New on the Shelves…

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By Lisa | Filed in New Books | 2 comments

And the next great book from William Morrow: Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech:

season of dragonfliesFor generations, the Lenore women have manufactured a perfume unlike any other, and guarded the unique and mysterious ingredients. Their perfumery, hidden in the quiet rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, creates one special elixir that secretly sells for millions of dollars to the world’s most powerful—movie stars, politicians, artists, and CEOs. The Lenore’s signature perfume is actually the key to their success. 

Willow, the coolly elegant Lenore family matriarch, is the brains behind the company. Her gorgeous, golden-haired daughter Mya is its heart. Like her foremothers, she can “read” scents and envision their power. Willow’s younger daughter, dark-haired, soulful Lucia, claims no magical touch, nor does she want any part of the family business. She left the mountains years ago to make her own way. But trouble is brewing. Willow is experiencing strange spells of forgetfulness. Mya is plotting a coup. A client is threatening blackmail. And most ominously, the unique flowers used in their perfume are dying. 

Whoever can save the company will inherit it. Though Mya is the obvious choice, Lucia has begun showing signs of her own special abilities. And her return to the mountains—heralded by a swarm of blue dragonflies—may be the answer they all need.

 

New on the Shelves…

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By Lisa | Filed in New Books | One comment

I got my email with the July book offers from William Morrow and WOW what a crop of books! I could have requested every one of them – it was really tough to narrow down my options. Here’s the first to land in my Kindle, Crooked River

crooked riverStill grieving the sudden death of their mother, Sam and her younger sister Ollie McAlister move from the comforts of Eugene to rural Oregon to live in a meadow in a teepee under the stars with Bear, their beekeeper father. But soon after they arrive, a young woman is found dead floating in Crooked River, and the police arrest their eccentric father for the murder. 

Fifteen-year-old Sam knows that Bear is not a killer, even though the evidence points to his guilt. Unwilling to accept that her father could have hurt anyone, Sam embarks on a desperate hunt to save him and keep her damaged family together. 

I see things no one else does.
I see them there and wish I didn’t. I want to tell and can’t.


Ollie, too, knows that Bear is innocent. The Shimmering have told her so. One followed her home from her mom’s funeral and refuses to leave. Now, another is following Sam. Both spirits warn Ollie: the real killer is out there, closer and more dangerous than either girl can imagine. 

Told in Sam and Ollie’s vibrant voices, Crooked River is a family story, a coming of age story, a ghost story, and a psychological mystery that will touch reader’s hearts and keep them gripped until the final thrilling page.

Hot Guys With Books

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By Lisa | Filed in Hot Guys with Books | One comment

Doesn’t that make you wonder what he’s reading?

jensen

New on the Shelves…

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By Lisa | Filed in New Books | One comment

Okay, I know I didn’t request this one! I’m always pleased to get unexpected books in the mail, but cozy mysteries with household pets as the detectives? Definitely not on the menu. I’m going to offer this one to one of my associate reviewers.

doghouse-9781476750040Doghouse (A Gin & Tonic Mystery)

In the third novel in the Gin & Tonic mystery series, the stakes are raised when Ginny Mallard and Teddy Tonica stumble on an underground dog fighting ring with bloody consequences.

Even though she’s unlicensed as an investigator, the infamously nosy Ginny Mallard has begun to make a name for herself as an unofficial champion of the tongue-tied. When a mysterious stranger comes to her with landlord trouble, she convinces her bartender friend Teddy Tonica to help her once more. Soon, they realize they might have got themselves tied up in an underground dogfighting ring. With the help of Ginny’s pet shar-pei puppy and Tonica’s tabby cat, they have to figure out what’s going on before someone else gets hurt. Will twelve legs really be better than four?

 

Quotables

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By Lisa | Filed in Quotables | No comments yet.

“Books are finite, sexual encounters are finite, but the desire to read and to fuck is infinite; it surpasses our own deaths, our fears, our hopes for peace.”

Roberto Bolaño, Chilean novelist

How to Read Blurb

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By Lisa | Filed in Book Review | No comments yet.

Okay, this made me laugh out loud. If you have ever read the publisher blurbs after reading a book and thought “What were they thinking? What book did they read?” this will appeal to you, as well:

how-to-speak-publisher-page00011

live by nightThere’s a bit of a story behind my reading of Live by Night: I picked up the audiobook from the library months ago – probably closer to a year ago. I sped through the first 9 cds and then…lost it. I brought it in from the car, set it aside, and it disappeared. I was furious! Ransacked the house, went through all my suitcases, the car, called the hotel I’d stayed at. No luck. Cut to this past week: I spent my vacation doing a thorough cleaning and decluttering of my spare bedroom, and guess what I found? Yep. I was finally able to finish!

Live by Night tells the story of Joe Coughlin, and it is a big story. Joe starts out the son of a law-and-order police captain in Boston. He abandons his father’s teachings to be an outlaw, to live outside the law, first as a petty thief, and later as a gangster. What I loved most about the novel was the range of stories: Joe as a petty thief who falls for a pretty girl he meets during a robbery; Joe as a tough guy in prison, standing up to the made guy inside; Joe as the King of Ybor City, using a lot of native smarts, cunning and ruthlessness to corner the rum trade; and Joe as a gangster, family man and gentlemen farmer in Havana, Cuba, building a baseball field for the boys who work in his tobacco fields. They are big stories and even though Joe is a very bad man, you can’t help but root for him – not to get back on the straight and narrow or give up his outlaw nature. No, you find yourself hoping that his latest criminal scheme will work out, that he can keep his employees safe, that he doesn’t end up in a pair of cement shoes.

In part, the story is propelled by Joe’s love of two different women. Emma is the pretty girl he meets during a heist, the kind of woman that men will do anything for. She makes Joe take crazy chances, chances that end badly for Joe. Later, Joe meets Graciela, a head-strong Cuban woman who helps him build an empire in Prohibition-era Florida.

When I first picked up this audiobook, I raced through the first 9 cds, before that little interruption I mentioned. When I had it back in my hands, I popped in disk 10 and I was right back in the story; I didn’t even need to go back for a refresher. Do you have any idea how unusual that is? I have stacks of books that I’ve read, reviewed, and a week later I can’t remember the name of the main character. Live by Night engaged me in a way that few books have recently. The stories and characters stayed fresh in my mind months later. I wish every book I read was so compelling.

My one complaint is that the book seemed to end very abruptly. I kept running back through the CD tracks, thinking it must have skipped a track. But looking back, the abrupt end made sense, in the context of Joe’s life.

What balances that complaint is that I can look forward to seeing the book on the big screen. Ben Affleck will directing and is apparently working on the screenplay. I’m not sure I picture Ben as Joe, but I have confidence that he can do a great job with it. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until 2016.

My copy of Live by Night came from the Kent Free Library, and I think they will be very happy to finally have it back!

 

New on the Shelves…

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By Lisa | Filed in New Books | One comment

Don’t Try To Find Me by Holly Brown

find me

When a fourteen-year-old runs away, her parents turn to social media to find her—launching a public campaign that will expose their darkest secrets and change their family forever, in this suspenseful and gripping debut for fans of Reconstructing Amelia and Gone Girl.

Don’t try to find me. Though the message on the kitchen white board is written in Marley’s hand, her mother Rachel knows there has to be some other explanation. Marley would never run away.

As the days pass and it sinks in that the impossible has occurred, Rachel and her husband Paul are informed that the police have “limited resources.” If they want their fourteen-year-old daughter back, they will have to find her themselves. Desperation becomes determination when Paul turns to Facebook and Twitter, and launches FindMarley.com.

But Marley isn’t the only one with secrets.

With public exposure comes scrutiny, and when Rachel blows a television interview, the dirty speculation begins. Now, the blogosphere is convinced Rachel is hiding something. It’s not what they think; Rachel would never hurt Marley. Not intentionally, anyway. But when it’s discovered that she’s lied, even to the police, the devoted mother becomes a suspect in Marley’s disappearance.

Is Marley out there somewhere, watching it all happen, or is the truth something far worse?

empire striketh backIf you read my review of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, then you know what to expect from William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher. They are fun little tidbits, translating Star Wars into something The Bard would have been proud of.

Luke Skywalker, on his battle with the Imperial Walkers:

A hit! A very palpable hit. Wait,
Although my shots have found their mark, their blasts
Have no effect, It is their armor, fie!
Our blasters are too weak to penetrate
The strength of their robust exteriors.
Rogue group, use thy harpoons and cables, too.
Let us go for their legs and trip them up -
Perhaps they can be bested from beneath.
Dack, art thou with me?

 

Leia, after Han is frozen in carbonite:

Full fathom five my lover lies
Within an icy tomb,
They say he lives, but my heart dies,
Sing wroshyr, wroshyr, wroshyr.

Fun, but to be honest, it gets tiring for me after a while.

I would love to give these to a bunch of eighth graders — I think they would make a great introduction to Shakespeare, a way of showing that Shakespeare’s language isn’t impenetrable and difficult, just different. Other than that, I think you need to be a real Star Wars geek to truly appreciate these.

My copy of William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back was an Advance Reader Copy, provided free of charge.

 

Sad news for World Book Night

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By Lisa | Filed in Commentary | One comment

 

world book nightI am sad to report that World Book Night US has suspended operations:

“The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, and shippers, are too high to sustain without additional outside funding,” [executive director Carl] Lennertz wrote.

If you follow here, you might remember that in 2012 I handed out copies of The Book Thief at my local tattoo parlors. It was an amazing experience, handing out books to people and sharing a book that I truly loved.  I imagine that this is a hugely expensive operation, and I am so sorry that they couldn’t find the funding they needed.