Literary Quote of the Month

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

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Sunday Salon and... Authors we Love to Read and Soon To Be Published NEW BOOKS!


It's Sunday in South Carolina... actually it's Sunday everywhere, but now that I call the South home, it seems to be different. The winters are milder here (as apposed to those Connecticut winters... legendary) and I look forward to drinking that first cup of coffee while looking out over the distant mountains. I also look forward to reading new books by my favorite authors! And that's what we're talking about this week! Some of my favorite authors have book releases in the coming months and here they are...

The House of Lincoln by Nancy Horan... a sweeping historical novel, which tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's ascendance from rumpled lawyer to U.S. president to the Great Emancipator through the eyes of a young asylum-seeker who arrives in Lincoln's home of Springfield from Madeira, Portugal. 

Showing intelligence beyond society's expectations, fourteen-year-old Ana Ferreira lands a job in the Lincoln household assisting Mary Lincoln with their boys and with the hostess duties borne by the wife of a rising political star. Ana bears witness to the evolution of Lincoln's views on equality and the Union and observes in full complexity the psyche and pain of his bold, polarizing wife, Mary. Along with her African American friend Cal, Ana encounters the presence of the underground railroad in town and experiences personally how slavery is tearing apart her adopted country. Culminating in an eyewitness account of the little-known Springfield race riot of 1908, The House of Lincoln takes readers on a journey through the historic changes that reshaped America and that continue to reverberate today.

Nancy Horan is one of those authors that I will pick up to read at the mere mention of her name. Her books are amazing! She creates stories that are so interesting and inviting that you find yourself lost in the pages with no sense of time or place other than where you are in the book. This is partly due to her thorough research of the historical facts, but the way she puts it all together is what makes such a beautiful story. Of course I'm referring to her 2 previous books, Loving Frank, about the love story of Mamah Borthwick Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright, and Under The Wide and Starry Sky, about the love story of Fanny Can de Grift Osbourne and Robert Louise Stevenson. I've never thought of Lincoln as being in any way a romantic tale, but I'm willing to let go of any of my preconceived ideas about a story of Abraham Lincoln and dive head first into Ms. Horan's novel. The House of Lincoln has a release day of June 6, 2023 by Sourcebooks Landmark . On by TBR list....

The Ferryman by Justin Cronin...Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from
the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.  Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process—and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he’s been dreaming—which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.

Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group—known as “Arrivalists”—who may be fomenting revolution.  Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized—and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.

Justin Cronin is best known for his Vampire trilogy starting with The Passage and ending with City of Mirrors. It hit the publishing world by storm and we've been waiting ever since for more... and now we have it! A paradise until it isn't. I've seen this type of story before in The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, a dystopian novel where men and women hit a certain age go to live in a man-made shangri-la, that isn't quite all that it seems (and if you haven't read it, you should. Warning though, if you are over the age of 50 it might give you nightmares) But Justin Cronin writes such big beautiful books that I know this story will be something we just aren't expecting and nothing like anything we've read before. His writing just sucks you in too. Courtesy of Random House Publishing Group Ballantine, I am reading an e-galley of The Ferryman right now and I am hooked! The release date for The Ferryman is May 2, 2023!

Where are The Children Now? by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke... Of the fifty-six bestsellers the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark published in her lifetime, Where Are the Children? was her biggest, selling millions of copies and forever transforming the genre of suspense fiction. In that story, a young California mother named Nancy Harmon was convicted of murdering her two children. Though released on a technicality, she was abandoned by her husband and became such a pariah in the media that she was forced to move across the country to Cape Cod, change her identity and appearance, and start a new life. Years later her two children from a second marriage, Mike and Melissa, would go missing, and Nancy yet again became the prime suspect—but this time, Nancy was able to confront the secrets buried in her past and rescue her kids from a dangerous predator.                                                                                                                                                                                                               Now, more than four decades since readers first met Nancy and her children, comes the thrilling sequel to the groundbreaking book that set the stage for future generations of psychological suspense novels. A lawyer turned successful podcaster, Melissa has recently married a man whose first wife died tragically, leaving him and their young daughter, Riley, behind. While Melissa and her brother, Mike, help their mom, Nancy, relocate from Cape Cod to the equally idyllic Hamptons, Melissa’s new stepdaughter goes missing. Drawing on the experience of their own abduction, Melissa and Mike race to find Riley to save her from the trauma they still struggle with—or worse.

My Mother has always loved Mystery books and of course she passed that love down to me. My early reading was always mysteries. Mary Higgins Clark is part of my reading life. I always read whatever new book she came out with. I had the honor of actually meeting her at my local Borders when she came there for a book signing for Dashing Through the Snow, a Christmas book she wrote with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark in 2008. She was so elegant and so very nice too. Where Are The Children was the first book I read of hers. It was such a page turner! Written in 1975, we are now going to revisit the characters in Where Are The Children Now by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke. I'm curious as to the collaboration for this novel... Alafair Burke is a really good crime writer in her own right and has collaborated with Mary Higgins Clarke in 7 of her Under Suspicion Series books. But Ms. Clark passed away in 2020, so was this something they were working on prior to her passing? Something Alafair Burke wrote with the approval of the estate of Mary Higgins Clarke? I messaged Alafair Burke on FB to see if she had the time to answering some questions for Chick with Books, I hope she does and if so, I'll share it with y'all here. But in the meantime, I'm definitely going to put this on my TBR list! Where are The Children Now will be released April 18th 2023! Published by Simon & Schuster.

The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand... Hollis Shaw’s life seems picture-perfect. She’s the creator of the popular food blog Hungry with Hollis and is married to Matthew, a dreamy heart surgeon. But after she and Matthew get into a heated argument one snowy morning, he leaves for the airport and is killed in a car accident. The cracks in Hollis’s perfect life—her strained marriage and her complicated relationship with her daughter, Caroline—grow deeper. So when Hollis hears about something called a “Five-Star Weekend”—one woman organizes a trip for her best friend from each phase of her life: her teenage years, her twenties, her thirties, and midlife—she decides to host her own Five-Star Weekend on Nantucket. But the weekend doesn’t turn out to be a joyful Hallmark movie. The husband of Hollis’s childhood friend Tatum arranges for Hollis’s first love, Jack Finigan, to spend time with them, stirring up old feelings. Meanwhile, Tatum is forced to play nice with abrasive and elitist Dru-Ann, Hollis’s best friend from UNC Chapel Hill. Dru-Ann’s career as a prominent Chicago sports agent is on the line after her comments about a client’s mental health issues are misconstrued online. Brooke, Hollis’s friend from their thirties, has just discovered that her husband is having an inappropriate relationship with a woman at work. Again! And then there’s Gigi, a stranger to everyone (including Hollis) who reached out to Hollis through her blog. Gigi embodies an unusual grace and, as it hap- pens, has many secrets.

I always think of Elin Hilderbrand as my summer reading fun. Although she has written a series of "winter" books, I always think of those beachy reads first. And I'm looking forward to picking this one up. Her writing is wonderful and breezy and something to relax with... on the beach or at least in the sun.  
The Five-Star Weekend with be released June 13th by Little Brown & Company

Who are some of your favorite authors? 
Do you look forward to new books published by authors you enjoy?

I just love hearing about new books coming out. It's always exciting to learn about a new book by a favorite author too. But I like discovering new authors too. Today is all about our favorite authors with new books, but next week we'll look at debut novels we just can't put down!

Happy Reading... Suzanne

Sunday, January 1, 2023

First Book of the Year 2023!

 My First Book of the Year for 2023 is Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

From the authors website... Remarkably Bright Creatures is a luminous debut novel about a widow’s unlikely friendship with a giant Pacific octopus reluctantly residing at the local aquarium—and the truths she finally uncovers about her son’s disappearance 30 years ago.

After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in the Puget Sound over 30 years ago.

As she works, Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine, but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight tentacles for his human captors—until he forms an unlikely friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. As his affection for Tova grows, Marcellus must use every trick his old, invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.

Charming, compulsively readable, and full of wit, Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a beautiful exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope–a reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.

Ever since I read The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery, I have been fascinated by Octupuses (and yes, I had to look up the proper spelling of the plural of Octopus). Sy Montgomery's book is not fiction though, it is her story of  some of the relationships she has formed with Octopuses in her lifetime. And from my reading that, I  have discovered how intelligent and interesting these creatures are.

When I read about Shelby Van Pelt's book, Remarkably Bright Creatures, revolving around a very smart and "talkative" Octopus, I just had to give it a try. It has gotten rave reviews AND it's even a Jenna Bush Hager book club selection. 

So, I'm cracking the spine on Remarkably Bright Creatures today and you can read my thoughts about as soon as I finish reading it. Check back here in the next week or so...

Published by Harper Collins this past May, it is available from your favorite bookstore.

Happy Reading... Suzanne

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