London is best known for its galleries, not itbanksy tour v2s graffiti. Photographer Martin Bull disagrees and takes photos of the latest street installations by guerilla art icon Banksy. In these two guided tours, he documents a large number of sites with loads of color photos in the first two volumes edited specifically for a US audience.

deamons tread chong


Where Demons Fear to Tread ~ by Stephanie Chong; 368 pages; Mira (August 23, 2011)  US|UK|Canada. Paranormal Romance

Coming in a few days - a giveaway for this soon to be released paranormal romance. Fledgling guardian angel Serena St. Clair dares to enter Devil’s Paradise nightclub on a mission – to retrieve the wayward Hollywood “It Boy” she’s assigned to protect. But she’s ambushed by the club’s owner, Archdemon Julian Ascher. He won’t release the lost soul Serena is supposed to guard. That is, unless she accepts his dangerous wager… and Julian has vowed that no woman would get the better of him again even now when their high-stakes game of seduction will lead trainglesthem either to an eternity in hell…or… 

Triangles ~ by Ellen Hopkins; 544 pages; Atria Books (October 18, 2011) US|UK|Canada.  Women’s Fiction – Drama

Three women face the age-old midlife question: If I’m halfway to death, is this all I’ve got to show for it?  As one woman’s marriage unravels, another one’s rekindles. As one woman’s family comes apart at the seams, another’s is reconfigured into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections all three of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.

Isn’t this a great way to start the week?  So which of these “tasty books” would you choose first to “devour”? 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine ~ by Alina Bronsky



Review by Shellie for The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine ~ by Alina Bronsky  (translator Tim Mohr)  

A dark modern fable translated from German. It is a literary novel that is tragic and blackly humorous, told by a narrator who is definitely misguided and “unreliable”.

About:  Set in Russia in the 1970s, The Hottest Dishes is told in the first person by the self-centered Rosa. It starts with Rosa’s daughter Sulfia becoming pregnant in her early teens and not willing to disclose who the father is. Understandably Rosa is not delighted with the situation, but claims her “troublesome” granddaughter Animat as her own and attempts to mold her into an image of what she believes a child and a Tartar should be (Tartars are descendants of Genghis Khan or “mountain people”).

As the reader is lead though the changes, deaths, and difficulties during the deterioration and dissolution of the Soviet Union (most historical details are easy to miss due to the extensive family drama), the tale culminates in a family visa finagled through some twisted means by Rosa from a German native who is researching Tartar Cuisine.

My Thoughts:   Rosa is an intriguing character who is definitively an unreliable narrator, possessing a vision of herself that is unreasonably high. She navigates her life with a positive flair that ignores the perspectives and feelings of her family, creating situations which are painful and heartbreakingly sad. All the while she downplays the difficult reality in her world and country, which is more than a bit askew. Although her ability to get by in a harsh world is at times mildly admirable, in the end I was left asking myself the questions: How far would you go to get by or survive? What would you be willing to sacrifice for a chance at a better life for yourself and your family?

This is a short novel but one which I would consider a “chewy” read; it took me some time to finish due to its denseness. The text was not difficult, and the translation is excellent, but due to Rosa’s complexities and the unusual family dynamic she inadvertently creates it took a bit longer than normal. I had to stop to digest what it was about Rosa that I empathized with and what it was that I had a hard time understanding, and why her horrific opinions were in fact humorous. In the end I decided that at her best she is an extremely misguided “mother hen”. But as the adage goes “when does the means justify the end result”?

In conclusion I think that the story can be seen as dark fable for those who “do way too much”, providing lessons on what not to do even though one may think they know what is the best for everyone. Rated at 3.5 stars I enjoyed this translated story, and recommend it for readers who like literary fiction, unusual and complex characters, black humor, or those who would like a lot to think about. This is another book which would be perfect for a discussion group, as there could be so much to talk about.

Paperback: 304 pages; Europa Editions (April 26, 2011)  US|UK|Canada

Its good to be home.

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