Oct 9, 2009

Book Review: Nibble and Kuhn, a Novel

Synopsis: Two young lawyers at Nibble & Kuhn have fallen in love even though one is engaged to be married. Working in the same law firm, they are not supposed to be romantically involved. Derek and Maria face disapproval from their colleagues, her parents, and of course, her fiance. In addition, Derek is in line for partnership in the law firm, so he has to toe the line to make the grade, as well as win a complicated case against a factory with polluted runoff that may have caused cancer in several area children.

The shenanigans in the firm, Nibble & Kuhn, including a move of offices into a marble Triumph Tower, and the personalities in the firm, leave Derek less than enthusiastic, as he continues to work toward partnership, while still in hot pursuit of his colleague Maria.

My comments: The love story and the rest of the plot are low key. The conflicts are not earth shattering, satire is very subtle, and the drama is minimal, except for a very big surprise during the factory pollution trial. In this sense, the novel is more true to life and realistic than most novels dealing with law firms, lawyers, and law cases. This is not a legal thriller in the style of John Grisham. It is basically a love story and the story of a young, up and coming lawyer and his reactions to the corporate law environment he is in.

Lawyers who know and work within the corporate law system will be very interested in Derek, the main character in Nibble & Kuhn. The book will be released Nov. 1 and is written by Boston lawyer David Schmahmann, John Gardner Book Award winner of Empire Setting.

Advance review copy provided by Academy Chicago Publishers.

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Oct 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, Oct. 7

San Diego Zoo - it may look like a painting, but it's not. Click on photo to enlarge.

Book Review: Even Money by Dick Francis

If you like horses and mysteries and are curious about the world of horse racing, then Even Money is your ticket to a winner.
Synopsis: Ned Talbot has been running his independent bookmaker business at racetracks since his grandfather Teddy started it years before. Everything is routine until a customer shows up one day and claims to be Ned's father, who was supposed to have died years ago. The man is then killed in front of Ned by a mugger with close-set eyes and a scarf over his face, demanding money.
Ned confirms that the mystery man's fatal stabbing was not random, as he gathers more information about the man and his relationship to the horse racing business.
A bonus: Three sub plots provide some relief to the main story: the sometimes amusing love life of Ned's bookmaker assistant Luca, the story of Ned's wife Sophia, and Ned's family history involving his long dead father.
Comments: Easy reading, spare prose, excellent dialogue and character development, a solid plot and good subplots worked easily into the overall book - I enjoyed this mystery and also learned quite a bit about modern day horse racing in Britain.
Review copy provided by the Penguin Group.

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Oct 6, 2009

U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Book Bloggers

Hot topic: Twitter, Book Blogs, and many book review sites are discussing new FTC guidelines re disclosure of free products, books, etc. given by publishers, authors, publicists and others, in exchange for an "endorsement" of said products.

It seems a bit complicated to me, but here's something from the FTC.

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials
Changes Affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, Celebrity Endorsements
"The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service."
( from FTC Guides)
I'm already trying to comply by saying that an ARC or review book was provided by the publisher/author/publicist and hope that will satisfy the requirements. By the way, the guidelines won't take effect till Dec. 1 and probably only where the FTC has jurisdiction - the U.S.

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Oct 5, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: Nibble and Kuhn, a novel by David Schmahmann

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading Choose two sentences from your current read, and add the author and title for readers.

"Success at law, it seems, makes men prissy, feebly narcissistic, women as alluring as barbed wire. And failure is worse."

(from an uncorrected proof of Nibble & Kuhn. Final copy may differ.)

An inside look at the workings of a large corporate law firm.

"Two likeable newcomers learn the ropes of corporate law at Nibble & Kuhn - and fall in love - just as that most proper of Boston's venerable firms comically tries to 'rebrand' itself for the Google era." - from the publisher's description.
Advance review copy of the novel provided by the publisher.

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Review: How I Write, Secrets of a Bestselling Author, by Janet Evanovich

Honest, down to earth, gutsy and humorous: some great advice for writers by mystery author Janet Evanovich, in How I Write, published in 2006.

I picked up this book on one of my hunts through discount stores for older but brand new books, and I'm glad I found it. The 2006 book is a series of interviews on creating characters, structure, revising and editing, getting published, and also on "The Writing Life."

Here's one section I liked: on making yourself sit down to write every day - a really difficult thing to do. (from Part 7, "The Writing Life"):

Janet: Look. Nobody finds it easy to sit at a desk all day. It's lonesome, and it's hard, and it's scary. Being a professional is learning to be at your desk even when you don't feel like it. It's facing that blank screen and making yourself put some words where there are none. It's writing something every day, even if it's a single line....

I find it also helps to tell everybody you're a writer. Eventually it gets so embarrassing you actually have to write something."

Fans of her Stephanie Plum mystery series will like reading about how Evanovich creates and develops her characters and her plots, and about her writing techniques and habits. Nice thing about the series of interviews, you can pick the book up at different times and start reading on any page, which is how I'm reading it. A little handbook and motivator for would-be-writers.

There are other books on writing by bestselling authors as well. One of them is Stephen King's On Writing, which has had rave reviews.

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Oct 1, 2009

Cuban-American Mysteries by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, just passed, I'm reprinting this post on a Latina writer who writes mysteries set in Miami and Havana.

A Miracle in Paradise (1999)
The main character in the mystery series, Lupe Solano, is a private investigator in the Cuban-American community of Miami. She drinks mojitos the way other people drink coffee, wears Manolo Blahnik heels, and hangs with the community of elite Cuban exiles living in and around South Beach, Miami.

The novels are written by Cuban-born, Florida-bred author Carolina Garcia-Aguilera.

In the novels, the avidly anti-Castro father of the P.I. keeps a boat ready to return to Cuba at a moment's notice, at the first sign of "Cuba Libre," something he spends his life waiting for. On at least two occasions, Lupe uses his boat to sneak into Cuba, investigating lost or confiscated property, finding people, or recovering valuable artwork for her clients. Needless to say, her secret nighttime forays into Cuba provide some good suspense.

I found out about mojitos (a drink made with mint leaves, sugar, soda water, and rum) and the Cuban American community in Florida while reading these lively mysteries. They include Bloody Waters (1996), A Miracle in Paradise (1999), Havana Heat(2000), and Bitter Sugar(2001).

A September to Remember by Carol Bumpus: Review and Giveaway

  Premier Virtual Author Book Tours  presents A September To Remember by Carole Bumpus Posted on  January 27, 2021 A September to Remember:...