BOOK GROUP TRENDS (04/18/2014)



 



Here's a short list of what's trending in some Book Groups around the country. It's quite an eclectic mix with a variety of reviews and comments. A really highly praised and popular book doesn't guaranty that the discussion will be memorable.

Many groups have a specific theme or a genre..Many groups have a leader and are very focused...Many drink wine and loose focus..whatever.....It's all good!






THE OTHER STORY by TATIANA De ROSNAY


After the success of SARAH'S KEY many readers called this a disappointing read.  Unfortunately the main character who dominates the story causes such distaste that the book is overly affected by  it..However, a character that's loathsome and dominant often creates great discussions.




LITTLE FAILURE BY GARY SHTEYNGART


"Though fans of the author's fiction will find illumination, a memoir this compelling and entertaining—one that frequently collapses the distinction between comedy and tragedy—should expand his readership beyond those who have loved his novels." (Kirkus Reviews)


stylistic audacity as the author's well-received novels.


This memoir was the choice of several groups..led to great discussions and was a general crowd pleaser, according to some "groupie" sources.




UPDIKE BY ADAM BEGLEY


This is a revealing biography of John Updike, one of the most celebrated authors in American literature and a favorite of mine.  The book has been praised, but some readers expressed disappointment and felt it shared little insight or verve. 


Such a colorful author can inspire eye opening discussions and many groups felt it did just that...even though the book was controversial. Controversy usually leads to a  good conversation. 




What's your Book Group reading? Post a comment BELOW or write......Jssherr@gmail.com






THESE BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE BLOG.
CLICK ON THE BOOK IN THE GRAPHIC OR CLICK ON THE SEARCH BOX IN THE SIDEBAR. PROFITS GO TO CHARITY.
 

THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL (04/2014)



  

















The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi may remind you of The Kiterunner by Khalid Hosseini, but that's a good thing, right?  You'll find it an unforgettable read....




Review from Bookreporter.com

I spent the week absorbed in reading --- and I do mean absorbed. While I read a lot, a book like THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL by Nadia Hashimi, which will be in stores on May 6th, is one that will stay with me and also made me feel grateful for where I live. It opens in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2007 where Rahima lives with her mother, sisters and opium-addicted father. The only way that she can leave the house is by adopting the bacha posh custom of dressing like a boy, which she can do until she matures. In this way, she attends school and moves freely around their village. But at some point, she must become a girl again, and at that point is married off with her two sisters to give the family some much-needed money, as well as a pipeline to opium for her father. What happens to Rahima is not new to her family. A century before, her great-aunt Shekiba, who was orphaned, also adopted a disguise as a man to survive. Their stories are intertwined, and it makes for a very compelling read. I read long into the night to finish it on Tuesday.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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CAN YOU RESIST THIS? (04/06/2014)



FIkry US


I recently received an early edition of a novel titled THE STORIED LIFE OF A. J. FIKRY by Gabrielle Zevin. My TBR list was overwhelming, so I gave it to a blog reader to peruse and her response was.. "This book was so readable, such a treat, so moving, wonderful, endearing." 

She would have blabbed on but that's all I needed to hear...although she managed to add "Every book lover should read this!"  So "book lovers" out there, this is for us!


Below is a review from Amazon


THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY BY GABRIELLE ZEVIN


A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island--from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.


And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight--an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.


As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.



ABOUT THIS AUTHOR


TO ORDER

Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar. All proceeds go to a charity.

WHAT I AM READING AND BOOK ALERT! (04/05/2014)






I've been plodding through Anna Quindlen's new book STILL LIFE AND BREADCRUMBS. I've always been a fan of her books but this one keeps putting me to sleep. It's predictable and schmaltzy...middle aged woman (doesn't look her age,of course), divorced, younger man appears, rescues her in a blizzard, she shows her gratitude and a lot more... Hopefully things will improve and I won't keep thinking I'm reading Bridges of Madison County...(Update..abandoned..)



I'm also reading Harlan Coben's new book MISSING YOU.  His books are always "heart-pounding thrillers" that keep you on the edge of your seat until the predictable end.....or sometimes not so predictable.  This one  is a gritty cop drama with a serious love interest...and a lot going on...I'll  keep you posted.


Just started THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW by Matthew Quick, the author of SILVER LINING PLAYBOOK...Quirky and strange so far..a story about an "oddball." (Reserving opinion..)

 

 

 

BOOK ALERT 



Gary S. reviews Business and Non-Fiction on this blog. He's just started FLASH BOYS (released this week) by Michael Lewis.  It's a lively read focusing on a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out the market has been rigged... Great characters, three dimensional story, and Michael Lewis mercilessly targets the big banks, high frequency trading firms and exposes the many ways Wall Street generates profits. (Sounds scary...)

Watch for an upcoming review.


E-BOOKS OR NOT... (04/01/2014)






Not everyone likes ebooks. (Hard to believe, but true.) People talk about the "feel of a book and the unique smell."  So for those tactile readers, here's a brief look at newly released soft covers from Bookreporter.com
(Do Paperbacks smell the same as Hardcovers??)



Releases for this week include FLY AWAY, an emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss and new beginnings from Kristin Hannah, who returns to the beloved characters she first introduced in FIREFLY LANE.



KING AND MAXWELL by David Baldacci, which marks the retun of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell --- former Secret Service agents turned private investigators --- in their most surprising, personal and dangerous case ever.



LIFESAVING LESSONS Linda Greenlaw's heartfelt memoir about the greatest challenge of her life: adopting a teenage daughter.


MORE INFORMATION



TO ORDER

Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar

NEW AND WORTH NOTING (04/2014)




Recently literary agent, Sharon Belcastro from the Belcastro Agency contacted me concerning two new authors, J. A. Kazimer and Jodi Linton. Both authors have just released books and could use some exposure.

I've not read either book, but would like to offer the opportunity to publicize their work on my blog. With over 40,000 page views, I hope it makes a difference. Please spread the word, and support a new independent author. Who knows, this may be the next J. K. Rowling!






THE ASSASSIN'S HEART by J.A. KAZIMER


When CIA assassin Hannah Winslow mistakenly kills the wrong man, she vows never to take another life. Unfortunately Hannah's superiors believe the killing was intentional. Now Hannah is the target. Hannah always knew it might come to this. Surprising her colleagues, she manages to disappear completely into a new, screamingly dull life, assuming a fake identity, shacking up with an overweight cat, and starting a new career as an ad executive.


Hannah's past finally catches up with her at a company retreat in Hawaii, where her former partner Benjamin Miller has tracked her down. Is it a coincidence that assassination attempts on her life are now as common as rum, suntan lotion, and tiny umbrella drinks? What is the real reason for Ben's presence? Will he be her savior or her assassin?


RT BOOK REVIEWS gave it a Top Pick GOLD AWARD



WHO IS J.A. Kazimer?

J.A. Kazimer is a writer living in Denver, CO. Books include The Junkie Tales, The Body Dwellers, CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story, SHANK, Froggy Style: A F***ed Up Fairy Tale and The Assassin's Heart. She is currently working on a new fairy tale mystery for Kensington Books.

When Kazimer isn't looking for the perfect place to hide the bodies, she spends her time surrounded by cats with attitude and a little puppy named Killer. Other hobbies include murdering houseplants, kayaking, snowboarding, reading and theater. After years of slacking, she received a master's degree in forensic psychology, which she promptly ignored and started writing novels for little to no money.

In addition to studying the criminal mind, Kazimer spent a few years spilling drinks on people as a bartender and then wasted another few years stalking people while working as a private investigator in the Denver area.


J.A. Kazimer


MORE INFORMATION



TO ORDER THE ASSASSIN'S HEART CLICK ON THE AMAZON SEARCH BOX IN THE SIDEBAR

MORE NEW AND WORTH NOTING (04/2014)




Pretty Reckless


Meet Jodi Linton, another new author debuting her first novel, PRETTY RECKLESS. Reviewers called it "full of sassy dialogue with more twists and turns than a bucking bronc at a rodeo!."

If you're looking for a fun, colorful read, pick up the Kindle edition of PRETTY RECKLESS by Jodi Linton on Amazon at the bargain price of .99 cents!
(Use the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar) 







 PRETTY RECKLESS BY JODI LINTON

 
 
Welcome to Pistol Rock, Texas where everyone knows secrets last about as long as the sporadic west Texas rain showers.

Laney Briggs has long been considered reckless by the denizens of her hometown, but she's finally turned it all around—she's happily engaged to the local veterinarian and she's become a Pistol Rock deputy sheriff. Everything's fine and dandy—until a dead body turns up and her ex, Texas Ranger Gunner Wilson, decides to stick his boots into the town's first murder case. 
Of course, the troublesome cowboy's rugged good looks and T-shirt-straining muscles are already leaving Laney knee-deep in hot water, but she'll be damned if she lets Gunner trample all over her turf. She's decided that, instead of conflict, she wants a contented, steady life with her vet—a life in which Gunner Wilson and his seemingly endless ability to undermine her resolve and her libido plays no part.
Still, it's hard to keep her head as forbidden sparks ignite and suspicions arise between old rivals and old flames. And when the bodies start to pile up, Laney has to ask the lethal bad boy for a hand—and a truce in exchange for his help. But after uncovering the pack of lies surrounding not only her job but her heart…
Having an ex-boyfriend as an ally might not be the best idea, but it's certainly the most reckless, and Laney has always been pretty reckless… 

....... As one reviewer said,  "You'll be roped in from the git-go!"


Jodi Linton lives and works in Texas, with her husband and two kids. She can be found cozied up to the computer escaping into a quirky world of tall tales, sexy, tight jean wearing cowboys, and a protagonist with a sharp-tongue quick enough to hang any man out to dry.  PRETTY RECKLESS is her first novel. She is currently at work on her next Deputy Laney Briggs book.

MORE INFORMATION

www.jodilinton.com
 

PLEASE SUPPORT UNKNOWN INDEPENDENT AUTHORS!

APRIL ANECDOTES (04/01/2014)


I live in New England. It's always cold, snowy and blah.. especially this winter..But now I'm thinking about Spring and all these new releases are lifting my spirit...so here's a brief rundown of some titles written by local literary heavyweights...meaning some favorite New England authors....



AND THE DARK SACRED NIGHT by Julia Glass


In the decade that she won the National Book Award for THREE JUNES, Julia Glass has written three books and this is her newest. She uses some of the same characters (which I barely remember)..and tells the story of family secrets...always a good premise.



NO BOOK BUT THE WORLD by Leah Hager Cohen


I loved the GRIEF OF OTHERS and hope this lives up to it...Her latest book concerns a sister put to the test when her brother is accused of murder. Cohen is a creative writing teacher at Holy Cross College and Lesley University and it's no surprise her writing is exquisite.



NEW LIFE, NO INSTRUCTIONS by Gail Caldwell

A Pulitzer Prize winner, this is a memoir exploring the changes that come at mid-life...so what else is new?....



A FIGHTING CHANCE by Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren pens a memoir of how she, a janitor's daughter, became a Harvard Professor, and then a Senator. She offers personal anecdotes as well as stories of those she encountered on her journey.


All these books are available on Amazon after April 1st.  To Order click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar OR just click on the book in the graphic.

VISIBLE CITY OR REAR WINDOW REVISITED (03/27/2014)





















Do you remember the film Rear Window?  Here's a quick recap...In 1950 a free lance photographer played by Jimmy Stuart is confined to a wheelchair. He has little to do and spends much of his time observing his neighbors. He thinks a crime has been committed...and so the plot thickens....


Visible City by Tova Mirvis reveals a similar situation, although it definitely stands on its own and there's no crime witnessed. Reviewers called the novel "profound and absorbing" and the characters "multi-dimensional".....If you're ready for a quick and exciting read Visible City is available on Amazon. Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.




REVIEW FROM PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY


"If you keep talking to strangers… eventually they become
friends." Mirvis (The Ladies Auxiliary) writes an intimate story about different types of relationships, including those with complete strangers. Mirvis sets her story on New York City's Upper West Side where two families live in high-rise apartments with their curtains open, one apartment's windows facing the other's. Nina, a restless ex-lawyer and current stay-at-home mother, is in possession of her son's toy binoculars.


To fill the lonely hours until her lawyer husband Jeremy gets home from work, she watches, with admiration and growing jealousy, an older couple across the way. One evening, instead of seeing two peaceful companions reading quietly on the couch, Nina sees a youthful couple (temporarily staying in the older couple's apartment) in a lustful and heated embrace.


The sight makes Nina reinterpret the comfortable and quiet love of the older couple, and wish for something closer to what the young couple has. Her new mindset is further complicated when fate steps in, and the lives of Nina's family and the strangers in the window collide. In this story of chance and the temptation of change, Mirvis elicits the reader's sympathy for her characters' conflicting desires.



MORE INFORMATION

NEW AND WORTH NOTING











Recently a blog reviewer contacted me regarding new author, Peter Liney. She is a colleague of Liney's and was very anxious to promote his debut novel.


THE DETAINEE by Peter Liney is creating a major buzz in the US and the United Kingdom. Movie rights have been sold and sales have been skyrocketing.


A popular feature on this blog is spotlighting new authors and Peter Liney definitely qualifies. Rather than reading my opinions, I asked Peter to discuss THE DETAINEE and you'll find his comments below.



"First and foremost, I want to say that THE DETAINEE is a very uplifting story, a book about hope and the human spirit. Though, admittedly, we have to go through some very challenging moments before we finally arrive there.

Not too far into the future, there is another economic collapse, only this one is total - the State can no longer support its weaker members, and if you aren't self-sufficient, you are sent to the Island.  

The elderly, those with health problems, unwanted children, even criminal who have no-one to pay for their incarceration, are sent out to live on this landfill island -  human garbage to go with regular garbage.  

There's no escape, not from the satellite-drones that oversee the place, nor the demons that attack on foggy nights when the satellites are temporarily blinded.

However, when ageing 'Big Guy' Clancy finds a network of tunnels under the Old City there is suddenly hope, for love and freedom, and finally he's ready to fight back."




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 


Peter Liney was born in Wiltshire, UK, though he has spent a lot of his life travelling, with Australia and Thailand occasionally acting as his second home. His list of occupations is embarrassingly long, everything from teaching English to two days as a trainee stuntman (he gave up, thought it was too dangerous).


He loves photography, music - both listening to and playing, and is a great movie lover. Which is possibly why he has been accused of not writing books at all, but 'movies in a book form'.


If he wasn't a writer, he would've loved to have been an opera singer, so we should all be grateful for his writing success.



The second part of the trilogy, INTO THE FIRE, will be out in the UK on July 3rd, 2014.



Please support new authors. You can order directly from this
blog by clicking on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar. A portion of sales goes to charity.



MORE INFORMATION
 


THE GOOD LORD BIRD (03/18/2014)




It's great to hear from blog readers and even a comment on a post can make my day.  So when I received this review by BA, focusing on THE GOOD LORD BIRD by James McBride, (a book I did not love).....I thought this was worth posting. Of course the National Book Award paid no attention to my opinion and crowned THE GOOD LORD BOOK its winner for 2013.
Here are BA's Comments

"With its rollicking, picaresque voice, this novel is a perfect companion to Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead". One a hoot, one a meditation, both apply themselves to John Brown; to Lawrence, Kansas and the Free State movement; to abolishment; to fathers and sons; to respect for the individual; and to the price we pay for our beliefs.


But while "Gilead" is a somber, sober affair--a masterpiece of restraint in true Robinson style---THE GOOD LORD BIRD is an explosion of dialect, prayer, mistaken identity, and buffoonery, and, most critically, an inventive, captivating point-of-view.

"Onion" is our narrator, and just trying to explain the mixup in gender and how this youngster comes to view the impassioned, prayerful savior of slaves known as John Brown would lead this reviewer into renewed gales of laughter, following by an asthmatic coughing fit.
Suffice it to say that in my opinion, we have witnessed the birth of a modern classic, and I suspect that it will soon appear on the required reading list of every (enlightened) high school in America."



MORE INFORMATION

http://www.jamesmcbride.com/

CHANCE (03/12/2014)







  


I am attracted to books about psychiatrists, possibly
because the blurred borders that are often crossed in these novels make for a titilating read. CHANCE by Kem Nunn is an excellent example of a shrink crossing the line, wrestling with impropriety and facing treacherous consequences.


"You never know what you're capable of until you find out what your capable of " is a message of the book. Every character is an "agent of chaos".  According to a blog reader, CHANCE is definitely a provocative, twisty read highlighted by an amoral main character. (The shrink, of course) 




Here's an excerpt from a NY Times Review.....


The tribulations (and they are legion) visited on the good doctor in the tumultuous course of "Chance" are, virtually without exception, consequences of a midlife predilection for rash, ill-considered, idea-free life decisions.


Probably the worst of these is his impulse — it doesn't really deserve to be called a decision — to bed one of his patients, an alluring teacher named Jaclyn Blackstone. That this affair is unprofessional and completely unethical would be bad enough. But there's worse.



Jaclyn is on the run from an abusive husband, who happens to be a ruthless and dangerously well-connected police detective: not a man you'd want for an enemy. And she is, besides, apparently suffering from multiple personality disorder..



But this book isn't a tragic noir like "Vertigo" or "Out of the Past," whose cunning femme fatale sometimes brings to mind. It's a farce, of an unusually violent and dark-spirited kind.



By the time CHANCE is over, the hero has committed (or caused) several crimes, including murder, and has undergone any number of gross indignities, including a very nasty sexually transmitted disease, all in the hapless attempt to spare himself the worst consequences of his own desperate cluelessness...........




The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have listed CHANCE by Kem Nunn in their NEW AND NOTABLE Columns



 



MORE INFORMATION

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kem_Nunn

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/books/review/chance-by-kem-nunn.htm 



TO ORDER

Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar

MAKE ROOM FOR ONE MORE (03/11/2014)




Do you remember ROOM by Emma Donoghue? How could you forget that eloquent, strange, captivating novel? It was by far Emma Donoghue's greatest achievement. (And a prizewinner..)

FROG MUSIC, her newest, will be released April 1st. This novel focuses on an unsolved crime in the summer of 1876. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a woman is shot dead. A survivor risks everything to piece together this multi-faceted crime.

Told in thrilling cinematic style, it's as dark and gripping as ROOM. Aside from the "who-dunnit" factor, the book overflows with glimpses of an exciting and colorful period in history. Characters range from the rollicking to the damaged. (Unlike ROOM, there is some humor.)

Based on a true story, reviewers said.... "Readers won't forget this fast paced novel...a riviting murder mystery...endlessly inventive.."



MORE INFORMATION

Pre-order FROG MUSIC now on Amazon directly from this blog. Use the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar. A percentage goes to charity.

HEY, POLITICAL JUNKIES! (03/05/2014)




Gary S is a businessman and a political junkie.  His opinions, comments and reviews often appear on this blog. THE BULLY PULPIT by Doris Kearns Goodwin is his latest read and an unforgettable one, especially if you're a history buff.

One of the Best Books of the Year as chosen by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, Time and USA Today.... Reviewers have labeled it "A tale so gripping that one questions the need for fiction when real life is so plump with drama and intrigue"

Doris Kearns Goodwin does it again! Read Gary S's review below....
   



The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism By Doris Kearns Goodwin 



As an avid reader of history, I was anticipating the latest book from Doris Kearns Goodwin. I was excited to learn about an era that really changed how our country was governed—and learn about two United States Presidents that I was vaguely familiar.


What scared me was the length of the book—928 pages—and 3 pounds of shipping weight (according to Amazon). As a reader with a moderate attention span, I was fearful I would toss it aside the moment I got bored. Not so! On the few occasions when I thought Goodwin was giving me too much information (sometimes way too much information), I would simply skip ahead and no harm was done.


The book reads like a history book should. It brings the reader back in time and helps to visualize what it was like to live in that era. At that time, around 1890's to early 1900's, corporations were all powerful (Rockefellers and the railroad barrons) and government was not always for the people.


Goodwin tells the story of two men, Roosevelt and Taft—along with the advent of investigative journalism that together created the progressive movement... and changed a nation.




FOR MORE INFORMATION