Readers' Favorite

June 6, 2015

"Excellent trip to another time" ~ Crow Hollow by Michael Wallace

Crow Hollow

In 1676, an unlikely pair—a young Puritan widow and an English spy—journeys across a land where greed and treachery abound.

Prudence Cotton has recently lost her husband and is desperate to find her daughter, captured by the Nipmuk tribe during King Philip’s war. She’s convinced her daughter is alive but cannot track her into the wilderness alone. Help arrives in the form of James Bailey, an agent of the crown sent to Boston to investigate the murder of Prudence’s husband and to covertly cause a disturbance that would give the king just cause to install royal governors. After his partner is murdered, James needs help too. He strikes a deal with Prudence, and together they traverse the forbidding New England landscape looking for clues. What they confront in the wilderness—and what they discover about each other—could forever change their allegiances and alter their destinies.

"Fierce and passionate" ~ C. R. Hurst

"Great piece of historical fiction!" ~ So It Is As If

"Captivating" ~ GS "noodles"

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June 5, 2015

What Do Authors Owe Us? (@satiswrites)

by Chris

A Game of Thrones
Let me clear: I have never read a book by George R. R. Martin, nor have I watched a single episode of Game of Thrones. I understand that both are profoundly popular, for which I am glad; any time reading transcends from the bookish to the mainstream is a win for literature in my opinion. The same could be said for Fifty Shades of Grey, another series I have yet to read. Chances are, I probably never will. The same goes for Mr. Martin’s books, or HBO’s adaptation of them: although I can’t participate in the fevered discussions surrounding these works from personal experience, I’m not oblivious to the scandal they’ve aroused in the media in the past few weeks.

As I understand it, the controversy started recently with the depicted rape of a popular character on the TV show. It was hardly the first time something like this has been shown in the series’ five seasons, and, I suspect, it will not be the last. What seems to have particularly upset people this time is the ‘unnecessariness’ of this scene: not only is it not included in the books, it’s been well argued that it did nothing to advance the plot or character development in the show. Some media outlets have gone as far as to refuse to publicize or cover the show again.

I’ll not go into too much detail regarding the scene itself (it’s been covered enough, I think), although I find it interesting that not only Mr. Martin himself, but even the actress portraying Sansa Stark, seem less than apologetic. What fascinates me about the outrage in this case is the accountability the general public seem to demand from the creators of the fictional universe in which Game of Thrones takes place.

Rape is a dreadful and traumatizing aspect of human nature—to many, worse than murder. It’s uniquely debasing and dehumanizing, in a way almost no other violent act can be. I’m personally highly leery of sexual violence, and tend to steer far clear of any media that contains it; hence my reluctance to delve into the world of Westeros that Mr. Martin has created. It seems to be a highly patriarchal society, filled with ill-tempered and violent, domineering white men. If you aren’t one, your chances of surviving to the end of the book (or the episode) tend to dwindle. It was his choice to create such a world, and in his defense, it seems to be a world modeled on the (unfortunately) real-life world of medieval Europe. In such a world, it seems, rape is sadly commonplace.

Yet as an author, I can attest to the fact that the events in my books don’t always seem fully under my control. Sometimes events take place that catch me by surprise as much as my readers. When one of the main characters in my first book died, I was as shocked as anyone. It was unexpected, but I wrote it anyway, because in my mind that was simply how the story played out. Perhaps, to the writers of Game of Thrones, Sansa’s rape simply had to happen.

In this regard, the people who have been offended by this scene seem to be focusing predominantly on the ‘choice’ the writers had to simply not have it happen. The scene didn’t have to happen, they argue; it could have been changed, or omitted. Perhaps even referenced, but not shown. All accountability is being foisted on the writers, and I can’t help but wonder: is this entirely fair? If a death in my book offends someone (one of the deaths is of a young girl), should I be necessarily held accountable for that person’s reaction? What of the overt racism in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn? Should I blame the author for my own sensibilities?

It becomes very easy to judge any work of fiction by the social standards of today. We demand equality among sexes and races in our everyday lives, and rightly so. But such an expectation is a relatively modern development. I’d like to think that human society will only continue to progress; perhaps in a hundred years people will look back on A Song of Ice and Fire and think of it as a product of the time, much as we do with Huck Finn now. Of course, this isn’t a justification of casual rape in literature: Tolkien managed to create a medieval world with much more equality than seems to exist in Westeros. Yet in the world that Mr. Martin created, such things occur with great frequency. Do I like it? Of course not. Hence my abstinence from his works. But if you’re going to commit to a fantasy world where such things happen, by reading the books or watching the show, you ought to at least acknowledge that the writers don’t owe you a comfortable ride.

Or am I completely wrong?

June 4, 2015

Promo: @ReadingAlley Grand Opening June 5

Last month I mentioned a new site to get ebooks for review and earn points for posting those reviews. Tomorrow, Reading Alley officially launches and they are hosting a 3 month party.

Remember this site isn't just for book bloggers, but for any reader who is willing to write a review.

Be sure to stop be their site on June 5.

June 3, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

by Donna Huber

Those Girls
Chevy Stevens is back with her most powerful, emotional thriller yet— a story of survival…and revenge.

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.

This time there’s nowhere left to run.

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

I discovered Chevy Stevens a few years ago and have loved all her books. I have an advance copy from Netgalley and as soon I finish my current book it will be the next thing I read.

Buy Those Girls at Amazon

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June 2, 2015

Enjoying the television show ~ Pines by Blake Crouch

Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America - or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something As the days pass, Ethan's investigation into his colleagues' disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can't he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn't anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what's the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive...

"Right out of the Twilight Zone" ~ J. Stroh

"Must read trilogy" ~ Mac55

I started watching the television series this weekend. There are 3 episodes so far and a promise of 10 total. As a summer show, I'm really enjoying it. It is just fun fantasy series that has me intrigued enough that I think I will read the books

Buy Pines at Amazon

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June 1, 2015

New Releases June 2015

In the Unlikely Event
In the Unlikely Event considers a startling backdrop: a series of passenger airline flights that crashed over a three-month period in 1951 and 1952 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where Blume grew up. “These events have lingered in my mind ever since,” says Blume. “It was a crazy time. We were witnessing things that were incomprehensible to us as teenagers. Was it sabotage? An alien invasion? No one knew, and people were understandably terrified.” The crashes resulted in the closing of Newark airport for nine months.

With her rich imagination, Blume uses this background to weave together a story with an unforgettable ensemble of families and friends across three generations. The hallmark traits of Blume – a deep concern for her characters and the authentic capture of an era – are evident on every page as we see her protagonists grow up, fall in love, marry, cope with loss, deal with estranged parents and difficult friendships and familial obligations, remember the good times, and finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going.

Available June 2
Buy In the Unlikely Event at Amazon

Finding AudreyFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Available June 9
Buy Finding Audrey at Amazon

The Breaking Point
Past, present, and future collide to throw respected forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton’s successful, secure life into devastating turmoil in this poignant novel in the New York Times bestselling Body Farm mystery series

It’s been ten years since Dr. Bill Brockton created the Body Farm—the world’s first postmortem research facility dedicated to advancing the frontiers of forensic science—and the researcher is at the pinnacle of his career. Under his leadership, the University of Tennessee’s forensic anthropology program has become the most prominent in the world, and Brockton’s skills and knowledge are in high demand among top law enforcement. Calling him in for a number of high profile cases, the FBI now wants him to identify the charred remains of a maverick millionaire, killed in a fiery plane crash.

But a storm is about to hit Brockton with cataclysmic force. First, his identification of the crash victim is called into question. Then he receives a threatening message from the serial killer who attempted to murder the scientist and his family a decade ago. And from Brockton’s beloved wife Kathleen—his lodestone and his source of security—he gets the most shocking news of all. Will Brockton be able to weather this deluge . . . or has he finally reached the breaking point?

Available June 9
Buy The Breaking Point at Amazon

The Rumor
A friendship is tested in this irresistible page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.

Nantucket writer Madeline King couldn't have picked a worse time to have writer's block. Her deadline is looming, her bills are piling up, and inspiration is in short supply. Madeline's best friend Grace, is hard at work transforming her garden into the envy of the island with the help of a ruggedly handsome landscape architect. Before she realizes it, Grace is on the verge of a decision that will irrevocably change her life. Could Grace's crisis be Madeline's salvation? As the gossip escalates, and the summer's explosive events come to a head, Grace and Madeline try desperately to set the record straight--but the truth might be even worse than rumor has it.

Available June 16
Buy The Rumor at Amazon

Love May Fail
Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself back in South Jersey, a place that remains largely unchanged from the years of her unhappy youth. Lost and alone, looking for the goodness she believes still exists in the world, Portia sets off on a quest to save the one man who always believed in her—and in all of his students: her beloved high school English teacher, Mr. Vernon, who has retired broken and alone after a traumatic classroom incident.

Will a sassy nun, an ex-heroin addict, a metalhead little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt Portia’s chances on this quest to resurrect a good man and find renewed hope in the human race? Love May Fail is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be.

Available June 16
Buy Love May Fail at Amazon

Wicked Charms
Lizzy and Diesel return once again in an all-new adventure in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Janet Evanovich and her co-author, Phoef Sutton!

Murdered and mummified more than ninety years ago, bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle once found and re-hid a famous pirate’s treasure somewhere along the coast of New England. A vast collection of gold and silver coins and precious gems, the bounty also contains the Stone of Avarice — the very item reluctant treasure seeker, Lizzy Tucker, and her partner, Diesel, have been enlisted to find. While Lizzy would just like to live a quiet, semi-normal life, Diesel is all about the hunt. And this hunt is going to require a genuine treasure map and a ship worthy of sailing the seven seas . . . or at least getting them from Salem Harbor to Maine.

Greed is eternal and insatiable, and Lizzy and Diesel aren’t the only ones searching for the lost pirate’s chest. There are people who have dedicated their entire lives to finding it, and are willing to commit murder or make a deal with the devil, just to hold the fortune in their hands. One of those people may even be Wulf, Diesel’s deceptively charming and enigmatic cousin. Wulf desires the Stone of Avarice. He also desires Lizzy. It’s hard to say how far he’s willing to go to gain either one.

It’s a swashbuckling adventure full of raiders, monkeys, minions, and mayhem. Lizzy and Diesel are going to have to do everything they can to keep their heads above water and hope they are living a charmed life.

Available June 23
Buy Wicked Charms at Amazon

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