Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Secret Wisdom Of The Earth by Christopher Scotton

Kevin is fourteen when he and his mother go to visit his grandfather in Medgar, Kentucky.  They are reeling from a family tragedy.  His three year old brother has been horribly killed in an accident in front of them.  His father lashes out at Kevin, blaming him for the tragedy.  His mother is just gone, lost somewhere in the mists of her mind.  That leaves Kevin to handle his heartbreak and rejection himself. 

But Medgar is a place where healing can happen.  His grandfather is one of the town's leading citizens, a veterinarian who grew up and raised his family there.  Kevin meets a friend, Buzzy Fink, and his acceptance and that of his grandfather starts to raise the gloom and guilt that has entrapped him.  Soon Kevin is doing the things a teenager in Medgar does, fishing, camping out, accompanying his grandfather on his work trips. 

Medgar is a poor place and mining has been the main economic engine.  As the mines play out, the town dwindles and poverty is a very real thing there.  Families all know each other and each other's families as most have lived there for decades.  Now, a new kind of mining has come; one that rips the tops off of mountains to allow for mining from above.  The fact that it destroys the mountains and forests and ruins the streams doesn't seem to count for much to the mine owners.

As the summer progresses, Kevin sees good and evil.  A man is killed in town and the secret of who the murderer is affects he and Buzzy.  In the story's climax, Kevin, Buzzy and his grandfather go on a camping trip miles back in the forest that will test every bit of grit they possess.

I've had this book for quite a while.  It got wonderful buzz and I was hesitant to read it, fearing it wouldn't live up to its promise.  I even got to meet and talk with the author at an event, finding him intelligent and charming.  I was so pleased to read this and find that it was as wonderful as everyone had talked about.   It had the same feel as To Kill A Mockingbird and it took the reader on a journey that explored both the physical landscape of rural Kentucky and the emotional landscape of a teenage boy finding his way to maturity after a horrific event.  This will be one of my top books for 2015.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction, those interested in environmental science and anyone interested in a wonderful read.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick

Granite Point is an old New England town, its roots stretching back to the earliest settlers.  It's the kind of small town where if you weren't born there you will forever be an outsider.  Family and tradition are valued above all else and there is no family more ancient or honored than the Sparrow Sisters.  Their ancestors were founding fathers of the town but the three Sparrow sisters who live there now are the last of the family.

Sorrell is the eldest, a brunette.  She and Nettie, a blonde, were old enough to be aware when their mother died in childbirth.  They raised the baby, Patience, who had fiery red hair.  The sisters are closer than most siblings having never lived apart from each other.  None has ever married as they have not been lucky in love.

What they are lucky at is growing things.  The sisters run a nursery and roadside stand as well as doing floral arrangements.  Their gardens are fabled for their abundance and the vitality of their plants.  Patience goes even further.  She has inherited the skills of an early ancestor who was a healer and the town comes to her for potions and ointments to soothe aches and pains.

That kind of unregulated medicine strikes the new doctor in town, Henry Carlyle.  Henry has come to Granite Point to recuperate from a war injury that left him unable to handle the stress and frantic pace of a city emergency room.  He is not pleased to see that many of the townspeople regard him as a last resort instead of a first stop when something goes wrong with their health.  He decides to meet this unlicensed healer and set her straight as to the law and her place.  Unfortunately for him, he is immediately struck by Patience's beauty and wild nature and soon the two are involved in a tumultuous affair.  Instead of resenting her, Henry finds himself happier than he could ever imagine.

That happiness is put in jeopardy when one of Patience's clients is found dead and the autopsy reveals an overdose of a poison that is grown in her garden.  The whispers start to circulate and the rumors of her ancestor, the first healer who was tried as a witch, are revived.  Soon Patience finds herself arrested for manslaughter.  How will things turn out?  Will the town rally behind her or unite to bring her down?

Ellen Herrick has written a fascinating novel that explores several interesting themes.  There is the theme of belonging to a place and the inbred societies that tend to be established in small towns where everyone knows everyone else and their business.  There is the theme of family and what one will do to support those in their hearts.  Alternative medicine and natural remedies are discussed and their efficiency explored.  This book seems to be the start of a series as it focuses on Patience.  Sorrel and Nettie's stories remain to be told.  This book is recommended for readers of modern women's fiction.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

Life is opening up for Lily Hayes.   She is twenty-one and headed to Buenos Aires for a college study abroad program.  Lily is instantly entranced by the city; it's food, it's history and people, it's culture.  She's not fond of her roommate, Katy, who Lily finds boring and a stick-in-the-mud.  But Lily soon has a boyfriend, Sebastian, and things are great.

Great until the night it all happens.  Katy is found dead in their room, stabbed repeatedly.  Lily says she was next door with Sebastian when it happened and he agrees but as the police investigate, her story doesn't seem likely.  Then it happens.  While waiting at the police station between interrogations, Lily, who has been left in a room alone, does a cartwheel.  An everyday, routine cartwheel.  A cartwheel that is taped and released to a worldwide audience who instantly condemns Lily in the court of public opinion for doing such a lighthearted stunt in such a serious situation.

Lily is arrested and jailed.  Her parents, professors in the United States, take turns coming to Buenos Aires and visiting her.  They don't believe Lily did such a brutal murder but as the weeks go by, doubt begins to creep in.  What really happened that night?  Did they unwittingly raise a monster?

The novel clearly takes the Amanda Knox murder trial in Italy as its starting point but duBois delves deep into all players lives.  Was Lily the superficial, self-absorbed young adult she appears to be?  What is Sebastian's role in the case?   There are rumors he had romantic ties to both the girls. How is the investigating prosecutor's view of the crime affected by his own struggling marriage?   How is a parent to come to terms with the possibility that they may have raised a monster?  As the book progresses, the reader is forced to confront the moral dilemmas outlined and come to a personal decision about each of them.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Booksie's Shelves, August 28, 2015

School has started, and I have a senior this year.  It's hard to believe that this child who was our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary surprise is now getting ready to apply to colleges.  It's also the start of our family's annual birthday round.  In the next month, we have my husband, my son, my daughter-in-law and two grandchildren's birthdays.  In addition, my son and his wife have their anniversary.  It's a busy time of year for sure, but there's always time for reading.

Here's what's come through the door:

1.  The Invisibles, Cecilia Galante, literary fiction, sent by publisher
2.  The Girl From The Garden, Parnaz Foroutan, literary fiction, sent by publisher
3.  Sometimes The Wolf, Urban Waite, mystery, sent by publisher
4.  The Sparrow Sisters, Ellen Herrick, literary fiction, sent for book tour
5.  Live To Air, Jeffrey Diamond, mystery, sent by publisher
6.  Harrington's Valley, Darrel Rachel, historical fiction, sent by author
7.  Never Look Down, Warren Easley, mystery, sent by publisher
8.  Dragon Heart, Cecelia Holland, fantasy, sent for book tour

Here's what I'm reading:

1.  The Hidden Relic, James Maxwell, Kindle Fire
2.  When The Game Was Ours, Larry Bird/Magic Johnson, audio
3.  A Brave Man Seven Stories Tall, Will Chancellor, Kindle
4.  The Secret Wisdom Of The Earth, Christopher Scotton, hardback
5.  The Devil In The Marshalsea, Antonia Hodgson, paperback
6.  Meet Me In Atlantis, Mark Adams, paperback
7.  The Moral Lives Of Animals, Dale Peterson, hardback
8.  Mystery Walk, Robert McCammon, Kindle Fire

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

In many ways, an author has complete control over his characters.  The character is given life by the author, given whatever traits the author desires and every move and action is controlled by the author's whims.  Helen Oyeyemi explores this relationship in her novel Mr. Fox.

Mr. Fox is a novelist who specializes in creating female characters who he then plots horrible deaths for.  Each woman lives for a brief spell on the pages, then her existence is quashed by his whims.  His wife, Daphne, has concerns about this but reconciles herself to it, as she has to his many other whims. 

All changes when he creates Mary Foxe.  This character refuses to be controlled by Mr. Fox's creative genius.  She comes to life and interacts with him and even with his wife.  Mr. Fox is enthralled with her although he still intends the same end. 

In a series of stories, Oyeyemi explores this Bluebeard relationship between an author and his characters.  It is an interesting twist and a fascinating exploration of the writing process and how real the author's creations can come to be.  The reader will be entranced, appalled, excited and intrigued as the novelist, his wife and his literary creation intertwine in various ways.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and gets at the crux of why individuals write and why others read their creations. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vanished by Kendra Elliot

It's shaping up to be a bad day for Mason Callahan of the Oregon Police Major Crimes Unit.  One of his confidential informants has been found murdered.  Callahan had worked with her for years and had gotten closer than he usually did.  Then his phone lights up with calls from his ex-wife.  Her second husband's daughter, 11 year old Henley, has disappeared on the way to school, only a few days before Christmas.

Callahan goes to their house and things look bad.  Henley left for the bus stop a few doors down but never got that far.  The FBI has already been called in along with squads of local police.  Callahan calls his boss and takes some personal time in order to help the family.  He agrees to be their conduit to law enforcement and their press contact.  He moves into his ex-wive's home along with an FBI agent, Ava McLane, who is the FBI's family contact and support.  Callahan's son is there, home for Christmas from college.  The family also has two smaller children, who are sent to their grandparents house.

The hours go by and Henley is not found.  Then strange things start to happen to Callahan.  Evidence is found in the murdered informant's house that ties him to the crime scene.  His dog is missing.  It becomes clear that his son, Jake, was also targeted for kidnapping earlier but the attempt had failed.  Is someone after Mason?  Is it personal or just another way to torment the family?

Elliot has created a tense novel with several mysteries going on, all of which are satisfactorily tied together by the end of the book.  The two embedded detectives, McLane and Callahan, are attracted to each other and their growing desires add another dimension to the mystery.  Each has personal issues to work out and are leary of trusting others.  This book is part of a series and the first McLane/Callahan book.  It is recommended for mystery readers.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post

James Hart has come home to Florida.  Not the ritzy tourist areas of Florida, but rural Florida where nothing much goes on and farming is still the best way to make a living.  It can't be said he is welcomed home with open arms.  His mother didn't bother to call when his father died and he is arriving two weeks after the death.  They didn't wait for him to have the funeral.

His little brother Rabbit has gotten mixed up with their good for nothing cousin Delmore.  Delmore is finally out of the penitentiary and he has big plans for a big score.  Rabbit, who was a high school athletic hero but has done nothing since is all for the big score.  James tries to talk them out of the plan but he realizes he can do nothing.

He isn't surprised when Rabbit calls in a panic when things go wrong.  Should he leave the two to their fate or try to save Rabbit from his stupidity?  The local bartender has also gotten caught up in the problem, and James has an eye for the bartender's daughter.  Together, James, Marlena and Rabbit take off on a road trip to try to salvage the situation.  It's a quest with no heroic goal or plans, just an attempt to stay alive.

Steph Post has written a gritty noir novel that explores the Florida most people never see.  She gets the frustration and resignation of those who scratch out a living and don't have much to dream about.  The reader isn't sure whether they should be cheering for James and his family or turning away in disgust.  Post focuses on the obligations family create, even when you know your family isn't that much to brag about and may even be actively sorry.  This book is recommended for mystery/thriller readers. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig

Being orphaned at sixteen in the early 1800's was no picnic for a young lady.  That's exactly the predicament Laura Grey finds herself in.  Sixteen years later, she has crushed down any hope of love and marriage and instead goes from wealthy house to house, serving as a children's governess.  Unnoticed by those she serves yet a step above the other household help, she lives a lonely life.  That must be why she agrees when drafted by the infamous Pink Carnation to become a spy for England.

After training, she is placed in the household of French government worker Andre Jauoen.  Jauoen serves as the assistant Minister Of Police.  Grey is to find out what goes on in the police department having to do with government affairs.  The group she works for is plotting a return to the French throne of one of the royal family displaced by the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte.  Laura trends lightly but finds her job increasingly difficult when she starts to have feelings for her employer and the two children she is entrusted with. 

When Jauoen is surprisingly revealed to be working on the same side but exposed, the pair along with the two children, nursery maid and a portrait artist who Jauoen saves are forced to flee.   Can they make it back to England before being captured and executed as enemies of the government?  Can the love that springs up between the two have a chance at success?

Willig has written an engaging, frothy romance that is perfect for a few hours of escape into a more exciting world.  The romance between the governess and her employee is a well-known plot device but Willig does it proud.  The reader learns some French history along with their love story.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction and for romance readers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

Everyone knows a woman upstairs.  She has an apartment on the second or third floor and is a quiet respectable neighbor.  She has a job, perhaps a nurse or teacher or working in an office.  There don't seem to be many friends around or a love interest.  She is the woman who is easy to ignore, the one who may be included in social outings but is not the first one to be invited.  She is pleasant but unremarkable.

Nora Eldridge is that woman.  She wanted to be an artist and showed talent, but ended up getting a teaching degree and has taught third grade for a decade.  There were lovers but marriage just never seemed to happen.  She is the dutiful daughter, the easy-going teacher, the woman who is unnoticed. 

But under her pleasant fa├žade, Nora is consumed with anger.  She did want things in her life and is not content with how things have turned out.  When she gets a charming child in her classroom and then meets his sophisticated parents, she begins to believe her life can still change.  Sirena is an artist and she and Nora rent a studio together.  Nora helps Sirena with her art and soon is a family friend.  She babysits the child from her class.  Sirena's husband is a visiting professor who is well-known in academic circles.  They have what seems to be a charmed life and Nora is entranced with each member of the family.  Can this be the turnaround point of her own life?

Claire Messud has given a voice to the overlooked women we all know.  She understands the rage that lives under the pleasant surface, the rage that women feel when they subsume their dreams to take care of others.  She explores the subjects of alienation, friendship, what one will sacrifice to achieve a dream and how life will go on with or without one making their mark.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Booksie's Shelves, August 17, 2015

Summer is winding down and the heat and humidity will be leaving at last.  School is starting with its hopes of new beginnings. There are always lots of new books on the market.   My daughter will be a senior this year with all that brings, college applications and senior trips. My son's birthday is soon and like me, he loves to get new books for birthday presents, along with a special dinner of Mom's chicken casserole.  I've got the new Neal Stevenson, Seveneves, on the way to him along with a sci-fi surprise book.   This past week, I got an anthology of stories by William Vollmann, one of my favorite authors along with lots of new books.  Here's what's come through the door:

1.  Last Stories And Other Stories, William Vollmann, anthology, purchased
2.  This Is The Water, Yannick Murphy, literary fiction, Vine review book
3.  Mrs. Queen Takes The Train, William Kuhn, literary fiction, purchased
4.  Zeroes, Chuck Wendig, thriller, sent by publisher
5.  The Guilty One, Sophie Littlefield, mystery, sent by publisher
6.  The Gap Of Time, Jeanette Winterson, literary fiction, sent by publisher
7.  A Window Opens, Elisabeth Egan, literary fiction, sent by publisher
8.  The Hanging Girl, Jussi Adler-Olsen, mystery, sent by publisher
9.  Vanished, Elizabeth Heiter, mystery, Vine review book

Here's what I'm reading:

1.  The Hidden Relic, James Maxwell, Kindle Fire
2.  Cartwheel, Jennifer duBois, Kindle
3.  Vanished, Kendra Elliot, audio
4.  The Orchid Affair, Lauren Willig, hardback
5.  Mystery Walk, Robert McCammon, Kindle Fire
6.  Meet Me In Atlantis, Mark Adams, paperback
7.  The Devil In The Marshalsea, Antonia Hodgson, paperback
8.  The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud, paperback
9.  A Tree Born Crooked, Steph Post, paperback
10.  The Moral Lives Of Animals, Dale Peterson, hardback

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Not In The Flesh by Ruth Rendell

When the dog's owner sees his dog digging furiously he is excited.  Perhaps it is a truffle for which he can get money.  He is not excited when he investigates further and realizes what the dog has actually dug up--a human hand.

The local Kingsmarkham, Sussex police, led by Chief Inspector Wexford, first have to identify the body.  The medical examiner finds it is a male who has been dead for at least a decade.  Further investigation determines that the field in which the corpse has been found had a trench dug in it eleven years ago.  Who went missing in the area during that time period?

The local residents aren't much help.  Many are elderly and insist they have no memory of that time period.  Some have moved away to retirement homes elsewhere.  Those who are left are suspicious of strangers and not inclined to help the police.  When a second male body turns up in an abandoned house of the same lot, Wexford is determine to find out who these men were and who is responsible for leaving them where they were found.  Will he be successful?

Ruth Rendell has written an entire series of Chief Inspector Wexford police procedurals.  This is the twenty-first book in the series and fans will delight in another visit with the Sussex police team.  The mystery is complex and the unraveling will delight fans of police procedural mysteries.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Author Feature: Evette Davis

Evette Davis leads a busy life in San Francisco.  She serves on the board of Litquake, the city's annual literary festival.  She raises her daughter while serving as the CEO of her own PR firm and of course, writing novels.  In 2014, she even started her own publishing imprint, Flesh and Bone.  I was lucky enough to have Evette muse about her writing process:

They say, “write what you know,” and maybe because I’m one of the few women working in public affairs and politics in San Francisco and the Bay Area, I’m naturally drawn to the idea of what it means to be a female leader.  

As leaders, women face all kinds of challenges related to expressing their emotions, physical appearance, confidence and mental endurance. I’m not sure I ever want or intend to come to some set of final conclusions, but I enjoy taking the characters in my novels through their paces to examine these ideas more fully.  Fiction is a wonderful place to bend the rules (and time) to manipulate social themes.   

I‘m working on a novel now, for example, set in a mildly dystopian future that features a character named River who’s a veteran from a series of wars in the Middle East against ISIS and a widow. Her husband committed suicide, leaving her financially strapped and working as a truck driver in the far reaches of North Dakota to pay off her debts.   

The book takes place several years after River’s father has died, forcing her to join the Army in order to save her home from foreclosure. His death forces her to abruptly abandon her hopes and wishes. She’s forced to kill off the girl she once was to survive being in combat and emerges as a very tough, guarded woman. By the time 48 States opens, River is living in a cheap motel and sleeping with a loaded Glock by her bedside. She’s resigned herself to being the fixer, the one that always takes care of things and has given up hope of finding happiness.  And so she would have remained, were it not for a chance encounter one night with fugitive in desperate need of her help.  

Their meeting disrupts her existence and puts her life in danger, but it also demolishes this hard shell she’s had around her emotions. I’m still working on the resolution of the story, but the book is about how she finds the courage to be vulnerable and still be in control of her life.  There are other women in the book too, including a president of the Unites States and a terrorist who is central to the book’s conclusion. In their own way, each of these women has to deal with their longings, their responsibilities and the reality of the situation and find their right path.  It’s exciting as a writer to see how it unfolds.  

The opportunity to work with an agent on 48 States prompted me to delay finishing a trilogy I began a few years ago and self-published on an imprint I founded called Flesh & Bone Publishing. The Dark Horse series is an experiment in urban political science fiction (ok, I made up that genre) - with a female protagonist named Olivia as the central character.  Olivia is the unknowing heir of a powerful witch and leader of a secret supernatural society that controls the fate of mankind. She’s unknowingly drawn into this shadowy world of politics and witchcraft and has to decide whether to follow her destiny as others dictate it, or to make it herself.  The inaugural title Woman King is a direct commentary on how women derive their power, since as a queen she would have married into it versus simply being appointed or chosen.  The third installment, which I hope to complete in the next two years, will see Olivia help elect a woman president of the United States and decide what she wants to do with her life.  

I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.
If you're interested in seeing how it turns out, here are the two current books in the trilogy:


Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Star Side Of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson

Barbados is nothing like Brooklyn, New York.  Sisters Dionne and Phaedra, sixteen and ten, are not thrilled when they are sent for the summer to live with their maternal grandmother, Hyacinth.  Yet even they realize that things are not going well for their mother, Avila, who spends her time lying in bed staring into space or disappearing for days. 

The girls slowly start to explore Barbados, and the Bird Hill neighborhood where their family has lived for decades.  Fashion and styles are different here, and Dionne has some cachet as the representative of New York fashion.  The girls must make new friends.  Outsiders here because of growing up elsewhere, they are familiar with outsider status as their mother's difficulties never allowed them to be on the inside in New York either.  Slowly, the girls start to form relationships with the people around them.  They grow to appreciate their thorny grandmother and follow her rules which are much more strict in some ways and incredibly lenient in others.  Hyacinth feels she is too old to try to make the girls hew to some line and she also knows it never worked with their mother, who left Barbados with the girls' father as soon as she was old enough to do so. 

Naomi Jackson has written a lyrical family novel that explores the tentacles that family relationships stake out in our lives.  The reader is transported to Barbados. Poverty is rampant so that the stigma is lessened. A strong religious base makes up the main social network, while medicine is still that of  women who know herbs and superstition and past lore makes up the daily life and baseline knowledge.  There are colorful festivals, sexual escapades and always, the taint of slavery which tore families apart and made the people appreciate family above all else.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Toy Taker by Luke Delaney

Every parent can relate to this nightmare.  You put your child to bed, perhaps watching as they fall asleep.  You might check on them several times before you go to bed yourself as the lure of their innocent sleep draws you.  Then you wake up the next morning and find your child gone.  No clues, no way to know who has your baby.  The police come but it is obvious that they are stumped and have no real clues to track down your child and their kidnapper.

This is the nightmare that is taking over London's poshest neighborhoods.  The child is put to bed and then just not there in the morning.  No sound awoke the parents and nothing else is missing.  Just an empty bed and then empty dreams of promised happiness.  First it is George, whose parents are locked in an unhappy marriage. Then it is Bailey, the daughter of parent whose success has surprised even them.  As the days go by, more children are taken with no clue and no apparent way to track the kidnapper. 

Detective Sean Corrigan is back at work after he and his team have successfully tracked down a serial killer.  His work has been noticed and he and the team are now designated as the Special Investigations team and have been moved to Scotland Yard.  Most people would be thrilled, but Corrigan is less than entranced.  His success comes from his gift to meld his mind with that of the criminals he tracks.  Now with the added bustle of headquarters, a troubled marriage, internal office politics and being his superiors' stepping stone to further success, the noise around him has him blocked from his own abilities to track killers.  Can he find a way to stop the bustle and noise around him long enough to discover who is taking children?

Luke Delaney is a policeman himself and worked with the English police for many years.  His intimate knowledge of police procedure and how cases are handled and managed is evident in this novel.  His character Sean Corrigan is a high flyer who isn't interested in the administrative roles the top brass seems determined to promote him too.  Instead, he needs to be close to the crime in order to make the intuitive leaps that keep him as the most successful detective in the department.  The reader is fascinated as the case unfolds and Corrigan does what he is born to do.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Angel In My Pocket by Sukey Forbes

Anyone looking at their lives would consider them blessed.  Part of the oldest New England blueblood families, wealthy, and blessed with three beautiful children, Sukey Forbes had it all.  Her ancestors included not only the Forbes family, but one of her direct ancestors was Ralph Waldo Emerson.  They had houses and not a summer cottage, but a summer island, which was the family enclave and where traditions such as sailing, horseback riding, hiking and fishing were considered normal activities.

Then when she was six, the middle child, Charlotte, died.  She was fine one day and gone, inexplicably the next.  Forbes was left with the realization that no one is safe and no life is blessed to the extent that they are protected from disaster.  This book explores what life was like for her afterwards and how she worked through her grief.  Her background hemmed her in as a lifetime of being stoic and unemotional was a barrier between her and the grief work she needed to do.  She took comfort in the support of family and friends, and from the stories of her ancestors.  Emerson, for example, also lost a beloved child at age six, his namesake son.

Nothing really helped.  Not religious before, she could not take comfort in religion which to her seemed full of promises with no evidence of reality.  After a year or more of grieving and working through various counseling groups, she found something that opened the door to recovery.  She met with a medium that knew her story without being told and that gave insight into where Charlotte was now and how she was doing.  Although she knew others would not believe her, she found comfort there and continued to work with a medium as she emerged slowly from her overpowering grief.

This is a beautiful book.  Every parent's worst fear is the death of their child, yet many of us are called to walk this painful road.  Forbes exploration of the landscape of grief could be helpful to others just starting on this journey that never really ends, and that seems impossible to walk.  Her portrayal of a life afterwards that will never be the same but can be rewarding in time is a useful message.  This book is recommended for readers of memoirs and for those who have also lost a child. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Woman With A Secret by Sophie Hannah

Damon Blundy has been murdered.  Since he is a famous columnist and widely known, the police are under added pressure to solve his murder.  Who could have killed him?  Blundy was one of those opinion shapers who seemed to thrive on saying anything outrageous as long as it kept him in the limelight.  His notoriety was similar to that of an Ann Coulter or Michael Moore in the United States.  Love him or hate him, he was indifferent, but just be aware of him.

With such a controversial figure, the police have multiple possible suspects.  Was it one of his ex-wives, who had been skewered in his columns repeatedly?  Was it the disgraced athlete who was banned from professional sports for taking performance-enhancing drugs?  The author who Blundy seemed to have singled out for scathing reviews?  The female politician whose numerous affairs and maternal instincts Blundy had publicized?

Or was it someone who didn't even know him; someone who read his column daily and fancied themselves a fan?  The police noticed a woman whose sheer number of comments and support of Blundy made her stand out.  When they find she has recently moved to Blundy's town and is seen by police on the CCTV camera footage the day of the murder, she moves to the top of their list.  Is she a valid suspect or are her own secrets wasting valuable investigative time?

Sophie Hannah has written a compelling mystery that asks us what is the effect of living with secrets?  We all have them.  Are they always corrosive to our lives and relationships, or do they add a needed pressure valve that allows us to interact with others?  As the police peel back layers upon layers of lies and deception, the reader is pulled along to the surprising conclusion.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Booksie's Shelves, August 2, 2015

Another hot summer month has come and gone, none too soon for me.  Each year I dislike summer's heat and humidity a bit more.  It does help with reading to be cooped up in the house for days however. 

One thing that doesn't help are smoke alarms.  Mr. Booksie, for some unknown engineer's reason, has salted the ceiling liberally with smoke detectors.  We have four upstairs.  One was removed this week by my daughter when it decided to start beeping every minute or so.  The main one in the hall likes to go off randomly.  This morning it was at 3:30, ruining sleep for the night.  I hate this device with a passion.

Here's what's come through the door lately:

1.  Orhan's Inheritance, Aline Ohanesian, historical fiction, sent by publisher
2.  Brutal Youth, Anthony Breznican, literary fiction, purchased
3.  Stem Cell Battles, Don Reed, nonfiction, sent by author
4.  Pretending To Dance, Diane Chamberlain, suspense, Shelf Awareness
5.  Murder In Palm Beach, Bob Brink, true crime, sent by author
6.  The Witch Of Lime Street, David Jaher, historical fiction, Shelf Awareness
7.  The Wild Girl, Kate Forsyth, historical fiction, sent by publisher
8. The Lower River, Paul Theroux, literary fiction, purchased
9.  Movie Star By Lizzie Pepper, Hilary Liftin, literary fiction, sent by publisher
10.  Saving Sophie, Ronald Balson, mystery, Shelf Awareness
11.  Bright Lines, Tanwi Nandini Islam, literary fiction, sent by publisher
12.  In The Language Of Miracles, Rajia Hassib, literary fiction, sent by publisher
13.  Dark Horse, Evette Davis, fantasy, sent by author
14.  Boxes, Pascal Garnier, mystery, sent by publisher
15.  The New World, Andrew Motion, historical fiction, Vine review book
16.  The Walk Home, Rachel Seiffert, literary fiction, Vine review book

Here's what I'm reading:

1.  The Hidden Relic, James Maxwell, Kindle Fire
2.  Cartwheel, Jennifer duBois, Kindle
3.  Vanished, Kendra Elliot, audio
4.  The Orchid Affair, Lauren Willig, hardback
5.  Mystery Walk, Robert McCammon, Kindle Fire
6.  Meet Me In Atlantis, Mark Adams, paperback
7.  The Devil In The Marshalsea, Antonia Hodgson, paperback
8.  Barbara The Slut And Other People, Lauren Holmes, paperback
9.  The Star Side Of Bird Hill, Naomi Jackson, paperback
10.  The Moral Lives Of Animals, Dale Peterson, hardback

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Barbara The Slut And Other People by Lauren Holmes

In this debut anthology of stories, newcomer Lauren Holmes explores the boundaries of family, friends, relationships and what it means to be young in 2015.  She deftly portrays the murky territory of friendship, dating, sex, family relationships, short-term arrangements and the difficulty of starting your life when you are young.

In the title story, Barbara The Slut, a young girl in high school likes sex, although she has a rule about no more than once with the same guy as she is out of there in the fall when college starts.  She is shunned and ridiculed, but the boys still seek her out.  She doesn't really care about any of them.  Her focus is on her new life at Princeton in the fall and her younger brother who depends on her.

In How Am I Supposed To Talk With You? a young woman goes to visit her mother who she hasn't seen in years.  It explores the difficulties in sustaining such a relationship and the hurts and failed expectations.  Mike Anonymous portrays the stunning damage that one night of passion can bring.  I Will Crawl To Raleigh If I Have To describes the end of a romantic relationship and the difficulties family vacations can bring.  Desert Hearts is about the difficulty of starting an independent life after school when one is searching for love and a career.  Pearl And The Swiss Guy Fall In Love explores the start of a love affair and how it can quickly go bad through boredom and failed expectations.

These people are not optimistic, bubbly and happy.  They are clawing their way to lives that fulfill them even though they are constantly sent on detours.  They learn to navigate their own and others expectations although they also sometimes fail.  Although this book sounds bleak, it wasn't at all.  Holmes affection for her characters makes them likeable even when they are struggling.  This book is recommended for readers of short stories and those interested in the emotional landscape of the young. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

AWOL On The Appalachian Trail by David Miller

In 2003, frustrated with his software engineering job and bored with his life in general, David Miller made a decision.  After consulting with his wife who would be left alone with their three children and getting her support, Miller quit his job and dedicated the next half year to hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail, all 2, 172 miles of it.

The trail runs from Georgia to Maine when hiking northward as most travelers tend to do.  Those who complete the entire journey are called through hikers.  Miller gives the reader a day by day description of the life of a through hiker. 

There were beautiful scenic views, stupendous wildlife and many new friends met along the way.  There was also pain, boredom at times and discouragement.  Miller wore out six pairs of hiking shoes on the trip.  He had a bad sprained ankle, an infected foot from a blister that went septic and lost multiple toenails.  He lost an enormous amount of his pre-hike body weight.

What he gained was a new perspective on life and a sense of accomplishment at reaching the goal he had set for himself.  At the end of the hike, he found himself more likely to take chances in his life and much less attached to material things.   He was more outgoing and more patient.  He made friends that still check in with him years later.

I listened to this book while walking at the gym which was probably the perfect place for it as it made the miles I was walking seem more relevant.  Having retired from an IT job and married to another IT person, I could relate to Miller's job frustrations and desire to break away from the office life to experience more and different things.  This book is recommended for nonfiction readers, anyone contemplating the A.T. hike, and anyone interested in life challenges. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kitchens Of The Great Midwest

Eva Thorvald is a very lucky young woman.  Born to a father who is a chef and a mother who is a wine expert, Eva is born with a miraculous palate and an innate ability to cook wonderful food.  The fact that she is raised in poverty and ostracized at her middle school has no effect on her abilities.  She seeks out mentors and some of the best known and talented chefs in the various towns Eva and her father live in take her under their wing.

In Kitchens Of The Great Midwest, the reader follows Eva in her trip from kitchen to kitchen.  Wherever she goes, everyone loves her food and everyone loves Eva, recognizing her as a special person.  Although she may leave people after a short while, each is affected for life through knowing her.

The food is the thing, and it must be fresh and local.  Eva rides the crest of the farm to table food movement and when she needs to, grows her own ingredients.  Each chapter is organized around one dish and tells its backstory, the circumstances surrounding Eva's use of the recipe and how its effect echoes down the years. 

Kitchens Of The Great Midwest has already won accolades.  It is an August Indie Next pick.  The American Booksellers Association has chosen it as an 'Indies Introduce' pick.  It's the number one pick of LibraryReads for July, and is the Penguin Random House 'Title Wave Pick.'  Each organization recognizes it's potential for success with an original story, interesting characters, its interweaving of those characters to make up Eva's life and the documentation of the foodie movement.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and for foodies everywhere. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

They rode together, dependent on each other's skills with a gun to survive.  The men came from everywhere, forged into a group in the maelstrom that was the Civil War and especially the atrocities of Sherman's March in Georgia.  Powerful men who were willing to do anything to gain an objective; their skills were desirable in the final days of the war and the things they did forged them into a group that would stay together for years.

After the war, when things returned to normal, those actions were condemned as were the men.  But there are always men who need others to do their dirty work and the group never lacked for work.  They were led by Augustus Winter, a man with yellow eyes and hair so white it looked like snow.  There was nothing he feared and nothing he would not do, and men everywhere feared his name.

The men worked against the Klan and those who would derail the Reconstruction.  They were lured to Chicago to help in the elections by those who wanted to win the city and promised pardons to those who were willing to help.  As those promises were broken, the group kept moving westward to open plains and room to roam and became out and out criminals, robbing banks and trains.

Clifford Jackman has written a brutal, honest book about the men who do the deeds not spoken of or claimed in wars and settling land.  The men were loyal to each other, but unemotional about the life or death of any one man.  Jackman explores what it means to be such a man and what drives the creation of someone willing to do horrific acts.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction and those interested in the West and its settlement.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Long And Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

They are both stuck in the past of Oklahoma City, mired in the violence that shook their lives twenty-five years ago.  Wyatt was a fifteen year old working his first job; an usher in the local movie theatre.  He is the only survivor when armed men break in at closing and kill everyone else during a robbery.  Five people gone in a minute, leaving him to wonder why he was spared.  Juliana lost her beloved older sister that same year.  She left Juliana at the state fair for what she said was 'just a minute' and never returned.  No sign of her was ever found.

Neither have really been able to move on.  Wyatt is now a private investigator, moving around the country solving other people's crimes.  This summer is his first time back in the city since he left at eighteen.  Juliana is still in Oklahoma City, afraid to leave in case some news of her sister should emerge.  Neither has been able to move on, mired in the past and unable to move past the huge event that changed the bedrock of their lives.  Relationships have been transitory as who can be counted on to stay?  Jobs are just something to get money to live and easily jettisoned when something else comes up. 

A job brings Wyatt back to the city and both individuals take steps to solve the crimes that have defined them.  The novel moves back and forth between their stories.  One might expect that they meet and work together, but this is not that kind of story.  Instead, it is the bleak story of how crime affects an individual, one moment's violence changing a life forever. 

Lou Berney teaches writing at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University.  He is a television and film screenwriter.  His two previous books have both been nominated for awards such as The Barry and The Edgar Award.  His ability to draw in the reader and show the real effects of crime makes this novel stand out.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler

I don't watch the E! cable channel so I had never seen or read anything by Chelsea Handler.  This book should come with a warning.  I was stared at in various places such as poolside and the local Panera's when I burst out in laughter that could not be contained as Handler detailed various incidents in her life.

Chelsea details stories about her childhood, her relationship with her siblings, how the family deals with an aging father who is, to put it mildly, embarrassing, and her partner and friends.  She details various practical jokes that she plays on those around her.  The stories are full of sex, drinking, drugs, etc.  What shines through, is her complete loyalty and determination to make the lives of those around her better.

This is an entertaining book that reads quickly and leaves the reader determined to seek out more of Handler's work.  Each episode is funnier than the last and the entire book is totally entertaining.  Warning; this is not a book for young readers; there is lots of sex, drinking and drugs.  This book is recommended for those looking for a quick, entertaining read.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Beautiful Death by Fiona McIntosh

Bodies are turning up in London.  Their condition is particularly repellent; the faces have been completely removed along with their kidneys.  Is this a psychopath?  Someone selling organs on the black market? 

DCI Jack Hawksworth is called upon to head up the team investigating the case.  He pulls together members such as Kate, who have worked with him before, and a translator since several of the bodies appear to have been those of illegal immigrants.  But Jack is blindsided the moment he takes over the case.  The latest victim is his lover, Lily.  Their romance has been brief and fated to end soon as Lily is about to marry the man her Chinese family has selected for her.  But Jack and Lily's affair blazed hotly, and he is heartstruck when he recognizes her body on the coroner's table.

The murders continue to pile up and the pressure on the team to produce results increases accordingly.  Can they find out who is committing these murders in time to save more victims?

This is the second in the Jack Hawksworth series.  The pace is brisk but the police procedures are well researched and documented.  There is a twist at the end that most won't see coming.  This is the first mystery I've read by McIntosh, although I've read and loved some of her fantasy before.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Booksie's Shelves, July 18, 2015

Summer marches on, and the heat and humidity have settled in.  North Carolina is sweltering and it is a chore to walk out the door.  Luckily, that makes wonderful reading days.  I scored a major reading triumph this week.  I got an ARC of Salman Rushdie's new novel.  As he is my favorite author, I'm very excited about this one.  Here's what's come through the door this week:

1.  The Summer Of Good Intentions, Wendy Francis, literary fiction, sent by publisher
2.  The Toy Taker, Luke Delaney, mystery, sent by publisher
3.  A Trick I Learned From Dead Men, Kitty Aldridge, literary fiction, purchased
4.  Lum, Libby Ware, literary fiction, sent by publisher
5.  I'm Not Her, Cara Sue Achterberg, mystery, sent by publisher
6.  A Slice Of Quietude, Sharon Cho, fantasy, sent by author
7.  The Kills, Richard House, literary fiction, purchased
8.  The Forrests, Emily Perkins, literary fiction, purchased
9.  The Curse Of Crow Hollow, Billy Coffey, suspense, Shelf Awareness win
10.  My Townie Heart, Diana Sperrazza, literary fiction, sent by publisher
11.  The Woman Who Stole My Life, Marian Keyes, literary fiction, sent by publisher
12.  Woman With A Secret, Sophie Hannah, mystery, sent by publisher
13.  Karma Deception And A Pair Of Red Ferraris, Elaine Taylor, memoir, sent by publisher

Here's what I'm currently reading:

1.  Cartwheel, Jennifer duBois, Kindle
2.  A Dance For Dragons, George R. R. Martin, hardback
4.  Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas, hardback
5.  Blood Moon, Alexandra Sokoloff,  paperback
6.  The Orchid Affair, Lauren Willig, hardback
7. The Winter Family, Clifford Jackman,  hardback
8.  Mystery Walk, Robert McCammon, Kindle Fire
9.  AWOL On The Appalachian Trail, David Miller,  audio
10.  One Evil Act, Elizabeth George, hardback
11.  Meet Me In Atlantis, Mark Adams, paperback
12.  The Long And Faraway Gone, Lou Berney, paperback
13.  Beautiful Death, Fiona McIntosh, Kindle Fire
14.  The Devil In The Marshalsea, Antonia Hodgson, paperback

 Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Maia has been an outcast for his entire life.  One wouldn't think of an emperor's son as an outcast, but Maia's father is the elven Emperor, and he is half Goblin.  His father married his mother out of political strategy, and never loved her.  He sent her away and Maia only saw his father once in his lifetime.  That once, his father made it abundantly clear that he had no feelings for Maia.  Maia's mother died when he was eight and rather than bringing him back to court, the emperor left him at a remote court with only a traitorous cousin as his guardian.  His guardian was cruel and made it clear that he disliked Maia every day.

But now, something miraculous has happened.  The emperor and his three sons, all older than Maia, and before him in the line of succession, have been killed in an airship accident.  Maia, the ignored, the one who never expected anything, is the new emperor.  He doesn't want the job and is woefully unprepared.  He is barely old enough to be emperor, and his youth and ignorance of court procedures is glaringly obvious.  But the lines of succession are clear and before he knows it, he is installed on the throne, his every word law and his every moment guarded.

Maia treads carefully, learning about the land he now rules and its culture and procedures.  Yet his innate kindness shines through and he reaches out to those who have never had a voice; servants, his guards, women of the court who want something more than marriage and children.  Some are pleased with this new emperor's way of doing things, some are appalled.  Maia is in danger that someone will find a way to wrest the throne from him before he learns enough to safeguard it. 

Katherine Addison has created a wonderful character in Maia.  The reader can emphasize with his incredulity at his change in station, and warm to his attempts to reach out and connect with those he rules.  The plots against him are numerous, and watching him maneuver the pitfalls of loyalty and other's ambitions is compelling.  This book is recommended for fantasy readers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Secret Garden and Don Quixote by Jennifer Adams

Up today are two charming board books for toddlers.  Both are by the partnership of Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver.  The words are supplied by Jennifer while Alison does the artwork.  The Don Quixote is a Spanish language primer.  On each page set, a word relating to the novel is given in English on the left and in Spanish on the right.  Examples include windmills, friend, and horse.

In The Secret Garden, each set of pages has a different beautiful flower drawing, with an accompanying quote on the opposite page.  Each set is done in a different color, and the entire effect is of color and movement.  It is full of the reasons we grow and love flowers.

Either or both of these board books will provide hours of fun for toddlers, while also teaching vocabulary and picture recognition.  The pair have an entire series of what they call BabyLit.  Other titles in the series include Huckleberry Finn, Pride and Prejudice, the Jungle Book, Moby Dick and Frankenstein.  These are fun and entertaining books and are recommended for anyone who has a toddler.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Author Feature: Simone Pond

I'm starting a new feature here at Booksie's Blog.  Periodically, I'll profile an author and have them talk about their books.  The first author is Simone Pond.  Here's her biography:

Simone Pond is an award-winning author of dystopian fiction. Her current series includes The City Center, The New Agenda, The Mainframe, and The Torrent. She also has a short story series called Voices of the Apocalypse.

She grew up in Kensington, Maryland - a small town just outside of Washington D.C. As a young girl, she loved writing in her journal and making up stories, but after reading S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, everything changed. Amazed that a woman could write so convincingly from a teenage boy's perspective, Pond became determined to become a writer as well.
She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and Boston Terrier, Winnie.  She blogs at Simone Says
Simone's thoughts on writing:
Sometimes it gets lonely sitting around all day writing. My little Boston Terrier, Winnie, has been by my feet the entire time I was writing the New Agenda book series. She’s been a support system and comic relief. I love spending time in my novels with my characters, but it’s nice to have a living, breathing counterpart by my side, or feet. While Winnie isn’t necessary contributing to my novels, she is a wonderful reminder when it’s time to take a bathroom break, or go outside to get some fresh air. She lets me know when it’s time to stop hunching over my laptop and pick up a toy and play.
Writing has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. When I turned forty, I realized that I hadn’t done a very good job at following my heart. I stopped what I was doing and got serious about novel writing. I had to let go of a lot of preconceived notions, as well as a memoir that I had been working on for years. But once I let go of what was weighing me down, the words flowed fast and furiously.
Publishing has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I never had kids (besides Boston Terriers), so my books are like my babies. And now I have an entire family! I’m thrilled to share my New Agenda book series with the world.
It’s never too late to follow that voice inside that’s telling you what it needs to be happy. All it takes is a little courage and support.
And perhaps a Winnie.

About The Torrent, The Fourth In The New Agenda Series:


Grace has survived Chief Morray’s attempt to keep her trapped inside the mainframe, but at a terrible cost: leaving her mother behind. Giving up training at the academy in order to wait for Ava’s return. Grace wants to do the right thing, but it’s never that simple. While Ava struggles against Morray in the virtual reality, Grace is left alone in the real world to fight her own battles. There’s a new corrupt authority figure. A regional council to sway. A war to stop. And a promise to keep to a precious young soul. How can Grace save everyone, including herself?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

Cyprus is a gorgeous Mediterranean country, and Famagusta it's most desirable tourist location.  There are high-end shops and every luxury a wealthy tourist could desire.  In this land of luxury, the most luxurious and sought-after destination was the Sunrise hotel.  Opened in 1970 by Savvas and Aphroditi Papacostas, it was a fairytale location.

But there was trouble brewing.  Both Turkey and Greece wanted Cyprus as part of their nation.  The Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots got along for the most part, but there was tension.  This was exacerbated by militant groups that wanted different things; some wanted independence from all other nations, some wanted to become part of Turkey and some wanted to become part of Greece.  In 1972, these partisan groups and their escalating tensions boiled over.  The result was war and the Turkish Army taking over the island.  In a matter of weeks, Famagusta went from the top of the heap to a deserted city behind wire barriers, its people having fled with just the clothes on their backs.

Hislop explores this recent disaster in her novel through the actions of three families.  The Papacostas were wealthy and prestigious.  The Ozkans and the Georgious families are working class, and indeed some members of the families worked at the Sunrise.  One family is Turkish Cypriot, one Greek Cypriot.  Each has sons that are caught up in the various fighting factions.  They are able to band together despite the fact that they are on differing sides to get through the worst of the war and its attendant hardships.  Readers will probably find this new territory.  Perhaps they have a vague recollection of Cyprus and its civil war, but this novel takes the reader into a place where those who have everything one day wake to nothing the next.  Each reader will question how they would respond to such a situation and whether they are prepared for calamity to strike.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Booksie's Shelves, July 7, 2015

It's hard to believe summer is half over already!  The Booksie family has a few more summer vacation trips planned.  We haven't even been to the beach yet this summer, and in North Carolina, that's a heresy.  Then there are college visits to plan and relatives to visit.  Of course, all that traveling doesn't mean reading stops; the format just changes to emphasize more ebooks.  For some reason, I've gone on a book buying spree in the past few days, and we returned from Boston to find lots of book goodies. Here's what's come through the doors recently:

1.  The Undertaking, Audrey Magee, literary fiction, purchased
2.  Almost English, Charlotte Mendelson, literary fiction, purchased
3.  Devil's Harbor, Alex Gilly, mystery, sent by publisher
4.  The Facts Of Life And Death, Belinda Bauer, mystery, purchased
5.  Barbara The Slut, Lauren Holmes, anthology, Vine review book
6.  Trust Me, Earl Javorsky, mystery, sent by publisher
7.  Blind Justice, Ethan Cross, suspense, sent by publisher
8.  The Tears Of Dark Water, Corban Addison, literary fiction, sent by publisher
9.  The Star Side Of Bird Hill, Naomi Jackson, literary fiction, Vine review book
10. Jonesbridge, M.E. Parker, literary fiction, sent by publisher
11.  Orfeo, Richard Powers, literary fiction, purchased
12.  Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng, literary fiction, sent by publisher
13.  Kitchens Of The Great Midwest, J. Ryan Stradal, literary fiction, sent for book tour
14.  Five Star Billionaire, Tash Aw, literary fiction, purchased

Here's what I'm reading:

1.  Cartwheel, Jennifer duBois, Kindle
2.  A Dance For Dragons, George R. R. Martin, hardback
4.  Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas, hardback
5.  Blood Moon, Alexandra Sokoloff,  paperback
6.  The Orchid Affair, Lauren Willig, hardback
7. The Winter Family, Clifford Jackman,  hardback
8.  Mystery Walk, Robert McCammon, Kindle Fire
9.  AWOL On The Appalachian Trail, David Miller,  audio
10.  One Evil Act, Elizabeth George, hardback
11.  Meet Me In Atlantis, Mark Adams, paperback
12.  The Stranger, Harlen Corben, paperback
13.  Beautiful Death, Fiona McIntosh, Kindle Fire
14.  The Devil In The Marshalsea, Antonia Hodgson, paperback
15.  The Sunrise, Victoria Hislop, paperback
16.  The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison, hardback

  Happy Reading!