Monday, April 29, 2013

May - Now In Paperback

Is This Tomorrow
A Novel, by Caroline Leavitt

In 1956, Ava Lark rents a house with her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, in a desirable Boston suburb. Ava is beautiful, divorced, Jewish, and a working mom. She finds her neighbors less than welcoming. Lewis yearns for his absent father, befriending the only other fatherless kids: Jimmy and Rose. One afternoon, Jimmy goes missing. The neighborhood—in the throes of Cold War paranoia—seizes the opportunity to further ostracize Ava and her son.

Years later, when Lewis and Rose reunite to untangle the final pieces of the tragic puzzle, they must decide: Should you tell the truth even if it hurts those you love, or should some secrets remain buried?

City of Women
A Novel, by David R. Gillham

"The writing is a great mix of the literary and commercial, page-turning and suspenseful, with a morally complex, intelligent heroine at its center. If you’re a fan of well-written historical novels in the vein of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, this one is for you."--Slate

The Dog Stars
A Novel, by Peter Heller
A San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Monthly Best Book of the Year

Hig somehow survived the flu pandemic that killed everyone he knows. Now his wife is gone, his friends are dead, and he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, Jasper, and a mercurial, gun-toting misanthrope named Bangley.

But when a random transmission beams through the radio of his 1956 Cessna, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists outside their tightly controlled perimeter. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return and follows its static-broken trail, only to find something that is both better and worse than anything he could ever hope for.

A Novel, by Chris Cleave
It's the ultimate test of a mother's love...
If your dreams pull you in one direction and your heart in another, which should you follow? This is the question that haunts Kate Meadows, a world champion athlete whose eight-year-old daughter Sophie is battling a recurrence of childhood leukemia just as Kate is about to compete for her last chance at an Olympic gold medal. For years, Kate has sacrificed everything for her family and watched her best friend and closest rival, Zoe Castle, conquer the world stage. Kate has never won gold and will have to go through Zoe—who has everything to lose—to get it. Now her child is facing a life-threatening illness, and the stakes are higher than ever. How can she do what is right for her daughter without abandoning all of her dreams?

Istanbul Passage
A Novel, by Joseph Kanon

Istanbul survived the Second World War as a magnet for refugees and spies. Even expatriate American Leon Bauer was drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs in support of the Allied war effort. Now as the espionage community begins to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of postwar life, Leon is given one last routine assignment. But when the job goes fatally wrong—an exchange of gunfire, a body left in the street, and a potential war criminal on his hands— Leon is trapped in a tangle of shifting loyalties and moral uncertainty.
Played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this knowing, ancient Ottoman city, Istanbul Passage is the unforgettable story of a man swept up in the dawn of the Cold War, of an unexpected love affair, and of a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it.

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
A Novel, by Suzanne Johnson

“Two worlds collide with the discovery of a mysterious inheritance. On one side of the globe in the 1920s, three young women embark on an adventure along the famous Silk Road. On the other side of the world in present day London, two young strangers bond over a beautiful illustration with a history. Decades of family tradition and mystery become unraveled as the stories come crashing together.”
-- Morgan Kiedrowski, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

The Lower River
A Novel, by Paul Theroux

A taut, tense, darkly suspenseful novel about a man who flees to Africa after his marriage falls apart, only to be caught up in a precarious situation in a seemingly benign village.

The Right Hand Shore
A Novel, by Christopher Tilghman

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A masterful novel that confronts the dilemmas of race, family, and forbidden love in the wake of America’s Civil War.

The Roots of the Olive Tree
A Novel, By Courtney Miller Santo

An extraordinary new voice in contemporary woman’s fiction, Courtney Miller Santo makes her magnificent debut with The Roots of the Olive Tree, a novel that will delight fans of Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and the works of Kristin Hannah. Set in a house on an olive grove in northern California, The Roots of the Olive Tree is a beautiful, touching story that brings to life five generations of women—including an unforgettable 112-year-old matriarch determined to break all Guinness longevity records—the secrets and lies that divide them and the love that ultimately ties them together.

The Yellow Birds
A Novel, by Kevin Powers

A novel written by a veteran of the war in Iraq, The Yellow Birds is the harrowing story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive.

"The war tried to kill us in the spring." So begins this powerful account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. Bound together since basic training when Bartle makes a promise to bring Murphy safely home, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.

In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes actions he could never have imagined.

With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home, The Yellow Birds is a groundbreaking novel that is destined to become a classic.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review - The Second Messiah

The Second Messiah
By Glenn Meade
An Afternoon Book Club Selection
A new Pope has been chosen, a Pope who has a mission that threatens the church and its vast wealth.  A  Dead Sea Scroll has been discovered in the desert near Jerusalem, a scroll that could shake the faith of both the Christian and Jewish communities.  Add to the mixture a hunky archaeologist. Two beautiful women, a very wealthy man with his own agenda and you have a page turning conspiracy.

The afternoon book group had a very interesting and divided discussion on this book and its premise of a second Messiah.  Many felt that the book did not cover the scroll and its revelations thoroughly enough while the other half could not find any fault with the author’s coverage.  I would suggest that you read the Second Messiah and come to your own conclusion.
Submitted by Diane Vaughn

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Review - One Was A Soldier

The evening book club inadvertently started with the sixth book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery series. The members who had read all the books in the series (and loved them) were concerned we wouldn't have the full picture of the characters picking up so late in the series, and they may have been right. But, having said that, I found One Was a Soldier by Julie Spencer-Fleming to be an enjoyable read. And, although I think I might have benefited from reading previous novels, Spencer-Fleming filled in the background details needed. 

Clare Fergusson is in distress, she has just returned from combat, and in many ways is behaving erratically. She is suffering with flashbacks and other PTSD symptoms. Being a minister, she is unwilling to let anyone, even her lover, Russ, see the pain that is consuming her.

While the military service and its consequent problems are the backdrop of the story and an important theme, the mystery drives the story forward. 

Another returning soldier in Clare's support group has been found dead. It looks like suicide, but Clare and the other members of the group are suspicious.

As the mystery is unraveled by amateur Clare and professional Russ, we see the effects that military service has on each of the members of Clare's support group. Although this book deals with the painful difficulties veterans have returning to "normal" life, I would still describe this novel as an easy read. I started and finished it in less than a weekend, and it kept me going until the last page.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April - Now in Paperback

Stop by Hattie's Books for these titles - Now in Paperback!

Beautiful Ruins
A Novel by Jess Walter
 Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

“A marvel, an absolute gem of a beach read that is both hilarious and heartbreaking.”Huffington Post

Light Between Oceans
A Novel by M. L. Stedman
“An extraordinary and heart-rending book about good people, tragic decisions and the beauty found in each of them.”—Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief
Love Anthony
A Novel by Lisa Genova
"Love Anthony broke my heart in the best way! I read it spellbound and breathless. If you don't know Lisa Genova's work already, meet your new favorite writer, storyteller, enchanter." —Heidi W. Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, Winner of the Bellwether Prize
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
A Novel by Rachel Joyce
“A cause for celebration . . . [Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. In this bravely unpretentious and unsentimental take, she’s cleared space where miracles are still possible.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,
by Cheryl Strayed
A Best Nonfiction Book of 2012: The Boston Globe, Entertainment WeeklyA Best Book of the Year: NPR, St. Louis Dispatch, Vogue
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.