SPRING RELEASES FROM GOODREADS.COM

Release Date: April 18
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife (an Oprah's Book Club selection): an exquisitely suspenseful new novel about an extraordinary young woman tested...more
Release Date: April 18
At the mercy of a treacherous sea... Claire Britten's training never prepared her for this--the forensic psychology curriculum didn't cover plane crashes. Or how to help fellow survivors cope, seven...more
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Anything Is Possible
Release Date: April 25
From #1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout comes a brilliant latticework of fiction reminiscent of Olive Kitteridge....more
Release Date: April 20
Meet the Lotterys: a unique and diverse family featuring four parents, seven kids and five pets - all living happily together in their big old house, Camelottery. Nine-year-old Sumac is the organizer ...more
Already released...Don't miss it!

SPRING THOUGHTS (MARCH 2017)


So far my book choices have been disappointing. One of my favorite authors, Jami Attenberg (THE MIDDLESTEINS) released ALL GROWN UP, supposedly a "wickedly funny" novel focused on a thirty nine year old single woman..kind of confessional, casual and brash. It really feels like overlapping short stories...stylishly written but not a lot of depth. I'm halfway through and hoping it will improve...

Below find three new releases, one a Memoir, reviewed by my favorite book website, Bookreporter.com.
See what you think....



More Reviews This Week

ILL WILL by Dan Chaon (Psychological Thriller)
Audiobook available; narrated by Ari Fliakos, Edoardo Ballerini, Michael Crouch and a full cast
A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his 40s when he hears the news: his adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt and uncle. Despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning. Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses his patient's suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but eventually he starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
THE PRICE OF ILLUSION: A Memoir by Joan Juliet Buck (Memoir)
When Joan Juliet Buck became the first and only American woman ever to fill Paris Vogue's coveted position of Editor in Chief, she had the means to recreate for her aging father --- now a widower --- the life he’d enjoyed during his high-flying years, a splendid illusion of glamorous excess that could not be sustained indefinitely. Joan’s memoir tells the story of a life lived in the best places at the most interesting times: London and New York in the swinging 1960s, Rome and Milan in the dangerous 1970s, Paris in the heady 1980s and 1990s. But when her fantasy life at Vogue came to an end, she had to find out who she was after all those years of make-believe. Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth for HeadButler.com.
THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS by Jason Rekulak (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Griffin Newman
Until May 1987, 14-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd. Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboymagazine publishes photos of “Wheel of Fortune” hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

ABE HAD A SON?


Bookreporter.com and just about every reviewer in the literary
world is promoting this novel by George Saunders, prize winning author.

 Did you know Lincoln had a son?   Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in 1862 at the young age of eleven....Shattered by grief, Abraham
Lincoln visits the crypt to spend time with his son's body.




LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available; read by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and a full cast
It’s February 1862, and the Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved 11-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. The boy finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state --- called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo --- a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Reviewed by Alex Bowditch.

TWO FEBRUARY FIRSTS

I can't seem to find a really good book. I follow the reviews, read the recommended books and than....Blah!
Here's three disappointing books I recently finished:
The Private Life of Mrs Sharma by Kapur, The History of Wolves by Fridlund, and The Girl Before by Delaney. All were recipients of very positive reviews. the writing was exceptional (a saving grace) in two out of three..so what happened?

Publishers Weekly mentioned two new releases for February that sound like they have potential. I'm getting desperate....

Optimists Die First

Susin Nielsen

The accidental death of Petula de Wilde’s younger sister, Maxine, has fractured her family, perhaps irrevocably. Her parents are retreating into their passions for books, music, and cats; Petula, who blames herself for Max’s death, has adopted the attitude that “tragedy can strike when you least expect it” and worries constantly about earthquakes, walking past construction sites, shaking hands, and catching rare diseasesPetula’s anxieties have landed her in youth art therapy (YART) at school, where she gets to know new student Jacob Cohen, a talented filmmaker with a bionic hand and his own tragic past. Grief and guilt permeate Nielsen’s (We Are All Made of Molecules) empathic and deeply moving story, balanced by sharply funny narration and dialogue. “It’s like a twisted version of The Breakfast Club,” says Jacob of YART, whose members struggle with bullying, substance abuse, and anger. Readers will be riveted by Petula’s rocky attempts to repair damaged relationships with her parents and a friend she drove away, connect with the members of YART, and open herself up to the idea of romance with Jacob.

Dead Letters

Caite Dolan-Leach 
When news of Zelda Antipova’s death reaches her buttoned-down twin sister, Ava, the latter returns home to her family’s central New York vineyard from Paris. She helps her ailing mother and estranged father with funeral arrangements, yet Ava is suspicious of her townie sister’s supposed demise in a barn fire, and it isn’t long before she begins to receive email messages from Zelda, who claims to have faked her own death. Following a series of clues left by Zelda, Ava begins to piece together her sister’s troubles, from massive debt to drug addiction. Along with her old high school boyfriend, Wyatt, she immerses herself in Zelda’s world, hoping to find her sister at the end of the puzzle. Dolan-Leach’s debut is a smart, dazzling mystery with a twist that not only shines a new light on the novel’s title but also leaves the reader hunting for the next clue. Dolan-Leach revels in toying with both Ava and her audience, placing small hints and red herrings throughout her text, and the result is captivating.

A LETTER FROM ELIZABETH STROUT..(Need I say more?!)

coverWTR
Dear Joyce,
I am writing to you about a debut novel that I loved to pieces, Daniel Lowe’s All That’s Left to Tell.
I first read this debut while recovering from an illness. I have often thought I wanted to write a book strong enough that someone convalescing could read it and disappear in it, but I had never had that experience myself until reading All That’s Left to Tell. I got an early copy in the mail, I opened it up, and then I was gone.
There are so many things to say about Daniel’s lovely book, but it feels strange to divide up the aspects of it, because it is such a beautiful whole. Ostensibly, it is about an American businessman named Marc, who is being held captive in a foreign land and the relationship he develops with Josephine, his interrogator. Every day, Josephine visits Marc and they tell each other stories. And it is through these stories that we see how grief, imagination, empathy, and ultimately the power of storytelling can redeem us.
All That’s Left to Tell made me think at times of another book I love, Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. But that said, I have never read anything like Daniel Lowe’s novel. It is such a brave book. The prose is splendid—Daniel Lowe’s authority on the page never wavers. Oh, I was with him every single word of the way.
I think you will feel the same way, and I hope you pick up a copy of this astonishing debut.
With best wishes,
Elizabeth Strout

ENOUGH ALREADY


If talk of politics makes you think back to a life away from cable news, Twitter and all the rest......
THE GIRL BEFORE by J.P. Delaney offers a great escape. Bookreporter.com had an interesting review...
By the way, JP Delaney is a pseudonym for a writer who has published best selling fiction under
other names...Guess who?!




THE GIRL BEFORE by JP Delaney (Psychological Thriller)

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control. The space is intended to transform its occupant --- and it does. After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street, she is instantly drawn to the space --- and to its aloof but seductive creator. Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to her in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror as the girl before.

NEW THIS WEEK..JANUARY 2017


According to the New York Times, there  are plenty of options this week. Ottessa Moshfegh, author of the acclaimed novel EILEEN (Which I am currently reading....no opinion yet)  has published a collection of short stories, HOMESICK FOR ANOTHER WORLD.

Lucinda Rosenfeld's new novel satirizes liberal Brooklynites and their pieties about class and race. Plus, AndrĂ© Aciman has a new novel....And Marilyn Stasio's Crime column looks at a debut medical mystery, another thriller with "girl" in the title, and a chilly suspense novel by Randall Silvis.

IDAHO by first time author Emily Ruskovich, has been described as a beautifully written lyrical book that almost reads like poetry.

IDAHO by Emily Ruskovich

Random House
Sam McPhee
Set in the wilderness of northern Idaho, Emily Ruskovich’s haunting debut novel Idaho is told from the perspectives of married couple Ann and Wade, and Wade’s first wife, Jenny, who is now in prison. Though Wade’s memory is now fading from early onset dementia, Ann tries to unravel the mystery of what exactly happened to Wade, his ex-wife, and their daughters, and the tragic, shocking act that shattered their lives. 
Publication date: Jan. 3

WHAT WE'LL BE READING IN 2017

So many new books debuting in the next few months...lots of well known authors and many newcomers. I still haven't finished my list for 2016, but hope to catch up...too many distractions!

A new novel by Elizabeth Strout titled "Anything is Possible" is at the top of my 2017 list...also Paula Hawkins of "Girl on the Train" fame debuts "Into the Water." (At the bottom of my list...)

Colin Toibin retells the Greek legend of Clytemnestra titled "House of Names" and short story master, George Saunders has a first novel titled "Lincoln in the Bardo."

 Some notable non fiction in March includes Joan Didion and Ariel Levy...all eagerly anticipated.

Stay tuned for more book announcements....

READING UNDER A PALM

My favorite activity when on vacation, besides fabulous meals, enjoying tropical splendors, (no not booze!...although maybe a little...) being with friends and family... is reading.  I try to catch up on the books I haven't read and usually finish about 8-10 depending on the length of the trip. I tend not to read on the plane as I hate flying and zone out..... Always a smooth trip......

So here's two books I recommend so far and one not so much..

FAITHFUL by Alice Hoffman

A lovely book especially for Alice Hoffman fans. It's a wonderful portrait of loss and rebirth....deeply moving and engaging.

THE RED CAR by Marcy Dermansky

A definite road trip...witty, adventurous and bold. Written with humor in a sparse powerful style. Loved it.

HOME by Harlan Coben

Skip this ...So disappointing...I've read all Coben's books and this is not up to his normal fare. 
Very slow moving and predictable. 


THE WONDER by Emma Donoghue

The thriller "Room" made Donoghue famous but I loved this new gripping tale. It  possesses many of the alluring qualities of  "Room"  but with lots of history and a riveting storyline.



GOODBYE 2016

As 2017 approaches it's worth noting that many familiar authors left their mark on the 2016 fiction lists. Ian McEwan, Richard Russo, Elizabeth Strout, Don DeLilo, are some of my favorites...along with several bold debuts by new authors. Imbolo Mbue's BEHOLD THE DREAMERS is an example of a debut novel that illuminates the Immigrant experience in America written with warmth, confidence and empathy...a must-read.(Scroll down to earlier post)

I'm anticipating many more exciting releases for 2017 which I'll happily share with you. In the meantime I'm off to sunny climes with a kindle full of 'to be read' books!

Have a great holiday season!

LUCKY BOY (WINTER 2017)


Coming early January critics call this book "a lush and emotionally wrenching novel." It's described as an ambitious, character-driven novel that ends as it should. Well that's an intriguing description...downloading for sure!


Lucky Boy

Crossing borders
Kavya and Soli’s lives converge in this novel from Shanthi Sekaran. Soli has immigrated to the United Streets from Mexico, and dreams of making a better life for herself. Kavya lives in Berkeley, California, where she is very aware of being a disappointment to her family. Kavya is unable to get pregnant, and Soli discovers she is pregnant after arriving in the U.S. Soon, the two women’s lives will touch, and neither one will ever be the same again. Soli’s son, Ignacio (nicknamed Nacho), will also be deeply affected. This book delves into the question of illegal immigration, and readers just might emerge from its pages seeing the issue a little differently than before.

CAN WE TALK? (DECEMBER 2016)

Get ready for a fun read! This biography of Joan Rivers is also a story of the trials and tribulations of women for decades ....a riveting and heart wrenching tale of the woman behind the "Schtick." It's all here and fans of well written biographies will enjoy this funny, revealing, inspiring book. I still miss her.....




Hardcover: November 15, 2016
Joan Rivers was an icon and a role model to millions, a fearless pioneer who left a legacy of expanded opportunity when she died in 2014. Her life was a dramatic roller-coaster of triumphant highs and devastating lows: the suicide of her husband, her feud with Johnny Carson, her estrangement from her daughter, her many plastic surgeries, her ferocious ambition and her massive insecurities. But Rivers' career was also hugely significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for her gender and pushing the boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life. LAST GIRL BEFORE FREEWAY delves into the inner workings of a woman who both reflected and redefined the world around her.
www.bookreporter.com


XMAS DREAMS



The holiday season has arrived but I don’t think chaos has to come with it. Choosing a book for someone you hold near and dear based on his or her interests is one of the most thoughtful and rewarding gifts you can give. 


I recently finished first time author, Imbolo Mbue's masterful debut novel titled BEHOLD THE DREAMERS, a swiftly paced story that takes on immigration, family, and class. It's a timely tale that needs to be told...BEHOLD THE DREAMERS Is a sad indictment of the American dream and a great testament to enduring family bonds.

Well written, this is a fearless morality tale mixed with humor, pathos and love....the perfect gift for an adventurous reader.

AS THEY SAY...THIS IS DA BOMB (NOVEMBER 2016)

Recently Blog follower B A wrote the following review on Goodreads.com
I felt compelled to not only include it on my blog but quickly downloaded the book....sounds like a great read!
A National Book Award Finalist, critics and many readers labeled it smart, devastating and unforgettable. It's out in paperback too ...so get it post haste!


25810398. uy113
Coincide. Concuss. Confound. Confuse. Co-opt. Conflate. Repeat.
I knew absolutely nothing about this compelling, heart-breaking novel until I saw it on the Goodreads List of the Best Novels for 2016. If you love All Things India, move one step closer to your book seller's shelf.
If you want to examine the slow, and ultimately inevitable, conversion from victim to terrorist, take one more step.
 If you want absolutely gorgeous prose, take a giant step. If the idea that humans don't know what the hell they want terrifies you, run like the dickens.


HE'S BACK (NOVEMBER 2016)




Bookreporter.com is my "go to" site for the latest, greatest, and sometimes not so greatest. Their recent comments about John Grisham's new book are right on target. Yes, he's back again with another thriller...and reviewers seem to love it.

I'm also a loyal Alice Hoffman fan and can't wait to read her latest. She never disappoints ...even though she can border on weird...I'm always there to support her.

Thankyou Bookreporter.com for the following reviews...

THE WHISTLER by John Grisham (Mystery)
Audiobook available, read by Cassandra Campbell
What happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, and a corruption case crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business as Greg Myers; he claims to know of a judge who was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. Greg’s only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Lacy immediately suspects this case could be dangerous --- but it also could turn out to be deadly. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.




FAITHFUL BY ALICE HOFFMAN

Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. She has to fight her way back to her own future and finds a circle of lost and found souls --- including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

SWING TIME (NOVEMBER 2016)



I've read all of Zadie Smith's books and cannot wait for her latest. As of 2016 she's published five novels, all receiving substantial praise. Thankyou BuzzFeed Books for choosing this book as one of the best Fall books to get excited about! Check out Buzzfeedbooks.com for their other recommendations.
 

 Swing Time by Zadie Smith – 15 November


Two brown girls dream of being dancers - but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…

Photo by Hamish Hamilton,Via barclayagency.com


SMALL GREAT THINGS (OCTOBER 2016)

  

Jodi Picoult

 


Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult is a thought provoking examination of racism in America today. What a timely topic! Readers say it's a compelling, can't put it down drama with a trademark twist...

It's on the stands now and should be a great read...especially if you're a Picoult fan, and there are many! ( I'm not, but may give this one a try ...) 



SMALL GREAT THINGS BY JODI PICOULT


Labor and delivery nurse Ruth Jefferson has found herself on trial for hesitating to perform CPR on a baby in cardiac arrest — a baby whose white supremacist parents requested Ruth (who is black) stay away from their child. Now, she must work with Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender who insists she doesn’t bring up race in court. But as the case becomes a national media sensation, both Ruth and Kennedy find themselves reexamining everything they’ve come to understand about justice, compassion, race, and privilege.  


OCTOBER PREVIEWS



I just finished Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney, infamous author of Bright Lights Big City. 
It reminded me of Sex and the City ...only focusing on married couples.
 I hadn't read his previous novels that tracked the lives of these aforementioned couples and as a result I didn't feel Invested nor did I care. It was an uneven read, often slow moving and in all fairness, maybe one needs to read the two preceding novels (Brightness Falls and The Good Life).... but that's not going to happen.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan is my next read and it looks like it's going to be smart, funny and oh do I love his prose!!!!! Stay tuned.

Here's some new releases for October....
THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD by Jade Chang(Fiction)
Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands --- and his pride.





I'm posting the following book for football fans, since it's the season and a timely topic! Let me know if it lives up to the hype.. I won't be reading it....

BELICHICK & BRADY: Two Men, the Patriots, and How They Revolutionized Football by Michael Holley (Sports)
Featuring interviews from New England Patriots players and coaches, Michael Holley presents a fascinating portrait of the partnership between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Chockful of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, this is required reading for any Patriots fan and students of the game of football.

Thankyou Bookreporter.com for your reviews.

WEIRD WATCHING (SEPTEMBER 2016)


Room by Emma Donoghue was a fabulous read. Even the movie was excellent! Now Emma Donoghue has a new novel, titled The Wonder and some critics are calling it 'a masterpiece'...It's at the top of my list.

Ian McEwan is known as one of the fifty greatest British writers since 1945. His awards are too numerous to mention and I'm a huge fan and devotee. Nutshell, his latest novel sounds like a weird little novel but brilliant...no surprise there. I can't wait to read this book narrated by a fetus!! You heard me, a fetus....let the weirdness begin!
 



The Wonder
Release Date: September 20

In Emma Donoghue's latest masterpiece, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months.   




NUTSHELL by Ian McEwan (Psychological Thriller)
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John; she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb.

FAVORITES FOR FALL

I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the two books listed below. I'm a fan of both authors and according to Goodreads.com and other sources, I won't be disappointed. I hate to see Summer winding down but the consolation is many great Fall reads to anticipate....



Commonwealth
Release Date: September 13
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion ...more




The Wonder


Also debuting ....See earlier post.

SEPTEMBER BOOK BUZZ


Amor Towles is one of my favorite authors. His last book RULES OF CIVILITY was a great read and I've been anxiously awaiting his latest release. I've pre-ordered and hope it lives up to its predecessor!

RULES OF CIVILITY was published by Viking/Penguin in July 2011 and reached the bestseller lists of The New York Times, the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times. The book was rated by The Wall Street Journal as one of the ten best works of fiction in 2011.

Viking/Penguin will be publishing Towles’s new novel, A Gentleman in Moscowon September 6, 2016.
Below read a summary from Bookreporter.com.


A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles (Historical Fiction)
When, in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, he is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.


The following books will be released in September and are highly recommended by critics and readers. There's something for everyone incuding some humerous essays by Dave Barry.....no surprise there!


HERE I AM by Jonathan Safran Foer (Fiction)
Unfolding over four tumultuous weeks in present-day Washington, D.C., HERE I AM is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. As they are forced to confront the distances between the lives they think they want and the lives they are living, a catastrophic earthquake sets in motion a quickly escalating conflict in the Middle East.


APPRENTICE IN DEATH by J.D. Robb (Thriller)
The shots came quickly, silently and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims were a talented young skater, a doctor and a teacher. Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this.


BEST. STATE. EVER.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland by Dave Barry(Humor/Essays)
Join loyal Floridian Dave Barry as he celebrates Florida from Key West at the bottom to whatever it is that’s at the top, from the Sunshine State’s earliest history to the fun-fair of weirdness that it is today.