Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Friday, April 29, 2011

First Lines... The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland

"Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents' house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. Because she had been born in May, and because she had a mole on her left cheek, and because her feet were very large and ungainly, the Green Wind took pity on her and flew to her window one evening just after her twelfth birthday..."
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente with illustrations by Ana Juan being released May 10th, 2011!
Originally this was a fictional book within a book! In Catherynne M. Valente's book The Palimpsest. "a part of the protagonist’s childhood, a strange novel for children written in the 1920s, about a young girl spirited away to Fairyland by the Green Wind, and her adventures there..." People began asking if the book existed, and finally much to everyone's delight Catherynne wrote it! The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland also won the 2009 Nebula/Andre Norton award for best children's literature (this is a scifi/fantasy award). I recently received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book in the mail and am so excited to read it! The illustrations are beautiful that head each chapter too! Expect a review soon...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Memoir Monday presents... Dreams in a Time of War by Ngugi wa Thiong'O

With so many celebrity "tell alls" in the memoir department, sometimes lesser known memoirists get lost in the crowd. When I stumbled upon Dreams in a Time of War by Ngugu wa Thiong'O , first the cover caught my eye, and then the title. I vaguely remembered the author - one of his books,The River Between is on my wish list. The description of Dreams in a Time of War reads like one of Ngugi wa Thiong'O's novels. Here's what Publisher's Weekly writes about Dreams in a Time of War...

Celebrated African author and activist Thiong'O tells no ordinary coming-of-age tale. The fifth child of his father's third wife—one of an extended family whose collective experiences range from rural farming and carpentry to WWII rifleman—Ngugi skillfully recounts the challenges and calamities of growing up in British-occupied Kenya. Born in 1938, he recalls a boyhood framed by his pursuit of education (he had a unspoken pact with his mother to always do his best) and by his developing awareness of nationalist politics. Through teachers and local storytellers he hears of such world figures as Winston Churchill, Jomo Kenyatta, and Jesse Owens; at home he eventually discovers that within his own family there are both Mau Mau rebels and colonial sympathizers. Tensions between tradition and modernity, a theme Ngugi explored in his first novel, 1964's Weep Not Child), become apparent in his fascination with the Old Testament and Christianity, and his fear when he is interrogated by military authorities. For readers, sequential time surrenders to a sense of narrative and an engaging humanity.

This sounds so interesting to me, and could give us a feeling for growing up in a world so different from the one we enjoy in The States. Have you read this one yet?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Song of The Silk Road by Mingmei Yip... Review & Giveaway!

Song of The Silk Road by Minmei Yip... As a girl growing up in Hong Kong, Lily Lin was captivated by photographs of the desert - its long, lonely vistas and shifting sand dunes. Now living in New York, Lily is struggling to finish her graduate degree when she receives an astonishing offer. An aunt she never knew existed will pay Lily a huge sum to travel across China's desolate Taklamakan Desert - and carry out a series of tasks along the way. Intrigued, Lily accepts. Her assignments range from the dangerous to the bizarre. Lily must seduce a monk. She must scrape a piece of clay from the famous Terracotta Warriors, and climb the Mountains of Heaven to gather a rare herb...

What would you do if someone offered you three million dollars to go on an adventure? Lily Lin was suspicious, but also a poor struggling writer, so she decided to pack her bags and escape. Her life in New York was a tedious low paying job, a married lover and frustration over writing her "novel of a lifetime", so China's infamous Silk Road was a dream come true for her. And what an adventure it was!

In Song of The Silk Road, Mingmei Yip seduces you by painting such an exotic landscape, and whisking you off with Lily Lin into a world filled with mysterious potions and whispers of legends. The novel feels contemporary, with modern day problems and situations, and Lily herself is a bit jaded. But there's a quality to the story, with references to Chinese superstitions and sayings that turns the contemporary into more "traditional".

"In good fortune is always some misfortune, and in misfortune, always some good fortune."

Song of the Silk Road will seduce you with its' exotic landscape, and Mingmei Yip can almost have you feel the sand between your toes, but it is the characters that fill those pages that will have you feverishly reading... Alex, the young vibrant traveler, who saves Lily Lin on more than one occasion and becomes her lover, the herbalist Nop Lor, who mourns the ghosts of his past and who Lily will ultimately set free from his guilt, The Monk who isn't as chaste as one would think, and the village that becomes home and the villagers that become almost family. Each of these people and places play an important part of Lily's journey to the end - and to the money. The predicaments that Lily Lin finds herself in and how she gets her self out of them is also a fun part of the story. And what a twist at the end!

If you love stories filled with adventure in exotic places, a bit of romance and wonderful writing, you need to add Song of The Silk Road to your wish list! I could not put this book down! It's Bridgett Jones Diary meets Memoirs of a Geisha.

Song of The Silk Road is available right now at your local bookstore! Would you like a chance to win a copy?! Courtesy of Kensington Publishing I am giving away one copy of Song of The Silk Road to one lucky Chick with Books reader! Here's how to enter...

To Enter this Giveaway...

*For one entry leave me a comment with your email address!

*Get an extra entry for following my blog! Just leave a comment letting me know you're a follower! ( Not a follower yet? No problem, sign up by clicking on the 'followers" button on the sidebar to the left! Just let me know you became a new follower!)

*Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (No PO boxes). The books will be shipped to the winners directly from the publisher. Contest ends 11:59pm EST on May 3rd, 2011. I will randomly pick the winners the next day and email them! Good Luck!

First Lines...

"Once upon a time there were twelve Princesses...
My voice surprises me. It's perfectly steady, the voice of a normal mother on a normal day-- as though everything is just the same as it always was...."
The Soldiers Wife by Margaret Leroy, coming June 28th, 2011
When I opened up this book and started reading it to get a feel for it, I could hardly pull myself away. The story completely drew me in, and Margaret Leroy's writing was beautiful. I can't wait to devote my full attention to it and give you my full review!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Memoir Monday... Endgame by Frank Brady

Endgame by Frank Brady... Endgame is acclaimed biographer Frank Brady’s decades-in-the-making tracing of the meteoric ascent—and confounding descent—of enigmatic genius Bobby Fischer. Only Brady, who met Fischer when the prodigy was only 10 and shared with him some of his most dramatic triumphs, could have written this book, which has much to say about the nature of American celebrity and the distorting effects of fame. Drawing from Fischer family archives, recently released FBI files, and Bobby’s own emails, this account is unique in that it limns Fischer’s entire life—an odyssey that took the Brooklyn-raised chess champion from an impoverished childhood to the covers of Time, Life and Newsweek to recognition as “the most famous man in the world” to notorious recluse.

At first all one noticed was how gifted Fischer was. Possessing a 181 I.Q. and remarkable powers of concentration, Bobby memorized hundreds of chess books in several languages, and he was only 13 when he became the youngest chess master in U.S. history. But his strange behavior started early. In 1972, at the historic Cold War showdown in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he faced Soviet champion Boris Spassky, Fischer made headlines with hundreds of petty demands that nearly ended the competition. It was merely a prelude to what was to come...

Anyone who lived during the 70's would remember the infamous Fischer-Spassky match. And then the spotlight turned from the monumental match and Fischer winning it to Fischer himself, and his train wreck of a life. How interesting to be able to get a real peak at what makes up the man from someone who knew him so intimately.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Sunday Salon... Do You Do Poetry?

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! This is the day during the week where we get together and talk books! So grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and relax! What bookish things have you been doing this week?

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Do you read poetry? As a Reader when we think of buying a book, do we think, "Hey, I wond
er what just came out in poetry this week?" Probably now. As much as we might enjoy the occasional poem, do you we read poems regularly? I know I'm guilty of neglecting poetry books. When I listened to the audiobook of The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, the poet Czeslaw Milosz is mentioned and I was curious to learn more about him. What I discovered was some great poetry and an amazing history behind a poet that won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Every once in a while I'll get in the mood for poetry and wander into that section of the bookstore, but if I don't read something about a particular poet, or am not motivated in some other way, poetry is not first on my list for a visit to the bookstore. How about you?

Where do you start with poetry books? Emily Dickinson? Robert Frost? But what about poets you're not familiar with?! How do you discover those poets? One answer is poetry anthologies. Of course, this is also subjective. The editor is choosing their favorites more or less. But itis a good place to start. Here are a few of the poetry books on my shelf...

She Walks in Beauty, A Woman's Journey Through Poems selected by Caroline Kennedy... Caroline Kennedy has once again marshaled the gifts of our greatest poets to pay a very personal tribute to the human experience, this time to the complex and fascinating subject of womanhood. Inspired by her own reflections on more than fifty years of life as a young girl, a woman, a wife, and a mother, She Walks in Beauty draws on poetry's eloquent wisdom to ponder the many joys and challenges of being a woman. Kennedy has divided the collection into sections that signify to her the most notable milestones, passages, and universal experiences in a woman's life, and she begins each of these sections with an introduction in which she explores and celebrates the most important elements of life's journey.

I heard Caroline chatting about her new book on the radio, and it sounded so wonderful. Poems that reflect what it means to be a woman. Things that touch our hearts. Love, break-ups, motherhood, etc. Something else struck me during the interview too- Caroline said one of the traditions that her mother, Jacqueline Kennedy started was to give poems as gifts. When Carloline would ask her mother what she wanted for her birthday, she would answer, "Give me a poem." I'll be reviewing this book later in the month for National Poetry Month, but suffice it to say, it is a wonderful collection of poems and a nice variety of poets.

Poems to Read, A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz... The Favorite Poem Project was founded by Pinsky in 1997 during his tenure as poet laureate. Some 18,000 respondents sent letters or e-mails about their favorite poems, which resulted in the anthology America's Favorite Poems and several videos. This new anthology includes poems selected by Favorite Poem Project participants and their personal comments. But it also includes poems chosen by the editors, along with their brief remarks. Although mainly populated by famous English and American poets (Chaucer, Shakespeare, Coleridge, Housman, Dickinson, Frost, Ginsberg, Ashbery), the book has many surprises, like Abraham Lincoln and the Nicaraguan poet Rub n Dario. This landmark publication belongs on the shelves of every library in America. Highly recommended for the breadth of its coverage and the depth of its commentaries.

I thought this was an interesting book because the poems selected were favorite poems. There's a good variety of poems and poets, and as its descriptions says there is a little blurb at the beginning of most of the poems by the person who submitted to it as to the reason why this is a favorite to them. I think this is a nice tweak.

Good Poems selected and edited by Garrison Keillor... Poetry is a regular feature on Garrison Keillor's NPR radio show A Prairie Home Companion, but for the last five years, it has formed the core of The Writer's Almanac, a daily, five-minute, 7 a.m. show on which Keillor reads a poem. Good Poems selects 350 pieces of verse from among the thousands that have been read on the Almanac for "Stickiness, memorability.... You hear it and a day later some of it is still there in the brainpan." Divided by subject-beginning with "O Lord," moving through "Day's Work," "Sons and Daughters" and through to "The End" and "The Resurrection"-the book includes work by writers past (Burns, Dickinson, Bishop, Williams, Shakespeare) and present: Robert Hass, Lisel Mueller, Tom Disch, among many others.

I love listening to Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion, and love his reading of poetry on the show. He has a wonderful voice for poetry and always picks great poems. Good Poems are poems meant to be funny, uplifting and poems to just bring a smile to the readers face.

A Child's Book of Poems illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa... William Blake, Kate Greenaway, Emily Dickinson: the writers in this charming anthology of 200 poems—first published in 1969—are among literature’s most beloved. And Gyo Fujikawa’s appealing illustrations depict children of all races sweetly interacting, as well as an engagingly rendered menagerie of animals and the natural world in all its wonderment. Among the verses that children will love are Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Christmas Bells,” Lewis Carroll’s “The Melancholy Pig,” and Eugene Fields’ “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” along with proverbs, limericks, nursery rhymes, and folk songs.

Poetry of course isn't only for adults! But this book could be enjoyed by adults as well as children! The illustrations are beautiful! This would make a wonderful gift for a child in your life too! This was out of print for many years, but luckily it's back for our enjoyment!

Poems are passionate, funny, reflective. What makes poetry powerful is that is expresses these emotions in such a concise form. In only a sparse few lines a poem can move us to tears. We use poems when we exchange vows, we write them to the ones we love, even rap music is poetry. Is poetry more popular than we think? What do you think? Do you read poetry?

Weekly Recap... On Memoir Monday we highlighted In Stitches by Dr. Anthony Youn. A medical school plastic surgery memoir? A coming of age memoir combining plastic surgery and medical school. Thursday was National Poetry in Your Pocket Day! Did you celebrate? You can read all about it at Poets.org. Friday's First Lines gave you a sneak peek at John Sanford's book coming May 10th! It's called Buried Prey, and it's the 21st Prey Book. Saturday I interviewed Mingmei Yip, who's new book Song of the Silk Road, I had the opportunity to read and will be reviewing this coming Saturday! Mingmei Yip shares a bit of herself as an author and artist in her interview.

How was your week? Share what books we should add to our TBR list this week! I love to hear about great books!

Happy Reading... Suzanne

The Sunday Salon...Do You Do Poetry?



Hey, What happened to this post? Some glitch in the word processing in Blogger, so I had to redo the post, which meant deleting the post. BUT, I didn't want to delete such kind comments by Mason Canyon of Thoughts in Progress and Small World at Home! Thank you for the nice comments on The Sunday Salon! If you're wondering about the post these ladies commented on, you can find it HERE: The Sunday Salon... Do You Do Poetry.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Author Interview with Mingmei Yip...

I recently had the privilege to read an advance copy of Song of The Silk Road by Mingmei Yip, which is a wonderful book, full of adventure & romance along the famous Silk Road. (Catch my review next Saturday, April 23rd) Mingmei Yip is the author of two other wonderful books that also bring the flavor of the orient wafting through your reading room, Peach Blossom Pavillion and Petals From the Sky.

Today I'd like to welcome Mingmei Yip to Chick with Books, as she shares a little bit of herself with us...

Where do you do most of your writing?
At home. I can’t write at cafes, since most have loud music which is a distraction for me. However if they play classical music, then I stop writing and listen.

Can you tell us something about yourself that not a lot of your readers don’t know?
Besides my hectic writing schedule, that I still manage to take time to perform the Chinese zither (guqin) professionally – last year I was invited by Carnegie Hall to play at its Chinese Music Festival -- and teach calligraphy workshops.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
After I labor through getting down the first draft, as I polish up my writing, I begin to enjoy my characters and their trials and struggles as they work towards a happy ending. In my writing, I meet people like the Chinese herbalist and blind fortune teller in Song of the Silk Road, whom I might never meet in real life.

What is your daily routine as a writer?
I don’t have a chance to write every day, but when I do, I write eight or nine hours non-stop, then I eat Chinese take-out and fall asleep.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to bring to back to life the strong women of an earlier era in China when almost the only choices for women were being a wife (actually, one of several wives sharing the same husband), a Buddhist nun -- or a prostitute. Despite this some women overcame the barriers to become independent and creative artists. Some mingji, prestigious prostitutes, also called geishas, left behind poems and paintings providing windows into fascinating but often tragic lives. I decided to give these talented, powerful women -- silent for centuries -- a voice. The result is my first novel Peach Blossom Pavilion, which I’m happy to say, is now in its fifth printing.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I work on each until it is as good as I know how to make it. Then I move on to the next one.

Thank you Mingmei for stopping by Chick with Books! It was nice to chat with you and learn a little more about you as an author and artist. Readers can learn more about the author at Mingmei Yip's website. And don't forget, Song of the Silk Road is available at your local bookstore right now! Plus, you can read my review next week! (**Hint... I really loved it!)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Do you Prey?...

The first machines on the site were the wreckers, like steel dinosaurs, plucking and pulling at the houses with jaws that ripped off chimneys, shingles, dormers, and eaves, clapboard and brick and stone and masonry, beams and stairs and balconies and joists, headers and doorjambs. Old dreams, dead ambitions, and lost lives, remembrance roses and spring lilacs, went in the dump trucks all together.
Buries Prey by John Sandford (release date: May 10th, 2011!)

Exciting news for John Sandford Fans with the release of the 21st mystery in the PREY series! Last May, I traveled back in time to 1992 and reviewed Silent Prey as part of the Days of Prey Tour, in which 21 Bloggers each reviewed one of the 20 books in the PREY series. Courtesy of G.P. Putmam Sons I am getting a sneak peak at the new book! Don't worry, I won't make you wait until May to hear all about it! I'll be cracking the spine on this very soon and reviewing it! But just from glancing through it, I think it's going to be nothing less that terrific! Do you Prey? What's your favorite Prey book?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's National Poem in Your Pocket Day!

April 14th is National Poem in Your Pocket Day!

The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends.

Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores.

Do you read poetry? Even if poetry isn't something we read on a regular basis, we must all have read a poem, written a love poem, been inspired by the beautiful lines written by a poet. Today is the day to celebrate poetry! In fact, April is National Poetry Month so grab yourself a book of poetry and leisurely enjoy Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and such contemporaries as Billy Collins and Nikki Giovanni.

So tell me, do you read poetry? What's your favorite poem?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Memoir Mondays... In Stitches by Anthony Youn, M.D.

In Stitches by Anthony Youn, M.D. ....Scrubs meets David Sedaris in this hilarious fish-out-of-water memoir about a young Korean-American nerd turned renowned plastic surgeon.

Dr. Tony Youn grew up one of two Asian-American kids in a small town where diversity was uncommon. Too tall and too thin, he wore thick Coke-bottle glasses, braces, Hannibal Lecter headgear, and had a protruding jaw that one day began to grow, expanding to an unthinkable, monstrous size. After high school graduation, while other seniors partied at the beach or explored Europe, Youn lay strapped in an oral surgeon’s chair where he underwent a life-changing jaw reconstruction. Ironically, it was this brutal makeover that led him to his life’s calling, and he continued on to endure the four horrific, hilarious, sex-starved, and tension-filled years that eventually earned him an M.D. Offering a window into a side of medicine that most people never see, Youn shares his bumpy journey from a shy, skinny, awkward nerd into a renowned and successful plastic surgeon.

Now, Youn is the media’s go-to plastic surgeon. He appears regularly on The Rachael Ray Show, and his blog, Celebrity Cosmetic Surgery, is widely read and very popular. But it was a long road to success, and In Stitches recounts Dr. Youn’s misfit adolescence and his four tumultuous years in medical school with striking wit, heart, and humility.

For anyone who has ever experienced the awkward teenage years, who has struggled to find his or her way in college, who has been worried that their “calling” would never come, who wants to believe that their doctor really cares, or is just ready for a read that will make you laugh and cry at the same time, this book is for you.
Medical school, plastic surgery, memoir? I had read a little about this book and thought it might be interesting. Who wouldn't be curious at least a little about going to medical school. But what really sold me on this book was Dr. Anthony Youn's YouTube video. His good humor and wit just shines through the almost 4 minutes of book trailer, and I knew then that this would be one enjoyable and funny read! A coming of age kind of story with a scalpel. Since my first reading about In Stitches by Dr. Anthony Youn, I've read quite a few great reviews too! Thanks to the folks at Simon & Schuster, I now have my very own reading copy! So, keep your eyes peeled for my review coming soon! In the meantime, check out Dr. Anthony Youn's YouTube book trailer, and see what you think...

Friday, April 8, 2011

First Lines...


"The body was blue.
Not merely wearing blue, he was blue -- and not the blue pallor of death. He was sapphire from head to toe, a deep shade of mood indigo."

Shot Through Velvet by Ellen Byerrum,
part of her Crime of Fashion Mystery series

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Harry Potter grows up... Digitally

Have you been waiting patiently to read those Harry Potter books because the thought of carrying around an 800 page tombe, and a YA novel at that, was just too much, and you thought maybe someday J.K. Rowling would relent and allow her books to be published electronically?! Well, your wait may be over! The Scotman is reporting that J.K. Rowling is now considering putting her books in ebook form. This gives a nod to the digital world, and shows us just how important the digital book publishing is becoming.

Professor Claire Squires, director of Stirling University's centre for international publishing and communication, said: "It is akin to the Beatles allowing their music to be launched on iTunes."

If Ms. Rowling does indeed publish Harry in ebook form, there is some internet chatter about how eReader sales will be blowing out the door. What do you think? There certainly won't be any midnight release parties at the local Borders here (or any release parties for that matter), but I'm sure magically through the midnight hours, owls will be delivering ebooks to eReaders everywhere....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Memoir Monday presents... Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalván

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalván

"We aren't just service dog and master; Tuesday and I are also best friends. Kindred souls. Brothers. Whatever you want to call it. We weren't made for each other, but we turned out to be exactly what the other needed."

A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll.
Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.

Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, blessing many lives; he could turn on lights, open doors, and sense the onset of anxiety and flashbacks. But because of a unique training situation and sensitive nature, he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being until Luis.

Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other's souls.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Sunday Salon... Spring Reads, Literally!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It is BEAUTIFUL weather finally in Connecticut! I am done with winter! How about you?! We heated up the end of the winter a little this week with some romance, but for the start of Spring, which "officially" came over a week ago (with the prediction of a Nor' easter that didn't quite make it), I thought we would look at "Spring Books"... literally! To get our minds onto Spring, I've gathered together some books with Spring in the title. Not only are these literally spring books, but these are books written by well known authors, that may not be as well known as the books you associate these writers with...

Cold Springs by Rick Riordan... Chadwick’s life was balanced on the edge of a knife — his career, his marriage, his relationship with his dangerously troubled daughter. And then one autumn night, the worst possible thing happened . . . Nearly a decade later, Chadwick’s heart is on the mend. Working for an old military buddy, he now saves kids for a living — escorting troubled teens to a Texas wilderness school that specializes in the toughest brand of love. Until he gets a call that threatens to shatter his new life. Mallory Zedman, the daughter of his oldest friend, is taking the same terrible path Chadwick’s own daughter once took. Defiant and out-of-control, Mallory is determined to destroy herself and anyone who tries to stop her. No sooner does Chadwick snatch her off the streets than he discovers she is wanted for questioning in a brutal murder – a slaying that seems directly linked to Chadwick’s past. To save Mallory, tough love will not be enough. Chadwick must find the truth behind the murder – and in doing so, revisit the infidelities, broken promises, and violent passions that cracked his world apart. From the wealthy enclave of San Francisco’s Pacific Heights to the gang-ruled streets of West Oakland to the stark open spaces of Cold Springs, Texas, Chadwick must race to save not only Mallory, but the one thing he still has left to lose – a slim hope of redemption.

Rick Riordan is off the charts in popularity with his children's books such as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and The Kane Chronicles, both of which involve the wonderful world of mythology. But Rick Riordan also writes for adults, and Cold Springs is one of those books. This book is quite a departure from his childrens' books and from his Tres Navarre PI series. Cold Springs is a dark thriller that has gotten the gambit of reviews. The plot is complex and the characters are suppose to make even the reader uncomfortable, but the final kick is suppose tomake it all worthwhile.

Goddess of Spring by P.C. Cast... Lina’s trendy bakery in Tulsa is proving to be less than lucrative, and she must come up with a plan. When she stumbles upon an Italian Goddess cookbook, Lina can’t help but think she’s found the answer to her problem – even if it means invoking a goddess to save her business. Soon enough, Lina finds herself face-to-face with Demeter, who has a plan of her own. She proposes that Lina exchange souls with Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, who will breathe new life into the bakery. In return, Lina must set order to the Underworld. Before all this, Lina’s problems mostly involved sourdough and second dates. Now that she embodies the enchanting Persephone, Lina has weightier things on her mind – like the formidable task of bringing Spring to a world of spirits. But when the handsome, brooding Hades kindles a spark in her heart, Lina wonders if this Lord of the Underworld might be the man of her dreams…

Long before the wildly popular The House of Night YA series, there was the Goddess Summoning series, which "retells ancient myths giving them a sexy, modern twist and introducing heroines to some of the most fantastic heroes the world has ever known." This of course is a romantic fantasy series for adults, and also seems to have a devoted following, although this is the first I've taken a peek at the series. Have you read this yet? The Goddess of Spring is the second in the series, and it's suppose to be the best.

Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway... Set in northern Michigan in the mid-1920s The Torrents of Spring is about two World War I veterans, Yogi Johnson and writer Scripps O'Neill, both of whom work at a pump factory. The story begins with O'Neill returnning home to find that
his wife and small daughter have left him. O'Neill befriends a British waitress, Diana, at a diner and asks her to marry him immediately, but soon becomes disenchanted with her. Diana tries to impress her husband by reading books from the lists of The New York Times Book Reviews but he soon leaves her (as she feared he would) for another waitress, Mandy, who enthralls him with literary (but possibly made up) anecdotes. Johnson, who became depressed after a Parisian prostitute leaves him for a British officer, has a period during which he anguishes over the fact that he doesn't seem to desire any woman at all, even though spring is approaching. Ultimately, he falls in love with a native American woman who enters a restaurant clothed only in mocassins, the wife of one of the two Indians he befriends near the end of the story.

This was Ernest Hemingway's very first novel published in 1926. It was a parody, full of satire and written in ten days for the sole purpose of breaking his contract with publisher Boni and Liveright. It seems Hemingway wanted to sign with the more prestigious publisher Scribner and the only way he could get out of his contract with Boni and Liveright was to write something "so bad" that they wouldn't publish it. This wasn't really the case with Torrents of Spring, that it was "so bad', but because it was a parody of Sherwood Anderson, another author that Boni and Liveright published, the publishers rejected it and thus terminated their contract with Hemingway. Of course Scribner only had 1250 copies of Torrents of Spring published for the first printing, but Scribner remained Hemingway's publisher from then on.

Do you have any Spring books to offer this week?!

Weekly Recap... This week was a week of world travel, time travel, hot romance with a bite or two added by a hot vampyre, and it all started with monday morning coffee at My Korean Deli. This past monday I highlighted My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe in Monday Memoirs. It's the story of the senior editor of The Paris Review, Ben Ryder Howe, turning his life upside down buying a deli for his immigrant in-laws. The story revolves around this deli and the interesting people that he crosses paths with. Then we heated some things up with a review of the Historical Romance Legacy by Jeanette Baker. Mix together a mysterious letter, Scotland, an ancient castle, and ancient curses with romance and a bit of time travel and you've got the recipe for Legacy by Jeanette Baker. I loved it! But you can read my full review by following this link to Legacy. And if vampyre's are more your style, then check out my review of It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare, which I reviewed thursday on Chick with Books! A bit of Paranormal Historical Romance with an ancient coven of witches, and a handsome vampyre locked away for 20 years in the late 1700's in the Highlands! A great story, great characters and lots of sparks! Then we step over the threshold to China, and 3 generations of women who fight their way back to being a loving and caring family in A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei. A Thread of Sky made a stop at Chick with Books as part of its Virtual Book Tour with TLC. Deanna Fei does an amazing job showing us the complexities of women's relationships as well as dealing with racism and prejudice. This was a wonderful book, that captured my attention with the well developed characters and interesting story line. The writing itself was beautiful as well. You can read my review by following the link to A Thread of Sky. And what would a week be without a little teaser for fridays First Lines? This week we opened up the pages to Daughters of the River Huong by Uyen Nicole Duong, which is "a richly woven tapestry of family, country, conflict, and redemption. A saga spanning four generations of Vietnamese women, we discover lives inextricably tied to their country’s struggle for independence. Narrated by the teenaged Simone, a girl who flaunts convention and enters into a forbidden relationship of love and sensuality, readers are drawn to the lives of four of Simone’s ancestors, from Huyen Phi, the Mystique Concubine from the extinct Kingdom of Champa, to Ginseng, the Mystique Concubine’s second daughter and a heroine of the Vietnamese Revolution." I just received a review copy in the mail of Daughters of the River Huong, and am so looking forward to continueing the story. I love stories that deal with generations of women and the fabric that ties them together. This looks to be one of those stories that we can wrap our arms around while traveling to a place that will fascinate us as well as sadden us. You can find the beginning of this story at First Lines.

So what are you reading this week? What books caught your eye this past week? Share your great finds right here with all of us! And in the meantime...

Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, April 1, 2011

First Lines...


"I turned the key and opened the door to the apartment that was my home.
Christopher must have sent Lucinda home for the weekend. The lacquered clock chimed six thirty as I closed the apartment door behind me, my heels clicking and pivoting on the hardwood. I knew he could have heard my key turn out the lock and then the hush downt the hallway to the vestibule where I stood motionless. Through his library window, the sun must have been paling to rose, the last trace lingering along the glass that separated him from Manhattan's skyline. I know he's been sitting there, waiting for the world to darken completely, his broad back humped in front of the long row of bookshelves."
...Daughters of the River Huong by Uyen Nicole Duong
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