Giveaway ♦ It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like … Halloween!

Spine-Chilling Book Giveaway

Thanks to the wonderful people at Hachette Books I’m able to offer up 3 spooky prize packs!

Each prize pack will include one copy of each of the above pictured books, and
the links below will take you to an information page for each book.

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Sins Of The Flesh by Caridad Pineiro
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Boneman’s Daughter by Ted Dekker
When Ghosts Speak by Mary Ann Winkowski

The Rules
Open to Canada and United States residents only.
No PO Box addresses.
Three winners will be randomly selected.
Winners will be notified by email on Tuesday November 3rd.
Prize packs will be mailed out by Hachette Book Group.

How To Enter
For one entry, leave a comment (with email address.)
For 4 extra entries, tell me what your favorite spooky movie, or book is.
For 2 more entries, share a favorite Halloween tradition, or costume.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Review ♦ Dark Delicacies III Haunted ♦ Part 2 of 4

The third volume in the critically acclaimed Dark Delicacies anthology series once again gathers the best and the scariest to share their new tales of horror.

Vampires, vengeful family ghosts, collectors of souls, and Nazi necromancers stand side-by-side with the merely grieving to populate these tales of dark moments.

Every tale has a unique setting, yet evokes a familiar feeling: that back-of-the-neck sense that someone or something is watching you. After all, there are many definitions of the word “haunted” and everyone has their own ghosts.

Book Title: Dark Delicacies III: Haunted Type: Trade Paperback 336 Pages
Editor: Del Howison & Jeff Gelb Publication Date: October 2009
Publisher: Running Press ISBN: 978-0-7624-3352-0
Genre: Horror / Anthology / Short Stories Purchase: The Book Depository

My Thoughts on The Stories

*I’ve decided to split my review of this collection into four different posts since there are so many stories in this volume. Also I am reading this as a catch-up for the 31 Shots of Shock challenge. Basic story descriptions are in black and my personal thoughts follow in blue. Check out Part 1 of 4 here.*

♦ A Haunting ♦ John Connolly

The Mr. and Mrs. of this story have a tradition to vacation at a certain hotel on their anniversary. No matter where they are, whether together at home or separated by work they make plans to meet. This short story begins on day that the Mr. will be continuing with the tradition despite his wife’s death. Perhaps because of sentimental reasons, or maybe just to feel closer to her in this room where they shared so much history, the Mr. arrives and starts to settle into his memories. However, the things he begins seeing are a little to vivid to be memories and he quickly thinks that he may have been given a suite already occupied by a woman. He thinks this until the woman who enters the room turns out to be the Mrs. This is one of my most favorite stories of the collection, it feels much like a traditional ghost story, and is the most relevant to the collections subtitle Haunted. It’s about a haunted man, but it’s also a love story, and I found it so touching. 

♦ Church Services ♦ Kevin J. Anderson

Set in the early times when people rode wagons across the American west searching for a place to set down roots, build homesteads and families, this story focuses on a husband and wife who host a traveling church revival. Finally finding the place they have been looking for they stow the tent aside and become a part of a community. The husband showing his powerful religious abilities to cast out demons that inhabit human souls becomes a respected member of the small town. However, it isn’t only his talents that drive out evil spirits, it has a lot to do with the demon jar he uses to trap the demons. But is the space within the demon jar an infinite area or only a temporary holding cell? Not a bad story in any way, but it was a little predictable and the good versus evil theme was overly familiar so that you could see what was coming.

headphones6 ♦ Starlets & Spaceboys ♦ Joseph V. Hartlaub

Sparkle is just an ordinary girl looking for fun at a hot-air balloon festival, instead of running into her friends though she gets cornered by her mom’s creepy boyfriend who thinks it’s no problem to fool around with mom and daughter. Before he forces her into something messy Sparkle is saved by a handsome stranger who asks her to join him for lunch. Lunch turns into hours spent together in bed at his hotel room. She finds out that he is a front-man looking to drum up interest for a music event out in the desert. And to make it an even more impressive sounding gig, he gives her the all-new promotional materials for the music – a baggie of capsules that you swallow. Once in your system you start to hear the music – but you can only take one capsule a day! Sparkle is in love, with this amazing stranger, and his music-filled pills. She has a hard time believing that any of this is real – but soon she will find out just how real it is. The question is will she be able to listen to her inner sense over the roar of music in her head?  This story was definitely original. While reading I wasn’t sure of where it was heading at all. Knowing about all the mood-enhancing drugs available for raves made the music-capsules all that more real. Very neat twist on that old adage that you should never talk to strangers.

♦ A Nasty Way To Go ♦ Ardath Mayhar

A small-town means for many law enforcement officers, not very much business aside from neighbor squabbles and driving home the occasional drunk. The narrator of this story is a constable in Hackberry, Texas during the early 1930’s and even though his job is boring he enjoys it. Until the Pindars start making trouble for him – Miz Pindar to be specific. Seems she liked to fight with her husband and she was a tough little lady. So the constable kept his eye on them, and broke up a few fights every once in awhile. The Pindars were reclusive though, and aside from the weekly prayer meetings they had nothing to do with the other townsfolk. However when Mister Pindar hasn’t been seen much and the regular fights cease, the constable of Hackberry thinks something may be wrong. Plot-wise there wasn’t anything spectacular about this story, but the writing and details made it more than enjoyable. Told in first-person from the constables point of view, the reader is given a very close look at the workings of a small-town, both from his own memories and his present situation.

♦ The Flinch ♦ Michael Boatman

Action-packed from beginning to end, this story follows Sonny Troubadour, a boxer, as he accepts a job from a local black market mobster named The Scrape. Sonny needs to find The Scrapes girlfriend Harmony and bring her back to him. Finding her is no problem for Sonny, but Harmony isn’t exactly a normal girl. Once she’s with a man, she sucks away the very best part of him – and keeps it in a crystal vial around her neck. In case you couldn’t tell from my very bad description above – I hardly had any idea what was happening in this story half the time. Part of it was the choppy-fast pace, partly the abundance of people (bad guys, good guys, who the hell knew) the other was that the language and names were a bit too slangy (not so much the narrative, but the dialogue, for example “You look like you could use some scratch, brah.” It took me awhile to figure out “scratch” meant cash.) That’s why I hate slang used in writing – for people like me who aren’t up on speech variations it’s distracting and it also ages a work.

Dark Delicacies III Haunted Part 1 of 4

To be continued …

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

TSS ♦ Vampires & Cavemen

Today I woke up with my entire day planned out. First I would de-clutter the rec-room, attempt to bathe the dogs, get a jump on the ever-growing laundry pile, and between loads while the washing machine was working it’s magic I was going to catch-up on some challenge reviews – specifically the book and TV show reviews for My Friend Amy’s L.J. Smith Vampire Diaries challenge. The books themselves are re-reads for me, as I had devoured them at age 13 when they were first released. So far I’ve read the first omnibus which contains books 1 and 2. Let me say they are just as awesome as I remembered! As for the new TV show, just last night I finally caught up with all the episodes so far. (Gotta love network channels that include full episodes for viewing online!) I’d been a bit worried at first that the show would slaughter the original story, but so far I’m loving it. The show is different but I think the balance of good changes versus bad changes isn’t going to be an issue for me. And the actors chosen for the roles have terrific chemistry which makes it all the more enjoyable. My biggest complaint as of now is from the latest episode, involving Stefan and Damon’s past lover Katherine. In the books she was portrayed as a very sweet, caring girl – however in the show she’s a raging manipulative bitch. Not sure why this aspect was altered, but I’m still hopelessly addicted.

Back to my super organized to-do list for today, let’s see what I’ve got accomplished:

De-clutter rec-room
Bathe dogs
Do laundry
Vampire Diaries reviews

Wow! How impressive, an entire day to do four little things and all I managed to cross off was laundry (mainly because people look at me strangely when I run out of normal clothes and am forced to wear my pajamas in public.) Keep in mind though that I did do six loads of laundry today (am I the only mother of teenaged boys who wear like a gazillion outfits a day!?) You might be wondering what kept me from being more productive today – and my answer is a book! While attempting task one of my list (de-clutter rec-room) I decided that I would gather together all those books sitting around my house that I only own because someone said I HAD to read it. You know the ones I’m talking about, those books that you’d never pick up on your own, and people look at you like you have three heads for not having read it. My mission was to whittle this pile of books down, choosing randomly I would read at least 50-75 pages. If I wasn’t digging it – I’d chuck it out. Good plan I thought. My pile was made and I felt a surge of hope, thinking that soon I would have space for new books! But I made the mistake of taking a peek at the top book in the pile, which turned into me lounging on the sofa reading intently. 500 pages later it’s nearly midnight. (sigh) In case you’re curious the book was called The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel and I was almost 100% sure this would not be a book I’d enjoy (I mean really a prehistoric historical novel featuring cavemen? So not me.) But I was so into it, and literally could not set it down. Now I must go tomorrow immediately and pick up the next book (oh yeah and even worse it’s a series known as Earth’s Children, just what I needed right now!) Really, really want to find out what happens next – but I know I’m in for a disappointment because I just read a post over at A Certain Bent Appeal called “Books To Lose Your Virginity To” (a freaking hilarious new feature at this blog) and this series is featured. So in this post the Earth’s Children series is described like so “The series is truly bizarre in that the first book is a close examination of early human societies and customs and the following books are more like straight-up loincloth porn.” POP! Hear that noise? It was my hopes exploding. LOINCLOTH PORN!! That is just wrong on so many levels.

Happy Sunday Everyone!

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Review ♦ Dark Delicacies III Haunted ♦ Part 1 of 4

dark delicacies 3 hauntedThe third volume in the critically acclaimed Dark Delicacies anthology series once again gathers the best and the scariest to share their new tales of horror.

Vampires, vengeful family ghosts, collectors of souls, and Nazi necromancers stand side-by-side with the merely grieving to populate these tales of dark moments.

Every tale has a unique setting, yet evokes a familiar feeling: that back-of-the-neck sense that someone or something is watching you. After all, there are many definitions of the word “haunted” and everyone has their own ghosts.

Book Title: Dark Delicacies III: Haunted Type: Trade Paperback 336 Pages
Editor: Del Howison & Jeff Gelb Publication Date: October 2009
Publisher: Running Press ISBN: 978-0-7624-3352-0
Genre: Horror / Anthology / Short Stories Purchase: The Book Depository

My Thoughts on The Stories

*I’ve decided to split my review of this collection into four different posts since there are so many stories in this volume. Also I am reading this as a catch-up for the 31 Shots of Shock challenge. Basic story descriptions are in black and my personal thoughts follow in blue.*

♦ Children Of The Vortex ♦ Simon Clark

The Vortex Project is an abandoned Military Research compound located in a hidden location on an island in Germany. Set in the present day, an initial excavation group are forcing a worker, Leo, from this compound to lead them to it. Forcing because Leo would seemingly rather die than stay on the island. Leo’s terror of the research that was done here is present throughout the story and it seems to be catching as the others become more tense with every step they take. But why should they be scared of an abandoned research facility? In the end they will wish they had never found out. This was a great story, lots of tension and intrigue, and a back-story that begs to be fleshed out. Loved the ending, which was much like a twisted revision of a classic horror tale.

♦ Mist On The Bayou ♦ Heather Graham

A man helps out a friend by coming along to assist with his haunted attraction business, which consists of a pontoon ride through the bayou and a tour of a supposedly haunted plantation house set up with scenes of horror. But halfway through the house things go wrong when one of the displays turns out to be a real. You may think I’ve given away the entire plot – but you’d be surprised with how this one turns out! There were enough characters and backstories that it would have been entirely doable as a novel, but I think it was perfect as a short. Loved this story, it was creepy, fun and clever.

♦ In The Mix ♦ Eric Red

Underdogg wants to be a rap star, and he is positive that if only he could have five minutes with superstar hip-hop producer Scratchmaster, his dream could come true. But getting Scratchmaster to even look his way will take more than Underdogg could ever imagine. I wasn’t too crazy about this story, it seemed a little predictable, then again I have a strong bias against this because of my dislike of rap music to begin with (lol) so it’s not to hard for me to believe that rap producers are devils in disguise.

♦ How To Edit ♦ Richard Christian Matheson

Told in first person, this story is styled as a how-to manual of editing. Written from the perspective of a writer, it tells about how editing is a very important part of the writing process. This particular writer is having a hard time adapting to the new style of authors out there, the people who used to sell his books tell him his writing is “too chubby.” So he’s trying to figure out exactly how to edit. Terrific story, really enjoyed the creative concept. Excellent portrayal of a writer spiraling into madness. Which reminds me if, Richard Christian Matheson has a novel from the early nineties called Created By – it’s a tight little thriller about a screenwriter who realizes that the story he’s writing is coming to life. Similar to Stephen Kings’ The Dark Half, I personally prefer Richard Christian Mathesons’ version. 

♦ Resurrection Man ♦ Axelle Carolyn

Right now, I’m reading Frankenstein, and while not the same plot wise, it does share some themes with this story. The main theme being the existence of an afterlife and the ethics regarding the use of bodies after death. I can only imagine the conflict and resistance that early scientists and medical practitioners came up against in regards to this. It would be nice to respect the beliefs of everyone, but in order for medicine and knowledge to evolve bodies were a must. This debate is fascinating to me, but anyways on to the story. In Resurrection Man we are introduced to a scientist whose found bodies to be in short supply. Most all the people in his town want themselves and their kin buried whole – believing that any sort of tampering, no matter how much good it could provide, is wrong and prevent the possibility of resurrection or afterlife. So what’s a dedicated man to do? With a cemetery nearby he finds his own bodies. He only wants to help the living by studying the dead – and he thinks to himself they are being a little ridiculous when they preach the resurrection of Jesus – dead is dead – or so he believes until one night in the graveyard his beliefs are put to the test.
I loved this short story, and at only six pages it is quite short! The plot itself was clever, but what I really enjoyed was the different sides of a ages long debate that it brought up. It’s scary to imagine how modern medicine would be different right now without having had the ability to study a body. So many important discoveries were made from the dissection of cadavers – things that would be impossible (or inhumane) to perform on a living being. In the grand scheme of things the use of the deceased in furthering science may not be ethical or proper to some, but sometimes evil deeds do serve a greater good.

To Be Continued ….

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

31 Shots of Shock

What31 Shots of Shock
Who – Hosted by Rob
Rob Around Books
When – October 1, 2009 through October 31, 2009
How – Read 31 horror related short stories in the month of October. One a day or equivalent. 
Why – October ‘tis the season!

*Check out Rob’s blog where he has a list of the stories he read and reviewed last year, along with links to where they can be read online. This is an incredibly helpful resource!*

 My Challenge Progress

# Title Author From
1. Children of the Vortex Simon Clark Dark Delicacies III Haunted
2. Mist on the Bayou Heather Graham Dark Delicacies III Haunted
3. In The Mix Eric Red Dark Delicacies III Haunted
4. How To Edit Richard Christian Matheson Dark Delicacies III Haunted
5. Resurrection Man Axelle Carolyn Dark Delicacies III Haunted
6. A Haunting John Connolly Dark Delicacies III Haunted
7. Church Services Kevin J. Anderson Dark Delicacies III Haunted
8. Starlets & Spaceboys Joseph V. Hartlaub Dark Delicacies III Haunted
9. A Nasty Way To Go Ardath Mayhar Dark Delicacies III Haunted
10. The Flinch Michael Boatman Dark Delicacies III Haunted

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Review ♦ Hush, Hush

A Sacred Oath, A Fallen Angel, A Forbidden Love.

Nora Grey is responsible and smart and not inclined to be reckless. Her first mistake was falling for Patch. Patch has a past that could be called anything but harmless. The best thing he ever did was fall for Nora. After getting paired with Patch in biology, all Nora wants to do is stay away from him, but he always seems to be two steps ahead of her. She can feel his eyes on her even when he is nowhere around. She feels him nearby even when she is alone in her bedroom. And when her attraction can be denied no longer, she learns the secret about who Patch is and what led him to her. Despite all the questions she has about his past, in the end, there may be only one question they can ask each other: How far are you willing to fall?

Book Title: Hush, Hush Type: Trade Paperback 391 pages
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick Publication Date: October 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster ISBN: 978-1-4169-8941-7
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Purchase: The Book Depository

My Thoughts  
Hush, Hush is a toughie for me, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I feel about it and how to say it for a few days now, and the closest I can come is this: Reading Hush, Hush was like finding the perfect guy/girl, gorgeous, smart and creative – then things start getting rough and the relationship is over – but you still yearn for that perfect guy/girl. Total shenanigans!

So let’s break it down into what I liked versus what I disliked:

Obviously looks are the first thing a person might notice, and this book is a hottie! Whoever designed that cover is a genius. We’ve got a falling angel which is simple enough, but the black-red wings add a touch of darkness. Not to mention the guy himself, he’s not just falling, he appears to be fighting for whatever hold he can get. GRADE =  A+

The next step in the relationship would be that first meeting, when you exchange those important first words – this is the make or break step. If you like what you see/hear you can move onto phase two, if not c’est la vie. (In book terms this stage would be flipping to the synopsis and giving it a read.) For me the book description was a total turn-on. There’s Nora, a smart and responsible high-school girl. Then there is Patch, mysterious, intriguing and maybe a little bit of a bad boy. Allusions to secrets add some spice to the scenario and then that last line: “How far are you willing to fall?”  Total hook, line and sinker for me. GRADE = Another A+

Now we get down to the nitty-gritty – commitment. I liked what I saw and what I heard so I was willing to give this book a shot at a reading relationship. Here’s where things start to derail. Nora ends up not being as smart or responsible as the description stated (The Book Smugglers called her the “worst TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) heroine  definitely check out that fantastic review) I’d agree 100% If Nora were in a Choose Your Own Adventure book, she’d never make it past the first chapter. Then we have Patch, who I was so interested in finding more out about – but he ends up being pretty boring/totally obnoxious to tell the truth. And creepy, not in a good way, more like that weird, sparkly vampire who sneaks into bedrooms to watch girls sleeping (you know who I’m talking about.) It was too obvious that this relationship was headed into “She hates him, she loves him, but she’s scared of him, but she can’t keep her eyes off him” territory. (Oh and I should mention they met in Biology class when they became seatmates.) GRADE = FAIL

Anyone whose ever been in a relationship knows it’s never just two people – when you date someone, it almost always seems like you end up dating their friends too. Kinda like in-laws. Sometimes a person gets lucky and ends up enjoying the friendships that come as a package deal. Sometimes though, luck is not such a lady. For example, Nora’s BFF Vee – every time she appeared in the story I got the feeling she would actually sound like a “Valley Girl.” The other two secondary characters, Elliot and Jules, a pair of rich-boys looking to hook up with Nora and Vee, were not as bad in the annoying sense, but they were sadly two dimensional. GRADE = FAIL (EPIC FAIL in Vee’s case.)

Mystery in a relationship can be a good thing or a bad thing. Deep, dark secrets or a back-story finally revealed, can sometimes make a relationship stronger. There are lots of secrets to discover in Nora and Patch’s relationship, even if it is a little one-sided. Patch has a lot of skeletons in his closet, and Nora is gonna smash that door until they all come tumbling out. Here is where the whole Angel/Fallen Angel mythos comes into play. The entire reason why I was so into this book. Surely I can’t be the only one whose starting to get a little tired of vampires? Knowing that Hush, Hush was headed in a whole different realm of paranormality was exciting. And Fallen Angels have always been particularly interesting to me. However, with that said (and no more because I want to stay spoiler-free) this interpretation of these mythical beings was a bit too haphazard. It was certainly a creative premise, but it felt a bit rushed. But  there is a sequel coming in 2010 that could improve on this aspect. GRADE = B+

Every thing in life must end, and although Hush, Hush does end, the relationship between Nora and Patch looks like it’s just getting started. The ending I read in the ARC is not the ending that appears in the final book. However the finalized ending was available to be read online, and there really wasn’t much difference that I could see. Either ending indicates that this story isn’t over. Adding up all the pluses and minuses of my relationship with Hush, Hush leads me to conclude that this book wasn’t what I’d hoped for at all (my expectations were extremely high, perhaps due to the hype surrounding Hush, Hush.) But like a lot of relationships that end on a sour note, I have this uncontrollable urge to try again. Which means I will most likely give the next book Crescendo a shot. Maybe I’ll end up being let-down, but then again maybe the good things I expected in this first go will come through for me with a second chance.

About The Author

Becca Fitzpatrick grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden with a flashlight under the covers. She graduated college with a degree in health, which she promptly abandoned for storytelling. When not writing, she’s most likely prowling sale racks for reject shoes, running, or watching crime dramas on TV. Hush, Hush is her first novel. She lives in Colorado.

Other Reviews

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

YA Dystopian Reading Challenge

What2009 YA Dystopian Reading Challenge
Who – Hosted by Bart
WhereBart's Bookshelf
When – October 15, 2009 through December 31, 2009
How – Choose a target of 1-4 books that fit into the Young Adult Dystopian genre to read during the challenge.

*If you are looking for some book ideas, check out Bart’s list here for some recommendations. Taking a peek at other participants book pools is also a great way to discover relevant titles, authors.*

I’m not entirely sure of what I will read, so I’ve put together a pool of books that I will be choosing from. Well, actually that’s a lie – I am 100% positive that The Knife Of Never Letting Go will be one of the four books I read – seriously have you read some of the reviews on this one?!?

Anyways, here’s what I’ll be considering:

Knife of Never Letting Go How I Live Now Bar Code Tattoo Lifegame City of Ember

Fahrenheit 451 Tomorrow, When The War Began Feed Lord of the Flies Peeps

Wow! Looks like I have quite a few more YA Dystopians that I had thought – good thing about checking out my TBR pile before starting a challenge!

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

How To Survive The PPP

It seems that lately the world has been taken over by a romantically-minded virus that I will call the PPPPride & Prejudice Pandemic. One woman’s innocent imaginings put to paper started this pandemic that has caused mutations, variations and (film) adaptations.

In today’s post I present to you five different books that are filling the shelves and minds of readers around the world – the first exposure was in 1813 when Jane Austen released Pride & Prejudice upon an unsuspecting society of readers. Now almost 200 years later, the power of P&P is still going strong.

Darcy Is Head Over Heels In Love ♦ Six months into his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy is still Awestruck by his beautiful wife and their unparalleled love and passion. For Darcy, each day offers more opportunities to surprise and delight his beloved bride.

Lizzy Is Ready For Anything ♦ Elizabeth has quickly adapted to being the Mistress of Pemberley, charming everyone she meets and handling her duties with grace and poise. Just when it seems life can’t get any better, Elizabeth gets the most wonderful news.

Together They Embark On The Journey Of A Lifetime ♦ The lovers leave the serenity of Pemberley, traveling through the sumptuous landscape of Regency England, experiencing the lavish sights, sounds, and tastes around them. With each day come new discoveries as they become further entwined, body and soul, and a most sacred bond grows even deeper.

Title: Loving Mr. Darcy
Author: Sharon Lathan
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Regency Romance (Austen)

Type: Trade Paperback 448 pages
Publication Date: September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4022-1741-8
Purchase: The Book Depository

Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley is the second novel in Sharon Lathans’ ongoing Pride & Prejudice saga. It begins where book 1 Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One (link to my review) left off. The couple have married, set up house in Pemberley manor and spent quite a bit of time becoming acquainted. Now they are on their way to London to meet up with family and friends. Oh and most importantly to share the news that their will soon be a brand new member of the Darcy family. I enjoyed this second book of the series quite a lot. Like in the first book, the author adds so much to her writing by the addition of so much historical detail. Along with an excellent story, the reader gets to learn so much about this particular time period. However, the one deviation from the normal male behavior of the period was awesome – Darcy becomes so lovable as he dotes on Elizabeth and his unborn child, wanting to be as much a part of this experience as possible. Loving Mr. Darcy was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it and the others in Lathans’ series. Next in the series, coming January 2010 is The Darcys at Year's End. Also be sure to take a look at Sharon Lathans’ home on the web – there is so much information to be found here including info on the books, character bios, links of interest to Austen fans and resources to help one learn more about the Regency era.

Other Reviews

A Tale Of Two Gentlemen’s Marriages To Two Most Devoted Sisters ♦ Three days before their double wedding, Charles Bingley is desperate to have a word with his dear friend Fitzwilliam Darcy, seeking advice of a most delicate nature. Bingley is shocked when Darcy gives him a copy of The Kama Sutra – but it does tell him everything he needs to know.

Eventually, of course, Jane finds this remarkable volume and in utmost secrecy shows it to her dear sister Elizabeth, who goes searching for a copy in the Pemberley library…
Title: The Darcys & The Bingleys
Author: Marsha Altman
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Regency Romance (Austen)
Type: Trade Paperback 417 pages
Publication Date: February 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4022-1348-9
Purchase: The Book Depository

Here in The Darcys & The Bingleys we have another authors take of how things might continue on after Pride & Prejudice ends. Moving along at a quicker pace, this book begins with the approach of a dual wedding. Elizabeth and Jane are busy getting everything ready, preparing to become new wives. Meanwhile Darcy is helping Charles out with a few things he isn’t too confident about – mainly the private affairs of husband and wife. Darcy decides that what Charles needs is a little research, and so he passes a copy of the Kama Sutra along to his friend. This leads to some scandalous (for the times) fun. Honestly, the banter between characters is the absolute highlight of this story. Once things begin to settle down, about halfway through the book, a new plotline emerges as Caroline Bingley introduces the new man in her life, Lord James. Together Darcy and Charles take a closer look at this man and decide that something isn’t right. This second story arc adds a nice touch of intrigue to the humor of the first part. Altogether a very readable and enjoyable book. Marsha Altman also has two more Austen follow-ups, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers (which I talk about next) and coming in the future Mr. Darcy’s Great Escape. 

Other Reviews

Once Again, It Falls To Mr. Darcy To Prevent A Dreadful Scandal In The Bennet Family ♦ Darcy and Elizabeth set off posthaste for the Continent in yet another attempt to clear one of the Bennet sister’s reputations (this time it’s Mary.) But their madcap journey leads them to discover that the Darcy family has even darker secrets to hide…

Meanwhile, back at Pemberley, the hapless Bingleys try to manage two unruly toddlers; Caroline Bingleys’ husband has a wild encounter with King George himself; and the ever-dastardly George Wickham arrives, determined to seize the Darcy fortune once and for all.
Title: The Plight of the Darcy Brothers
Author: Marsha Altman
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Regency Romance (Austen)
Type: Trade Paperback 359 pages
Publication Date: August 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4022-2429-4
Purchase: The Book Depository

The Plight of the Darcy Brothers is Marsha Altmans’ second book of her Pride & Prejudice continuation. Where the first book was a steady and fun romp, this book is fast-paced action. Starting off with Mary Bennet in a bit of trouble, Darcy and Elizabeth take off to help out. From France to Italy to London they are determined to set things right. What I liked best about this book was that although it has a main plot, there are lots of other subplots happening. Some favorite parts for me were the ones involving the Bingley and Darcy children. It’s so cool to see the second generation and how they are evolving into characters of their own. 

Other Reviews

A Married Man In Possession Of A Dark Fortune Must Be In Want Of An Eternal Wife ♦ Amanda Grange's style and wit bring readers back to Jane Austen's timeless storytelling, but always from a very unique and unusual perspective, and now Grange is back with an exciting and completely new take on Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre starts where Pride and Prejudice ends and introduces a dark family curse so perfectly that the result is a delightfully thrilling, spine-chilling, breathtaking read. A dark, poignant and visionary continuation of Austen's beloved story, this tale is full of danger, darkness and immortal love.

Title: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre
Author: Amanda Grange
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Paranormal Regency Romance (Austen)
Type: Trade Paperback 308 pages
Publication Date: August 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4022-3697-6
Purchase: The Book Depository

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is another Pride & Prejudice sequel, starting off again with the preparations for the big double Bingley/Darcy wedding. However, once the rings are exchanged this version shakes things up a bit, when Darcy takes Elizabeth on a honeymoon tour of Europe to meet the in-laws. Along the way Elizabeth becomes uncomfortable as she meets people she considers creepy and deals with a husband who doesn’t share her desire to become intimate. She’s confused and worried, he’s broody and weird. Not exactly the marriage Elizabeth hoped for. As a paranormal re-imagining of this famous couple, and from the book’s title I expected much more, or maybe I just expected more vampyrish-ness sooner. It seemed to take quite awhile to get to the actual paranormal aspect. Not an entirely bad read, it just moved along slower than I’d hoped.

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It Is A Truth Universally Acknowledged That A Zombie In Possession Of Brains Must Be In Want Of More Brains ♦ So begin Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton – and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers – and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry?
Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Quirk Classics
Genre: Paranormal Regency Parody
Type: Trade Paperback 319 pages
Publication Date: April 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59474-334-4
Purchase: The Book Depository

Here we have something a little different, a whole new zombiefied version of Pride & Prejudice rather than a sequel. And this one has zombies! And pictures of zombies! It may seem silly or juvenile that the pictures in a book might excite me – but seriously these pictures are awesome! As was the entire idea of this book. The first time I read Pride & Prejudice I fully admit I was bored to tears (I was only 13) but in my late twenties I re-read and began to appreciate Austens’ writing more. If only there had been zombies involved back when I first read it (lol) I guess it’s obvious that I totally loved Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – it was just so much fun to see how Seth Grahame-Smith could incorporate zombies into a classic novel. And it was done so damn well, I never once felt like it was just a gimmick. I’m a hard-core zombie lover and this book more than lived up to my expectations.

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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

Avid Anticipation ♦ Cowboy & Wills

Have you ever found yourself in the situation, where from the moment you hear about an upcoming book, you just can’t wait to get your hands on it? I’m pretty sure everyone knows what I’m talking about.

This happened to me just the other day. The book I’m looking forward to with avid anticipation is Cowboy & Wills: A Love Story written by Monica Holloway. I’m so excited about this memoir that I just had to share it with everyone.

Cowboy and Wills

The day Monica learns that her lovable, brilliant three-year-old son, Wills, has autism spectrum disorder, she takes him to buy an aquarium. It's the first in a string of impulsive trips to the pet store to buy animals as a distraction from the uncontrollable, crushing reality of Wills's diagnosis. But while Wills diligently tends to the growing menagerie, what he really wants is a puppy. And one Christmas, when Wills is six, Cowboy Carol Lawrence joins their family.

Like all dynamic duos, Cowboy and Wills complement each other perfectly. Wills is cautious, fastidious, and irresistibly tenderhearted. Cowboy, a rambunctious golden retriever, is overeager, affectionate, and impulsive. And from the moment Cowboy enters their lives, Monica sees her son step a little farther into the world.

Soon, the boy who could barely say hello to his classmates in kindergarten is sharing stories of his new “sister” Cowboy during morning circle. Children crowd around them at the park, and instead of running away, Wills, holding Cowboy’s leash in his sweaty fist, proudly answers all of their questions. With Cowboy, he finds the courage to invite kids over for playdates, overcomes his debilitating fear of water to swim along beside her in the family pool, and, after years of gentle coaxing, Wills finally sleeps in his own bed with Cowboy’s paws draped across his small chest. Through it all, Cowboy is there, dragging him toward other children, giving him the confidence to try new things and the courage to face his worst fears. And when Cowboy turns out to need her new family as much as they need her, they discover just how much she has taught them—about devotion, about loyalty, and about never giving up.

Sometimes it’s what you don’t know to hope for that saves you. For Monica, her husband, Michael, and their son, Wills, salvation came in the form of a puppy with pale blonde fur, chocolate brown eyes, a fondness for chewing the crotch out of underpants, and a limitless capacity for love.

Synopsis via Simon & Schuster

The above description intrigued me, fascinated me, had me completely hooked. After reading this brief synopsis I felt I needed to know the full story between this little boy and his dog. As if that weren’t enough, I then watched the trailer.

Cowboy & Wills looks like it is going to be an extremely powerful story, one that I’m positive will inspire thoughtful contemplation, smiles, and tears. I cannot wait to read this, and believe me, you will be the first to hear my thoughts on it. So make sure to check out the information about this book, pick up a copy for yourself, and check back for my review!

Author, and also Wills’ mom, Monica Holloway has a wonderful
article in this months issue of Psychology Today.


To get a small taste of this story, you can click here to read an excerpt of Cowboy & Wills.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.