My February Book Wish List

Right now I am judging for the RITA contest, which is basically the Oscars for romance writers. This means I need to read seven books by March. Therefore, my Friday Reads posts haven't gotten any love because I can't reveal which books I'm judging.

Also, I haven't allowed myself to get any new books until I'm done with the contest. So I've been making a wish list on Amazon of what I'll be buying once I'm done judging. And I thought in lieu of a Friday Reads post, I'd share my current wish list.

Isn't that a gorgeous cover? That's what drew me first but the premise sounds really intriguing, too.

Blurb: 

Katherine Barrett, a dedicated young doctor, receives a terrified phone call from her brother, TJ. He is running away to Mexico to save himself and their family from an unnamed killer. He warns her not to come after him and not to go to the police, as there is no one she can trust. But Katherine realizes there might be someone she can trust… 
She turns to her former high school sweetheart Jake Monroe—the man whose heart she broke a decade earlier. Katherine asks Jake to fly her into a remote and dangerous part of Mexico where no one else dares to go. 
Jake had always thought that one day Katherine would realize she needed him, but he didn't expect it to go down this way. Still, he can't resist the beautiful blonde he has never been able to forget. 
They set off on an adventure that will take them into the past, unravel a decade of secrets, and lead them into the heart of a lightning storm that will change the way they look at their families, the world, and each other… 

 

Two Cuts Darker (A Killer Need)
By Joely Sue Burkhart

I loved the first book in this series and am really looking forward to this one. Warning: Dark romance. I'm not going to link to the blurb in case you don't want to be spoiled on the first book. You can read my take on One Cut Deeper here.

 

Little Secrets
By Megan Hart

I really enjoy Megan Hart's erotic books, and they all tend to have some darkness in them. So it's no surprise to me that she's writing some horror. I happen to love horror, so I'm looking forward to this one. 

Blurb:

They’re not alone in the house.
With a baby on the way and a brand new house, it seems Ginny and her husband, Sean, are on their way to a fresh start. But strange occurrences and financial strain seem determined to keep Ginny and Sean stuck in the past. Ginny begins to believe the house may be haunted…or that her husband might be trying to trick her into thinking so. As Ginny researches the house’s former owner and the tragedy that happened there, it becomes clearer than ever that something is in the house with them. The question is, who…or what…is it?

 

This one first came to my attention in Annika Martin's Dirty Quote newsletter and then I saw Smexy Books review it. The premise sounds intriguing. Alaska. Running from bad guys. Sexiness. I'm in.

Blurb:

From enemies to allies… 
When archaeologist Isabel Dawson stumbles upon an unconscious man deep in the Alaskan wilderness, her survival skills are put to the test. She tends his wounds and drags him to shelter, only to discover she’s saved the life of Raptor CEO Alec Ravissant—the man who may have covered up her brother’s murder to save his senatorial campaign. 
With no memory of the assault that landed him five miles deep in the forest, Alec doesn’t know what to believe when he wakes in the clutches of the beautiful redhead who blames him for her brother’s death, but he quickly realizes he needs her help to uncover the truth about his lost hours. 
Isabel never imagined she’d find herself allied with Alec, and he’s the last man she ever expected to find attractive. But the former Army Ranger-turned-politician proves seductively charming, and he’s determined to win much more than her vote. When their quest for answers puts Isabel in the crosshairs, Alec must risk everything—his company, his campaign, and his life—to protect her.

 

This one is on sale for 99 cents and is m/m/f menage where the guys are a couple first (from what I understand.) Sign me up! :) 

Blurb:

Self-made billionaires Zane and Trey have been a club of two since they were eighteen. They’ve done everything together: play football, fall in love, even get smacked around by their dads. The only thing they haven’t tried is seducing the same woman. When they set their sights on sexy chef Rebecca, these bad boys just might have met their match! 

All right, that's what's made it onto my wish list. What's on yours right now? 

Have a great Valentine's weekend!

 

Note: I have not been asked to endorse or feature any of these books. Selections are my own. But Amazon links are affiliate links.

On Horror Writing: Stephen King's Danse Macabre

Y'all know I'm a writing book junkie. I can't seem to get enough. And typically, I gravitate toward books on structure because I'm always trying to convince my pantser self into being a plotter. However, this time I decided to pick up something a little different. 

I saw Stephen King's Danse Macabre mentioned somewhere on the interwebs and realized it wasn't a novel, but King's thoughts on horror. I needed to have it. See, I have a love of the horror genre, as that's a lot of what I grew up reading when I graduated to "grown up" books. And though I'm a big chicken in real life, I love being scared in fiction or through movies. Also, I haven't ruled out penning a horror tale--maybe even with some romance mixed in--one of these days. So I wanted to read this book.

Now, my thoughts...

King wrote this back in 1981 so it's dated and feels it. However, there is a fantastic 2010 forenote called "What's Scary" where King gives his thoughts on more recent trends in horror and lists the movies he thinks got it right. That was a great read and gave me a list of new movies to watch. 

If you've read On Writing--which is one of the best writing books out there--don't expect this to be that. This is not so much a book about how to write as it is a history of horror from King's perspective. This is a long book that goes off on a lot of tangents that feel a bit aimless at times. Someone on Goodreads described it as sitting down in a bar late one night and getting drunk with King as he riffs about the history of horror. That's exactly what it comes across like. So yes, there are nuggets of greatness in this book, but there's a lot of other stuff to sift through and it took me a while to read. Often too much time was spent on topics and examples that could've been wrapped up in many less pages.

So, if you're looking for Stephen King's advice on how to write, get On Writing and enjoy the greatness. Danse Macabre is probably more for die hard King fans and for those who grew up in his era and want to reminisce about horror movies and TV shows from the past.

However, like I said, there were some great nuggets in the book, and in the end, I'm glad I read it.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

On imagination in adulthood: "...whenever I run into someone who expresses a feeling along the lines of, "I don't read fantasy or go to any of those movies; none of it's real," I feel a kind of sympathy. They simply can't lift the weight of fantasy. The muscles of the imagination have grown too weak." --Stephen King, Danse Macabre

On the duty of literature: "...the primary duty of literature--to tell us the truth about ourselves by telling us lies about people who never existed." --Stephen King, Danse Macabre

On the definition of "gothic" literature (which I appreciated because the definition is often hard to pin down for me): "They are all books where the past eventually becomes more important than the present." --Stephen King, Danse Macabre

On horror involving homes/houses: "...horror fiction is a cold touch in the midst of the familiar, and good horror fiction applies this cold touch with sudden, unexpected pressure. When we go home and shoot the bolt on the door, we like to think we're locking trouble out. The good horror story about the Bad Place whispers that we are not locking the world out; we are locking ourselves in...with them." --Stephen King, Danse Macabre

On the role of power in fantasy fiction: "...all fantasy fiction is essentially about the concept of power; great fantasy fiction is about people who find it at great cost or lose it tragically; mediocre fantasy fiction is about people who have it and never lose it but simply wield it." --Stephen King, Danse Macabre

On Writers: "The novelist is, after all, God's liar, and if he does his job well, keeps his head and courage, he can sometimes find the truth that lives at the center of the lie." --Stephen King, Danse Macabre

Our job as writers (he specifies writers of fantasy but I think this can apply to all fiction): "The imagination is an eye, a marvelous third eye that floats free. As children, that eye sees with 20/20 clarity. As we grow older, its vision begins to dim...The job of the fantasy writer, or the horror writer, is to bust the walk of that tunnel vision wide for a little while; to provide a single powerful spectacle for the third eye. The job of the fantasy-horror writer is to make you, for a little while, a child again." --Stephen King, Danse Macabre

Good stuff, yeah?

Has anyone else read this one? Any other horror lovers out there?

Craving a Scare-the-Hell-Out-of-You Movie for Halloween?

Okay, so I know  I don't usually post on Mondays. But since it's Halloween and I watched a seriously scary movie last night, I felt compelled to pass along the recommendation.

Now, first of all, I love a scary movie, but lately it seems like most horror focuses on special effects and gratuitous gore. I'm not so much for the gore. I find movies that leave a lot unseen tend to build more tension and fear. And this movie, The Strangers, had tension-building down to a freaking science. I watched most of the film between my fingers.

 

 

Hubs makes fun of me for covering my eyes.

Him: "I thought you liked scary movies."

Me: "I do. This is part of the process."

Him: "Not seeing half of it is part of the process?"

Me: "Definitely."

But honestly, if I'm peeking through my fingers and curled up in a tense ball on the couch, this means it's an effective horror movie. And The Strangers was highly effective. 

The scariest part of this movie is that this could totally happen (apparently it's based on true events--eek). And the reason why the bad guys/gals are after these people is probably the most chilling of all--"because you were home."  

So, if you want a scary movie to watch tonight, try this one out. I suggest you don't watch it alone in a dark house in the woods. Just sayin'.

Here's the trailer: 

Has anyone else seen The Strangers? What did you think? What movies scare you the most--the could-happen-in-real-life or that paranormal/monster type horror? And am I the only one tired of the gore subsitituting for true tension?