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Monday, May 30, 2011

Books, Books & More Books!

My TBR pile is TOWERING... Actually, it's several towers (!!), although it's helped from a space perspective that I've been buying more Nook books this past year. Finding time to make a dent in my enormous stack (whether paper or electronic) is another matter, of course, but I've been enjoying delving into my recent book purchases in every format they've come in -- hardcover, trade paperback, mass market and ebook. This spring, I discovered some excellent stories, and I've listed a handful of them below -- alphabetically by author's last name. Hope you'll give a few of these a try:

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
Five women, one passion, and the unbreakable bond of friendship... When five young mothers–Frankie, Linda, Kath, Ally, and Brett–first meet in a neighborhood park in the late 1960s, their conversations center on marriage, raising children, and a shared love of books. Then one evening, as they gather to watch the Miss America Pageant, Linda admits that she aspires to write a novel herself, and the Wednesday Sisters Writing Society is born. The five women slowly, and often reluctantly, start filling journals, sliding pages into typewriters, and sharing their work. In the process, they explore the changing world around them: the Vietnam War, the race to the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they believe about themselves. At the same time, the friends carry one another through more personal changes–ones brought about by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success. With one another’s support and encouragement, the Wednesday Sisters begin to embrace who they are and what they hope to become, welcoming readers to experience, along with them, the power of dreaming big.

Operation Sheba by Misty Evans
Hotshot spies never die. They just slip undercover. Julia Torrison-codename Sheba-is keeping secrets. Seventeen months ago she was a CIA superagent, tracking down dangerous terrorists with her partner and lover, Conrad Flynn. A mission was blown, literally, when a bomb Julia built exploded early and Conrad died. Yanked back to Langley and given a new identity, she is now the Counterterrorism Center's top analyst, spending her days at CIA headquarters and her nights in the bed of her boss. Her former life as a secret agent has been sealed off. Like her heart. Conrad Flynn-codename Solomon-has his own secrets. For starters, he's not dead. Going under the deepest cover possible, he faked his death to save Julia's life. Now he must tear her life apart and ask her to help him hunt down a traitor: her new love. Is Con a rogue agent or just a jealous ex-lover? To find out, Julia will have to enter a web of seduction and betrayal to play the spy game of her life using nothing more than her iPod-and her intuition. Julia warns: "Beware of sexy spies bearing gifts. Trust no one and sleep with a gun under your pillow." Conrad warns: "Sex, lies and tantalizing suspense.don't worry, I'll protect you."

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan
In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read! Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.

Evenfall by Liz Michalski
In life, Frank could've had any woman he wanted. In death, he'll try to win back the one that mattered... Frank Wildermuth always regretted a mistake he made as a teenager: choosing Clara Murphy over her sister Gert. And like a true Murphy woman, Gert got on with her life, never admitting to heartbreak. Not even now, decades later, with Frank dead-dead, that is, but not quite gone. Now, Frank's niece, Andie Murphy, is back in town to settle his estate, and she sees that things have changed in Hartman, Connecticut. Aunt Gert still drives her crazy, but Cort, the wide-eyed farmboy she used to babysit, is all grown up-with a whole new definition for the word "sleepover." Even freakier are the whispers. Either Andie's losing her mind, or something she can't see is calling out to her-something that insists on putting right the past.

The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate
Holly Maguire's grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine--a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can't make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that's why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla's Cucinotta, she's determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother's legacy. But Holly's four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla's chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter's heart. Juliet, Holly's childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can't find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla's essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed--and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.

Still looking forward to reading more (and more!) this summer, including Friendship Bread by Darien Gee, Maid for Love by Marie Force, The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller, Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch, The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen, Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke (yes, the actor :) and I Love the 80s by Megan Crane.

What about you? What have you been reading? What are you looking forward to picking up this summer?

12 comments:

Edie Ramer said...

All the books on your list sound lovely. I've been reading a book on epublishing. Not exactly scintillating, which could be why I've been reading it for 3 days and it's still not done. Of course, it is a holiday weekend, and I have recently finished a first draft and now I'm more than halfway finished writing a short story. I've been busy!

Marilyn Brant said...

You HAVE been busy, Edie!! A finished first draft *and* half of a short story is very productive and way more than I've managed to accomplish over this long weekend ;). Hope your week is a wonderful one!

Michelle Diener said...

I just read The Observations by Jane Harris. I really loved it. The narrator, Bessy, is an Irish girl who's been living in Glasgow, and her dialect and turn of phrase are delightful. But far more than that, is the delicate exploration of her own terrible story while she relates the story of her 'missus'. I loved it.

Marilyn Brant said...

Michelle, this sounds like a fascinating story, and I can imagine it must have been wonderfully written for the author to bring the main character to life that way for you. I'll add it to my ever-growing list ;).

Judy Croome said...

My towering TBR pile was one of the reasons I bought a Kindle and it's the best thing ever! Saves a huge storage problem with all my TBR books. :)

Judy, South Africa

Pamala Knight said...

*Sigh* Marilyn, you're just adding to my surpus woes. My own TBR pile is ponderous as well, and looking at the list of your recommendations I can't help adding to it ;-). Thanks for sharing your list.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Tonya Kappes said...

I know the feeling! My TBR KINDLE is over flowing, but I'm going to the beach soon and hopefully will dig into the pile! Cheers!

Marilyn Brant said...

Judy, I know!! Aren't ebooks wonderful that way? All the enjoyment of the story, none of the space issues ;).

Pamala, thank you, my friend!! I had a busy but happy weekend and hope you've been having a good week as well ;). As for books, I keep thinking we need some kind of retreat where we just spend the whole week reading...

Tonya, I wish I were going to the beach, too!!! Have a wonderful time ;).

Robin said...

Thanks for the recommendations! My TBR pile is huge too and I never know where to start so I end up buying a new book and reading that. Am I weird? Will my pile ever dwindle? Sigh...

Marilyn Brant said...

LOL, Robin! No, you're not weird -- at least no more than any other writer ;). I'm almost dreading the RWA conference because I get so many books I want to read (even without trying) and I'm really running out of places to stash them!

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

Interesting assortment of titles Marilyn. Thanks for reading Evenfall. LA

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Laurel Ann ;).