Saturday, July 20, 2013

Coming Up...Week 29 of 2013

Book to be reviewed:

N/A

What I'm Reading right now:

The Green Hills of Home by Emma Bennet (e-book)

Gwen Jones, a young Welsh writer, is desperate to save the family farmhouse from being sold from under her critically ill mother and herself. When she lands a lucrative three-book deal with an eminent publisher, she thinks her problems are all over. However, Gwen's need to be near her sick mother means she’s unable to travel to London to work with her devilishly desirable editor, John Thatcher, and he must come and stay with her in Wales. Handsome and eminently capable, cosmopolitan John is used to getting his own way and has plans for the future which certainly don’t include being distracted by pretty Welsh girls; nevertheless when he journeys into the country to work with Gwen it’s not long before he finds himself falling in love with her, as well as the house she’s so anxious to save. But is John capable of loving anyone as much as his job? And when he has to decide between his goals and Gwen, which will he choose?

Chapters: 2 out of 10

Pages: 16 out of 130

In the Land of the Living by Austin Ratner (TLC, August 13th, 2013)


A dazzling story of fathers, sons, and brothers - bound by love, divided by history

The Auberons are a lovably neurotic, infernally intelligent family who love and hate each other-and themselves-- in equal measure. Driven both by grief at his young mother's death and war with his distant, abusive immigrant father, patriarch Isidore almost attains the life of his dreams: he works his way through Harvard and then medical school; he marries a beautiful and even-keeled girl; in his father-in-law, he finds the father he always wanted; and he becomes a father himself. He has talent, but he also has rage, and happiness is not meant to be his for very long. Isidore's sons, Leo and Mack, haunted by the mythic, epic proportions of their father's heroics and the tragic events that marked their early lives, have alternately relied upon and disappointed one another since the day Mack was born. For Leo, who is angry at the world but angrier at himself, the burden of the past shapes his future: sexual awakening, first love, and restless attempts live up to his father's ideals. Just when Leo reaches a crossroads between potential self-destruction and new freedom, Mack invites him on a road trip from Los Angeles to Cleveland. As the brothers make their way east, and towards understanding, their battles and reconciliations illuminate the power of family to both destroy and empower-and the price and rewards of independence. Part family saga, part coming-of-age story, In the Land of the Living is a kinetic, fresh, bawdy yet earnest shot to the heart of a novel about coping with death, and figuring out how and why to live.

Chapters: 6 out of 21

Pages: 70 out of 307

Hungry what eighty ravenous guys taught me about life, love and the power of good food by Darlene Barnes (TLC Book tour, August 22nd, 2013)

Newly arrived in Seattle, Darlene Barnes stumbles on a job ad for a cook at the Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity on the University of Washington campus, a prospect most serious food professionals would automatically reject. But Barnes envisions something other than kegs and corn dogs; she sees an opportunity to bring fresh, real food to an audience accustomed to "Asian Surprise" and other unidentifiable casseroles dropped off by a catering service. And she also sees a chance to reinvent herself, by turning a maligned job into meaningful work of her own creation: "I was the new girl and didn't know or care about the rules."

Naively expecting a universally appreciative audience, Barnes finds a more exasperatingly challenging environment: The kitchen is nasty, the basement is scary, and the customers are not always cooperative. Undaunted, she gives as good as she gets with these foul-mouthed and irreverent--but also funny and sensitive--guys. Her passion for real food and her sharp tongue make her kitchen a magnet for the brothers, new recruits, and sorority girls tired of frozen dinners.

Laugh-out-loud funny and poignant, Hungry offers a female perspective on the real lives of young men, tells a tale of a woman's determined struggle to find purpose, and explores the many ways that food feeds us.

 Pages: 93 out of 252

 Chapters: 6 out of 13

Down This Road by Kelli Dawn

They say you can never go home, and for high-powered Chicago attorney Charlie McIntire, that is perfectly fine. She left home the day she turned 18 and never planned to return…but at 29, she finds herself running back to the ranch, the only place she can think of that will help her face an unexpected turn of events. Charlie tries to settle back into the quiet pace of country living, unsure of everything except the fact that she still hates shoveling manure. Life on the ranch is uneventful, and without the distractions of the city, Charlie is forced to deal with things she’d rather avoid: what she’s going to do with the rest of her life; the unfinished business between her and an ex-boyfriend; and most of all, the event that will change her life forever. Down This Road chronicles Charlie’s journey of self-discovery. It explores how the past shapes the present; how difficult it can be to change patterns of behavior; and how sometimes, learning your lesson might come just a little too late.

  Chapters: 26 out of 45

  Pages: 139 out of 270

The Fallen Snow by John Kelley

In the fall of 1918 infantry sniper Joshua Hunter saves an ambushed patrol in the Bois le Prêtre forest of Lorraine . . . and then vanishes. Pulled from the rubble of an enemy bunker days later, he receives an award for valor and passage home to Hadley, a remote hamlet in Virginia’s western highlands. Reeling from war and influenza, Hadley could surely use a hero. Family and friends embrace him; an engagement is announced; a job is offered.

Yet all is not what it seems. Joshua experiences panics and can’t recall the incident that crippled him. He guards a secret too, one that grips tight like the icy air above his father’s quarry. Over the course of a Virginia winter and an echoed season in war-torn France, The Fallen Snow reveals his wide-eyed journey to the front and his ragged path back. Along the way he finds companions – a youth mourning a lost brother, a widowed nurse seeking a new life and Aiden, a bold sergeant escaping a vengeful father. While all of them touch Joshua, it is the strong yet nurturing Aiden who will awaken his heart, leaving him forever changed.

Set within a besieged Appalachian forest during a time of tragedy, The Fallen Snow charts an extraordinary coming of age, exploring how damaged souls learn to heal, and dare to grow.

  Chapters: 26 out of 55 plus epilogue

  Pages: 155 out of 302

The Last Daughter of Prussia by Marina Gottlieb Sarles

Toward the end of World War II, as Germany’s hold on East Prussia grows increasingly tenuous, a childhood friendship between Manya Von Falken, the daughter of an aristrocratic family, and Joshi Karas, a Romani doctor, blossoms into unlikely love. But the young lovers are torn apart.

Captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp, Joshi fights for survival, while Manya and her family flee and embark on “The Great Trek” out of East Prussia. Based on true stories passed down to author Marina Gottlieb Sarles from her grandparents, survivors of the trek, The Last Daughter of Prussia also tells the story of the brave Trakehner horses who led their owners across a dangerous frozen lagoon, the only open escape route.

Will Joshi and Manya find one another? Gottlieb Sarles creates a tapestry of characters from every corner of East Prussia, shedding light on an untold tragic moment in history.

 Chapters: 6 out of 54

 Pages: 31 out of 311

Against a Crimson Sky by James Conroyd Martin

A magnificent epic, Against a Crimson Sky is an unforgettable tale of love, valor, and the enduring strength of the human spirit, set against the backdrop of war-torn Poland at the cusp of the nineteenth century.

The year is 1794, and the beautiful and resilient Countess Anna Maria Berezowska has narrowly escaped death amidst the chaos caused by the violent dissolution of Poland.

Anna is soon reunited with her longtime love, Lord Jan Stelnicki, and the two lovers marry even as their beloved Poland is ripped apart. As the couple struggles to raise a family in the face of an uncertain future, Anna’s capricious cousin, Zofia, returns with a surprise of her own. Although Zofia’s past schemes still resonate, Anna’s doubts turn to fear as Jan’s patriotism draws him to the battlefield.

Offering new hope for a conquered Poland, Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in all of his pomp and glory. With the aid of new Polish legions—Anna’s friends and family among them—Napoleon battles his way across Europe in an effort that culminates in the doomed 1812 winter march into Russia.

Against this backdrop, Anna and Jan valiantly fight to hold on to a tenuous happiness, their country, and their very lives.

 Chapters: 6 out of 40 plus epilogue and prologue

 Pages: 69 out of 368

Hurry Up and Wait by Aaron Powell

This book consists of the written letters between my wife and I while I was away at recruit training, Parris Island, South Carolina. We've held nothing back - save a few names to protect the identities of the characters portrayed in our letters - and we've agreed to share our experience with anyone interested in reading about it.

This is our story.
-Aaron Powell

 Chapters: 6 out of 141 plus conclusion and introduction

 Pages: 13 out of 352




The Laws of Gravity by Liz Rosenberg

An exquisite tour de force, The Laws of Gravity is a testament to what it means to be a family, what it takes to save a life, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love. Two families, bound by blood, hear terrible news. One decision holds the key to survival--but at a devastating cost.

Nicole, auburn-haired, airy, and beautiful, discovers her body is betraying her. She turns to cousin and childhood best friend Ari for the cord blood he's been banking for his own children. Ari stands firm, bringing them before the scales of justice. Solomon Richter, a state Supreme Court judge on the brink of retirement, is touched by this legal battle like no other. His blood case, he calls it. A case that calls into question the very things we live for: the enduring bonds of family, and the love that lasts a lifetime. It's Nicole's last chance, Ari's last stand, and the judge's last case.

A novel of heartbreaking honesty, humor, and depth--an unforgettable story of finding love and finding family--The Laws of Gravity heralds Liz Rosenberg as a storytelling sensation.

 Chapters: 4 out of N/A

 Pages: 18 out of 300

A Time of Myths by Chris Blamires

New Mystery Adventure - Win Autographed ARCs!
Woodstock, 1969: the Festival that defined a decade of peace, love and freedom. The paths of five young English students cross – with devastating consequences. Consequences that eventually reach a climax in an isolated Cretan gorge.

Seventeen years later, in the ‘golden age’ of capitalism, dramatic events conspire to reunite the surviving members, necessitating a perilous return to Greece and to a tiny Greek island, as dangerous secrets and self-deceptions are at last forced into the glaring light…

Steeped in the folklore of the 20th century, A Time of Myths is not solely a historical mystery adventure: it seeks also to examine who we are, and how far we are in control of our actions – and even of our lives.

Chapters: 1 out of 6 books

 Pages: 22 out of 338

Manzanar to Mount Whitney The Life and Times of a Lost Hiker by Hank Umemoto

In 1942, fourteen-year-old Hank Umemoto gazed out a barrack window at Manzanar Internment Camp, saw the silhouette of Mount Whitney against an indigo sky, and vowed that one day he would climb to the top. Fifty-seven years and a lifetime of stories later, at the age of seventy-one, he reached the summit. Part memoir and part hiker's diary, Manzanar to mount Whitney gives an intimate, rollicking account of Japanese American life California before and after World War II. As he wanders through the mountains of California's Inland Empire, Umemoto recalls pieces of his childhood on a grape vineyard in the Sacramento Valley, his time at Manzanar, where beauty and hope were maintained despite the odds, and his later career as proprietor of a printing firm, all with grace, honesty, and unfailing humor. And all along, the peak of Mount Whitney casts its shadow, a symbol of freedom, beauty, and resilience.

 Chapters: 4 out of 12 plus prologue and introduction

 Pages: 45 out of 192

Novels and Stories: Deephaven / A Country Doctor / The Country of the Pointed Firs / Dunnet Landing Stories / Selected Stories and Sketches (Library of America #69) by Sarah Orne Jewett,

In her nuanced and sharply etched novels and short stories, Sarah Orne Jewett captured the innerlife and hidden emotional drama of outwardly quiet New England coastal towns. Set against the background of long Maine winters, hardscrabble farms, and the sea, her stories of independent, capable women struggling to find fulfillment in their lives and work have a surprisingly modern resonance. Here is the first collection to include all her best fiction, and it reveals the full stature of the writer Willa Cather ranked with Mark Twain, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Jewett struck her characteristic note in her first collection, Deephaven (1877), stories whose exploration of Maine life moved and delighted readers when they were first published in the Atlantic Monthly, and opened a new vein of regional fiction in American literature. Of the distinctly local quality of her writings Willa Cather later said: "The language her people speak to each other is a native tongue. No writer can invent it. It is made in the hard school of experience, in communities where language has been undisturbed long enough to take on color and character from the nature and experiences of the people." The novel A Country Doctor (1884), inspired by both her own life and that of her doctor father, is often read as a veiled autobiography. Her focus here is on a woman who must choose between marriage and her commitment to a medical career, a decision she defends passionately against the narrowness of those around her: "God would not give us the same talents if what were right for men were wrong for women." Jewett's masterpiece, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), brings to imaginative life the faded trading port of Dunnet Landing, Maine, re-creating in spare, impressionistic prose the rhythms and textures of a communal society of poor fishermen and farmers, with its traditional country rituals and its stoically endured tragedies.

 Chapters: 1 out of 28

 Pages: 498 out of 911

Future Books I will read:

Tilted Windmills By Ann M Beardsley (e-book, to be submitted to onlinebookclub.org before August 20th)

Imagine Don Quixote as an intelligent detective in 1603 Spain who is simply pretending to be crazy--because being declared insane just happens to be the best way to finagle his entrance into the dreaded Santuario de San Jose to rescue his childhood friend. Sancho accompanies him to keep him from getting into more trouble, and a pesky journalist (think 1600s tabloid reporter) is following them both. Going after windmills? Only to escape questions from the journalist. But he can still dream of Dulcinea, the love of his life. Follow Don Quixote as he is swept from the tedium of daily life and into an adventure of intrigue and betrayal. There's no one he can trust but Sancho, and even his old friends have secrets.

Pages: 222

Chapters: 13

The Mythic Guide to Characters  by Antonio Del Drago (making connections, e-book, before August 20th,) 


How do you create characters who are so compelling that they hook readers from the start?

As a professor, writer, and philosopher, Dr. Antonio del Drago has immersed himself in the literary and mythological traditions of the world. His search for answers led him to uncover the common elements behind all great myths and stories.

Applying this knowledge to the writing of characters, he has developed a layered approach to character creation.

In this guide, you will discover:

- The secret to writing multidimensional characters
- How to develop your character's unconscious motivations
- Four ways in which characters interact with their worlds
- Five formative relationships that shape your character
- Nine mythic archetypes and how to use them
- The difference between proactive and reactive protagonists
- Ways to define a character through dialogue and physicality

The guide also includes a detailed worksheet that walks you through the stages of character development.

This is more than a book on how to write characters. This guide offers a practical, step-by-step approach to character creation that is sure to take your writing to the next level.

Love's Fate- Tracey Smith (e-book, anthology before August 27th,)

Connected by Tragedy… Consumed By Love
Do you believe in Fate? Do you believe in soul mates? What if there was just one man out there who was meant for you? Would you know him if you saw him? Would he know you?
Katherine didn’t believe in soul mates, she wasn’t even sure if she believed in love… until the night she saw him. There was something oddly familiar about his dark blue eyes, but she was sure she’d never seen him before. The only thing more confusing than the overwhelming attraction she felt toward this mysterious stranger, was the way he was staring right back at her with that same look of curious fascination. Then suddenly he leaves and she’s left with nothing but the haunting memory of his beautiful eyes and the strange connection they seem to have with her recurring nightmares.
The day Michael’s mother died was one of greatly mixed emotions. He would miss his mother, but her passing meant that he would finally be free of his oppressive father. He was leaving and nothing was going to stop him. But why couldn’t he stop thinking about the beautiful woman he had seen the night he got the call about his mother. Why had she seemed so familiar?
More than once their paths will cross, but will they ever find each other? Will Fate ultimately bring them together or keep them apart?

Chapters: 24 chapters plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 164

 Love's Destiny - Tracey Smith (e-book, anthology before August 27th,) 


After the happily ever after, the story continues…
Destiny had always loved the story of how her parents met. How Fate had drawn them together time and again, until they finally found each other and fell madly in love. That was the way love was supposed to be. Someday she knew it would happen for her, someday a handsome mysterious stranger would come into her life and sweep her off her feet. She knew that the first time she saw him she would know he was the one.
Tyler had known Destiny his entire life. She had been his very best friend, but it had been years since he’d seen her. He wasn’t nervous about seeing her again, until he did. She wasn’t the skinny girl he remembered from childhood, and suddenly he found himself anxiously wondering if she would ever be able to see him as anything other than the boy she’d grown up with.
Is it possible to look at someone you’ve known your whole life, and see them for the very first time? Sometimes love doesn’t happen the way you thought it would.

Chapters: 28 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages:  347

 Love's Chance  - Tracey Smith (e-book, anthology before August 27th,)  

Chance Carter has never met a woman he couldn’t charm. Until now…
Caroline Tolleson had learned all too quickly that men could not be trusted. She had been young and naïve once, but not anymore. She knew how to spot them, she knew the type: charming, handsome and dangerous. Chance Carter was all of those things. Even if secretly deep down he made her pulse race, she would never let him see it. She would never let her heart be broken again.
Can Chance convince her to let go of the past and trust him with her heart?

Chapters: 47 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 594

Till Morning Comes by Han Suyin

Alone in exotic Chungking, beautiful foreign correspondent Stephanie Ryder is warned to keep silent about the atrocities she witnesses in the city’s teeming slums. Defying a brutal Kuomintang officer, she is swept to an electrifying first meeting with Dr. Jen Yong, a handsome, dedicated and compassionate Chinese surgeon. For Yong, a sexual liaison with an American woman could mean a death sentence. For Stephanie, an affair with an Asian man would cause an irreparable breach with her Texas millionaire father. But just when danger threatens to separate them forever, their passion bursts into flame…and carries them on a fabulous romantic journey from the stormy depths of fear and desire, to the moving affirmation that enduring love is truly a many-splendored thing.

Chapters: 27

Pages: 620

Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze by Peter Harmsen

This deeply researched book describes one of the great forgotten battles of the 20th century. At its height it involved nearly a million Chinese and Japanese soldiers, while sucking in three million civilians as unwilling spectators and, often, victims. It turned what had been a Japanese adventure in China into a general war between the two oldest and proudest civilizations of the Far East. Ultimately, it led to Pearl Harbor and to seven decades of tumultuous history in Asia. The Battle of Shanghai was a pivotal event that helped define and shape the modern world.

In its sheer scale, the struggle for China’s largest city was a sinister forewarning of what was in store for the rest of mankind only a few years hence, in theaters around the world. It demonstrated how technology had given rise to new forms of warfare, or had made old forms even more lethal. Amphibious landings, tank assaults, aerial dogfights and most importantly, urban combat, all happened in Shanghai in 1937. It was a dress rehearsal for World War II—or perhaps more correctly it was the inaugural act in the war—the first major battle in the global conflict.

Actors from a variety of nations were present in Shanghai during the three fateful autumn months when the battle raged. The rich cast included China's ascetic Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his Japanese adversary, General Matsui Iwane, who wanted Asia to rise from disunity, but ultimately pushed the continent toward its deadliest conflict ever. Claire Chennault, later of “Flying Tiger” fame, was among the figures emerging in the course of the campaign, as was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In an ironic twist, Alexander von Falkenhausen, a stern German veteran of the Great War, abandoned his role as a mere advisor to the Chinese army and led it into battle against the Japanese invaders.

Written by Peter Harmsen, a foreign correspondent in East Asia for two decades, and currently bureau chief in Taiwan for the French news agency AFP, Shanghai 1937 fills a gaping chasm in our understanding of the Second World War.

Chapters: 9 plus prologue, order of battle

Pages: 303

Before the Larkspur Blooms (Prairie Hearts Series #2) by Caroline Fyffe

Caroline Fyffe returns to the windswept prairies of Wyoming with a beautiful story of rekindled love…

Thomas Donovan spent eight long years in prison, convicted of a crime he didn't commit. Finally released, he returns home to Logan Meadows, Wyoming, to discover his parents long buried and his neighbors wanting nothing to do with him. Suddenly the fresh start Thom longed for seems downright impossible until a spirited beauty from his past becomes his unlikely champion, and the walls around his injured heart begin to crumble?

Hannah Hoskins was brokenhearted when Thom Donovan was sent away. While the rest of the town was quick to brand him a no-count thief, Hannah always knew better. Now the boy she once loved has returned home a man ? a man whom Hannah's suitor, the town's deputy sheriff, is determined to destroy. When a crime spree starts anew, suspicion immediately falls on Thom, and it's up to Hannah to prove his innocence, earn him a second chance at life ? and win them both a second chance at love.

Chapters: 44

Pages: 281

Double Down by Saylor Storm

Determined to erase the painful, lonely memories of childhood, unbreakable Lola Stocking vows to make a better life for herself. She plots a path that includes an ascent up the Las Vegas casino corporate ladder. Lola follows her design tenaciously until she falls for a man who was not part of her plan. Adoring Jackson Sterling steps into her life when she least expects it, forcing her to reassess her life course. Shattered by catastrophe on her wedding day, her life's dreams come to a screeching halt. Driven by sheer will and strength, her new direction brings everything she ever dreamed of only to learn that it had been there all along...she just didn't know it.

Chapters: 55

Pages: 220


October Snow by Jenna Brooks

Josie spent twenty years as a battered wife, dying for a hero.

Now, she's dying to become one.
-------------------------------

Josie Kane is a “difficult” woman, a pure enigma - one who survives her abusive husband by honing her unnerving talent for playing mind games:
she knows exactly how to manipulate a bully.

Finally divorced, she thinks the abuse is over, and she’s free.

She’s wrong. And her cynicism is building.

Josie works with battered women, trying to rescue them from a fate similar to hers. But on the night that yet another battered woman is murdered by her husband, pining for a hero as she dies in Josie's arms, her cynicism becomes a quiet, simmering hatred.

Her one remaining refuge is in her bond with Maxine and Samantha, the two friends whom she loves like sisters. When Samantha becomes pregnant by Jack - an abuser who makes known his intentions to use the baby as a weapon of control - Josie’s hatred ripens to a vengeful fury.

She sets out to take on one more batterer, manipulate one more bully… And she lures Jack into the crosshairs of the ultimate mind game.

Her friends are convinced that she intends to rid Samantha of Jack.

They're right.

But with Josie Kane, as always, there's a twist.

With her friends helpless to stop her - and with Samantha hanging in the balance - Josie squares off with Jack in a life-and-death, winner-lose-all battle of wits to determine which side will win Sammy's future.

And this time, there will be a hero.

Chapters: 22 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 370

x0 by Sherrie Cronin

What if you are capable of far more than you realize? Lola, a Texan geophysicist who doesn’t believe in nonsense, finds that a near fatal accident reintroduces a disturbing phenomenon into her mind. Lola pretends it isn’t there until the changes taking place inside of her just won’t be ignored.

Across an ocean, Somadina is a young Nigerian who thinks that her telepathic abilities are perfectly normal. When her sister becomes a captive, the young Igbo woman draws upon her powers to find an ally like herself, a woman with a strong sense of justice and a desire to protect the helpless. As Somadina discovers that her sister has become a strategic pawn in a larger and more dangerous game, she vows to do anything to get the attention of this kindred, uncooperative lady.

x0 is an ancient organization with good reasons to stay hidden, but it knows that these two women have more important things in common than they realize, and that such will forge a powerful link. This forces x0 to reluctantly emerge from the shadows. Somebody needs to intervene. Both women are far stronger than they know, and to make matters worse, a fringe fanatic may be on the verge of altering a nation’s future.

Chapters: 17

Pages: 317

Teller of Tales by Ray Dacolias

This anthology of short stories explores those themes which we encounter down the long, winding road of life- of the probable and the impossible; of the finite and the infinite; of the ordinary and the extraordinary. It is an intimate portrait of those virtues which unite us all: love, and fortitude, justice and redemption.

These tales reflect intense desires people experience throughout tehir complex lives: they are about people seeking an inner peace, and understanding, and joy, and those looking for a greater purpose in their lives beyond the trivial; they are about hope, and wonder, and beauty; they are about things spiritual, and worldly, and otherworldly, too.

Life is a gorgeous tapestry upon which we weave our own unique stories. This book has narratives that will make you wonder what we are and who we are and why we are, and where we are going, and what we will do once we get there.

There are a boundless number of incredible tales to be told. Here are ten of them, filled with drama and adventure and romance. Enjoy!

Chapters: 10

Pages: 170

The Bouchard Legacy by Ted Magnuson

The Bouchard Family Legacy is about to be passed on to a fourth generation...or will it?

When Paul and Randy were in high school, their parents married new spouses. What different understandings Paul and Randy have when it comes to the future of the family business.

Paul has earned a place in the world, but Randy owns it.

The Bouchard Legacy; a story of loyalty and greed, a story of prejudice and character; it’s the story of Randy and Paul coming of age in the tumultuous 1960’s and then; their arrival as men in the close of the 1970’s. Set in Mid-America, St Louis, MO

Chapters: 29 plus epilogue

Pages: 207

Cynthia and the Blue Cat's Last Meow by Jeffrey Penn May

"Cynthia and the Blue Cat’s Last Meow" is the first person narrative of young man who enters a colorful, anthropomorphic land that appears perfect, and Cynthia is the embodiment of that land. Gradually, the narrator sees his own tormented soul hidden beneath the natural beauty. He sees, but cannot readily accept, the demons gnawing at his heart. This story is about the unleashing and dissolution of his fears and his maturing perception of Cynthia. It is also about her guidance and the resulting changes that occur within her. The offbeat natural setting is established within the first few pages and progresses into a rich ménage of unusual happenings and vivid colors, fishing and fury, moonlight and candlelight, magical red berries and howling caverns, a land where many of us would like to visit, and a few do, briefly in our youth. We should all explore such places of the soul where we dream of blue cats and hearts capable of such adventurous and idyllic sensuality. Please allow yourself to enter Cynthia’s world.

Chapters: 8

Pages: 73

Here, There, Elsewhere: Stories from the Road by William Least Heat-Moon

From the acclaimed author of Blue Highways, PrairyErth, and Roads to Quoz, a dazzling collection of travel tales from the road.

HERE, THERE, ELSEWHERE draws together for the first time William Least Heat-Moon's greatest short-form travel writing. Personally selected by the writer, these pieces take us from Japan, England, Italy, and Mexico to Long Island, Oregon, Arizona, from small towns to big cities, ocean shores and inland mysteries.

Including Heat-Moon's reflections on writing these pieces, HERE, THERE, ELSEWHERE is much more than the usual collection of amber; it is a coupled summation of craft and memory. A perfect treasury of prose and provocation for readers old and new, Heat-Moon's most recent work reveals his absolute mastery across pages many and few.

Chapters: 28

Pages: 390

Portraits of an Artist by Mary F. Burns

From 1882 to 1884, John Singer Sargent painted his greatest masterpieces-the Daughters of Edward Darley Boit and Madame X-haunting portraits with dark psychological depths. The first unconsciously revealed a secret that would cause great anguish in his private life; the other created a social scandal that drove him from Paris forever. Portraits of an Artist brings to life the subjects of Sargent's paintings-his family, friends, enemies and lovers-to tell his story from their own perspectives. John Singer Sargent's paintings told more than he ever wanted anyone to know.

Chapters: N/A plus afterword and notes on the characters

Pages: 307



Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society by Timothy D. Willard (Goodreads Author), R. Jason Locy

You aren't who you think you are.Culture tells us that in order to be liked we must masquerade as someone other than who we are. So, we lacquer ourselves with credit cards and plastic surgery and status updates hoping no one will see the person underneath. This 'veneer' allows us to silence our real selves as it gives voice to the alter ego we'd like others to see. But, is this all there is to life or have we been duped? Does material success equal significance? Is our only identity the one we steal from Hollywood? God's idea of humanity is altogether different from the world's. There is a way to live that sees beauty in our imperfection and, as Tim and Jason put it, once we realize this we can strip our veneers and live an unveneered life of freedom, honesty, and beauty.

Chapters: 10 plus postlude and prelude

Pages: 249

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

A lush, exquisitely rendered meditation on war, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the story of several families, American and Japanese, their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses, and how they are all connected by one of the most devastating acts of war in human history.

In this evocative and thrilling epic novel, fifteen-year-old Yoshi Kobayashi, child of Japan’s New Empire, daughter of an ardent expansionist and a mother with a haunting past, is on her way home on a March night when American bombers shower her city with napalm—an attack that leaves one hundred thousand dead within hours and half the city in ashen ruins. In the days that follow, Yoshi’s old life will blur beyond recognition, leading her to a new world marked by destruction and shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who helped modernize Tokyo’s prewar skyline but is now charged with destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly, each will shape Yoshi’s journey as she seeks safety, love, and redemption.

Chapters: 9

Pages: 382

Risk of Ruin by Arnold Snyder

The first work of fiction to be released by well-known gambling expert and author Arnold Snyder, Risk of Ruin is about a biker/professional blackjack player who becomes obsessed with a stripper who believes she's God.

Risk of Ruin is a provocative story of crime, passion, rebellion, and possible redemption that attempts to answer a question that has tormented gambling men since Adam placed that all-in bet on Eve: Is she worth the risk?

Chapters: 44

Pages: 255



Wide Open by Larry Bjornson


Based on a remarkable true story-
A wilderness of grass
A magnificent secret
A stunning tragedy
A lifelong romance in its earliest days

This is the epic story of Abilene, Kansas, at a time when the cowboy is king, and good and evil are so evenly matched that no one knows which will triumph.

Abilene, 1871. Fifteen-year-old Will Merritt is fiercely protective of the cattle trade that made his father’s fortune. Idolizing the cowboys who flood the streets each summer, Will and his friends are drawn to Abilene’s exotic Texastown district—a powderkeg of saloons and brothels so notorious that the mayor has hired the West’s most famous gunman, Wild Bill Hickok, to police its streets. Yet even with Hickok as marshal, Abilene boils with deep divisions.

The townsfolk resent the immigrant settlers whose new farms are slicing up the rangeland. And no one is more intolerant than Will’s best friend, Jasper, who delights in tormenting any farmer he encounters. But Will finds himself torn when he meets the beautiful and beguiling Anna, whose dignity and determination test his deepest beliefs.

With the scaffolding of his life beginning to wobble, Will realizes that his flamboyant father, J.T. Merritt, has a secret, something hidden far out in the remote prairie. When J.T. makes his stunning secret public, everything Abilene believes about its future is challenged, and the Merritts become outcasts.

And all the while, Will and the town are rushing toward an extraordinary tragedy involving Marshal Hickok. An event that will seal Will and Anna in a lifelong romance.

Chapters: 45 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 378

Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend

Winner, Chick Lit, Indie Reader Discovery Awards 2013

Can love cross borders? In "Imperfect Pairings" a woman’s love for an Italian leaves her confronting this question. He’s Jack in America, but he’s Giovanni in Italy; understanding him means understanding his culture, his language. It means losing the foundations of her identity to become entangled in the deep-rooted vines of his family’s troubled past when she’d vowed to remain disentangled. Her career and autonomy had always come first, and she fell in love thinking she could control it, not give in to it. Is she losing herself? Or is she finally giving in to the woman she’d been all along.

This is an adult love story, one that will leave you thinking long afterwards about the oceans that separate us from the ones we love

Chapters: 35

Pages: 389

To Each His Own by Kathleen Eagle (readdreamrelax site)

A place to belong…

That was all Lavender Holland had ever hoped for. But everyone in the small town of Glover, North Dakota, made it clear that she was someone they preferred to avoid. With her unique clothing, herbal potions and intricate weaving, she was just too different for the conservative townspeople.

Being an outsider was something wrestling coach Wyatt Archer understood. As a Native American, he had never felt welcome either. But with Lavender he finally found true acceptance…and the courage to claim a place of his own.

Chapters: 12 plus prologue

Pages: 261 (out of 474)

In a Heartbeat by Carla Cassidy (readdreamrelax site)

Caleb McMann embarked on the most emotional journey of his life, the search for the little girl who had received the ultimate gift - a new heart. His daughter's heart. Hitting pay dirt, he temporarily moved next door to Erica Clemmons and her child, Hannah, to secretly check up on the young girl. However, Caleb had never counted on bonding with Hannah - or falling for her beautiful mother, whose compassion and life-affirming kisses made him whole again. But in a heartbeat everything could change, especially since he couldn't keep his true idenity under wraps forever. Was a fresh start with this woman and child too much to hope for...?

Chapters: 14 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 474

The Foreign Student: A Novel by Susan Choi

Highly acclaimed by critics, The Foreign Student is the story of a young Korean man, scarred by war, and the deeply troubled daughter of a wealthy Southern American family. In 1955, a new student arrives at a small college in the Tennessee mountains. Chuck is shy, speaks English haltingly, and on the subject of his earlier life in Korea he will not speak at all. Then he meets Katherine, a beautiful and solitary young woman who, like Chuck, is haunted by some dark episode in her past. Without quite knowing why, these two outsiders are drawn together, each sensing in the other the possibility of salvation. Moving between the American South and South Korea, between an adolescent girl's sexual awakening and a young man's nightmarish memories of war, The Foreign Student is a powerful and emotionally gripping work of fiction.

Chapters: 14 plus prologue

Pages: 325

Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories by Pam Houston

Set in the West, and sometimes in Alaska, these 12 tales are about women who are smart and susceptible to love, and men who are wild and hard to pin down. Our heroines are part daredevil, part philosopher, all acute observers of the nuances of modern romance.

Chapters: 12

Pages: 171

The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin

When it first appeared in 1899, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was greeted with cries of outrage. The novel’s frank portrayal of a woman’s emotional, intellectual, and sexual awakening shocked the sensibilities of the time and destroyed the author’s reputation and career. Many years passed before this short, pioneering work was recognized as a major achievement in American literature.

Set in and around New Orleans, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother who, determined to control her own life, flouts convention by moving out of her husband’s house, having an adulterous affair, and becoming an artist.

Beautifully written, with sensuous imagery and vivid local descriptions, The Awakening has lost none of its power to provoke and inspire. Additionally, this edition includes thirteen of Kate Chopin’s magnificent short stories.
Stories Included in the Volume:
The Awakening
Emancipation: A Life Fable
A Shameful Affair
At the ‘Cadian Ball
Désirée’s Baby
A Gentleman of Bayou Têche
A Respectable Woman
The Story of an Hour
Athénaïse
A Pair of Silk Stockings
Elizabeth Stock’s One Story
The Storm
The Godmother
A Little Country Girl

Chapters: 39 chapters plus 13 short stories

Pages: 288

O Pioneers! (Great Plains trilogy #1) by Willa Cather

This powerful early Cather novel, a landmark of American fiction, tells the story of the young Alexandra Bergson, whose dying father leaves her in charge of the family and of the Nebraska lands they have struggled to farm. In Alexandra's lifelong fight to survive and succeed, Cather relates an important chapter in the history of the American frontier.

Chapters: 30

Pages: 122







The Song of the Lark (Great Plains trilogy #2) by Willa Cather

Perhaps Willa Cather's most autobiographical work, The Song of the Lark charts the story of a young woman's awakening as an artist against the backdrop of the western landscape. Thea Kronborg, an aspiring singer, struggles to escape from the confines her small Colorado town to the world of possibility in the Metropolitan Opera House. In classic Cather style, The Song of the Lark is the beautiful, unforgettable story of American determination and its inextricable connection to the land.

Chapters: 62

Pages: 417






My Ántonia (Great Plains trilogy #3) by Willa Cather


The story of Antonia Shimerda is told by one of her friends from childhood, Jim Burden, an orphaned boy from Virginia. Though he leaves the prairie, Jim never forgets the Bohemian girl who so profoundly influenced his life. An immigrant child of immigrant parents, Antonia's girlhood is spent working to help her parents wrest a living from the untamed land. Though in later years she suffers betrayal and desertion, through all the hardships of her life she preserves a valor of spirit that no hardship can daunt or break. When Jim Burden sees her again after many years, he finds her "a rich mine of life", a figure who has turned adversity into a particular kind of triumph in the true spirit of the pioneer.

Chapters: 45

Pages: 289

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