(26)Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox
Friends Like Us
by Lauren Fox
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Willa and Ben are friends from way back. Way way back. They went through high school together, ditching school together and the whole works. They parted ways for a while and Willa meets Jane. Jane is like the sister she never had. They speak their own language which includes a lot of laughter.
(25)Flatscreen by Adam Wilson
by Adam Wilson
Publication Date: February 21, 2012
<./P>I have read other reviews of Flatscreen labeling it "hysterically funny", but I have to be honest and say that I did not laugh once. I found Eli and his lack of motivation to be incredibly annoying. I will say, slightly less so after the who getting shot thing, but still annoying. I would say that both he and his mother are in a bit of a stupor after Eli's father left, but the extreme to which it goes, to which his parents let it go, is crazy. If he were my kid I would have booted his ass out a long time ago.
(24)Shatter by Michael Robotham
Publication Date: January 26, 2012
Retired Psychologist Joe O'Laughlin has recently found something to do other than dwell on his Parkinson's Disease. He has started teaching at the local University and it is there where he gets asked to help talk a potential suicide down off the bridge.
Joe did not plan on getting involved, but he did. And when he could not save the woman he took it to heart. What would cause a normally sane woman to throw herself off of a bridge to sure death. When the woman's business partner is found naked and handcuffed to a tree a day or so later, Joe (and the police) realize that there is something more sinister at play. Will they be able to find out who or what is behind these "suicides" before another woman loses her life?
Shatter is a most interesting thriller that takes a look at how far a mother will go to protect her child. In the first two cases there isn't even verifiable proof that their children are in danger. Just the treat of harm to their children was enough for them to go to extremes. It is certainly worthy of discussion. Would you be willing to jump off a bridge if a man on the phone told you that he had kidnapped your child?
It wasn't until I was more than halfway through this book and went in search of the synopsis that I realized it was part of a series. It was not obvious in any sort of way, and that is always a good thing. Shatter was also the first non-Agatha Christie mystery set in England that I remember reading in recent days. It was well written and the kind of page turner that is full of shocking turn of events. I also found it interesting the way that Joe O'Laughlin deals with his disease. And in some cases he doesn't deal with it at all.
Bottom line, I think that fans of Linwood Barclay or even Tana French will enjoy Shatter. It is a well written mystery/suspense thriller that takes on every mother's worst nightmare. How far would you go to save your child?
(23)The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
The Dispatcher is as gritty as they come!
(22)Stay Awake by Dan Chaon
by Dan Chaon
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
(21)Tuesday Night Miracles by Kris Radish
Tuesday Night Miracles
by Kris Radish
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
The Underside of Joy Giveaway!!
Every now and then you find a book with characters that stick with you far longer than the time it took you to even read the book. It does not matter how many books you read or how many movies you watch in the mean time, your mind always wanders back to that one character.
For me that character is Ella Been in The Underside of Joy. The Underside of Joy is about a woman, Ella, who loses her husband to a tragic accident, and then risks losing her Stepkids when their "Mama" comes back into the picture. The anguish Ella felt at the loss of Joe and the threat of losing her kids was just so palpable that it still resonates with me.
I recently had the opportunity to ask the author, Sere Prince Halverson a few questions and I am thrilled to be able to share her answers with you.
First of all, Welcome to my Web! Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for my readers.
Thank you for having me, Charlotte! And thanks for taking the time to read the novel and ask such thoughtful questions. I really appreciate it.
The Underside of Joy was such an emotional read for me as a “new” Stepmother. Was there any one reason that prompted you to tell the story of Ella Beene?
There were quite a few things floating around my head at the time. One of them was the image of a woman curled up in a bed under a blanket, feeling that she had once had everything she’d ever wanted and now she’d lost it. I didn’t know her story but I wanted to know more. Like you, I had recently become a stepmom, I had a stepmom, my kids had a stepmom. And none of us are evil. When I realized Ella was a stepmother, I thought I might have an opportunity to turn the traditional fairytale of the evil stepmother on its head. Ella and Paige’s stories are very different from mine, but I did pour in some of my own emotional truth about loving children and trying to navigate the complex feelings that come with sharing your kids and stepkids.
After the death of her husband, Joe, Ella is forced into a custody battle with the kids “Mama”, Paige, what kind of research did you have to do for the legal aspect of this story?
First, I did research on the Internet, looking up cases to see what kind of rights stepparents had when the spouse and natural parent had died. I also spent some time in the family law courtrooms. Finally, one of my first readers is an attorney, and she didn’t let anything slip by! I’m very grateful to her for that..
It is fairly common knowledge that there were Internment Camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II, but very little is known about the internment of Italian- Americans and German-Americans, what prompted you to tell the story of Joe’s Grandfather?
The Sonoma Valley area plays a big part in the Ella’s story, why did you choose that area of the country for the backdrop of Ella’s story?A friend of mine, Kelly, who happens to be a very smart history teacher in Sonoma County, casually mentioned to me that Italians in the area were interned during WWII. I’d been working on the book for several years before this conversation, and I knew something was up with the Capozzis, but I wasn’t sure what, exactly. So when she told me that, my mouth dropped open. I found the book Una Storia Segreta by Lawrence Distasi. “The Secret Story.” Italian-Americans don’t talk about the internment much; the government doesn’t talk about it. There’s a lot of judgment and shame and turned backs involved, which, of course, all fits in with the themes of my novel.
It chose me. I spent my teenage years in Northern California and then left to go to college. I ended up living in San Diego for 17 years. San Diego is lovely, but when I moved back north, I finally felt like I was home. I’m a sucker for trees, especially the redwoods. I never fail to feel enormously fortunate whenever I walk outside or take a drive. It’s a gorgeous part of the country and, in a way, I think of this book as my love song to this area.
Do you see a sequel in the future for Ella, Paige, and the girls? Maybe as teenagers?
I don’t’ have a sequel in mind at the moment, but the door is always open if these characters decide to come back someday and fill me in on what’s been happening. I think of them often, and have to admit, sometimes I miss them.
As a Stepmother yourself, do you have any advice for a “new” Stepmother like myself?
I am so not the expert! Every situation is different. Lots of hugs help. I really think we have to find our own way, our own relationship with each child. It’s important not to ever try to replace their mom. (Ella’s situation was different from mine because Paige was gone.) There are so many ways to love a child, to be in a child’s life. Love them deeply and do your best and allow that it won’t be perfect. That’s all I can give you!
I have yet to meet an Author who was not an avid reader themselves, what are some books that have had the most influence on your life?Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for me and my readers. Can you give us a sneak peek at what you are working on now?
There are so many, it’s always hard to narrow them down. When I was nine, I discovered Anne of Green Gables and Diary of Anne Frank—two very different books, both about Annes who loved to write. That’s when I began keeping a diary. A few of the non-fiction books I’ve always loved: The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, and Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery by Richard Selzer. Finally, some of the many contemporary novels that have stayed with me: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and Come and Go Molly Snow by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall.
Thank you! I’ve been working on a book set in Saudi Arabia, about a young American artist visiting her father, a doctor temporarily working in Riyadh. From the redwood forest to the Arabian desert…I like to change things up.
Thank you so much to Sere for stopping by my little Web! She has even been so generous to give away one copy of her book to one of my readers. We will take entries from now until February 22, 2012. US readers only, unfortunately. Please be sure to visit Sere at Facebook or her website, where you can read her bio and blog.
And if you feel like sharing, please let us know what character has stayed with you days, weeks, or even months after reading their story.
(Disclaimer: Your information is safe with me! I will not sell or reveal your information to anyone and once the winner has been chosen I will delete all entries.)
(20) The Darlings by Cristina Alger
Publication Date: February 16, 2012
I really enjoyed The Darlings. The concept is very similar to Elin Hilderbrand's Silver Girl, but told with much more literary precision. In Silver Girl we only get one side of the story, but The Darlings is so much more encompassing. It is hard not to feel a little compassion for the Darling family (except for Carter. He is an ass, in my opinion) . They are completely blindsided when the truth is revealed. I am really surprised this book hasn't gotten more buzz, but I really think it is one to read. The characters, no matter how despicable are fascinating and so very well written. And the end provides a bit of a shock, too.
(19) I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
I've Got Your Number
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Location: Layton, UT 84041, USA
A Weekend of Great Sadness.The world has lost two phenomenal talents this weekend. Two you ask? Yes, two. Lost in the shadows of the death of Whitney Houston, a star whose music defined my teen years, is the fact that Author Jeffrey Zaslow, known best for his work with Randy Pausch on The Last Lecture and his books on those Girls From Ames was killed in a car accident Friday night on the snowy Michigan roads.
It is with a heavy heart that I must admit to being more shocked by the death of Mr. Zaslow than I was of Whitney Houston, whose body has been ravaged by years of drug abuse. Was she a superstar of the highest magnitude, yes. Like I said, her music defined my tween and teen years. Much like Michael Jackson did with his music. But Whitney Houston's success was in the past. Is it possible that she could have staged a comeback, of course, but statistically unlikely. With the news of Mr. Zaslow's passing I immediately thought of all of the great works that we will miss out on reading. He was in the prime of his career. In fact, I have an ARC of his latest work, The Magic Room, just waiting for me to read.
So today, on the day the world is mourning the loss of Whitney Houston, take a minute to also mourn the loss of Jeffrey Zaslow. Both of them made an impact on the Arts in our world in their own special way and will never be forgotten.
(18) MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
MWF Seeking BFF
My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend
Publication Date: December 20, 2011
Pages : 384
(17)Home Front by Kristin Hannah
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
(First time posting from my phone)
The view on the way to Blockbuster a few weeks ago.
(16)Outside The Lines by Amy Hatvany
Outside the Lines
by Amy Hatvany
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
(15)Spin by Catherine McKenzie
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Buy it Here!
Kate Sandford has pretty much been floundering ever since college. Here she is on the verge of her 30th birthday, yet her roommate and some of her friends think that she is still a struggling college student. It is Kate's only way to justify the way she lives. In reality she is a struggling writer who wants nothing more than to write for the premier music magazine, The Line. She catches a huge break when she lands an interview on her 30th birthday. She is determined to land this job, but when her friends invite her out to celebrate her birthday the night before the interview she goes and is still drunk for her interview.
But wait. Just when Kate thinks that the time has come to shuck her dreams and take an administrative position she gets a call back from The Line. They have a gig for her, a 30 day gig. They want her to go to rehab, the same rehab as "The Girl Next Door", Amber and write an expose on the hard partying movie star. If it goes well, The Line will hire Kate permanently. Sounds perfect, right? What Kate doesn't expect is that she grows to like Amber and learns a lot about her own faults while in rehab. Will she be able to turn in the expose to get everything she ever wanted or will Kate discover that some things in life are more important?
I really enjoyed Spin. It was such a unique "Spin" to the Chick Lit genre. I enjoyed reading about Kate's own self discoveries while in rehab. Her own personal growth was probably the most I have ever seen in a Chick Lit novel and while the subject matter was tough, the realization was refreshing. If you looking for something unique to read, give Spin a chance. I think you will enjoy this one!
(14) Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
by Lisa Gardner
Publication Date: February 7, 2012