Apr 12, 2012

Book ARCs on My Shelves

The guilt factor is at work this morning. I look at my list of ARCs to be read and I find the stack facing me creeping up faster than I have time to read these days. The cool weather this past week should be good for reading, but my thoughts are turning elsewhere. What's a reader to do?

Here are some new ARCs.

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth - A girl struck by lightning hundreds of times holds the fate of the world in her hands.
The Girl Next Door by Brad Parks - Reporter Carter Ross investigates an unusual obituary.
Sacrilege by S. J. Parris, historical mystery
As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson, mystery
Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz,  mystery
The Watchers by Jon Steele, thriller
Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies by Mikey Walsh, memoir
The Technologists: A Novel by Matthew Pearl, literary and historical fiction
The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen by Thomas Caplan, thriller

Do you have a system of what books you read first, apart from the publication date?

Apr 10, 2012

Book Review: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

"But you love someone else,"she said, making an excuse to step away from him, even though she didn't want to.
"Sister Teresa says that when one girl breaks your heart, another comes along to mend it."
Enza smiled. (from the ARC, ch.6; final copy may differ)
A stack of vinyl records of the singer Enrico Caruso, owned by the author's grandmother Lucia, and ship records of Lucia's and her husband's separate trips to America in the early 1900s inspired Adriana Trigiani to write this novel.

This is a story of the meeting of two teens, Enza and Ciro, who live in villages at the foot of the Italian Alps, about their separate journeys to America to find a better life, their meeting again, and their married life together. It's the love story of the author's grandparents, as she imagines it might have been. The novel is a straightforward telling of their lives, set in three locations - the village of Bergamo in the Italian Alps, and then Manhattan and Minnesota in America.

In Italy in 1905, Ciro and his brother Eduardo are left by their impoverished and widowed mother at a convent, to be raised by the sisters of Saint Nicola. When the boys grow up, Eduardo enters the seminary in Rome; Ciro is sent to America to be apprenticed as a shoemaker to a relative of one of the sisters.

Before Ciro leaves, he meets a young girl Enza from the same region, but then loses track of her when he departs for America. Enza also travels to America, hoping to become a seamstress in New Jersey and send money home to help her family buy a much needed house.

Title: The Shoemaker's Wife: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani
Published April 3, 2012 by Harper; hardcover

Enzo and Ciro's paths cross again, several times over the years, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Many Italians left their home for America during the early 1900s, as did other European immigrants. The book helps to document one such family, in fiction, the reasons for their leaving, and their arrival and survival in America during two world wars. I found this book an excellent example of immigrant fiction and the historical novel.

Visit the author at http://adrianatrigiani.com/
 on her Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Click on TLC Book Tours for more information/reviews of The Shoemaker's Wife.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for an ARC of this novel.

Apr 7, 2012

Sunday Salon: There's a Bunny in the Backyard

The Sunday Salon.com Welcome to the Sunday Salon.

There was a bunny in my backyard this weekend.
If it was the Easter Bunny,
he didn't leave any eggs.
But he did have a good time with the grass.

And now for something bookish: a few books of fiction in my TBR pile:

Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock

Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art by Christopher Moore

Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark by Tilly Bagshawe

and some nonfiction:

Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed - and Why It Still Matters by Andrew Gumbel and Roger G. Charles

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected - A Memoir by Kelle Hampton

What are you planning to read?

Apr 5, 2012

The Icon Thief by Alec Nevala-Lee

Opening sentences in a novel can set the tone and give the flavor of a book. Here is how the thriller, The Icon Thief: A Novel, opens.

Andrey was nearly at the border when he ran into the thieves. By then, he had been on the road for three days. As a rule, he was a careful driver, but at some point in the past hour, his mind had wandered, and as he was coming over a low rise, he almost collided with two cars that were parked in the road ahead.
He braked sharply. The cars were set bumper to bumper, blocking the way. One was empty; the other had been steamed up by the heat of the men inside, who were no more than shadows on the glass. A yellow field stretched to either side of the asphalt, flecked with mounds of debris.

Andrey waited for what he knew was coming....As he watched, the door of one car opened, disclosing a figure in a fur cap and greatcoat. It was a boy of twelve or so. His rifle, with its wooden buttstock, seemed at least twice as old as he was. (Prologue)

Title: The Icon Thief: A Novel by Alec Nevala-Lee
Published by Signet, March 6, 2012
Genre: thriller

Book description:
"Maddy Blume, an ambitious young art buyer for a Manhattan hedge fund, is desperate to track down a priceless painting by Marcel Duchamp, the most influential artist of the twentieth century. The discovery of a woman's decapitated body thrusts criminal investigator Alan Powell into a search for the same painting, with its enigmatic image of a headless nude. And a Russian thief and assassin known as the Scythian must steal the painting to save his reputation--and his life."

So, what do you think?

Source: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher.

Apr 3, 2012

Meme: Books Read But Not (Yet) Reviewed, April 3

I will have to begin listing books which don't get their own post and review, but I do want to show them as books read in 2012. The 100+ Book Challenge, for instance, needs this listing.

Join me for this occasional meme and list the books you have read but not posted a review for, either because you had no time, are too lazy, or for whatever reason!

Grab the title below and tell us about it!


Here are my books so far:

Lucifer's Tears by Jim Thompson, which I enjoyed but would have preferred to have less in the subplots


Daughters by Elizabeth Buchan, a novel I can wholeheartedly give a 5 rating as contemporary British women's fiction!

Read any books you don't have time to review? Join me on this listing!

Apr 1, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This Monday meme is held by Sheila at Book Journey. Tell us what you are reading or plan to read during the week.

My reads this week are

More Like Her by Liza Palmer

The Thirteen: by Susie Moloney

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

Restoration  by Olaf Olafsson

This is a very ambitious list, I must admit. Especially since I have a book tour for The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriani Trigani on April 10 as well! Looking forward to it too!

What are you planning to read this week? And did anyone pull an April Fool's joke on you today, April 1? Were you taken in by it?

Book Review: Quiet, the Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

The Sunday Salon.com Welcome to the Sunday Salon.

Western society often values the outspoken person, the people with the go-get-them attitude, the take-charge, and run-with-it individuals who are often seen as the ones responsible for making the world go round. Introverts, on the other hand, are often ignored or undervalued. The book, Quiet, shows how mistaken we are in our perceptions and how we may ignore the "quiet" ones whose minds may be teeming with creative and untapped ideas. In fact, the book shows how many so-called "introverted," even highly sensitive, high-reactive, quiet individuals have contributed to society over time.

I loved this book, reading what I suspected all along to be true, and was so glad it has all been finally laid out, the result of study and research.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Crown, January 24, 2012
Rating: 5/5

Book description: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so.

Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects.... and she draws on research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts. She introduces us to successful introverts....and offers advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

Quiet can change how we see introverts and, more importantly, how introverts see themselves.

Thanks to Crown for a complimentary ARC of this book.

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...