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Have I got a story for you

For your reading convenients below you will find all the have I got a story for you published in 2016

January 2016

Greetings to 2016 fellow book junkies,
It was strange writing January 2016 just now for this article. Another year has gone and we start a new trip around the sun. I donít make New Yearís resolutions as I never keep them. I do however try to read new to me authors, new genres and hopefully broaden my reading scope. Do you make resolutions? Do you set reading goals for your new year? Iíd be interested to hear about it if you do.
This month Iím writing about 3 books that I have enjoyed in the past. The Smoke Jumper is written by Nicholas Evans, he also wrote The Horse Whisperer and I learned a lot about forest fires and the men and women who risk their lives fighting them. The Beach Trees is written by one of my all-time favorite authors, Karen White. And finally, The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, a breathtaking look into the mind gone astray and the art world. So, read on and let us hear from you here at The Blind Perspective!

The Smoke Jumper
DB 53067
Written by Nicholas Evans
Read by Michele Schaeffer
Reading time; 13 hours and 45 minutes
The fire that was to change so many lives so utterly started with a single shaft of lightning. It struck a mountain ridge on a still and moonless night and nestled like a pupa of death in the desiccated heart of an ancient pine.
The woman, camped nearby with her group of troubled teenagers, slept and heard nothing. She has brought them here by court order on a youth program to help them find themselves. But one among them will be lost forever. For soon the cocoon of fire will hatch to engulf the entire mountain and exact its deadly toll. And into this inferno will come...the Smoke Jumper.
His name is Connor Ford and he falls like an angel of mercy from the sky, braving the flames to save the woman he loves but he knows he cannot have. For Julia Bishop is the partner of his closest friend, an ambitious young musician called Ed Tully. Julia loves them both but the tragedy on Snake Mountain forces her to choose between them and burns a brand on all their hearts.

The Beach Trees
Written by Karen White
Read by Jill Fox
Reading time: 14 hours and 51 minutes
In the aftermath of tragedy, life goes on - painful and forever altered, but ripe with new beginnings. For Julie Holt, travelling to the beautiful but ravaged coast of Biloxi, Mississippi, is a journey into a secret past, and a life she never expected....
Julie first knew loss at the age of 12, when her sister disappeared, never to be found. As her once close-knit family grew apart, Julie's mother obsessively searched for the girl, and when her mother died, Julie took up the search, never letting go of the hope. Then, at an art exhibition in New York, she meets Monica - a struggling artist and single mother who reminds Julie so much of her sister that she can't help feeling drawn to her: Monica paints a vivid picture of her family, but never says why or how she lost contact with them. And she has another secret: a heart condition that will soon take her life.
When Monica dies, Julie inherits from her an antique portrait - as well as custody of her young son. Taking him back to Biloxi and New Orleans to see the family he has never met, Julie discovers a connection of her own. The portrait, of an old relative, was done by her great-grandfather - and unlocks a family history she never knew.

The Swan Thieves
DB 70426
Written by Elizabeth Kostova
Read by Joe Peck
Reading time; 19 hours and 10 minutes
Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life--solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. In response, Marlowe finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Ranging from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

February 2016

Greetings fellow book lovers,
This month I want to write about reading outside of our comfort zones. So many times I find myself going to the same type of books over and over. Where there is nothing wrong with that, I would like to challenge you to read out of your comfort zone. Try a new to you author or genre. Below are three very different type of books to maybe give you a starting point. I enjoy getting great book recommendations as much as writing about them, so if you have one, write me and let me know about it.

And the Band Played On: politics, people, and the AIDS epidemic written by Randy Shilts
DB 26042
Reading time: 29 hours and30 minutes

By the time Rock Hudson's death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century. America faced a troubling question: What happened? How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously?

In answering these questions, Shilts weaves the disparate threads into a coherent story, pinning down every evasion and contradiction at the highest levels of the medical, political, and media establishments. Shilts shows that the epidemic spread wildly because the federal government put budget ahead of the nation's welfare; health authorities placed political expediency before the public health; and scientists were often more concerned with international prestige than saving lives.

Against this backdrop, Shilts tells the heroic stories of individuals in science and politics, public health and the gay community, who struggled to alert the nation to the enormity of the danger it faced. And the Band Played On is both a tribute to these heroic people and a stinging indictment of the institutions that failed the nation so badly.

My comments;
Donít let the reading length of this one intimidate you. It is well worth each and every minute. This is one of the toughest reads and one of the most rewarding, eye opening ones as well.

The Road
Written by Cormac McCarthy
DB 63649
Reading time: 6 hours and 12 minutes

America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

Bleak but brilliant, with glimmers of hope and humor, The Road is a stunning allegory and perhaps Cormac McCarthy's finest novel to date. This remarkable departure from his previous works has been hailed by Kirkus Reviews as a "novel of horrific beauty, where death is the only truth". Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2007

My comments;
I was reluctant to read this book. My husband, Scott, carried on so until I finally went out of my comfort zone and read it. I am so glad I did. Another tough read. This book takes you on your own journey and how you look at human nature.

The Gracekeepers
Written by Kirsty Logan
DB 81719
Reading time: 11 hours and 20 minutes

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland ("landlockers") and those who float on the sea ("damplings"), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives--offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.

My comments;
Yes, this is fantasy fiction. A walk on the wild side. At times, creepy, but if an escape is what you crave, go for it. Stretch your imagination. I challenge you!

March 2016

Abracadabra fellow book lovers! Presto Chango! Shazzam! Put a little magic in your reading life! Here are three books to get you started.

The Night Circus is pure fun fantasy. Water for Elephants can almost be a true story and The Library at Mount Char is just freaky strange. So, put on your top hat, grab your bunny and read some magical books!

The Night Circus
Written by Erin Morgenstern
DB 73783
Reading time; 13 hours and 11 minutes
Bestseller, 2011
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RÍves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors.
Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into loveóa deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per¨formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

My comments;
I was carried away when reading this book. So beautifully written, such a great story and some unforgettable characters. Gentlemen, you wonít have to hand in your man card to enjoy this one right along with the ladies.

Water for Elephants
Written by Sara Gruen
DB 62718
Reading time: 2 hours and 44 minutes
Bestseller, 2006
An atmospheric tale of life and love in a Depression-era traveling circus. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. There he meets the freaks, grifters, and misfits that populate this world. Jacob introduces us to Marlena, beautiful star of the equestrian act; to August, her charismatic but twisted husband (and the circus' animal trainer); and to Rosie, a seemingly untrainable elephant.
Beautifully written, with a luminous sense of time and place, Water for Elephants tells of love in a world in which love's a luxury few can afford.

My comments;
This one gets a bit rougher than Night Circus. There are some cruel scenes, but totally necessary for the story. Also some moving animal stories in this one.

The Library at Mount Char
Written by Scott Hawkins
DB 82679
Reading time: 15 hours and 33 minutes
Debut novel, 2015
Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for. After all, she was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago, of course - before the time she calls "adoption day", when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.
Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible. In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power. Sometimes they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. Now Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library - and with it power over all of creation.
As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her. But can Carolyn win? She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price - because in becoming a god, she's forgotten a great deal about being human.

My comments;
Freaky, yes. Creepy, yes. Violent, yes. A mesmerizing read, yes. A walk on the wild side, but what a walk.

April 2016

Happy Spring book lovers!
This month we have one behind the scenes nonfiction, one wonderful story of a familyís love and struggle and we say farewell to a beloved author. So, hop into spring and letís read!

The Residence: Inside the private world of the white house
Written by: Kate Andersen Brower
DB 82761
Reading time: 10 hours and 52 minutes
A remarkable history with elements of both In the President's Secret Service and The Butler, The Residence offers an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.
America's first families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the president and first family.
These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion's 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases and prepare everything from hors d'oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level's basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.
Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members - many speaking for the first time - with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the first family and the people who serve them as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy's private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband's assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon's resignation and President Clinton's impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.

My comments;
I really enjoyed this one. It made me stop and consider some of my own opinions on some of our first families. You will too when you read this intriguing peek behind the scenes.

The Book of Speculation
Written by: Erika Swyler
DB 82676
Reading time: 13 hours and 41 minutes
"Dear Mr. Watson, I came across this book at auction as part of a larger lot I purchased on speculation. The damage renders it useless to me, but a name inside it - Verona Bonn - led me to believe it might be of interest to you or your family...."
Simon Watson, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home - a house, perched on the edge of a bluff that is slowly crumbling toward the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, works for a traveling carnival reading tarot cards and seldom calls.
In late June Simon receives a mysterious package from an antiquarian bookseller. The book tells the story of Amos and Evangeline, doomed lovers who worked in a traveling circus more than 200 years ago. The paper crackles with age as Simon turns the yellowed pages filled with notes, sketches, and whimsical flourishes. His best friend and fellow librarian, Alice, looks on in increasing alarm.
Why does his grandmother's name, Verona Bonn, appear in this book? Why do so many women in his family drown on July 24? Is there a curse on his family - and could Enola, who has suddenly turned up at home for the first time in six years, risk the same fate in just a few weeks? In order to save her - and perhaps himself - Simon must try urgently to decode his family history while moving on from the past.
The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler's gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books and family and magic.

My comments;
I know Iíve been on a magic, circus, carnival kick lately, but this book is really down to earth, itís a charming story of a family and the problems we all face in life. I just loved it and I canít wait for her to write her next book.

Beach Music
Written by: Pat Conroy
DB 40753
Reading time: 27 hours and 20 minutes
Pat Conroy is without doubt America's favorite storyteller, a writer who portrays the anguished truth of the human heart and the painful secrets of families in richly lyrical prose and unforgettable narratives.
Now, in Beach Music, he tells of the dark memories that haunt generations, in a story that spans South Carolina and Rome and reaches back into the unutterable terrors of the Holocaust.
Beach Music is about Jack McCall, an American living in Rome with his young daughter, trying to find peace after the recent trauma of his wife's suicide. But his solitude is disturbed by the appearance of his sister-in-law, who begs him to return home, and of two school friends asking for his help in tracking down another classmate who went underground as a Vietnam protester and never resurfaced. These requests launch Jack on a journey that encompasses the past and the present in both Europe and the American South, and that leads him to shocking--and ultimately liberating--truths.
Told with deep feeling and trademark Conroy humor, Beach Music is powerful and compulsively readable. It is another masterpiece in the legendary list of classics that his body of work has already become.

My comments;
Over the years I have read and loved Pat Conroyís books. But, none more than Beach Music. Itís a literary work that will stand the test of time, a heart breaking, life affirming story that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. With the death of Pat Conroy, America and the world have lost a truly gifted writer. Beach Music is one of my favorite books to give as a gift. No writer brings South Carolina to life as much as Conroy. Keep an eye out for those sweet sea turtles!
Until next month, read on my friends!
Carla jo

May 2016

Carla Jo is recovering from a recent back surgery. and is in need of rest. We all here at The Blind Perspective wish her well on her way to a speedy recovery. Hugs!

June 2016

Hello again fellow book lovers,
This month I have three very different books for your consideration. A high octane thriller, a First in a series glimpse at the past and a short hilarious beach or backyard giggle book. So, on into summer, lemonade and great books!

Pretty Girls
Written by Karin Slaughter
DB 82937
Reading time: 13 hours and 52 minutes
Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydiaís teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared lossóa devastating wound thatís cruelly ripped open when Claireís husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
My comments;
I have read every single book, short story or random article written by Karin Slaughter. I love her stuff. Be warned: Her books are not for the faint of heart. She gets gritty, dirty, bloody and she will keep you hanging until the last twist of the knife.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue
Written by Melanie Benjamin
DB 02787
Reading time: 10 hours and 22 minutes
The New York Times best-selling author of The Aviator's Wife returns with a triumphant new novel about New York's "Swans" of the 1950s - and the scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley.
Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends - the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a prestigious husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman - a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.
Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive, golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrťe into the enviable lives of Manhattan's elite along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe's powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls "True Heart", Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller - even when the stories aren't his to tell.
Truman's fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he'll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle listeners as it opens the door onto one of America's most sumptuous eras.
My comments;
This is a girl book. I am fascinated by this time period in New York and all of these characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this first in a series and canít wait for book two!

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
Written by Amy Sedaris
DB 65319
Reading time; 3 hours and 42 minutes
Are you lacking direction in how to whip up a swanky soiree for lumberjacks? A dinner party for white-collar workers? A festive gathering for the grieving? Don't despair. Take a cue from entertaining expert Amy Sedaris and host an unforgettable fete that will have your guests raving.
No matter the style or size of the gathering, from the straightforward to the bizarre, I Like You provides jackpot recipes and solid advice laced with Amy's blisteringly funny take on entertaining and everything it takes to pull off a party with extraordinary flair.
You don't even need to be a host or hostess to benefit; Amy offers tips for guests, too! Readers will discover unique dishes to serve alcoholics (Broiled Frozen Chicken Wings with Applesauce), the secret to a successful children's party (a half-hour time limit, games included), and much, much more!
My comments;
Male, female, no matter what! This book is funny! Just hard down roll on the floor laughing! A great group listen too.
Until sunny July, Happy reading!

July 2016

Summer greetings book lovers, I have reached back into my book shelves and have some titles from a while back. First, Iíd like to ask a question; I want to know where you are in the world and where do you get your reading materials? I am an Audible member and I use the BARD site as well. Sometimes I want to write about a book I have bought from audible, but itís not on BARD yet, so I usually stick to books that are available from both. Please write me and let me know. Iíd also like to thank those who wrote to me wishing me well after my surgery, it means a lot.

City of Dreams; A novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan
DB 64726
Written by Beverly Swerling
Reading time: 29 hours and 31 minutes
In 1661, Lucas Turner and his sister, Sally, stagger off a small wooden ship after 11 weeks at sea to make a fresh start in the rough and rowdy Dutch settlement of Nieuw Amsterdam. Lucas, a barber surgeon, and Sally, an apothecary, are both gifted healers and bound to each other by blood and necessity. Yet as their new lives unfold, lust, betrayal, and murder will make them deadly enemies.
In their struggle to survive in the New World, both make choices that will burden their descendants, dedicated physicians and surgeons, pirates and whoremasters, with a legacy of secrets and retribution. That heritage sets cousin against cousin, physician against surgeon, and ultimately, patriot against Tory.
My comments:
I know the reading time is a bit staggering, but it flew by for me. This book delves into a part of history that I havenít really read much on. This is the first book in a series that has 4 novels so far. Of course, I didnít know that until I had read City of Dreams and found book two, City of Glory DB 65715 on BARD, but not the last two books. Hopefully they will turn up soon.

Written by Christopher Moore
DB 69209
Reading time: 8 hours and 38 minutes
Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear demands that his kids swear to him their undying love and devotion. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of...well...stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.
Well now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. And the only person who can possibly make things right . . . is Pocket. Now he's going to have to do some very fancy maneuvering: cast some spells, start a war or two - the usual stuff - to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear's good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia's twisted sisters, and to shag every lusciously shaggable wench who's amenable to shagging along the way.
Pocket may be a fool...but he's definitely not an idiot.
My comments:
This is Christopher Mooreís hysterical retelling of Shakespeareís King Lear. Be warned, there is strong language, sex, otherwise known as shagging and some truly unforgettable characters. This is one of my favorite books to give as a gift. I highly recommend anything written by Christopher Moore.

The Poisonwood Bible
Written by Barbara Kingsolver
DB 46882
Reading time: 19 hours and 21 minutes
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it - from garden seeds to Scripture - is calamitously transformed on African soil.
This tale of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, is set against history's most dramatic political parables.
The Poisonwood Bible dances between the darkly comic human failings and inspiring poetic justices of our times. In a compelling exploration of religion, conscience, imperialist arrogance, and the many paths to redemption, Barbara Kingsolver has brought forth her most ambitious work ever.
My comments:
Yes, book junkies, another long read. But what else are you going to do on these hot days of summer? You know, not every book is a good fit for every reader. Never hesitate to put a book down. As a wise man once said, life is too short to drink crappy beer and I say life is too short to read a book you arenít enjoying. So many books, so little time!
Have a wonderful and safe July.
Happy reading, Carla jo

August 2016

Hello fellow book lovers,
Do you belong to a book club? I know that many of the online blind chat sites have book groups. What are you reading for a book club? Do you enjoy it? Do you cook food that is featured in a book? Iíd love to know.
This month I have 3 reviews for you. One is a Pulitzer Prize winning book and one is a debut novel and the last is a book from a writer I have recommended before, Karen White. So, read on!

A Confederacy of Dunces
Written by John Kennedy Toole
DB 15948
Reading time: 13 hours and 10 minutes
"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once." So enters one of the most memorable characters in recent American fiction.
The hero of John Kennedy Toole's incomparable, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly, "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter". His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures.
My comments;
This book goes beyond any description, it must be experienced. Read it!

Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Written by Ed Tarkington
Reading time: 9 hours and 13 minutes
Six-year-old Rocky worships his older brother Paul - 16 and full of rebel cool, smoking cigarettes, driving around in his Nova blasting Neil Young - until the day Paul, in an ill-advised act of vengeance against their father, picks Rocky up from school and nearly leaves him for dead in the woods. Paul then runs off with his beautiful, fragile girlfriend, never to be heard from again.
Eight years later Rocky is a teenager himself. Although he's never forgotten the abandonment of his boyhood hero, he's now getting over it, with the help of the wealthy neighbors' daughter, Patricia, 10 years his senior, who has taken him as her lover. Rocky's in love - or thinks he is - but the affair sets off a sequence of events that bring ruin to the lives of both families.
In the spirit of Willie Morris, Tom Franklin, and Wiley Cash, this spellbinding debut draws you into a small-town American Gothic story of family fealty, scandal, and murder.
My comments;
The title comes from a Neil Young song lyric. A coming of age story, a murder, a family in crisis and so much more.

The Sound of Glass
Written by Karen White
Reading time: 13 hours and 18 minutes
It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward's husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news - Cal's family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal's reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt. Charting the course of an uncertain life - and feeling guilt from her husband's tragic death - Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal's unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt's, will change and define her as she navigates her new life - a new life complicated by the arrival of her too-young stepmother and 10-year-old half-brother.
Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.
My comments;
Karen White has become one of my all-time favorite Southern writers. Her books are engaging, real and meaningful.
Until next time book friends! Carla Jo

September 2016

Smile Fellow Book Lovers!
Thatís right, itís time to laugh. We all need to chill out, relax, put lifeís worries aside and read something funny! So, here we go!
The original Queen of the humor book in my opinion is Erma Bombeck. We lost her many years ago, but thanks to her wonderful books, we can still enjoy her funny looks at life. Yes, her books are somewhat dated, but still stand the test of time. I have reviewed just one of her many offerings here. Then we have two off the wall topics giggle books. One about aging and one about dying. Read on and Smile!

If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I doing in the Pits?
DB 11627
Written by Erma Bombeck
Reading time: 3 hours and 35 minutes
You can count on best-selling author Erma Bombeck to show you the funny side of any situation - no matter how ordinary or difficult. In this collection of heartwarming essays, she ponders what it takes to survive the rigors of contemporary living.
As Erma shares her worries about the American way of life, she'll have you chuckling right out loud. You'll view cherished traditions such as the joys of motherhood, TV game shows, family togetherness, and the overworked phrase "Have a good day!" in a completely different light. So get ready to trade your stale outlook for a hilarious new one.
My comments: This is just one example of the many timeless classics written by the beloved Erma Bombeck.

No, I donít want to join a book club: Diary of a Sixtieth Year
Written by Virginia Ironside
DB 64645
Reading time: 8 hours and 28 minutes
Here's a delightful novel about letting go of youth and embracing the sassy curmudgeon within. Don't harass her about parasailing or taking Italian language courses. Forget about suggesting she join a gym. Marie Sharp may be a little creaky in the bones as she heads toward the big 6-0, but she's fine with it. She would rather do without all the moving-to-Florida-bicycling-across-Mongolia-for-the-hell-of-it hoopla that her friends insist upon. She's already led an exciting life: she came of age in the 1960s, after all. Now, with both a new grandchild and a new man on the horizon, all she wants to do is make the most of what she considers the most interesting stage of her life.
In this wonderfully astute novel, based on the author's own experiences, No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club is the funny and often poignant fictionalized diary of an older woman a decade or two past her prime and content to leave it all behind her. So don't tell her to take a gourmet cooking class, and whatever you do, don't you dare tell her to join a book club. Fresh and truly unique, moving gracefully on in years has never been more hilarious than in this forthright grandma's take on the "third phase" of life.
My comments; This book is for everyone. All ages, both genders and all stages of life.

Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral
DB 65127
Written by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays
Reading time: 5 hours and 3 minutes
Folks in the Delta have a strong sense of community, and being dead is no impediment to belonging to it. Down South, they don't forget you when you've up and died--in fact, they visit you more often. But there are quintessential rules and rituals for kicking the bucket tastefully. Having a flawless funeral is one of them.
In this deliciously entertaining slice of Southern life (and death), inveterate hostess Gayden Metcalfe explains everything you need to know to host an authentic Southern funeral. Can you be properly buried without tomato aspic? Who prepares tastier funeral fare, the Episcopal ladies or the Methodist ladies? And what does one do when a family gets three sheets to the wind and eats the entire feast the night before a funeral?
Each chapter includes a delicious, tried-and-true Southern recipe, critical if you plan to die tastefully any time soon. Pickled Shrimp, Aunt Hebe's Coconut Cake, and the ubiquitous Bing Cherry Salad with Coca-Cola are among the many dishes guaranteed to make the next funeral the most satisfying one yet.
My Comments; I was very familiar with the dishes and traditions in this book. My parents were born and raised in Mississippi and we went back every summer during my childhood. For those of you who may be curious about some of the Southern traditions and just what is tomato aspic? This is the book for you! Entertaining and educational. For those of you from the South, itís just a handbook or a walk down memory lane.
So, until October book friends, share a book with a friend, or a stranger and for heavenís sake, Smile!
Carla jo

October 2016

Greetings fellow book lovers,
Letís take a walk on the wild side. Edgy books, yes that is this monthís agenda. I give you 3 edgy books. Some magic, some science fiction and some just great stories. So hang on to your speakers and go for it!

Mr. Splitfoot
DB 84468
Written by Samantha Hunt
Reading time; 10 hours and 29 minutes
Ruth and Nat are orphans packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later Ruth's niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? And who - or what - has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road?
In an ingeniously structured dual narrative, two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. A subversive ghost story that is carefully plotted and elegantly constructed, Mr. Splitfoot will set your heart racing and your brain churning. Mysteries abound, criminals roam free, utopian communities show their age, and the mundane world intrudes on the supernatural - and vice versa.
My comments; This book has a lot going on in it. It is fast paced and full of surprises. A modern day gothic tale.

Bell Weather
DBC 02809
Written by Dennis Mahoney
Reading time; 13 hours and 16 minutes
A thrilling adventure set in a peculiar world, a fantastical 18th century, where a young woman must uncover the secrets of her past while confronting the present dangers of a magical wilderness. When Tom Orange rescues a mysterious young woman from a flooded river, he senses that their fates will deeply intertwine.
At first she claims to remember nothing, and rumor animates Root - an isolated settlement deep in a strange wilderness. Benjamin Knox, the town doctor, attends to her recovery and learns her name is Molly. As the town inspects its young visitor, she encounters a world teeming with wonders and oddities. She also hears of the Maimers, masked thieves who terrorize the surrounding woods.
As dark forces encircle the town, the truth of Molly's past spills into the present. A desperate voyage. A genius brother. A tragedy she hasn't fully escaped. Molly and Tom must then decide between surviving apart or risking everything together. Dennis Mahoney's Bell Weather is an otherworldly and kinetic story that blends history, fantasy, mystery, and adventure to mesmerizing effect.
My comments; A strange read, even for me. I had to just buckle down and stay with it. I had to know how it ended.

The Curse of Jacob Tracy
DB 83343
Written by Holly Messinger
Reading time; 12 hours and 48 minutes
St. Louis in 1880 is full of ghosts - mangled soldiers, tortured slaves, the innocent victims of war - and Jacob Tracy can see them all. Ever since Antietam, when he lay delirious among the dead and dying, Trace has been haunted by the country's restless spirits. The curse cost him his family, his calling to the church, and damn near his sanity.
He stays out of ghost-populated cities as much as possible these days, guiding wagon trains west with his pragmatic and skeptical partner, Boz. Then, just before the spring rush, Trace gets a letter from the wealthy and reclusive Sabine Fairweather. Sickly, sharp tongued, and far too clever for her own good, Miss Fairweather needs a worthy man to retrieve a dead friend's legacy from a nearby town - or so she says. When the errand proves far more sinister than advertised, Miss Fairweather admits to knowing about Trace's curse and suggests she might be able to help him - in exchange for a few more odd jobs.
Trace has no interest in being her pet psychic, but he's been searching 18 years for a way to curb his unruly curse, and Miss Fairweather's knowledge of the spirit world is too tempting to ignore. As she steers him into one macabre situation after another, his powers flourish, and Trace begins to realize some good might be done with this curse of his. But Miss Fairweather is harboring some dark secrets of her own, and her meddling has brought Trace to the attention of something much older and more dangerous than any ghost.
Rich in historical detail and emotional depth, The Curse of Jacob Tracy is a fast-paced and inventive debut, an intriguing introduction to a bold new hero.
My comments; I loved this book! I know, I have strange tastes, but this one is a fascinating read. I think she left it open ended so another book can follow. I hope so.
Read on my friends,
Carla Jo

November 2016

Greetings book lovers,
This month we are going from the east coast to the west coast. Iím only doing 2 books this month because I want to write about narrators. I love a great story that gives me a real look at the past. I think each of us have special places in time that we enjoy reading about. I have 2 great books this month, one nonfiction and one a fiction retelling of cities, people and events in the past.
I was part of a discussion on narrators recently and thought about featuring a narrator, but decided to open it up to you and ask, who are your favorite narrators? Do you lean more towards male or female readers? What draws you in? What drives you crazy? So, write me and Iíd like to make an entire article of what readers have to say about the folks we listen to.
Until next time, Happy reading,
Carla jo

The Dollhouse
DB 85381
Written by Fiona Davis
Reading time: 9 hours and 55 minutes
"The Dollhouse... That's what we boys like to call it.... The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you."

Fiona Davis' stunning debut novel pulls listeners into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side by side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon's glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong - a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Es me, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo, and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist - not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

My comments; I have always been fascinated with the idea of ďa hotel for womenĒ. Can you imagine leaving your home, going to a different city and living amongst a bunch of strangers? Sounds like college. The restrictions and dress codes and the mindset of the time is mind blowing to me. But, it happened. This book is a great dip into the time period. The girls, the class barriers, the jazz clubs, New York at this time. Itís just a great story.

Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love
DB 82348
Written by David Talbot
Reading time: 17 hours and 26 minutes
Season of the Witch is the first book to fully capture the dark magic of San Francisco in this breathtaking period, when the city radically changed itself - and then revolutionized the world. The cool gray city of love was the epicenter of the 1960s cultural revolution. But by the early 1970s, San Franciscoís ecstatic experiment came crashing down from its starry heights. The city was rocked by savage murder sprees, mysterious terror campaigns, political assassinations, street riots, and finally a terrifying sexual epidemic. No other city endured so many calamities in such a short time span.

David Talbot takes us deep into the riveting story of his cityís ascent, decline, and heroic recovery. He draws intimate portraits of San Franciscoís legendary demons and saviors: Charles Manson, Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Bill Graham, Herb Caen, the Cockettes, Harvey Milk, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, Joe Montana and the Super Bowl 49ers. He reveals how the city emerged from the trials of this period with a new brand of ďSan Francisco valuesĒ, including gay marriage, medical marijuana, immigration sanctuary, universal health care, recycling, renewable energy, consumer safety, and a living wage mandate. Considered radical when they were first introduced, these ideas have become the bedrock of decent society in many parts of the country, and exemplify the ways that the city now inspires us toward a live-and-let-live tolerance, a shared sense of humanity, and an openness to change.

As a new generation of activists and dreamers seeks its own path to a more enlightened future, Season of the Witch - with its epic tale of the wild and bloody birth of San Francisco values - offers both inspiration and cautionary wisdom.

My comments; This book was a real eye opener. Talbot gets to the heart of San Francisco, even where the title of that song came from. I really enjoyed this in-depth look at a ground breaking city.

December 2016

Seasons Readings fellow book lovers
Itís the most wonderful time of the year. The time when the weather turns cold and maybe a bit nasty. The perfect time to curl up with a great book. Whether itís a Christmas favorite you reread each year or a stack of new to you writers, nothing is better for the winter blues than a good book.

Last month I asked for your opinions on narrators. Here are 2 responses I received. Before I share these, I want to just say another thing. In the coming year, Iíll be writing about books in a series, the short story, and possibly biographies. If there is a topic you want to see here, please write me and tell me. I want to give you, the reader, what you are interested in.

Let me also take this time to wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday season and for all of us, a peaceful new year. Iíll sign off here and let you have a peek at a couple of ladyís thoughts on narrators.
Happy reading,
Carla jo

A note from Jenny;
My favorite narrator is Humphrey Bower. He has narrated the Bryce Courtney books, plus many more. I just think he is brilliant. As he does all the accents and women's voices so brilliantly. And, makes any book interesting. Anyway that's my opinion.

Hereís what Patty has to say;
First off, most times I do not have a preference of sex as far as a narrator goes. However, there are some points Iíd like to make. One of the things that completely turns me off as a reader is when a male narrator tries too hard to make his voice sound like a woman. I have heard narrators who have completely ruined a book that wouldíve otherwise been a top notch read simply by trying too hard to make their voice sound female. In that same thought, Iíd like to add that female narrators that go out of their way to make their voices sound male are also a turn off. When my book Campbellís Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life was being recorded for NLS I was concerned about whom they would choose as a narrator. Thank goodness the lady they picked was great, and doesnít work too hard to make her voice sound male. She also did a fine job on the different accents in the book.

That leads me to my next gripe. When a book has characters in it with multiple accents it is sometimes painful to listen to when a narrator works too hard at changing their voice for different accents. While I like a bit of voice change for male and female and a bit of accent for different countries, or in the case of my book, northern and southern, I donít want to have it be so over baring that it is not tolerable.

For the most part I think NLS does a great job matching books with narrators, but there have been a couple that I simply could not read due to the way the narrator read. One that really sticks out for me is a book called, Enduring Darkness. It is a book of short stories, Iíd have loved to read, but simply could not listen to the narrator read it because of how he made his voice try so hard to sound when reading young children, or female characters. I could not even finish the first story because it was simply like listening to fingernails on a chalk board.
Patty L. Fletcher

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