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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 2019

January 2019

Happy New Year Book Friends:
There are a lot of new books headed our way in 2019. Do you have any you are looking forward to reading? Write in and let me know. This month I have for you 2 books, polar opposites, really. One set in the tropics and another one set in a winter wonderland. Let�s go!

Something in the Water
written by Catherine Steadman
reading time: 11 hours and 42 minutes
DB 91350
CELA number DA57435
not on RNIB yet
Suspense Fiction & Psychological Fiction

Have you ever wondered, how long does it take to dig a grave? Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water.

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares? Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events.

My comments; This is a who done it? But, more important, it�s a what would you do kind of story. Beautiful tropical setting and tons of twists and turns. A fast paced read.

Spinning Silver
written by Naomi Novik
reading time; 17 hours and 58 minutes
DB 91647
not on CELA or RNIB yet
Fantasy fiction

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty, until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk - grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh - Miryem's fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered.

Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar. But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.

My comments; This is a retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale. Read by Lisa Flanagan and she does a wonderful job. A sparkling fantasy story filled with folklore and a bit of a mystery. It�s long, but a great winter read.

Until next month, Happy reading,
Carla jo!

February 2019

Chilly greetings book readers,
One of the perks of winter is boots, perfect boot wearing weather here, and 1 more is tucking into a couple of really great books. This month I bring you 3 h�s; Historical, humor and horror.

First, the historical!
The Glass Ocean
written by Beatriz Williams, Karen White, Vanessa Johansson, and Lauren Willig
reading time: 13 hours and 45 minutes
not on RNIB or CELA yet

Her finances are in dire straits, and best-selling author Sarah Blake is struggling to find a big idea for her next book. Desperate, she breaks the one promise she made to her Alzheimer�s-stricken mother and opens an old chest that belonged to her great-grandfather, who died when the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915. What she discovers there could change history.

Sarah embarks on an ambitious journey to England to enlist the help of John Langford, a recently disgraced member of parliament whose family archives might contain the only key to the long-ago catastrophe.

April 1915: Southern belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter�s marriage is in crisis. Her formerly attentive industrialist husband, Gilbert, has become remote, preoccupied with business, and something else on which she can�t quite put a finger. She�s hoping a trip to London in Lusitania�s lavish first-class accommodations will help them reconnect, but she can�t ignore the spark she feels for her old friend, Robert Langford, who turns out to be on the same voyage. Feeling restless and longing for a different existence, Caroline is determined to stop being a bystander and take charge of her own life.

Tessa Fairweather is traveling second-class on the Lusitania, returning home to Devon. Or at least, that�s her story. Tessa has never left the US, and her English accent is a hasty fake. She�s really Tennessee Schaff, the daughter of a roving con man, and she can steal and forge just about anything. But she�s had enough. Her partner has promised that if they can pull off this one last heist aboard the Lusitania, they�ll finally leave the game behind. Tess desperately wants to believe that, but Tess has the uneasy feeling there�s something about this job that isn�t as it seems.

As the Lusitania steams toward its fate, three women work against time to unravel a plot that will change the course of their own lives, and history itself.

My comments; Combine political intrigue, a Southern debutante and a couple of con-women, set against the backdrop of the historical sinking of a luxury cruise ship and you get a great story. The book does flip back and forth between the past and the present, but it was very easy to follow and to get caught up in the beautiful tale.

Here�s the humor!
The Undomestic Goddess
written by Sophie Kinsella
reading time: 12 hours and 1 minute
RNIB number is TB15218
CELA number is only in braille BR73580

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She's made a mistake so huge, it'll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she's mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they've hired a lawyer, and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can't sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope, and finds love is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does, will she want it back?

My comments; This one has some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Kinsella is well known for her sharp, witty novels and this one does not disappoint.

And now for the Horror!
Bird Box
written by Josh Malerman
reading time: 7 hours and 40 minutes
RNIB number; TB700689
CELA has 4 formats, but all in French

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: 20 miles downriver in a rowboat blindfolded with nothing to rely on but Malorie's wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey, a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motley group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside and confront the ultimate question: In a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman's breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

My comments; Heads up, lots of graphic violence and strong language in this one. As usual, the book is very different from the hit movie. I�ll not give any spoilers. I�m glad I read the book first. I expect more greatness from Josh Malerman.

Thanks so much to those of you who have written to me, I�ve kept your book suggestions for a future article. There are some really great books to look forward to in 2019.
Until next time, Happy reading, Carla jo

March 2019

Hey Fellow book junkies!
I hope the new year is finding all of you well and well read. I�ve been reading a lot and enjoying every bit of it. Cold weather just makes me want to snug in and read. This month I have 2 books to recommend and a reader sends in her book information. Thanks, Ann, for your book suggestion and good luck with it! It�s exciting when one of our own gets their book put on BARD or is recorded for sale. Read on, or as Ann says, Follow your dog!

Follow Your Dog, a story of love and trust
Written by Ann Chiappetta
Reading time: 4 hours and 27 minutes

Drawing on her skills as a poet and a therapist, the author of this candid memoir explores her life-changing relationship with her guide dog.

Seven Days of Us
Written by Francesca Hornak
Reading time: 9 hours and 36 minutes
Not on CELA or RNIB

A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays.
It's Christmas, and, for the first time in years, the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew's elder daughter - who is usually off saving the world - will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is coming home only because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she's been told she must stay in quarantine for a week, and so, too, should her family.
For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity - and even decent Wi-Fi - and forced into each other's orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.
As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.
In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who's about to arrive.

My comments; A warm, quirky look at a family locked down together. I don�t know how my family would have taken to this arrangement. A good story.

The Lost Queen
Written by Signe Pike
Reading time: 17 hours and 44 minutes
Not on CELA or RNIB

The Mists of Avalon meets the world of Philippa Gregory in the thrilling first novel of a debut trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth - a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland - twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin.
I write because I have seen the darkness that will come. Already there are those who seek to tell a new history.
In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father�s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother - a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin - Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.
Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life - rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time.

My comments: Wow! As most of you know, this one is right up my alley! The authors notes at the end of this book were so good. She discovered this Lost Queen and has written a trilogy about her. I am looking forward to the next book.

As always, thanks for those who have written and sent me book suggestions, I love hearing from you.
Until April, take care.
Happy reading, Carla jo.

April 2019

Hello again book friends,
it�s springtime here in Texas! Yeah, for warmer weather. This month I have 3 books for your consideration. A fun, epic road trip, a book that has been turned into a movie and a creepy story written by a long time favorite writer of mine. Let�s go!

Road Swing, One fan�s journey into America�s sports
written by Steve Rushin
reading time:9 hours and 13 minutes
Not available on CELA or RNIB

On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Steve Rushin decided to revisit the twin pursuits of his youth: epic car trips and an unhealthy obsession with sports. So, he jumped into his fully alarmed Japanese S U V and drove to American sports shrines for a year, everywhere from Larry Bird's boyhood home in French Lick, Indiana, to the cornfield just outside of Dyersville, Iowa, where Field of Dreams was filmed. Road Swing is the story of his journey. This one has some strong language.

My comments; Rushin is a writer for Sports Illustrated and now another one of my favorite writers. This is a must read for any sports fan.

The Silver Linings Playbook
written by Matthew Quick
reading time: 7 hours and 20 minutes
CELA has this one, but I�m not used to the new website and it�s confusing
Also, on RNIB on demand and for sale

During his years in a neural-health facility, Pat Peoples has formulated a theory about silver linings. He believes that his life is a movie produced by God, that his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and that if he succeeds, his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki.

When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki, and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy. Then, Pat meets clinically depressed widow Tiffany, who offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife - provided he agrees to a secret contract that includes giving up football and performing in the next Dance Away Depression competition.

My comments: This sounds like a heavy read and a few parts are, but overall, it�s a funny read. I listened to the movie with audio description and as usual, very different from the book and as usual, the book is better.

Once Upon A River
written by Diane Setterfield
reading time: 16 hours and 29 minutes
available on CELA, but not on RNIB

A body always tells a story - but this child�s was a blank page. Rita reached for the lantern on its hook. She trained it light on the child�s face.
"Who are you?" she murmured, but the face said as little as the rest of her. It was impossible to tell whether, in life, these blunt and unfinished features had borne the imprint of prettiness, timid watchfulness, or sly mischief. If there had once been curiosity or placidity or impatience here, life had not had time to etch it into permanence.

Only a very short time ago, two hours or not much more, the body and soul of this little girl had still been securely attached. At this thought, and despite all her training, all her experience, Rita found herself suddenly in the grip of a storm of feeling. All the old rage at God - for not being kind, for not being fair, and finally for just not being, swept her up all over again and she felt tears of anger on her face. She took the child�s hand in hers, the perfect hand with the perfect 5 fingers, the perfect 5 fingernails and the words fell out of her, the words she did not know were there. It should not be so, it should not be so. And that is when it happened.

My comments; I know, this is a long one, but what a great, creepy story. Part historical fiction and part ghost story. This one is set in England in 1887, on the banks of the river Thames.

Until next time we meet fellow readers,
Happy reading, Carla jo.

May 2019

Greetings book friends,
I have 2 very different books for you this time, so let�s get right to it.

Early Riser
written by Jasper Fford
reading time: 15 hours and 17 minutes
available on CELA, but not on RNIB

Every winter, the human population hibernates. During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity.
Well, not quite.
Your name is Charlie Worthing, and it's your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses.
You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artifact borne of the sleeping mind.
When the dreams start to kill people, it's unsettling. When you get the dreams, too, it's weird. When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity.
But teasing truth from the Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping, and stamp collecting; ensure you aren't eaten by Nightwalkers, whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food; and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk.
But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you'll be fine.

My comments; This one is wordy, funny wordy, quirky is another good word to describe the writing. This is the first Jasper Fford stand alone I�ve read and it was a fun read.

The Clockmaker�s Daughter
written by Kate Morton
reading time:16 hours and 37 minutes
available on both CELA and RNIB

My father called me Birdie; he said I was his little bird. Others knew me as his child, the clockmaker�s daughter. Edward called me his muse, his destiny. I am remembered as a thief, an imposter, a girl who rose above her station, who was not chaste. My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.
In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor in rural Oxfordshire. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe�s life is in ruins.
Over 150 years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist�s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?
Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker's Daughter is a story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through it like a river is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history but who has watched it all unfold. Birdie Bell, the clockmaker�s daughter.

My comments; I love Kate Morton�s books. Beautiful writing, rich deep characters and amazing settings. This one is a multilayered story that spans several generations, but it was easy to keep up with. Just a really good solid read.

Until we meet again,
Happy Reading, Carla jo.

June 2019

Hello book friends,
I would like to thank all of you who have written and sent me good wishes for my recovery. It really means a lot. The support of friends and family really helps fight off the blues.
My article this month is brief, only 1 book. I�ll be back up to speed soon!

Daisy Jones and the Six
written by Taylor Jenkins Reid
reading time: 9 hours and 5 minutes
not on CELA or RNIB yet

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous breakup. Daisy is a girl coming of age in LA in the late '60s, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it�s the rock �n� roll she loves most. By the time she�s 20, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she�s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

My comments: I bought my copy from Audible which has a cast of narrators and was excellent. But the book is worth reading no matter how you can get it. There is so much speculation as to which iconic band Reid is writing about. Remember, this is fiction. Reid really captures the time period. Those days are gone now.

Let me know what you�re reading please, I love hearing from all of you.
until next time, Happy reading,
Carla jo

July 2019

Greetings book lovers,
This month I review an exciting series and I have a way for you to inspire a young reader.

written by Gordon Korman
reading time: 4 hours and 48 minutes
CELA book number 2382720
not on RNIB

Popular author Gordon Korman pens a funny fish-out-of-water tale that even the most reluctant reader will find impossible to resist. Capricorn Anderson has spent his entire life on a farm with his hippie grandmother. After an accident puts Grandma in the hospital, Cap is forced to attend Claverage Middle School and live with his guidance counselor. The tradition at Claverage is for students to nominate the biggest nerd for class president, and Cap is the obvious choice. But with his odd ways and positive outlook, Cap just might turn the joke upside down by becoming the best class president ever.

My comments: This is the book that my granddaughter, Audrey, is reading for her English class summer reading assignment. I asked her if it would help if I read it along with her and she loved the idea. She said it would make it more fun knowing I was reading it too. We agreed that we would talk about it after we both finished the book.
Try connecting with a youngster and reading along with them. Or in the case of when my grandkids were really little, we would listen together to short books. Encourage a young reader, its very rewarding to both parties!

Orphan X
written by Gregg Hurwitz
reading time: 11 hours and 15 minutes
Evan Smoak series, book 1
CELA bbook number 245007
RNIB book number tb 23718

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He's also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets - i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.

Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan's weakness - his work as The Nowhere Man - to find him and eliminate him.

My comments; This is the first book in the Orphan X series. There are now 4 books and 2 short stories. These books are filled with thrills, chills and surprises at every turn of the page. Or in our case, push of a button.
High energy and full of suspense, Hurwitz has characters you will fall in love with, and some you will despise. Give this series a try.
Happy reading, Carla jo!

August 2019

Hello again book friends,
This month I bring you a blockbuster from a favorite author and a coming of age story. Be warned, both of these books have strong language and violence. I also have a question for you. Do you read books and then watch/listen to the movies or TV shows based on those books? What are your opinions on this? Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear from you.

Run away
written by Harlan Coben
reading time: 10 hours and 5 minutes
not on RNIB or CELA yet

You've lost your daughter. She's addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she's made it clear that she doesn't want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she's not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don't stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home. She runs. And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line and in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you face them head on.

My comments: Wow! I never saw that twist at the end coming. Coben at his best. Every time I read one of his stand-alone books, I’m reminded just how great his Myron Bolitar series is. I really must go back and read those again.

Born a Crime; Stories from a South African Childhood
written and read by Trevor Noah
reading time: 8 hours and 46 minutes
not on RNIB yet
Available from CELA in both Braille and Daisy formats

The compelling, inspiring and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act, his birth.

Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parent’s indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life. Bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could at any moment steal him away.

Finally, liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure. Living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother. A woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school. Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time. Armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconditional love. Noah’s virtuoso embodiment of all the characters from his childhood, and his ability to perform accents and dialects effortlessly in English, Xhosa, and Zulu, garnered the Audie Award for Best Male Narrator in 2018.

My comments: I now see apartheid in a different way. A personal way. This is written from a side I never really thought about. Not political, not what I’ve seen on the news or read about in other books. This is personal. I stop and count my blessings. I wasn’t raised with fear and violence. I really enjoyed this book. Parts of it are hard to read, but parts of life are hard.

I would love to hear from you with any book suggestions.
Happy reading, Carla jo.

September 2019

Heads up Book Junkies!
I have a lot this month. If you are a braille reader, I would love to hear from you. I’ve been talking to folks who do both braille and audio in their reading habits. So, write me and give me some insight for a future article please. I don’t do braille and I am interested in hearing how you use it.

Look at us now!
We, who used to be the small minority who used audio books have broken ground, laid the cornerstone and poured the foundation of audio books. Check out this snippet from Forbes and congratulate yourself!
US Audiobook sales neared $1 billion in 2018, growing 25% year over year. The most popular audiobook genres in the US in 2018 were General Fiction, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, and Science Fiction/Fantasy. Non-Fiction sales were close, representing 32.7% of unit sales in 2018. These numbers mark the seventh year in a row that the audio book industry has seen double digit growth. Audio consumption is way up, and publishers everywhere are seeing revenue growth to match.

Are you familiar with your regional library? Here in the states, we have regional libraries. These are libraries that record and distribute local books and writers under the Library of Congress umbrella. Each library has books that deal with that specific part of the country. For example, I was really curious about Boston and I found the following book that is produced by The Perkins library and the Perkins School for the Blind.

Boston Curiosities; A history of Beantown baron’s, molasses mayhem, polemic patriots and the fluff inbetween.
written by Theodore G. Clarke
read by Rob Hastie
reading time: 4 hours and 30 minutes

True tales of Boston including short biographies of unsung heroes, hair raising stories of murder, and accounts of much loved landmarks are collected in this affectionate volume by a native son.

my comments; What an enjoyable look at Boston. I’m going to be on the lookout for other books produced by the city or area where the book is set, especially if they are true stories.

Now here is what Gail from Florida writes in:
“I read a lot. And as you know, some books are pretty good or OK. But this last one I read, I had to recommend to you.”

The Stolen Marriage
written by Diane Chamberlain
reading time: 14 hours and 9 minutes

Nurse Tess DeMello breaks off her longstanding engagement in 1944 after getting pregnant from a drunken rendezvous. She marries Henry Kraft and moves to his hometown in North Carolina. Henry is secretive, his family and friends view Tess as an outsider, and tragedy lurks.
Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

Thanks Gail, I’ve read several of Chamberlain’s books and have enjoyed them. I have to get to this one. I can’t read them all, that’s why I love it when a reader writes in with a comment or recommendation.
So, go back to the top, click on my email address and write to me!

Happy reading! Carla jo

October 2019

Greeting book lovers,
I bring you 2 fabulous books that are on my Holiday gift list. I know several who will enjoy one or even both of these titles. If you have a Christmas book gift in mind, share your suggestions with me please. Let’s go!

The Most Fun We Ever Had
Written by Claire Lombardo
Reading time;20 hours and 33 minutes
Not on RNIB or CELA yet

When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that's to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she's not sure she wants by a man she's not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents'.

As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt, given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption 15 years before, we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons' past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.

Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo's debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family's becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.

My Comments; I saw a little bit of myself in each of the women in this book. What an intriguing story of a family. This is Lombardo’s debut novel and I can’t wait until she writes another one. She is spot on. This is an outstanding book.

Brenda writes in to highly recommend Charles Martin. I hadn’t heard of him until Brenda’s note. Chasing Fireflies and The Mountain Between Us both sound good. Thanks Brenda.

Underland: A deep time journey
Written by Robert Macfarlane
Reading time:12 hours 3 minutes
Not on CELA
Available from RNIB
DB 95761

Hailed as "the great nature writer of this generation" (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.

In this highly anticipated sequel to The Old Ways, Macfarlane takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through "deep time" - the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present, he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come. Woven through Macfarlane's own travels are the unforgettable stories of descents into the underland made across history by explorers, artists, cavers, divers, mourners, dreamers, and murderers, all of whom have been drawn for different reasons to seek what Cormac McCarthy calls "the awful darkness within the world.".

My Comments; This book is a total escape machine. I know I’ll never go to most of these places and it was a joy to read all about them through Macfarlane’s masterful writing. Beautifully written, this book is on my Holiday gift list, I know several folks who will love it.

Here’s a recommendation from Charles;” I have recently read several books by Tony Hillerman and those by Ann Hillerman, any of which I would highly recommend. The stories describe the work of Navajo police and are very informative about the Navajo and native American culture. The books are well written and suspense fully describe cases handled by the three main characters.”
I completely agree with you Charles, thanks for your note. I love the landscapes in these books.

Audible mourns the loss of one of our own.
We were devastated to learn that Rick Lewis, one of audibles first employees and the voice behind the iconic phrases “This is Audible” and “Audible hopes you have enjoyed this program,” passed away unexpectedly at his home in Ecuador. His voice holds so much meaning for every Audible listener, whether setting us off on a new journey or bidding farewell after a great listen. A devoted traveler, photographer, and essayist, Rick reminds us each day to embrace the journey of discovery, and what an amazing legacy that is.

Until November,
Happy Reading, Carla jo!

November 2019

Holy Cats Book Lovers!
It’s November! What has happened to 2019? So many great books have been released this fall, I don’t even know where to start! I could easily review 5 and 6 books each month, but Karen won’t let me. If you come across a good one, let me know, I can’t read them all.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Written by Abbi Waxman
Reading time: 9 hours and 3 minutes
Not on CELA or RNIB yet
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all or mostly all of them are excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is? It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
My Comments; I don’t normally read romantic comedy, but this one grabbed my attention. The writing is sharp, snarky and quick witted. Waxman gets a bit raunchy, but not too trashy. I found myself laughing out loud. Just a good chick lit book.

Sharon writes in with a strong recommendation for the writer Jan Karon.  Here is what she has to say: “She has written a number of books in the Mitford series about Father Tim Kavanaugh, an Episcopal priest in a little mountain town in North Carolina. For those who may not appreciate it, there isn’t heavy religion, but there are Bible verses and related items. Mostly, though, it’s the story of Father Tim, all the people in Mitford, how he gets married to his next door neighbor at age 62 and all the crazy things that happen in his retirement. I’ve read about everything that BARD has to offer and am starting to read them again. At Home in Mitford is the first in the series. Some of my favorites later in the series are These High Green Hills, A New Song, A Common Life and, to be read much later, At Home to Holly Springs and To Be Where You are as reading those first may just spoil the read.”
Thank you, Sharon, for writing in. Karon’s books have been comfort books to so many of her readers out there. I know of several who reread these stories.

Summer of ‘69
written by Elin Hilderbrand
reading time: 13 hours and 36 minutes
not on CELA or RNIB yet
Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the 20th century. It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a changing. Every year, the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha's Vineyard. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen year old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out of touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.

In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island 30 miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.
My comments; A historical fiction bestseller and for good reason. This is just a good, solid read. 

Until next time!
Happy Reading, Carla jo.

December 2019

Season’s Greetings book friends,
Let’s wrap up 2019 with some interesting reads. I hope all of our readers are safe, happy and well read.
Here we go!

First, a definition; Wheelhouse; within one’s area of expertise or interest: There are some subjects that are in your wheelhouse and some that are not.

Wild and Crazy Guys; How the comedy mavricks of the 80’s changed Hollywood forever
Written by Nick de Semlyen
Read by; Curtis Armstrong
Reading time: 12 hours and 23 minutes
Not on CELA or RNIB yet

The behind the scenes story of the iconic funnymen who ruled 80s Hollywood - Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Eddie Murphy - and the beloved films that made them stars, including Animal House, Caddy shack, and Ghostbusters.
“An enjoyable romp that vividly captures the manic ups and downs of the remarkable group of funny folks who gave us a golden age of small and big screen comedy, from SNL to Groundhog Day.” (Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls) Wild and Crazy Guys opens in 1978 with Chevy Chase and Bill Murray taking bad-tempered swings at each other backstage at Saturday Night Live, and closes 21 years later with the two doing a skit in the same venue, poking fun at each other, their illustrious careers, triumphs and prat falls. In between, Nick de Semlyen takes us on a trip through the tumultuous '80s, delving behind the scenes of movies such as National Lampoon's Vacation, Beverly Hills Cop, The Blues Brothers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and dozens more. Chronicling the off-screen, larger-than-life antics of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, John Candy, and Rick Moranis, it's got drugs, sex, punch-ups, webbed toes, and Bill Murray being pushed into a swimming pool by Hunter S. Thompson while tied to a lawn chair. What's not to like?
Based on candid interviews from many of the stars themselves, as well as those in their immediate orbit, including directors John Landis, Carl Reiner, and Amy Heckerling, Wild and Crazy Guys is a fantastic insider account of the friendships, feuds, triumphs, and disasters experienced by these beloved comedians. Hilarious and revealing, it is both a hidden history of the most fertile period ever for screen comedy and a celebration of some of the most popular films of all time.

My comments: This is so in my wheelhouse! The people in this book were a big part of my cultural timeline growing up. Very well written. This would make a great gift. It made me laugh out loud and I cried at the funeral of John Candy. I give this one a 10 out of 10!

Lock Every Door
Written by Riley Sager
Reading time: 10 hours and 26 minutes
no RNIB or CELA yet

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings.
Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind. As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story, until the next day, when Ingrid disappears. Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

My comments; A mystery in a historical building, peaked my interest. Sager also wrote The Last Time I lied, which I loved. Then she threw in New York city and she sealed the deal with gargoyles that came to life. Wonderful, fast paced read.

A song for a New Day
Written by Sarah Pinsker
Reading time; 12 hours and 34 minutes
No CELA or RNIB yet

In this captivating science fiction novel from an award-winning author, public gatherings are illegal making concerts impossible, except for those willing to break the law for the love of music, and for one chance at human connection.
In the Before, when the government didn't prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce's connection to the world - her music, her purpose - is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: She performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law.
Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery - no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she'll have to do something she's never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.

My comments; This is the first Sarah Pinsker book for me, and I’ll be looking for more from her. This story is very real and very thought provoking. I loved the characters and the changes they went through. This book feels like it could happen very soon.

To our wonderful editor, Karen, my fellow writers and most of all, you, the readers, I wish each of you joy and wonderful book journeys! Until next year,
Happy reading, Carla jo!

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