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

Monday, July 25, 2011

212 By Alafair Burke... TLC Book Tour and Review!

212 by Alafair Burke...
When New York University sophomore Megan Gunther finds personal threats posted to a Web site specializing in campus gossip, she's taken aback by their menacing tone. Someone knows her daily routine down to the minute and is watching her — but thanks to the anonymity provided by the Internet, the police tell her there's nothing they can do. Her friends are sure it's someone's idea of a joke, but when Megan is murdered in a vicious attack, NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced that the online threats are more than just empty words.

With smooth, straight-talking partner J. J. Rogan at her side, Ellie tries to identify Megan's enemies, but she begins to wonder if the coed's murder was more than just the culmination of a cyber obsession. Phone records reveal a link between Megan and a murdered real estate agent who was living a dangerous double life. The detectives also learn that the dead real estate agent shared a secret connection to a celebrity mogul whose bodyguard was mysteriously killed a few months earlier. And when Megan's roommate suddenly disappears, they know they have to find her before another young woman dies.

What did I think? How can a girl complain about crime fiction that stars a smart, young and good female homicide detective? What's even better than a great protagonist is the great writing! I enjoy good writing and, although I haven't read any crime fiction in a while, Alafair Burke simply invited me into the story with a peek at what is to come, and I was hooked! Once I started reading I was turning those pages pretty fast. The setting is New York City, and the modern day approach by using twitter and google, make this piece of crime fiction fresh. She develops her characters well and that along with a good story pace kept my attention. I also liked the short chapters that allowed me to read this in short spurts. Alafair Burke's background as a prosecutor makes this authentic too! So, if you enjoy crime fiction, a great female protagonist, and great writing that will have you turning those pages at a rapid rate, 212 is a book you will enjoy!

About the Author... Alafair Burke is the author of what the Sun-Sentinal has hailed as "two power house series" featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. Alafair's novels grow out of her love for writing, her experience as a prosecutor in America's police precincts and criminal courtrooms, and her ability to create strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters. According to Entertainment Weekly, Alafair "is a terrific web spinner" who "knows when and how to drop clues to keep readers at her mercy."

Alafair Burke is Virtually Touring with her book 212 with TLC Book Tours! You can read more about her at the author's website, and you can find 212 by Alafair Burke at your local bookstore right now! Thanks Trish of TLC Book Tours for sending this along! Loved it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Sunday Salon... The Enduring Power of Love

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Another beautiful Sunday here in Connecticut. I'm on vacation and relaxing a bit. I was also able to make a trip to my favorite Indie Bookshop! The Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, CT. It's about a 40 minute drive, which means I don't go there too often, but just love it when I can make the time. And it's really the only good bookstore near me to go to now. So, while I was enjoying myself leafing through the pages of books, I naturally found some interesting new reads to talk about... The enduring power of love. As the world changes around us, love happens and can stay with us forever. Here are some books just about that...

The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon... From the Publisher, "a beautifully choreographed novel about first lovers meeting again after more than thirty years and reimmersing themselves in their shared past. Miranda and Adam, high-school sweethearts now in their late fifties, arrive by chance at the same time in Rome, a city where they once spent a summer deeply in love, living together blissfully. At an awkward reunion, the two—who parted in an atmosphere of passionate betrayal in the 1960s and haven’t seen each other since—are surprised to discover that they may have something to talk about. Both have their own guilt, their sense of who betrayed whom, and their long-held interpretation of the events that caused them not to marry and to split apart into the lives they’ve led since—both are married to others, with grown children. For the few weeks they are in Rome, Adam suggests that they meet for daily walks and get to know each other again. Gradually, as they take in the pleasures of the city and the drama of its streets, they discover not only what matters to them now but also more about what happened to them long ago. Miranda and Adam are masterfully portrayed characters, intent upon understanding who they are in relation to who they were. A story about what first love means and how it is shattered, and the lessons old lovers may still have to share with each other many years later, The Love of My Youth is also a poignant look back at the hopes and dreams of a generation and what became of them.

What if you could revisit someone from your past? How do you think things would have changed? Picked this book up because I just had to find out about how these two young lovers see things in the present day as older, wiser, and mature adults.

Next toLove by Ellen Feldman... "A story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave, Next to Love follows the lives of three young women and their men during the years of World War II and its aftermath, beginning with the men going off to war and ending a generation later, when their children are on the cusp of their own adulthood. Set in a small town in Massachusetts, the novel follows three childhood friends, Babe, Millie, and Grace, whose lives are unmoored when their men are called to duty. And yet the changes that are thrust upon them move them in directions they never dreamed possible—while their husbands and boyfriends are enduring their own transformations. In the decades that follow, the three friends lose their innocence, struggle to raise their children, and find meaning and love in unexpected places. And as they change, so does America—from a country in which people know their place in the social hierarchy to a world in which feminism, the Civil Rights movement, and technological innovations present new possibilities—and uncertainties. And yet Babe, Millie, and Grace remain bonded by their past, even as their children grow up and away and a new society rises from the ashes of the war. Beautifully crafted and unforgettable, Next to Love depicts the enduring power of love and friendship, and illuminates a transformational moment in American history."

A family saga, lifelong friendships, loved ones going off to war, all with a helping of history makes this an interesting choice to me. Love reading about women friendships, because they are usually deep and powerful. I received a copy of Next to Love by Ellen Feldman from Random House and I'm eager to crack the spine soon!

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes... "It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply B", asking her to leave her husband. Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance."

Does love endure for these two lovers? I would love to find out! Intriguing is how Ellie has possession of the letter, and the story behind the letter as well! Now on my wishlist!

So is past romances revisited sound intriguing to you? Ever wonder, what if? Well, these books should satisfy any reader with a romantic heart. What else have you been reading lately?! Please share those great finds! I always love a book recommendation from a person who loves to read!

Have a great week! Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Lines... I Gave My Heart to Know This by Ellen Baker

"Violet set out from the little white house walking, but, when the pains came, she was brought to her knees. Watching the puffs of her breath make steam, she willed herself not to make a sound, not to give in to this sensation that wanted to strand her and her baby on this lonely road."
I Gave My Heart to Know This by Ellen Baker, "a sweeping multigenerational saga of the searing power of war, memory, friendship, and family. " and coming this August 2 to a bookstore near you!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Memoir Monday presents... Moby-Duck

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn... What Publisher's Weekly said of Moby-Duck: Whimsical curiosity begets a quixotic odyssey and troubling revelations about plastics polluting the seas in former high school teacher and journalist Hohn's charming account of what he learned searching for 28,800 rubber bath toys lost at sea in 1992. His curiosity, prompted by a student's quirky essay, begins in 2005 around Sitka, Alaska, where yellow "duckies," frogs, turtles, and beavers washed up after three-story waves buffeted a container ship traveling from China to America. Hohn, a senior editor at Harper's magazine, eventually tracks more rogue ducks bobbing up from isolated Gore Point, Alaska, to Maine beaches. The author's quest leads him to a research vessel trawling for degraded plastic in Hawaiian seas, to the Chinese factory where the toys were manufactured, aboard a container vessel traversing the same route as the original ship (a particularly hair-raising section), and finally to the high Arctic to study the science of oceanic drift. Packed with seafaring lore and astute reporting, this enthralling narrative is the Moby Dick of drifting ducks.

Who can resist knowing the fate of 28, 800 cute Rubber Ducks? Well actually 28,800 rubber bath toys. The cover alone made it worth a look through, but Donovan Hohn has intrigued me with this story, which on the outside may look like a cute little tale of a cute little duck, but promises to be so much more. And Moby-Duck has garnered quite a few great reviews too! This is definitely on my wish-list, and today's Monday Memoir, even though it's not quite a memoir, but a high sea adventure!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sunday Salon... What's Your Style for Summer Vacation Reading?

Good Morning! It's Sunday! And it's time for The Sunday Salon! It's been a few weeks of resolving all the "hacking" problems, which lead me to concentrate on administrative problems rather than having fun reading and reviewing, but finally I put the final touches on all that. And thanks to the readers who joined my Google Friends Connect, so I didn't have to look at 666 followers anymore!

I'm on vacation starting tomorrow and I look forward to some great summer vacation reading! And that's today's post... Summer reading. Do you pick up something different to read during your vacation or during the summer? I like wandering the bookstore for fun reads I normally wouldn't pick up. Of course that's harder these days, with my local bookstore having been Borders and now it is closed. But that's another trip during vacation- a favorite Indie bookstore that's just a little too far for a regular weekly visit. But back to summer reading... How about a classic?Or something just for fun?

Classics aren't what you normally think of as summer reading, but what better time really to relax with some wonderful writing that you can simply immerse yourself in... My thoughts turn to Faulkner today just for that... One of the great Southern writers of our time, you can expect wonderful complex characters that lend themselves to interesting settings....

Light in August by William Faulkner... Quick blurb about this book: "In a small town everyone knows everyone's business, but who really knows the heart of a man? Lena Grove and Joe Christmas are both searching—Lena, for the father of her unborn child, and Joe, for his place in this world. Their parallel journeys will lead to horrific tragedy—and a small ray of hope." This is the first book where William Faulkner confronts racism head-on. It's also said to be his most accessible read, with a plot not as complex as say, The Sound and the Fury, but still a fulfilling read.

OK, so classics may not be part of your summer reading, how about imaginative and fantastical? For a very long time I've been meaning to read German writer Walter Moers. He has a cult like following with readers worldwide, and his books are like zany fairytales for adults. Fantastic settings and wild characters.

The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers... From Overlook Press: "A bluebear has twenty-seven lives. I shall recount thirteen and a half of them in this book but keep quiet about the rest, says the narrator of Walter Moers s epic adventure. What about the
Minipirates What about the Hobgoblins, the Spiderwitch, the Babbling Billows, the Troglotroll, the Mountain Maggot . . . Mine is a tale of mortal danger and eternal love, of hair s breadth, last-minute escapes. Welcome to the fantastic world of Zamonia, populated by all manner of extraordinary characters. It s a land of imaginative lunacy and supreme adventure, wicked satire and epic fantasy, all mixed together, turned on its head, and lavishly illustrated by the author."

And the world of Zamonia doesn't end with Captain Bluebear either. There are 3 more books in the series with equally great characters and fun!

Still in fantasy, but a YA choice that adults can certainly enjoy is a surprise from author China Meiville. You may know Meiville from his recent hit Kraken, and Perdido Street Station, both Sci-fi award winners for adults. But inbetween those books was a little known book called Un Lun Dun, written for Young Adults, but filled with "magic, monsters, quests, and heroes" fit for any Harry Potter loving adult...

Un Lun Dun by China Meiville... From School Library Journal: In present-day London, strange things start happening around Zanna: dogs stop to stare at her, birds circle her head. Then, she and her friend Deeba find themselves in an alternate reality where obsolete objects such as old typewriters eventually "seep" and strange people and creatures dwell, including sentient "unbrellas." The girls learn that Zanna is the chosen one, the "shwazzy," of UnLondon. However, her first fight with the nefarious Smog isn't what was predicted in the book of prophecies.

Un Lun Dun has been on my shelves for a very long time, but I think I'm dusting it off during my two weeks of undivided reading attention!

What are you reading this summer?! Are your vacation reads different than your regular reading? I would love to hear what you're reading these days! And I'm happy to be back reading myself instead of playing with code and passwords!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First Lines... Overbite by Meg Cabot

" Meena Harper knew things, things no one else knew...things no one could know.
One of those things was that the man sitting in the car beside her was going to die..."

Overbite by Meg Cabot, is the 2nd in her paranormal series where we find Meena Harper who can predict how you are going to die, her boyfriend is Dracula's son, and there are plenty of other undead men around. First book was Insatiable, which just came out in paperback last month. And this just arrived in my mailbox and I cannot wait to crack the spine. Fun, light and enjoyable is what Meg Cabot books usually offer and this should be no exception.

Friday, July 1, 2011

First Lines Friday is Back!

"He stands in a corridor. He has been there for nearly an hour. For many this would feel like the final imposition, the last straw, the bitter end: something to ignite crimson threads of anger in the brain and provoke a tumble backward into the pit of clotted fury the consigned from here in the first place."
Killer Move... Your password is protected. Your life is not. Just released from William Morrow Publishers! It's a psychological thriller! And I have a copy waiting for me to crack the spine! I can't wait!
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