Category Archives: Books

Gone Girl: Book and Movie Review

My first foray into Gillian Flynn’s work was Sharp Objects. I loved that book so much I immediately reread it. Flynn has a great voice, the story was compelling and gritty and I loved every moment. Dark Places was… well, a let down. My friend Cas had been telling me to read Gone Girl, but I was bit soured after Flynn’s second book hadn’t lived up to the first. When I heard Gone Girl was going to be made into a film, I broke down. The book had been sitting on my shelf for almost a year and every so often I’d think I should read that, and pass it up for something else. I started the book and finished it five days later. MV5BMTk0MDQ3MzAzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzU1NzE3MjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ Holy fuck was I wrong. Gone Girl centers around Nick Dunne and his missing wife, Amy. Nick, of course, is accused of her murder. Things look bad for Nick; hell, things are bad for Nick. A diary filled with damning things, suspicious spending, a “too perfect” crime scene… and a treasure hunt, their anniversary tradition, leading to more than just the traditional gift.

I could not put it down. Well, I did, but it had to be pried out of my hands. I wasn’t expecting the emotional rollercoaster or how angry I’d be and how thoroughly impressed. Once the punches start rolling and the story blossoms into this tangled thicket of thorns and roses, you are HOOKED. I went from hating Nick to feeling sorry for him and that’s not a switch I make often. These characters are wonderfully compelling and the plotline is so clever, it’s sickening.

Seriously, I want to see Flynn’s mind map for this story because it must have taken so much time and energy and planning.

Obviously, I was just as thrilled for the movie. I’d been hearing nothing but excellent things and as I’m sure you know, fellow readers, it’s hard to get your hopes up when there’s a book involved. I admit to being more than a little worried when punk rock me walked into a theatre filled with older couples and moms. I know they billed Gone Girl as a “hot night flick” but… no.

I could not have been happier. The filmography is to die for and they kept a lot of the lines from the book. I cannot praise Rosamund Pike enough as Amy Elliot Dunne. She was brilliant and almost exactly as I’d pictured Amy. Ben Affleck was great as Nick. He really captured the character’s inappropriate charm. Neil Patrick Harris took me by surprise as Desi Collings. I’d seen more as the Ezra Miller type, but NPH was excellent. Subtly dangerous. Slightly creepy.

The only change I was uncertain of was Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, but he played the role magnificently. I was a bit sad to see the lack of Tanner’s wife, but they kept the jellybean/gummy bear scene, which I found hilarious in the book. The narrative was spot on, with a slight number of changes to make it work on film. I adored the little vignettes of Amy writing in her diary, the masterful switches in point of view. At 2 hours and 30 minutes, I was worried it would be too long, but I don’t think I’ve seen a more perfect adaptation of book to movie.

The only slight difference was the ending, which didn’t vary from the book as much as I thought it would. It added to the feel. I loved it. Of course I have to spare a moment for the soundtrack, which I bought immediately upon leaving the theatre. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross knocked it out of the fucking ballpark. If you loved the book, you’ll love the movie. If you haven’t read the book, I suggest you do so, but it’s not necessary as long as you know that it’s not a feel-good movie and there are no happy endings. It’s a thriller and I am thrilled I got the chance to see it on the big screen. Nick and Amy are so fucked up and absolutely perfect for each other.

I sat in my seat as the credits rolled and just smiled. I don’t remember ever walking out of a theatre grinning like that, that sort of haughty, deeply self-satisfied smirk. I can’t wait to own it on DVD. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss.

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Review: DEADLY DEBUT ANTHOLOGY

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The New York/Tri-State chapter of the Sisters in Crime have put out their newest anthology, DEADLY DEBUT, seven stories that walk the line between horror and cosy, with a dash of murder thrown in. I’m sure what to expect from anthologies and I am delighted to say this is one solid collection. Guys, there’s even a belly dancer story.

For those who don’t know, I’ve been a belly dance for a little over five years. But we’ll get to that.

“Death Will Clean Your Closet” by Elizabeth Zelvin is probably my favorite from this collection. It’s got that creepy vibe I love so much, a dash of unreliable narrator, and it’s just a little bit darkly hilarious.

“On the Saturday morning, when I finally got around to cleaning my apartment, I found a ton of mouse droppings, seven enormous water bugs, and a body. The body lay crumpled like a Raggedy Ann in the back of the walk-in closet. That closet was the jewel in my rent-controlled crown. It made me the envy of all my friends with one-year leases in the overpriced shoeboxes that had replaced most of the old-law tenements and crumbling brownstones on the Upper East Side. The white, working-class neighborhood of Yorkville had fallen prey to developers, who put in high-rises with Sheetrock walls as thin as a corned beef on rye in a greasy spoon.”

If that doesn’t make you want to start reading, I probably can’t help you. This one’s got a bite. I might be my favorite of the series.

Okay, it is.

“Murder in Aladdin’s Cave” by Lina Zeldovich is the second stand-out for me, and not just because of the belly dancers. I was thrilled to see some diversity, especially a portrayal of Middle Eastern dancers that doesn’t assume we’re all whores.

Can I just say how thrilled I am when writers use correct dancing terminology? Bonus: at our last show, we had a shamadan. I was not the wearer, but I can tell you that thing generates a lot of heat and fire is incredibly heavy. Which makes me believe some of the moves in that story are not, in fact, possible. Please do not toss lighted, flaming headwear from your head. It’s a bad idea.

Terrie Farley Moran’s “Strike Zone” serves as a nice ending to this collection. What better way to wrap up seven tales of murder and misdeeds then by mentioning Edgar Allan Poe. We all know how I feel regarding Mr. Poe.

Edgar Allan Poe killed him.

That’s not what they wrote in the Journal-American or any of the other New York dailies, of course. Those newspapers got carried away with gang violence and how maybe it was the Fordham Baldies did the deed. The papers called the Baldies the most dangerous gang the Bronx had ever spawned. But Edgar Allan Poe was the one who killed him. I know. I was there.

Though I’ve never been to Poe Park (I begged my dad, who grew up in the Bronx, to take me and he declined), the images Moran paints are basically everything I’ve ever imagined. I like her feisty gal narrator and just how she relays how “Edgar Allan Poe killed him.”

I very much enjoyed spending the afternoon immersed in this anthology. It’s about 125 pages printed (249 according to my Nook), and well worth looking into. Murder New York Style has two more anthologies launched and ready: Fresh Slices and Family Matters. If you want to check out all three of these collections, head over to the Murder New York Style website.

I look forward to seeing what the rest of these collections have in store.

Seriously, though how does one became a Sister in Crime because I want in! Talk about coolest name ever

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Scavenger Hunt: The Gateway Blog Tour

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To celebrate the release of Heather Marie’s The Gateway Through Which They Came, we’re having a scavenger hunt blog hop.

It’s easy to join in the fun! Each of the Scavenger Hunt hosts will post an architectural letter (to keep with The Gateway theme) somewhere hidden in their post about Heather Marie’s new book.

Collect all eight letters and unscramble the word used in The Gateway Through Which They Came.

Each site will have a rafflecopter portal for you to enter the winning answer once you’ve collected all the letters.

The Scavenger Hunt runs from Wednesday, August 27th to Wednesday, September 10th.

One winner will be chosen from all entrants to win a paperback copy of The Gateway Through Which They Came signed by Heather Marie. Continue reading

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Hurricane Josephine Threatens Coastal Savannah: Servants of the Storm

July 16, 2014- National Weather Center

Meteorologists are continuing to see northern movement in Tropical Storm Josephine just off the coast of Florida. Wind speeds have picked up considerably overnight and we are now issuing a hurricane warning. Residents of Savannah, Georgia are urged to begin preparation for severe storms. Coastal residents should have an evacuation plan before any warning is officially issued.

  • Gather emergency supplies, including food, water, protective clothing, important documents, maps and batteries.
  • Listen to local authorities via radio or television. Keep a battery operated or hand-crank radio in case of power outages.
  • If forced to weather the storm, please seek shelter in secure buildings and stay as far away from windows as possible.
  • Lulls often signal the eye of the storm, not the end. Wait for authorities to pronounce the area safe before attempting to leave.

While hurricane tracking has improved, there is no accurately way of knowing when the hurrican may hit. The projected date is August 5th. We urge you to form evacuation plans as soon as possible. Hurricanes cause 10% of all weather-related fatalities, and Josephine looks like she’s ready for a fight. For further information on Hurricane Josephine, consult Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson.

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Delilah S. Dawson’s YA debut, Servants of the Storm, hits shelves August 5th. Dovey lost her best friend Carly in the aftermath of Hurricane Josephine, and since spent her days in a medicated numbness. Until she sees Carly at their favorite cafe. She drops the meds, and the world that opens before is like nothing she’d ever imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

While you’re working on evacuation plans, you can pre-order a copy of Servants of the Storm from any of your favorite indie book sellers, Barnes and Noble.com, or Amazon.com.

In addition to having a hurricane arrive at your doorstep, you can email Delilah your information at whismydark@gmail.com, and she’ll send you a signed book-plate.

For those of you who are Georgia residents, Delilah is throwing a launch party August 8th at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Roswell. BBQ, delicious cake and fox-eared demons will be provided.

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Delilah S. Dawson is a writer, a geek, an artist, an adventure junky, and a coffee and cupcake connoisseur. She writes books for young adults and mostly-adults that range from whimsical to dark to sexy to horrific to adventuresome. She can occasionally be NSFW, but when she is, it’s usually because she’s ranting about writing or sexism or talking honestly about her experiences with rape, depression, and suicide.

Delilah loves having adventures, playing on the trapeze, horseback riding, seeing superhero movies, going to cons, traveling, reading, tacos, the ocean, pretty boots, eating weird animals, tattoos, vests, cosplay, The Cure, painting, narwhals, octopodes, crows, cheese, drinks made with elderflower, dark chocolate, cold sheets, Boyd Crowder, and shows like Justified, Firefly, Venture Bros., Community, Adventure Time, Arrested Development, TWD, and Frisky Dingo. Please geek out with her on Twitter for full SQUEE.

She is also an Associate Editor at Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech and can teach you to wear a baby on your back so you can pretend to be Luke Skywalker toting Yoda.

You can find her website at WhimsyDark.com, like her on Facebook,  and follow her on Twitter @DelilahSDawson.

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Writing Dark

It’s no secret that I’ve been actively querying THE KILLING TYPE since Spring last year. I still have two partials out in the wide world, but so far, all I’ve received are rejections. They were polite, some had advice to offer, but a handful of things were common: They had trouble connecting to my main character, Charlotte, and the beginning wasn’t working for them.

I’ve already confessed that I’m terrible at beginnings, but something else occurred to me: when I started TKT, I didn’t take the time to get to know Charlotte. I simply ran with my concept. It’s also not my voice.

When I started the first draft, I tried for a 1920’s noir feel. It wasn’t a fit. The story settled into modern-day, and I bashed out a few openings. I got so frustrated writing them that I skipped to the middle and the end, which were more fun. I wanted it to be cool.

I was trying too hard.

I realized the issue wasn’t in the words, but in me. I tried for a light opening; I didn’t let myself go dark, and dark is what I do.

The answer’s been staring at me for weeks, from friends asking advice on making their books creepier to actively taking about brains and autopsy on Twitter.

The opening to The Killing Type is too… commercial. It’s too inauthentic for me. It doesn’t have the edge or the grit I love. My first fifty pages are MUNDANE and that’s not at all who I am!

I needed to sit down with Charlotte and get to know her because I’d rushed into writing this book. I need to stop worrying about how other people will see her and just convey her as she is. I need to not be afraid to embrace the sort of writer I am. I’m a macabre fairy princess, and THE KILLING TYPE is fertile soil for my brand of dark magic.

I see a lot of people worried about writing what will sell instead of writing the story they need to tell. Finding the voice to tell it in is just as important as finding the story. You shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself, outside in the real world or on the page. Charlotte and I are going to get to know each other, and then you’ll all get to know her.

I’m wrapping up THE MORTALITY VICE, slowly. It’s been a whirlwind romance with that one, and I’m going to be heartbroken when it’s done, but it’s time to get back to my first love. I’ll be rewriting my opening pages and giving TKT an overhaul. I’ve got ideas, dark, wicked ideas, and for the first time in months I feel like myself again.

And damn does it feel good.

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My Top Five Books of 2013!

Because I just don’t talk about books enough! Here are my top five favorite reads of this year.

Most of these books are available at Barnes and Noble (BarnesandNoble.com) and Amazon, in both print and ebook variety, with the exception of Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein. You gotta hit up MadCreator.com for that one.

THE BOOKS:
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April G. Tucholke
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Darker Still (Magic Most Foul series) by Leanna Renee Hieber

Thank you for watching, and here’s to a new year of adventures and haunting book shops.

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December 19, 2013 · 8:41 pm

15 Day Book Blogging Challenge!|Day One

I saw April C. (@booksandwine on Twitter) post this 15 Book Blogging Challenge and I thought it’d be something interesting to try. It won’t be daily, and I don’t know that I can answer all 15, but there’s only so much talk about writing that I can do. Seeing as I read obsessively, this will work out just fine! 15-Day-Challenge

Day One: Make 15 book-related confessions

1) I have book guilt. I own so many books, and keep buying more, and I feel terrible for not finishing the ones I have. Or not starting them, in most cases. Due to the new budget (IE, No books) I’m hoping to solve this problem.

2) I love interesting villains. Don’t just be evil because. Have a reason. That’s the way to my heart.

3) I COMPLETELY judge books by their covers. I’m obsessed with typography and the prettier the book, the more likely I am to buy it.

4) Delilah S. Dawson’s Blud series are the first Romance book I’ve read. Turns out I didn’t hate Romance, I just hate Romance without plot. Also bludbunnies. And killer world-building.

5) I’ve been getting more into science books lately. Not science-fiction, but actual science study. I’m a sucker for 1800s surgical theatre and psychology.

6) If your MC has a silly name, I probably won’t take your book seriously. I’m looking at you, Theseus Cassio. (Anna Dressed in Blood was still pretty good, but that name…)

7) Last year, a survey said the average American reads 6 books a year. I read 156, ebooks and physical.

8) I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% ok with ebooks, but I’m coming around.

9) I can’t check books out of libraries. I am forever unwilling to give them back.

10) There’s nothing I love more than reading crime novels and thrillers in public, in the prettiest dress I own.

11) I must have adult supervision any time I’m in a bookstore, even though I’m 24. I’ve been known to spend hours wandering in them after a promise of only being a few minutes.

12) I just don’t get science-fiction.

13) The three things that get me are broken hearts, kickass MCs, and supernatural things. Needless to say, In The Shadow of Blackbirds destroyed me.

14) I still don’t like Pride and Prejudice, but I did love the Lizzie Bennett Diaries.

15) I faked my way through American lit in college. I hate 90% of Old White Men writers. Faulkner only gets a pass for “A Rose for Emily.”

BONUS: Never, ever insult Charles Dickins on a subway in London.

What are YOUR book-related confessions? Feel free to comment below, and check out the original post by April here, GOOD BOOKS GOOD WINE.

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