Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Memoir Monday... The Sagrada Familia by Gijs Van Hensergen

The Sagrada Familia by Gijs Van Hensergen... An illuminating biography of one of the most famous--and most famously unfinished--buildings in the world, the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona.

The scaffolding-cloaked spires of Antoni Gaudí's masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, dominate the Barcelona skyline and draw in millions of visitors every year. More than a century after the first stone was laid in 1882, the Sagrada Familia remains unfinished, a testament to Gaudí's quixotic ambition, his religious devotion, and the sensuous eccentricity of his design. It has defied the critics, the penny-pinching accountants, the conservative town-planners, and the devotees of sterile modernism. It has enchanted and frustrated the citizens of Barcelona. And it has passed through the landmark changes of twentieth-century Spain, surviving two World Wars, the ravages of the Spanish Civil War, and the "Hunger Years" of Franco's rule.

Gijs van Hensbergen's The Sagrada Familia explores the evolution of this remarkable building, working through the decades right up to the present day before looking beyond to the final stretch of its construction. Rich in detail and vast in scope, this is a revelatory chronicle of an iconic structure, its place in history, and the wild genius that created it.

This crazy beautiful Basilica in Barcelona has some history and this biography should be quite interesting. I love the idea of a biography of a piece of architecture too! What do you think?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Memoir Monday... The Day the World Came to Town 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim Defede

When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople. Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches. Linens and toiletries were bought and donated. A middle school provided showers, as well as access to computers, email, and televisions, allowing the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.

Over the course of those four days, many of the passengers developed friendships with Gander residents that they expect to last a lifetime. As a show of thanks, scholarship funds for the children of Gander have been formed and donations have been made to provide new computers for the schools. This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada, whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.

The world will never forget what happened on 9/11. This book written in 2011 reminds us of the compassion and strength people are capable of. I had never heard of what happened in Gander, Newfoundland before reading about this book, but I look forward to this uplifting story.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day and Rosie the Riveter...



Labor Day is the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement and is meant to celebrate "the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country". One of the most enduring symbols of the American worker is Rosie the Riveter. Are you familiar with her? Her history may not be what you think. Here's her story straight from the Department of Labor...

Rosie: By Any Other Name - The Riveting True Story of the Labor Icon
Iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, but with the words 'Don't Call me Rosie. Or Else!' above her head.Certainly, one of the more readily recognizable icons of labor is "Rosie the Riveter," the indefatigable World War II-era woman who rolled up her sleeves, flexed her arm muscles and said, "We Can Do It!" But, this isn't the original Rosie.

In 1942, as World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific and the song "Rosie the Riveter" filled radio waves across the home front, manufacturing giant Westinghouse commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to make a series of posters to promote the war effort. One such poster featured the image of a woman with her hair wrapped up in a red polka-dot scarf, rolling up her sleeve and flexing her bicep. At the top of the poster, the words ‘We Can Do It!' are printed in a blue caption bubble. To many people, this image is "the" Rosie the Riveter. But it was never the intention to make this image "Rosie," nor did many Americans think of her as "Rosie." The connection of Miller's image and "Rosie" is a recent phenomenon.

The "Rosie" image popular during the war was created by illustrator Norman Rockwell (who had most certainly heard the "Rosie the Riveter" song) for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943 — the Memorial Day issue. The image depicts a muscular woman wearing overalls, goggles and pins of honor on her lapel. She sports a leather wrist band and rolled-up sleeves. She sits with a riveting tool in her lap, eating a sandwich, and "Rosie" is inscribed on her lunch pail. And, she's stepping on a copy of Adolph Hitler's book "Mein Kampf."

The magazine cover exemplified the American can-do spirit and illustrated the notion of women working in previously male-dominated manufacturing jobs, an ever-growing reality, to help the United States fight the war while the men fought over seas.

The cover was an enormous success and soon stories about real life "Rosies" began appearing in newspapers across the country. The government took advantage of the popularity of Rosie the Riveter and embarked on a recruiting campaign of the same name. The campaign brought millions of women out of the home and into the workforce. To this day, Rosie the Riveter is still considered the most successful government advertising campaign in history.

After the war, numerous requests were made for the Saturday Evening Post image of Rosie the Riveter, but Curtis Publishing, the owner of the Post, refused all requests. The publishing company was possibly concerned that the composers of the song "Rosie the Riveter" would hold them liable for copyright infringement.

Since then, the J. Howard Miller "We Can Do It!" image has replaced Norman Rockwell's illustration as "Rosie the Riveter" in the minds of many people. Miller's Rosie has been imprinted on coffee mugs, mouse pads, and countless other items, making her and not the original "Rosie" the most famous of all labor icons.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Sunday Salon is Outta This World... 3 Scifi Novels to Take You Away... from Earth

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! AND The Sunday Post (which is hosted by Kim at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer)! It is a gloomy, rainy day here in Connecticut. I can't complain because the amount of rain we're getting is NOTHING in comparison to the devastation that Hurricane Harvey left in Texas. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected... If you'd like to donate in any way, there are plenty of organizations, just remember to do your homework and make sure that most of your donation is going directly to the people you want to help. Charity Navigator is one site that is suppose to investigate charities and rate them accordingly, AND also shows you the percentage of your donation actually going towards help. Don't forget the animals in all this too! Animal rescue sites in the area are out in full force rescueing pets left behind.

In the book world, I rarely read scifi. It's not that I avoid it, it's just that it's not my genre of choice. BUT, every once in a while I'll come across something that really interests me and I'll become completely absorbed. What exactly is Science Fiction? In an article entitled, How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future in Smithsonian magazine, Eileen Gunn says, "the task of science fiction is not to predict the future. Rather, it contemplates possible futures." Sometimes referred to as speculative fiction, science fiction gives us stories of possibilities. Worlds very different than ours and possible technology that seems bizzare to us. Maybe it's this "bizzarness" that turns people away from science fiction, but there are many people who love it and so you will never want for this genre.

If you want to try some science fiction... 
Here are 3 books that I think will be Outta This World...

Artemis by Andy Weir... An irresistible new near-future thriller--a heist story set on the moon. Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I loved Martian by Andy Weir, because I loved Andy Weir's writing. I can't wait to sink my teeth into some more of his writing! This story sounds so interesting! And there is so much "thinking" going into even the title. (Artemis is the Greek Goddess of the Moon) There is a great post about the book, as well as a YouTube video of Andy Weir talking about his new book at Nerdist.com. Artemis will arrive on bookstore shelves November 14th thanks to Crown Publishing.


An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon... Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cookfire.

Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human.

When the autopsy of Matilda's sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother's suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother's footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she's willing to fight for it. 

Another book that seems to break what some may consider the "standard" scifi story, with what seems to be a kickass female protagonist (something I personally love in a story). A little mystery, some drama, and a girl that can think on her feet... From Akashic Books, publishing date of Oct. 3rd!

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland... When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidently meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. The young man from a shadowy government entity approaches Mel, a low-level faculty member, with an incredible offer. The only condition: she must sign a nondisclosure agreement in return for the rather large sum of money. Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace—the world’s fair celebrating the rise of industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world "jams" the "frequencies" used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why. And so the Department of Diachronic Operations—D.O.D.O. —gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive . . . and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the technology, they overlook the mercurial—and treacherous—nature of the human heart.

As soon as I opened the book and read the first page, I was hooked. I love time travel stories and this is exactly that! And it seems that Melisand Stokes is a bit snarky, which I like. This is a long one though, coming in at over 750 pages. I've got my bookmark in this one now. Published by William Morrow this past June, so it's available at your local bookstore!

Question: Do You Read Science Fiction? If not, why not?

Weekly Recap...
Monday's post was Memoir Monday highlighting Witness Tree by Lynda V. Mapes
Friday's post was First Lines Friday highlighting one of today's recommended books! Go take a peek!

Look for my review of The Lying Game by Ruth Ware in the next week or so. Great book! One of those satisfying reads. I'm almost done with Love and Trouble by Claire Dederer, which is such a good book. It's a memoir and just brings back so many memories of growing up in the 60's and 70's. I also have a bookmark in The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō. I actually have the "normal" version of this book, but found this in the Manga section of the bookstore and had to get it. I like Manga anyway (even though I am a picky manga reader), but I just loved that the "lessons" of the book were "illustrated". And it's kinda funny that this was still in what I consider the "kids" section (even though Manga is not just for kids, I am usually the only adult looking through the stacks).

That about does it for today. Hope you found something interesting here! Remember to stop by during the week to catch Memoir Monday, which highlights Memoirs and nonfiction, and First Lines Friday, which opens to the first lines of a book and see's if the author can hook you right from the start.

Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, September 1, 2017

First Lines Friday...



                     
MY NAME IS MELISANDE STOKES and this is my story. I am writing in July 1851 (Common Era, or- let's face it-Anno Domini) in the guest chamber of a middle-class home in Kensington, London, England. But I am not a native of this place or time. In fact, I am quite f*cking desperate to get out of here.
                                                ...The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O
                                                by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland





I happen to pick this book up and read the inside jacket to see what it was all about. I had seen this title pop up in quite a few blurbs and I was curious. I was on the fence about it, until I read the first few lines above... and then I just HAD to read it! Melisande Stokes was my kind of girl!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Memoir Monday... Witness Tree by Lynda V. Mapes

Why is it that when fall approaches, the air seems a bit cleaner, the sky seems brighter and my thoughts turn to nature? It is in this vein that I offer Witness Tree by Lynda V. Mapes for today's Memoir Monday. I read a review in Kirkus Reviews that made me want to open this book up and indulge myself in a bit of nature. Maybe this book will strike a chord with you too... Here's the review...

A textured story of a rapidly changing natural world and our relationship to it, told through the lens of one tree over four seasons. Seattle Times environmental reporter Mapes (Breaking Ground: The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Unearthing of Tse-whit-zen Village, 2015, etc.) first encountered the Harvard Forest as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow, returning soon afterward for a yearlong stay in the woods. Renting a room in a historic farmhouse, she sought out a majestic century-old oak to serve as her lens from which to explore the past, situate the present, and grapple with an uncertain future. Aided by a colorful team of interdisciplinary experts, Mapes tells a dynamic story from multiple perspectives, including from a hammock in the canopy of the tree. Understanding trees simultaneously as utility and commodity, as ritual and relic, as beings with agency and sustainers of life, the author illustrates how they have found their ways into our homes and memories, our economies and language, and she reveals their places in our entangled future. Seamlessly blending elements of physics, ecology, biology, phenology, sociology, and philosophy, Mapes skillfully employs her oak as a human-scaled entry point for probing larger questions. Readers bear witness to indigenous histories and colonialism, to deforestation and extraction, to industrialization and urbanization, and to the story of carbon and the indisputable realities of human-caused climate change. Understanding these phenomena to be intricately interconnected, the author probes lines falsely drawn between objectivity and emotion and between science and wonder, all while examining the nature of knowledge and the possibilities, tensions, and limitations of science. Passionately discrediting the notion that humans and nature are separate, she links this flawed belief to the root of our current ecological crisis and calls for a reimagining of the ways of being together in the world.

A meticulously, beautifully layered portrayal of vulnerability and loss, renewal and hope, this extensively researched yet deeply personal book is a timely call to bear witness and to act in an age of climate-change denial.

What do you think? Does this review make you want to climb a tree? Or maybe just read this book?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Sunday Salon and Dial M for Murder... or 3 "Whodunnit's" of a Different Kind Worth Burning a Candle on Both Ends...


Welcome to The Sunday Salon! AND The Sunday Post (which is hosted by Kim at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer)! I've got so many great books in my TBR pile and on my library reserve list that I can't read them fast enough! I just finished The Lying Game by Ruth Ware and really enjoyed it! Look for my review this week, but just to let you know I would definitely give it 4 stars, almost 4 1/2. The last 50 pages or so I was holding my breath and feverishly turning the pages! After reading The Lying Game, which is a suspense thriller with a murder mystery at its' heart,  I was looking for more "murder mysteries" and found these three books. The first is a classic "Agatha Christie" type story, but the other two have elements of a whodunnit, but seem to have the whodunnit second to the story (and characters) surrounding the murders... Up for a good whodunnit with a twist? Read on...

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz... Here's the Kirkus Review, A preternaturally brainy novel within a novel that’s both a pastiche and a deconstruction of golden-age whodunits.

Magpie Murders, bestselling author Alan Conway’s ninth novel about Greek/German detective Atticus Pünd, kicks off with the funeral of Mary Elizabeth Blakiston, devoted housekeeper to Sir Magnus Pye, who’s been found at the bottom of a steep staircase she’d been vacuuming in Pye Hall, whose every external door was locked from the inside. Her demise has all the signs of an accident until Sir Magnus himself follows her in death, beheaded with a sword customarily displayed with a full suit of armor in Pye Hall. Conway's editor, Susan Ryeland, does her methodical best to figure out which of many guilty secrets Conway has provided the suspects in Saxby-on-Avon—Rev. Robin Osborne and his wife, Henrietta; Mary’s son, Robert, and his fiancee, Joy Sanderling; Joy’s boss, surgeon Emilia Redwing, and her elderly father; antiques dealers Johnny and Gemma Whitehead; Magnus’ twin sister, Clarissa; and Lady Frances Pye and her inevitable lover, investor Jack Dartford—is most likely to conceal a killer, but she’s still undecided when she comes to the end of the manuscript and realizes the last chapter is missing. Since Conway in inconveniently unavailable, Susan, in the second half of the book, attempts to solve the case herself, questioning Conway’s own associates—his sister, Claire; his ex-wife, Melissa; his ex-lover, James Taylor; his neighbor, hedge fund manager John White—and slowly comes to the realization that Conway has cast virtually all of them as fictional avatars in Magpie Murders and that the novel, and indeed Conway’s entire fictional oeuvre, is filled with a mind-boggling variety of games whose solutions cast new light on murders fictional and nonfictional.

Fans who still mourn the passing of Agatha Christie, the model who’s evoked here in dozens of telltale details, will welcome this wildly inventive homage/update/commentary as the most fiendishly clever puzzle—make that two puzzles—of the year. Stuffed with smarts and storytelling sorcery, this is a work of astonishing breadth and brilliance.

I use to love reading Agatha Christie when I was young! This sounds like it has all the elements of an Agatha Christie yarn and it is in my TBR pile now. Published by Harper Collins and available now!
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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan... Here's the Kirkus Review, A woman must revisit a 20-year-old tragedy after a young man commits suicide in the bookstore where she works.

Lydia Smith loves her job at the Bright Ideas bookstore in Denver, puttering among the shelves and hovering over her gentle BookFrogs, the wanderers and dreamers who spend their days among the stacks. When one of her BookFrogs, Joey Molina, hangs himself in the store, she’s devastated and then shocked when she learns he’s bequeathed his meager possessions to her. When she discovers that he’s left messages to her in the pages of his books, she’s puzzled and begins trying to piece together his last days with the help of his friend Lyle. The reappearance of her childhood friend Raj Patel soon puts Joey on the back burner, however, as questions about her estranged father come to light. It all points back to the Hammerman, who, while Lydia was on a sleepover as a child, brutally killed her friend and her friend’s family with a hammer, leaving Lydia alive, hiding under the sink. The Hammerman was never caught, and Lydia seeks answers from the now-retired detective who handled the case, but she may not want to hear what he has to say. Turns out he always suspected her father was the killer but was stopped from pursuing that path, even in the face of some compelling evidence, and he’s never let go of his suspicion. After all, why did the killer let Lydia live after killing a 10-year-old girl and her parents, and could Joey somehow be connected? Debut author Sullivan presents a nicely paced tale about a horrifying incident with a woman at its core who must put aside her ordered life to find out what really happened all those years ago, where the truth, in the end, may be stranger than fiction.


An intriguingly dark, twisty story and eccentric characters make this book a standout.
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Lots of buzz about this book. And how can you not like a story involving a bookstore?! But this looks to be more than a whodunnit, where the story of Lydia is in the forefront and the "murders" in question help create a worthwhile character. Published by Simon & Schuster and available now!

Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry... Here's the Kirkus Review, The unlikely friendship between a canny widow and a scholarly vicar sets the stage for this sweeping 19th-century saga of competing belief systems.

Widow Cora Seaborne knows she should mourn the death of her husband; instead, she finally feels free. Eschewing the advice of her friends, Cora retreats from London with her lady’s maid, Martha, and strange, prescient son, Francis. The curious party decamps to muddy Essex, where Cora dons an ugly men’s coat and goes tramping in the mud, looking for fossils. Soon she becomes captivated by the local rumor of a menacing presence that haunts the Blackwater estuary, a threat that locks children in their houses after dark and puts farmers on watch as the tide creeps in. Cora’s fascination with the fabled Essex Serpent leads her to the Rev. William Ransome, desperate to keep his flock from descending into outright hysteria. An unlikely pair, the two develop a fast intellectual friendship, curious to many but accepted by all, including Ransome’s ailing wife, Stella. Perry (After Me Comes the Flood, 2015) pulls out all the stops in her richly detailed Victorian yarn, weaving myth and local flavor with 19th-century debates about theology and evolution, medical science and social justice for the poor. Each of Perry’s characters receives his or her due, from the smallest Essex urchin to the devastating Stella, who suffers from tuberculosis and obsesses over the color blue throughout her decline. There are Katherine and Charles Ambrose, a good-natured but shallow society couple; the ambitious and radical Dr. Luke Garrett and his wealthier but less-talented friend George Spencer, who longs for Martha; Martha herself, who rattles off Marx with the best of them and longs to win Cora’s affection; not to mention a host of sailors, superstitious tenant farmers, and bewitched schoolgirls. The sumptuous twists and turns of Perry’s prose invite close reading, as deep and strange and full of narrative magic as the Blackwater itself. Fans of Sarah Waters, A.S. Byatt, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things should prepare to fall under Perry’s spell and into her very capable hands.

This book has gotten glowing reviews, and a "starred" review from Kirkus Review, but a few reviewers say that it's more a character driven victorian yarn that a murder mystery. Annalisa Quinn of NPR in her review of the book called the writing "so painfully lovely", that I just have to read it even if it's not such a "whodunnit" after all. She characterizes it as  a "historical novel". Published by Custom House, a division of Harper Collins, and available now.
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And I Just Have to Mention...
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss... Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.


When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

I want to love this book because I love the idea of characters from other books making a story together. BUT, I have read mixed reviews. Some love it, one in particular not so much, in which the  reviewer thought that the author did not develop the characters enough. But that's the strange thing about reviews- we like to read what other people think of a book when considering to read it, but it is just the opinion of a particular person. So for my money, I'm giving it a chance and have it on my TBR list. I think if nothing else it will be a fun romp!
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Are Book Reviews Important to You When Choosing a Book?
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⭐The one book you don't want to miss this week...
The Burning Girl by Claire Messud... Trying to console her heartbroken daughter, Julia Robinson’s mother muses, “Everyone loses a best friend at some point.” Julia is the narrator of Messud’s beautiful novel about two young girls, inseparable since nursery school in a small Massachusetts town, who feel they’re “joined by an invisible thread,” but who drift apart as they come of age. For years, Julia and Cassie Burnes have shared adventures and dreams, but as they cross the pivotal threshold into seventh grade, Julia feels betrayed when Cassie is drawn to boys, alcohol, and drugs. To the reader, the split seems inevitable. Julia is the product of a stable household, but Cassie’s blowsy, unreliable mother transfers her affection to a brutally controlling lover who destroys Cassie’s sense of security. Desperately unhappy, Cassie sets out to find the father she has never known and begins a spiral of self-destruction that Julia, now no longer Cassie’s intimate friend, must hear about from the boy they both love. Messud shines a tender gaze on her protagonists and sustains an elegiac tone as she conveys the volatile emotions of adolescent behavior and the dawning of female vulnerability (“being a girl is about learning to be afraid”). Julia voices the novel’s leitmotif: that everyone’s life is essentially a mysterious story, distorted by myths. Although it reverberates with astute insights, in some ways this simple tale is less ambitious but more heartfelt than Messud’s previous work. The Emperor’s Children was a many-charactered, satiric study of Ivy League–educated, entitled young people making it in New York. The Woman Upstairs was a clever, audacious portrayal of an untrustworthy protagonist. Informed by the same sophisticated intelligence and elegant prose, but gaining new poignant depths, this novel is haunting and emotionally gripping.

Lot's of buzz about this book! I love these friendship stories. Published by Norton and arriving Tuesday, Aug. 29th at your favorite book seller. On my wish list!
What am I reading this week? I'm finishing up a memoir by Claire Dederer titled Love and Trouble. If you are a girl of "a certain age", growing up in the 70's or 80's, you too might enjoy this! It's about Claire's midlife crisis and reflecting upon "that girl" she'd hidden away 30 years before. Some of these reflections are just too true and too funny. After I put down Claire's book, I'll be picking up my library copy of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, a kind of time traveling scifi romp with a great female protagonist.

That's about it for books this week. Hope you were able to find something interesting here!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, August 25, 2017

First Lines Friday...


"The Reach is wide and quiet this morning, the pale blue sky streaked with pink mackerel-belly clouds, the shallow sea barely rippling in the slight breeze, and so the sound of the dog barking breaks into the calm like gunshots, setting flocks of gulls crying and wheeling in the air..."
                                                                                                ...The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Don't you just love the words rolling off your tongue as you say the pale blue sky streaked with pink mackerel-belly clouds? I do. And I love Ruth Ware's writing because I feel like I am sitting in a big comfy chair admiring all that's going on.

Hmmm... I wonder why that dog is barking... You are going to want to read this book and find out!


Does the first lines tempt you into reading more?


Monday, August 21, 2017

Memoir Monday... Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor

I don't remember how I came across this memoir, but I remember that I felt it was important. In what seems to be a rash of memoirs devoted to the art of dying, this one seemed different. Maybe it's because the author, Cory Taylor, is a writer. Maybe it was the interview of Cory I read that just made me to learn more about this interesting, brave, funny woman. Here's the Kirkus Review of Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor. Tell me what you think...

At the age of sixty, Cory Taylor is dying of melanoma-related brain cancer. Her illness is no longer treatable: she now weighs less than her neighbor’s retriever. As her body weakens, she describes the experience―the vulnerability and strength, the courage and humility, the anger and acceptance―of knowing she will soon die.

Written in the space of a few weeks, in a tremendous creative surge, this powerful and beautiful memoir is a clear-eyed account of what dying teaches: Taylor describes the tangle of her feelings, remembers the lives and deaths of her parents, and examines why she would like to be able to choose the circumstances of her death.

Taylor’s last words offer a vocabulary for readers to speak about the most difficult thing any of us will face. And while Dying: A Memoir is a deeply affecting meditation on death, it is also a funny and wise tribute to life.
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Does the review make you want to read it?

Here's the link to the Cory Taylor interview with Richard Fidler, Dying for beginners: Cory Taylor on facing death with honesty

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Sunday Salon and 3 Thrilling Books to Read While You Wait for the Next Solar Eclipse...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Or instead of the SUNday Salon, maybe we should be talking about the SOLAR Eclipse Salon, because as everyone probably knows, tomorrow we will be experiencing a Solar Eclipse. Where are you going to be? Will you be able to see the full eclipse? Here's a link to see exactly what you'll be able to see...

                                    https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/danbury
 
When you get to the link, just enter YOUR city & state. The duration of the Solar Eclipse, from start to finish will be 2 hours and 36 minutes. And remember if you do want to "see" it, you'll need protective eyewear and/or protective filters for your cameras (you could ruin your camera by pointing it directly too). Want more Solar Eclipse knowledge? Click the link for NASA and learn about the Solar Eclipse and how to view it safetly.

In the blink of an eye, the  2017 Solar Eclipse will be over and the next North American total solar eclipse won't be here until 2024... So while you're waiting for that, let's talk great books! (Okay, that may have been a cheap seque to today's books

For the last few months, I've been reading, but haven't found "that book". You know that book that you don't want to end, and that you feverishly are glued to 24/7. I've also been busy with a lot of personal stuff, like planning to retire from "the day job" and starting "the great purge" to move. But I spent some time at my great local indie bookstore recently (Byrd's Books) and the great reading fire was lite once again! Yay! So here's what I picked up for that last hurrah of summer reading...

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware... On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister... The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.” The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father). 

This is what I'm addicted to now. I walked into the bookstore originally intending to buy the Lizzie Borden story reimagined (See What I Have Done) and did, but this book caught my eye, and after reading a little bit, the writing just hooked me. Ruth Ware is laying the foundation for something OMG, and I can't wait to find out what it is! BTW, Ruth Ware has two other books that have hit home runs in the literary department (In A Dark Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10) and I'll be putting them on my reading list if this is keeps up the literary feast that I'm enjoying now. 
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See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt...  Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell―of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence. As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

In the hands of a great writer, a historical event (or well known story) can be reimagined and be just wonderful. You know all the players and yet a different take can electrify the story once again. A GREAT example, and still one of my favorite reads, is Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. OMG, this story is told thru Mina's (Dracula's love interest) point of view and it is simply delicious! This seemed to start out a little slow, but interestingly, so I chose to read The Lying Game first, but will definitely be reading this next. This book has gotten rave reviews and I hope it lives up to the hype.
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Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka ... When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.

This is characterized as "Suspense", but my first impressions as I was reading a bit of it were more like literary fiction with a sprinkling of suspense. I suppose when I hear suspense, I think of "thriller", which is not always the case. BUT, I really enjoyed the sample writing of Danya Kukafka and had to put the book down before I became totally absorbed. 
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AND Coming Soon to a Bookstore near you... There are a few books that are on my radar... The Burning Girl by Claire Messud, "A bracing, hypnotic coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends" and a book by none other than Nancy Pearl, "America's Librarian, who can recommend a good book in a heartbeat, but now has written one herself. It's called George & Lizzie, "an intimate story of new and past loves, the scars of childhood, and an imperfect marriage at its defining moments". Will Nancy Pearl's novel writing live up to her review fame? I'm willing to give it a try, just because I'm a Nancy Pearl fan. May be more practical to borrow this one though, I've heard some mixed reviews. 


That about wraps up this weeks book finds... We'll be back with more great books next week, because there were definitely more books I could have talked about! I think this fall is going to be a great book reading season!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Sunday Salon and Packing a Bag of Books for Vacation...

                                         
Welcome summer! Welcome to The Sunday Salon!  And Welcome Back to Chick with Books! It's been a few months since I've peeked my head out of the pages of the books I've been reading, but my winter hibernation is over! This week I am going on vacation... destination is Myrtle Beach and I have a bag of books coming with me! What's in my bag?... Beach Reads! Let's take a look at three...

Here's the first book that caught my eye and wound up in the book bag... Isn't summer the perfect time for a little romance?

The Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monniger's... 

Two strangers take the road less traveled...

Heather Mulgrew’s world is already mapped out: she is going to travel abroad with her friends after college, come back to a great career in September, and head into a life where not much is left to chance. But that was before an encounter on an overnight train introduces her to Jack, a passionate adventurer who changes the course of her journey and her life.

Throwing Heather's careful itinerary to the wind, they follow Jack's grandfather's journal through post-World War II era Europe: Vienna, Budapest, Turkey―exotic places that serve only to heighten their feelings. As September looms, Jack urges Heather to stay with him, to keep traveling, to give in to the romance of their experience; Heather convinces him to return to the United States.

Jack has a secret that could change everything. And Heather’s world is about to be shaken to the core.
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Next book to make it in the book bag is one of those "Chick" books. And I just love where the story takes place (Cape Cod) in and I like the family dynamics involved (Sisters)... this actually is more of what I think of as a beach read...

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand... 

Identical twin sisters who couldn't look more alike...or live more differently.

Harper Frost is laid-back, easygoing. She doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She's inherited her father's rundown house on Martha's Vineyard, but she can't hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking. 

Two beautiful islands only eleven miles apart.

Tabitha Frost is dignified, refined. She prefers a fine wine and has inherited the impeccable taste of her mother, the iconic fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost. She's also inherited her mother's questionable parenting skills--Tabitha's teenage daughter, Ainsley, is in full rebellion mode--and a flailing fashion boutique on Nantucket in desperate need of a cash infusion. 

One unforgettable summer that will change their lives forever.


After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha switch islands--and lives--to save what's left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they'd outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages.


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Here's another book where the place is special... South Carolina's low country ( a place I love to visit).  The last book that made it into the bag for this trip is...

Same Beach, Next Year: A Novel by Dorothea Benton Frank... 

One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.


Bursting with the intoxicating richness of Dorothea Benton Frank’s beloved Lowcountry—the sultry sunshine, cool ocean breezes, icy cocktails, and starry velvet skies—Same Beach, Next Year is a dazzling celebration of the infrangible power of friendship, the enduring promise of summer, and the indelible bonds of love.
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One other book made it into my eReader... 

Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe... When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, an young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.

Of course the setting is still South Carolina, there's the beach and it's sprinkled with birding!
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Summer vacation reads, to me, need to be light and romantic at heart. I don't want to read about police investigations, murders or kidnappings. I save those genre's for the rest of the year. Do you read differently on vacation? Do you change your reading habits in the summer?


What kinds of books do you like to read in the summer? 

It's nice to be back and to talk about books! And there are so many great books to talk about now too!  Share your summer plans and summer reading! I'll be heading for some relaxation on a beach in South Carolina with books in hand. I'll also be keeping my eye out for any great book stores on the way and there! I'll be gone for two weeks, but back to Chick with Books on Sunday, July 16th! Come back then and say hello and see what other great books I've found to share! 

Happy reading... Suzanne

Monday, January 23, 2017

In My Mailbox...

In My Mailbox... I've received some great books in my mailbox! And I decided I would join in on the fun sharing them with you and the other bloggers participating in Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday is a weekly event for bloggers to share what books arrived in their mailboxes. Mailbox Monday was originally created by Marcia of To Be Continued and is now hosted by Vicki, Serena and Leslie at Mailbox Monday's own blog.

So, here are the books...

The Girl Before by JP Delaney... The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

JANE
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Published by Random House Publishing, Ballantine and will be released Jan. 24th! Tomorrow!
*****
Always by Sarah Jio... While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiancé, Ryan, at one of Seattle's chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can't believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense—everything connected and felt right. But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what—and whom—she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she's willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

Published by Random House Publishing, Ballantine and will be released Feb. 7, 2017.
*****                           
I Found You by Lisa Jewell... A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.


Published by Atria Books with a release date of April 25, 2017.

*****
the night the lights went out by Karen White... Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....

Published by Berkey Publishing Group with a release date of April 11, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Sunday Salon and 3 Great Reads with a Southern touch


Welcome to Chick with BooksThe Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post (which is hosted by Kim at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer)!  It's the day of the week we sit back, relax and talk books! The new year has started and as a reader I am so excited to see what books are coming our way! So, pull up a chair, grab a cup of Java and let's explore some great reading!

It's the winter in Connecticut, but the temps are in the 50's! Today was like a beautiful spring day with sunshine and 57 degrees! Instead of reading dreary winter fiction, it felt like I should be reading beach reads. What I started to read and could hardly stop reading (and I really needed to if I was going to post a Sunday Salon!) was the night the lights went out by Karen White. This is the first time I've read anything by Karen White and I'm beginning to fall in love. Her writing is so unassuming and before I knew it I was absorbed in the story, these women, and read 25% on my Kindle. This book reminded me of another book I enjoyed a long time ago called The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. In fact it was a reading group selection. Another great story with Southern roots... So that got me to thinking about another book I read that I also really enjoyed called Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson. I actually listened to the audiobook and loved it. So, today I'm offering up some great stories with a little touch of Southern and a great female protagonist to show you around the pages...

the night the lights went out by Karen White... a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems....

Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail. Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past. Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world. In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....

Write this down... Release date is April 11, 2017! Published by Berkley. I just received an eGalley of this and really could not put it down. Now I'm only 25% through it, but I think it's going to be even better as I turn the pages. It's gotten a lot of pre-publishing praise.


The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen... It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living. 

Published by Random House (Bantam reprint) in 2011. We love Willa! Really good story, great characters, a sprinkling of magic, and I really enjoyed this! I would definitely recommend this to women fiction readers.

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson... Rose Mae Lolley's mother disappeared when she was eight, leaving Rose with a heap of old novels and a taste for dangerous men. Now, as demure Mrs. Ro Grandee, she's living the very life her mother abandoned. She's all but forgotten the girl she used to be-teenaged spitfire, Alabama heartbreaker, and a crack shot with a pistol-until an airport gypsy warns Rose it's time to find her way back to that brave, tough girl . . . or else. Armed with only her wit, her pawpy's ancient .45, and her dog Fat Gretel, Rose Mae hightails it out of Texas, running from a man who will never let her go, on a mission to find the mother who did. 

Starring a minor character from Jackson's bestselling gods in Alabama, BACKSEAT SAINTS will dazzle readers with its stunning portrayal of the measures a mother will take to right the wrongs she's created, and how far a daughter will travel to satisfy the demands of forgiveness

Published by Grand Central Publishing in 2011. You will be rooting for Rose Mae! Another great story and more good characters.

That about covers today's reading pile! Sometimes it's not always a new book I want to recommend, but a book I really enjoyed a long time ago that deserves a new audience, and that's what today is mostly about. I will have to check out other books by Karen White though... and both Sarah Addison Allen and Joshilyn Jackson have some other good books too!

Hope you found something interesting to read here today! In the meantime...

Happy reading... Suzanne


Monday, January 16, 2017

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell... TLC Book Tour!


About the Book... Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a highly suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link seems to be from her niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago.

As Scarpetta watches she comes to grips with frightening secrets about her niece. That first clip and others sent soon after raise dangerous implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, alarmed, and not knowing where to turn. The diabolical presence and singularly “depraved heart” behind what unfolds seems obvious—but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that’s the message they send when they start harassing Lucy and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.

In the latest novel in her bestselling series featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell captivates readers again with the jolting twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail for which she is renowned, proving yet again why she is the world’s number one bestselling crime writer.

What Did I Think of the Book? Patricia Cornwell never disappoints me. It's been years since I've devoured her Kay Scarpetta novels, but opening the pages of Depraved Heart felt like a homecoming in a way. All the familiar people were there and I even though I hadn't followed them in so long, I was able to settle right in without feeling lost.

This is typical Kay Scarpetta, with murder in the air and the need to solve the crime before innocent people start to be blamed. A diabolical previous character thought to be dead (Carrie) doesn't seem to be dead anymore and has come back to haunt Kay and her niece Lucy. But these once endearing characters seem to have changed a bit, and I'm not so in love with them anymore. Kay even seems to be a bit paranoid. But if you enjoy crime thrillers, do crack the spine on this one, because it's got all the ingredients of a good solid read.

About Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Anthony, the Macavity and the Prix du Roman d’Aventures. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography and two more fiction series among others. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Find out more about Patricia at her website, and follow her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

To Learn More about Depraved Heart, visit Harper Collins! There you can read an excerpt, listen to an excerpt and purchase the book! Or if you'd prefer...

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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*Chick with Books received a copy of Depraved Hearts in exchange for my honest review, and as part of hosting this tour for TLC Book Tours.

In My Mailbox...

In My Mailbox... I've received some great books in my mailbox! And I decided I would join in on the fun sharing them with you and the other bloggers participating in Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday is a weekly event for bloggers to share what books arrived in their mailboxes. Mailbox Monday was originally created by Marcia of To Be Continued and is now hosted by Vicki, Serena and Leslie at Mailbox Monday's own blog.

So, here are the books...


The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian... From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire—the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night.

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee's disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee's husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs' Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee's disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?
     Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers.

This sounds like a great read! I've been so into murder mysteries lately, this was a nice surprise from Doubleday Books as an eGalley to my Kindle! Thank you! Published by Doubleday Books with a release date of January 10, 2017.

The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge... From the award-winning author and New Yorker contributor, a riveting novel about secrets and scandals,  psychiatry and pulp fiction, inspired by the lives of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle.

Marina Willett, M.D., has a problem. Her husband, Charlie, has become obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft, in particular with one episode in the legendary horror writer's life: In the summer of 1934, the "old gent" lived for two months with a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow, at Barlow's family home in central Florida. What were the two of them up to? Were they friends--or something more? Just when Charlie thinks he's solved the puzzle, a new scandal erupts, and he disappears. The police say it's suicide. Marina is a psychiatrist, and she doesn't believe them. A tour-de-force of storytelling, The Night Ocean follows the lives of some extraordinary people: Lovecraft, the most influential American horror writer of the 20th century, whose stories continue to win new acolytes, even as his racist views provoke new critics; Barlow, a seminal scholar of Mexican culture who killed himself after being blackmailed for his homosexuality (and who collaborated with Lovecraft on the beautiful story "The Night Ocean"); his student, future Beat writer William S. Burroughs; and L.C. Spinks, a kindly Canadian appliance salesman and science-fiction fan -- the only person who knows the origins of The Erotonomicon, purported to be the intimate diary of Lovecraft himself. As a heartbroken Marina follows her missing husband's trail in an attempt to learn the truth, the novel moves across the decades and along the length of the continent, from a remote Ontario town, through New York and Florida to Mexico City. The Night Ocean is about love and deception -- about the way that stories earn our trust, and betray it.

I've heard so many wonderful comments about this book, I was thrilled when I found this in my mailbox! Thanks Penguin! Published by Penguin Press with a release date of March 7, 2017.


The Lady's Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran... The next steamy historical romance in USA TODAY bestselling and RITA award-winning author Meredith Duran’s “wonderfully indulgent” (Publishers Weekly) Rules for the Reckless series.

A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL...
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

...NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...



How do you get through a cold winter?! With some HOT reading! Both this book by Meredith Duran and the story collection below, by some of the top romance writers of the decade, make for some steamy reading on a cold winter’s night! Thank you Pocket Books! Release date of Feb. 28th, 2017.


What Happens Under the Mistletoe, a story collection by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp and Meredith Duran… New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, and Candace Camp, and USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran come together for a sizzling historical romance holiday anthology.

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, "The Heiress and the Hothead". 

In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in "Twelve Kisses" when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle. 

In "By Any Other Name", Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss. 

In "Sweet Ruin", will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?

In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.

This story collection was published by Pocket Books and released in October of 2015, which means you can pick up a copy NOW! 
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