Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Sunday Salon and 3 Books You Need to Write Down Now!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Pour yourself a cup of java, pull up a chair and relax. It's that time of the week we chat about books and bookish things! Not only have I been a reader this week, but I've played Sherlock Holmes as I've searched the virtual book shelves to find our next great read...

It's fun sometimes to take a peek at what books are coming out in a few months. I do this in a lot of different ways. I get notices from publishers, I get an email from an author sometimes, I read other readers blogs or I find interesting books while I'm at websites like Goodreads and LibraryThing. LibraryThing is a place where you can "store" your books virtually. Before I found the Goodreads site, that's where I entered in all my books so I could keep track of them. I haven't kept up with my books there since Goodreads enticed me, but LibraryThing also has a great monthly feature called Early Reviewers, where LibraryThing members can request books listed by publishers for reviewing. It's more like a giveaway, because there are only so many books for A LOT of requests, but even if you  don't snag an ARC, it's a great source to see what's being published in the next few months. I saw a few books there that I definitely want to read and I had to share them with you today…

First, I saw a new book by Sara Gruen! Ever since Water for Elephants I have been a huge fan of hers. I didn't really enjoy her last book though, Ape House. I think I may have not been in the right frame of mind for it. I started it, but it just didn't hold me. Maybe because it was so different than Water for Elephants? But when I saw that Sara has a new book coming out in a few months, I had to read about it, and I think it's going to be a great read! It's called At The Water's Edge. First of all it's time frame is WWII (I love WWII settings!), secondly it takes place in the Scottish Highlands (I know there won't be any highlanders, but oh what a wonderful landscape!), and finally Sara throws in a quest to find none other than the Loch Ness Monster! I think all these elements in Sara's hands spells READ ME. Here is the description from the publisher…

At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen… In At the Water’s Edge, she tells the gripping and poignant story of a privileged young woman’s moral and sexual awakening as she experiences the devastations of World War II in the Scottish Highlands. Madeline Hyde, a young socialite from Philadelphia, reluctantly follows her husband and their best friend to the tiny village of Drumnadrochit in search of the Loch Ness monster—at the same time that a very real monster, Hitler, wages war against the Allied Forces. Despite German warplanes flying overhead and scarce food rations (and even scarcer stockings), what Maddie discovers—about the larger world and about herself—through the unlikely friendships she develops with the villagers, opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities as well.

If you enjoy historical fiction like I do, you should copy this one down. It's due out March 31st from Random House. *It is on my wish list! UPDATE: After writing this post, I actually received an eGalley of At The Water's Edge. I decided I would read a little bit to get a feel for the story… and couldn't stop reading it! All the elements I thought would make this a great read DID! I really enjoyed this! SO, look for my review this Monday, Jan. 12th!

Next book that looked really interesting to me was Shadow's Over Paradise by Isabel Wolff. I have never heard of Isabel Wolff, but it seems she's got quite a few books under her belt here in the states and internationally. When I read a reviewer say that fans of Jamie Ford would enjoy this book, my eyes perked up. I love Jamie Ford. Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is on of my favorite books! Shadow's over Paradise brings together Jenni Clark, a ghostwriter and Klara, an elderly woman to have Jenni ghostwrite Klara's life story. I like having 2 generations of women together and I like stories that visit the past this way, while weaving a new story together with all the other pieces. Here's what the publisher writes...

Shadow's Over Paradise by Isabel WolffSometimes the only way forward is through the past. Jenni Clark is a ghostwriter. She loves to immerse herself in other people’s stories—a respite from her own life, and from a relationship that appears to be nearing its end. Jenni’s latest assignment takes her to a coastal hamlet in England, where she’s agreed to pen the memoir of an elderly farm owner named Klara. Jenni assumes the project will be easy: a quiet, ordinary tale of a life well lived. But Klara’s story is far from quiet. She recounts the tale of a family torn apart by World War II, and of disgraceful acts committed against a community in the Japanese prison camps on the Pacific island paradise of Java. As harrowing details emerge and stunning truths come to light, Jenni is compelled to confront a secret she’s spent a lifetime burying. Weaving together the lives of two very different women, Isabel Wolff has created a captivating novel of love, loss, and hope that reaches across generations. 

Shadow's Over Paradise is due to be released on Feb. 10th by Bantam. On my wish list too!
OK, I can't wait for this one to come out too! It has that WWII aspect again, and I can see the Jamie Ford connection, because part of the story of Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet was set in the internment camps of WWII.

Another "list" I look at is the Indie Next List. Every month Independent Bookstores get together and recommend a book. There is a list of "runner's up" as well, but the Indie Next pick for that month is the top banana. Usually, the top pick is a great read, and that's where I saw The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton. The setting is a small rural coal town in Kentucky and it just sounds like a wonderful character driven story. Maybe a bit of coming-of-age sprinkled in there too. I was able to get an eGalley of it and was immediately taken with Christopher Scotton's writing…

"It was always coal. Coal filler their pantry and put a sense of purpose in their Monday coffee. coal was Christmas and the long weekend in Nashville when the Opry offered half-priced tickets. Coal was new corduroy slacks and the washboard symphony they played to every step."

Here's what the publisher's had to say...

After witnessing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, 14-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin's grandfather. In this peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods. The events of this fateful summer will affect the entire town of Medgar, Kentucky. Medgar is beset by a massive Mountaintop Removal operation that is blowing up the hills and back filling the hollows. Kevin's grandfather and others in town attempt to rally the citizens against the 'company' and its powerful owner to stop the plunder of their mountain heritage. When Buzzy witnesses the brutal murder of the opposition leader, a sequence is set in play which tests Buzzy and Kevin to their absolute limits in an epic struggle for survival in the Kentucky mountains. Redemptive and emotionally resonant, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth is narrated by an adult Kevin looking back on the summer when he sloughed the coverings of a boy and took his first faltering steps as a man among a rich cast of characters and an ambitious effort to reclaim a once great community.

Look for a review coming soon for this one. It just came out January 6th from Grand Central Publishing and should be available at your local bookstore, so no waiting for this one!

Weekly Recap…

Monday, Jan. 5th, I reviewed Wonder by R.J.Palacio. A great Young Adult (YA) novel about acceptance, bullying and redemption. If you haven't read it, you should! Here's my REVIEW.

Wed, Jan. 7th, I reviewed Strange Girl by Rick Remender. A graphic novel about a young girl who hasn't earned her wings when "the rapture" comes, and ends up on an earth turned into Hell, trying to find redemption anyway. Good story, good artwork. Here's my REVIEW.

Saturday, Jan. 10th, I reviewed another graphic novel called The Mind Gap Volume 1: Intimate Strangers by Jim McCann. It's a mystery/suspense with a paranormal twist and I really enjoyed it. Artwork was good and the story even better. Here's my REVIEW.

That's what I found this week to read, how about you? What great books have you been reading about? And where do you find your "Next Great Read"?

Happy Reading… Suzanne


Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) said...

At the Water's Edge sounds like one I would enjoy, too. Adding it to Goodreads...I liked Water for Elephants, mostly for the setting and history.

Vasilly said...

The cover of the new Sara Gruen book is beautiful! I hope you end up enjoying it.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Joy,
Yes, if you enjoy historical fiction, At the Water's Edge would be a definite read for you. Sara Gruen gets an A+ for her portrayal of WWII.

Thanks for stopping by!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Vasilly,
I thought the cover was beautiful too! And I really enjoyed At the Water's Edge! I wanted to just read a little bit and got hooked. I finished it in a day and a half.

Thanks for coming by!

Laurie C said...

I think this is my first discovery of your blog! I hadn't heard about At the Water's Edge, but it sounds good. We'll definitely need to order it for the library, and it sounds like a great book club book, too.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Laurie!
Welcome to the blog! Definitely a great book to add to your library! I really enjoyed At the Water's Edge. Sara Gruen is a great writer, but she just portrayed WWII and the differences in how the classes dealt with the war so well. Great female protagonist too! I'll be posting my review tomorrow too!

Thanks for stopping by!

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