Sunday, May 2, 2010
The Sunday Salon... Week in review, Mystery Award Winners, and a Book that's Sure to be a Hit with Reading Groups!
Grab a cup of joe and relax... It's Sunday! A day to sit back, collect your thoughts and reflect on the week you just had... I've been in prison the better part of the week, getting through what seemed to be endless days with my sanity intact, Piper Kerman and the group of women that make up Piper's circle of friends in Orange is the New Black. (Review coming soon...) I've shared some time with 2 larger than life women, Violet and Sally, while their lives go horribly out of control in This One is Mine by Maria Semple. And if all that weren't enough, I floated down the Mississippi with a keen eye and Abe Lincoln at the ready hunting Vampires in Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. Imagine Anne Rice writing as Mark Twain and you’ve got an idea of what to expect when reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. I actually listened to the audiobook on my iPod and I can’t tell you how great this story was! With all the mashups these days with Zombies and Sea Monsters, Vampires fit right in, but Seth creates such an amazing combination of history with old world vampires, that I was transfixed by the story. These are not the vampires of Stephanie Meyers’ “Twilight” series, these are the kind of vampires Anne Rice wrote about! You may be saying to yourself, "Vampires and Abe Lincoln?", but believe me it really works, AND there's still time to enter the giveaway I'm having for the unabridged audiobook of Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter, which ends May 15th... Of course all that Vampire Hunting, prison food and drama can make a girl hungry, so I sat down with Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and her daughter Tanya Bastianich Manuali and made some Baked Penne & Mushrooms, which by the way is out of this world delicious! I Love reviewing cookbooks, and Lidia's newest cookbook, Lidia Cooks From The Heart of Italy is a wonderful collection of food, recipes, places and people. She really takes us into the little out of the way places, introduces us to the locals and teaches us how to cook some amazing regional fare. Read my review for Lidia Cooks From The Heart of Italy, and enjoy the recipe for that baked Penne while you're there too!
OK all you mystery lovers, the votes are in and the winners have been announced! Nothing like sinking your teeth into a great mystery, and The Edgar Awards, presented by The Mystery Writers of America, honors the best in mystery! Today I thought we'd look at two of those winners, which were announced April 29th, and a book that caught my eye this week in the blogosphere...
The Edgar for Best Novel goes to The Last Child by John Hart. I have a copy of this on my nightstand waiting to be cracked open. This is what the Publisher writes about the novel, Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss,until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he’d been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is---confident in a way that he can never fully explain... Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene.... Then a second child goes missing . . . Undeterred by Hunt’s threats or his mother’s pleas, Johnny enlists the help of his last friend, and together they plunge into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than a hundred years. There, they meet a giant of a man, an escaped convict on his own tragic quest. What they learn from him will shatter every notion Johnny had about the fate of his sister; it will lead them to another far place, to a truth that will test both boys to the limit. The Last Child has gotten great reviews, and there was a lot of buzz prior to the awards. I can't wait to start reading it myself! You can read the first chapter at John Hart's website. *This Book is Kindle Ready!
The Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer goes to In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff. I hadn't heard much about In the Shadow of Gotham prior to its nomination for The Edgar, but that's one of the benefits to being nominated for a literary award- exposure! This book also was nominated for an Agatha Award, which honors "traditional mysteries". I think this is going to be a getting a lot of buzz now, not just because of its winning The Edgar, but for what looks like a great series set in a great time period! In The Shadow of Gotham is the first book in a series featuring Detective Simon Ziele and criminologist Alistair Sinclair. The next book in the series, A Curtain Falls, is due out next month, and already the third book in the series, An Oath of Silence, is planned for release next year. If you love the setting of NYC at the turn of the century this series will strike the right chord, because all the stories take place around then. Here's what the Publisher writes about In The Shadow of Gotham, It is November of 1905... Detective Simon Ziele loses his fiancée in the wreck of the General Slocum steamship disaster and shortly thereafter heads to Westchester County to escape the violence of the city. But just a few months into his tenure, he catches the worst homicide of his career: a young woman is brutally murdered in her own bedroom in the middle of a winter afternoon. A day's investigating leads him to Columbia University's noted criminologist, Alistair Sinclair, and one of his subjects, Michael Fromley, who has a history of violent behavior and brutal fantasies. But what would lead him to target Sarah Wingate, a notable mathematics grad student at Columbia? Is it really Michael behind the murder, or is someone else copying his signatures? This is what Simon Ziele must discover, with the help of the brilliant but self-interested Alistair Sinclair, before the killer strikes again. You can read an excerpt Chapter one of In The Shadow of Gotham at the website of Stephanie Pintoff. *This Book is Kindle Ready!
On Folly Beach by Karen White... This will be Karen White's 13th novel. She characterized On Folly Beach as "grit lit", or part of her Southern women's fiction writing. There already is plenty of buzz about On Folly Beach and it's not even released yet! BUT, this coming tuesday, May 4th, it will be available at your local bookstore. This is what the Publisher wrote about On Folly Beach... Folly Beach, South Carolina, has survived despite hurricanes and war. But it's the personal battles of Folly Beach's residents that have left the most scars, and why a young widow has been beckoned there to heal her own... To most people, Folly Beach is simply the last barrier island before reaching the great Atlantic. To some, it's a sanctuary for lost souls, which is why Emmy Hamilton's mother encourages her to buy the local book store, Folly's Finds, hoping it will distract Emmy from the loss of her husband. Emmy is at first resistant. So much has already changed. But after finding love letters and an image of a beautiful bottle tree in a box of used books from Folly's Finds, she decides to take the plunge. But the seller insists on one condition: Emmy must allow Lulu, the late owner's difficult sister, to continue selling her bottle trees from its back yard. For the most part Emmy ignores Lulu as she sifts through the love letters, wanting to learn more. But the more she discovers about the letters, the more she understands Lulu. As details of a possible murder and a mysterious disappearance during WWII are revealed, the two women discover that circumstances beyond their control, sixty years apart, have brought them together, here on Folly Beach. And it is here that their war-ravaged hearts can find hope for a second chance... On Folly Beach is also being recommended by Reading Group Choices. You can read an excerpt of Chapter One of On Folly Beach at Karen White's website!
So, did I peak your interest with something? Make you hungry for Italian? Let me know what you cracked the spine on this week! And stop by during the week, for some great giveaways, and a review or two on some great books I read recently... Happy reading, Suzanne