Netgalley

I Want All the Books!

The weather might be terribly treacherous, and driving might be dangerous, and I might not be able to be on social media or the Internet much these days because too much negativity is just plain bad for me; but THIS IS THE BEST BOOK WEEK in a very long time!  I’m pretty sure many of us could read only books that were published this week and be happy little bookworms for quite some time to come.  There’s something for everyone.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a selection of this week’s choicest goodies:

impossibleThe Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak*
Until May 1987, fourteen-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 Playboy magazine publishes photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.**

norseNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman*
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.  In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki–son of a giant–blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.**

pachinkoPachinko by Min Jin Lee*
A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.**

possessionsThe Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy*
In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances. […] A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.**

refugeesThe Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen*
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but also the Center for Fiction Debut Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the ALA Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen’s next fiction book, The Refugees , is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.**

 

Happy reading!

-Patricia

*Thanks to NetGalley and Edelweiss for advanced readers’ copies of these titles.

**Blurbs provided by publishers.

 

 

Patricia’s Summer Picks

This summer I’m not going anywhere.  At least not physically.  Instead I’m taking a course in Children’s Lit and kicking back at home.  That doesn’t mean that I won’t be dreaming of adventure in far-flung locales.  Here’s where I’ll be travelling this summer:

australiaAustraliaBittersweet* by Colleen McCullough

I have fond memories of basking in The Thorn Birds one summer.  I’m eager to repeat the experience with this epic (and romantic!) tale of the Latimer sisters — two sets of twins, all of them aspiring nurses coming of age in the 1920s.

Release Date: August 2014

japanJapan:  Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years of Pilgrimage* by Haruki Murakami

Closest in feel to Norwegian Wood, this novel takes us on Tsukuru Tazaki’s quest to find out why his once close knit circle of friends excluded him.

Release Date: August 2014

 russiaRussia:  The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil

Twins find themselves taking opposing sides in this dystopian alternative to present day Russia.

Release Date: July 2014

greeceGreece (and Norway, Canada and USA):  So Long Marianne: A Love Story* by Kari Hesthamar

The life story of Marianne Ihlen — Leonard Cohen’s muse and inspiration for a supremely beautiful song.

Release Date: June 2014

portugal Portugal:  Devil on her Tongue* by Linda Holeman

Canadian author Holeman whisks us away to 18th century Portugal where a 13-year old outcast and her mother are

abandoned by her father.

Release Date:  June 2014

africaVarious places in Africa: O, Africa by Andrew Lewis Conn

Similar in feel to (one of my favourites) The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, O Africa tells the story of gambler Micah and his twin brother Izzy, who travel through Africa to film a comedy in the jungle.

Release Date: June 2014

usaUSA

I tried very hard to pare this list down so I wasn’t spending all my ‘travel time’ in the US.  There are three books I couldn’t bear to leave off this list:  2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pyjamas* by Marie-Helene Bertino (which traces a spunky girl jazz singer’s Christmas Eve adventures in Philadelphia) and two in New YorkThe Girls at the Kingfisher Club* (in which the roaring twenties meet the Twelve Dancing Princesses) & My Salinger Year* (which follows Rakoff as she interns for Salinger’s publisher in the 1990s — it’s one of my favourite reads so far this year).

 

Happy Summer Reading!  (I’ll won’t be back until my course ends in mid-August!)

–Patricia

*Many thanks to both NetGalley and Edelweiss for providing ARCs and keeping Heidi and I in fabulous reads!

Patricia’s Spring Picks 2014

SpringSpring can take you anywhere… The weather can be perfect for huddling under a blanket and watching the rain fall, and then it can be warm enough to bask in the sun.  On great days you can sit out under the cherry blossoms.  Spring has room for all your moods, and for all your reading tastes.  This spring’s new releases don’t have much in common with each other except that they are all perfect for the many moods of the season.

March New Releases

Empress of the Night* by Eva Stachniak

This sequel to the Winter Palace tells of Catherine the Great’s rise to power from her own perspective.

Blood Will Out* by Walter Kirnblood

This non-fiction memoir about Kirn’s longtime friendship with a man claiming to be Clark Rockefeller and the friendship’s inevitable dissolution, is both memorable and moving.  There’s a strong sense of frustration that comes from realizing someone you care about isn’t someone you’ll ever really know.

 

April New Releases

punyAll My Puny Sorrows* by Miriam Toews

A tale of two sisters:  one a suicidal world-reknowned pianist, the other is complete mess who tries to hold her sister together. From the author of A Complicated Kindness.

 

 

The Confabulist* by Steven Gallowayconfabulist

Confession:  I’ve never read Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo, which received rave reviews (and has been recommended to me by many many people).  I started The Confabulist last night and was hooked from the first page; it tells the story of Harry Houdini and the man who killed him… twice.

serpentOther highlights from April include No Book But the World* by Leah Hager Cohen — about a sister struggling to prove her brother is innocent of murder, Christopher Moore’s witty take on Shakespeare The Serpent of Venice*, Raise Some Shell* — a book that addresses the enduring popularity of the TMNT, and (finally!) The fifth book in the Night Watch series, The New Watch* by Sergei Lukyanenko — for those of us who can’t get enough of the supernatural side of Moscow.

 

May New Releases

In May, I finally plan to delve into my first Jo Nesbo mystery and find out what all the fuss is about.  The book is The Son*, and it’s the stand alone tale of a son who escapes prison to find out the truth about his father’s death. Also in my pile are: Alexei Zentner’s The Lobster Kings*, which I would read no matter what it was about because of how enchanting his first novel, Touch was (and this book looks even better), the Kseniya Melnik’s short story collection Snow in May* (set in Siberia), and these two books:

Goodnight June* by Sarah Jiojune

June is called upon to settle her late great-aunt Ruby’s estate and uncovers a series of letters between her aunt and Margaret Wise Brown, author of the children’s classic, Goodnight Moon. 

beesThe Bees* by Laline Paull

Why?  Because the world simply doesn’t have enough books narrated by bees.  And I’m a sucker for a good animal narrator.

–Patricia

*HUGE thanks to NetGalley and Edelweiss for providing advanced readers’ copies of these titles.

 

Patricia’s Fresh Picks for November

phoenixWhen you read about November, it’s usually about the change in the weather and the ever shortening days.  At bedtime the other day I read, “October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”

But blustery days aside, November is always an exciting time to be a reader.  All the big names put out their newest offerings just in time for the holiday-buying season.  This month we’ve added new books to our shelves by the ever-popular Wally Lamb (We Are Water) and the newest Inspector Rebus novel, Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin.  But there’s more, much more, including:

Love him or loathe him, James Franco keeps himself busy.  His new novel, Actors Anonymous is perfect for reading on the go because it’s a collection of musings, snippets and random thoughts in the form of a 12-step program for actors.

Anne Rice‘s son Christopher Rice has been a successful author in his own right for quite some time.  I have to confess, however, I haven’t read any of his books because, unlike Joe Hill who has followed in Papa King‘s footsteps quite explicitly, Mr. Rice’s books don’t typically have a supernatural bend.  Until now.  In The Heaven’s Rise*there’s ancient evil lurking in a Louisiana swamp.

egypt

Fans of historical fiction, will want to have a look at Kate Furnivall’s Shadows on the Nile, which whisks us away to Egypt in the 1930s.  In the space of 20 years, both of Jessie’s brothers disappear mysteriously.  She’s determined to figure out the connection between their disappearances and might just fall in love along the way.

What new books will you be curling this November?

–Patricia

*Thanks, as always, to NetGalley for keeping me in fabulous e-reads.

Patricia’s Fresh Picks for October

candy

Kids, the zombies made me do it.

You know how you feel when you swear you aren’t going to eat your kids Hallowe’en candy after they’ve gone to bed?  And then all you can hear while you’re watching The Walking Dead is candy calling to you?

I’m on a book diet, and I work in a library. Temptation is all around, all the time.
We’ve had several new books join our collection this month, and truth be told, each looks better than the last. Here’s what I’m hoping you read (if only so you can tell me what I’m missing…)

p&p

My imagination’s home sweet home.

Longbourn by Jo Baker

For those of you who like their Downton Abbey with a side of Pride and Prejudice, try Longbourn — a novel about the Bennet’s family’s servants.

boxersand

Attention to detail makes me happy

Boxers* & Saints* by Gene Luen Yang

Two graphic novels, each with opposing viewpoints retell the story of China’s Boxer Rebellion (1899-1900).  Boxers tells the story of Little Bao, who becomes the leader of a peasant army.  Saints tells the story of Four-Girl, a Christian convert turned warrior. (If you prefer your graphic novels more contemporary, don’t miss Yang’s Printz-winning American Born Chinese.

lancingThe Last Winter of Dani Lancing* by P.D. Viner

It’s twenty years since Dani Lancing was found brutally murdered.  The case remains unsolved.  Her mother is obsessed with the case and can’t move on and her father is a broken wreck.  Dani’s old boyfriend Tom, now a detective, is onto a new lead…

Bait by J. Kent Messum

What you thought first. Admit it.

What you thought first. Admit it.

Six addicts from the underbelly of Miami find themselves washed ashore on an island with no idea who the others are or how they got there.  Farfetched? Absolutely!  But no more so than the idea that this diet of mine can last.

*Thank you to NetGalley for keeping me in fabulous reads!

–Patricia

Patricia’s Fresh Picks for September

It’s the first week of September.  And while Staples commercials would have us believe that “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, I disagree.

Making the transition from ‘ relaxed mama at the beach’ to ‘harried woman trying to get 3 kids on the ice in time for lessons’ is not an easy transition for me.  And don’t get me started on the amount of paperwork that back to school brings.  Or the packed lunches.

lunch

(I have never ever made a packed lunch that looked anything like this.)

cabinIt’s enough to make you want to flee to a cabin in the woods and curl up with a book until the world fades away.  Here’s what’s just arrived on our shelves.  You can pick a few titles up before you leave town.

markerA Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik*

The cover promises an endless horizon with nothing on it.  You can pick the book up and just gaze into infinity without ever opening it, or you can lose yourself in this beautifully written story of a Liberian refugee trying to make a new start in Greece.

Visitation Street by Ivy Pochodavisitation

Fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History or Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones will want to grab a copy of this novel about the effects one missing teenager has on an entire community.

pharaohPharaoh by David Gibbins*

You can’t get much further away from back-to-school than this:  An archaeologist on an underwater dive in the Nile finds himself entangled in a centuries-old mystery connected to the Pharaoh Akhenaten.

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagiharapeople

Escape to 1950s Micronesia with Norton Perina, a young doctor in search of a lost tribe.  Members of the tribe have an unusually long life expectancy and Perina is determined to find out why.  Fans of Anne Patchett’s State of Wonder need look no further than this debut to find a compelling, bookclub-friendly fall read.

fatalA Fatal Likeness by Lynn Shepherd*

Imagine it:  a rainy afternoon, you’re curled up snugly in an armchair and lost in Victorian England.  There’s the possibility of a scandalous revelation about the authorship of Frankenstein and the lives of Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

If we can’t get to a woodsy cabin, or Victorian England, how about curling up in a book fort for an hour or two —hideyhole wouldn’t that really make this week the most wonderful time?

*Thank you as always to NetGalley for providing Advanced Readers’ Copies of titles that let the world slip away.

–Patricia

For Salinger fans

catcherNew Salinger books!  New Salinger books!  Being published!  Including one about the Glass family (I love the Glass family!) and one about (sigh)… Holden.  Yes, the news comes a bit late to fully cash in on the excess of angst I felt in my younger years, but still…

I’m not sure that I can imagine book news more interesting than the recent announcement that there are 5 new J.D. Salinger books coming out in the near future.  (I’ve actually spent a lot of time this week trying to imagine more exciting books news and can’t.)

To pass the time before this fabulousness becomes available in print, I’ve compiled a list of things we can all do while we’re waiting…

1.  Watch the documentary Salinger which comes out September 6th.

2.  Re-read old Salinger favourites: The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, the Seymour Glass stories, Nine Stories — which one is your favourite?phoebe

3.  Read books that take their inspiration from J.D. Salinger

&sons& Sons by David Gilbert*
The reclusive author of a modern American classic about teen angst sets about to reunite with his estranged sons.

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham*someday
A retelling of Franny & Zooey by way of ChickLit. In this version, Franny is a young actor trying to make it in the Big Apple circa 1995.

Coming Soon…
salingerconThe Salinger Contract by Adam Langer*
(to be published September 2013) The author of The Thieves of Manhattan, an inside look at the publishing world.

4.  Check out what the creative souls at etsy have to offer you.  My favourites include this purse by NovelCreations, which is sure to make a lady looketsy2 swell.  And, as well all know, “If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late?”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

 

*Thank you to NetGalley for helping me get my Salinger fix by providing Advanced Readers Copies of these titles.

-Patricia