All posts filed under: Fiction

theguestroom

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

“Me? I was never good at hatred. I felt it. I knew it. But it did not live inside me the way it lived inside them. Maybe things would have turned out better if it had. If I had been better at hatred.” Chris Bohjalian, The Guest Room Throughout his career, Chris Bohjalian has taken readers on literary thrill rides through time and space, offering spellbinding glances into the emotional complexities of both past and present, all with an intrepid honesty that catapults his fiction into a realm of literary truth. The one thing he never does: shy away from the hard stuff. In his examination of human nature, and the flawed cultures that are born over and over again as a result, Bohjalian goes into great and challenging depths to pay homage to the unthinkable truths that, as they say, are so much stranger than the fiction built upon them. This was especially true of his 2012 novel, The Sandcastle Girls, with its unforgettable romance set against the backdrop of the unconscionable Armenian genocide. …

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Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer by Joanne DeMaio

      To Wes, the moment becomes almost magical as she looks up at her tree again. The only sound – if it’s a sound at all – is the hush of the December night. Joanne DeMaio, Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer Returning her readers to the idyllic New England world of her novels, Joanne DeMaio whips up a charming love story that captures all the magic of the holidays and reminds us of the small joys of the season. The fictional village of Addison, with all its friendly neighbors and quaint charm, is the ideal setting for a heart-warming Christmas romance, and the perfect recipe includes two endearing protagonists – mailman Wesley and greeting card designer Jane – thrown together with a precocious puppy, a festive scavenger hunt, and a dose of the magic that only the holidays can deliver. In Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer, Wes is picking up the pieces after his fiance leaves him jilted just before their wedding, while Jane is nursing a broken wrist and an equally broken …

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Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie

One of the clerical undertakings that Sidney least enjoyed was the abstinence of Lent. The rejection of alcohol between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday had always been a tradition amongst the clergy of Cambridge but Sidney noticed that it neither improved their spirituality nor their patience. In fact, it made some of them positively murderous. James Runcie, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death First published in 2012, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death is the first collection in an ongoing series of mysteries starring the compassionate and engaging Canon Sidney Chambers. Inspired by author James Runcie’s father, Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, the series captures all the charm of religious life in the English country – with a side of mystery as only the British can conjure. As the first page of the book reads, “Canon Sidney Chambers had never intended to become a detective.” A quiet but spirited Anglican priest, Sidney enjoys tending to the flock of his congregation in the quaint hamlet of Grantchester in Cambridgeshire. He knows his congregants by …

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The Light of Hidden Flowers by Jennifer Handford

“What brings you to our neck of the woods?” Our neck of the woods. Like she and Joe alone owned New Jersey. “Just visiting,” I said lightly, smiling, but for all I knew I had the squiggly-lined mouth of nervous Charlie Brown. Lucy – ha! Lucy – would pull the football from me at any minute, landing me flat on my back. Jennifer Handford, The Light of Hidden Flowers Jennifer Hanford’s newest novel is a tapestry of emotion woven together through multiple stories on themes of acceptance, bravery, and overcoming. At the center of The Light of Hidden Flowers is quiet Missy Fletcher, a whip-smart introvert who has lived a comfortable life safely in the shadow of her larger-than-life father. Financial planner by day, couch-bound Jeopardy! genius by night, Missy lives out her adventures online, planning glamorous trips across the world before her fear of flying makes her once again choose hometown normalcy. On the other end of the Internet is Joe Santelli, the high school sweetheart and love of her life whose picture-perfect marriage …

stronglightofday

Strong Light of Day by Jon Land

“I think the Cold War suddenly got red hot to the touch.” Strong Light of Day by Jon Land In her newest adventure, fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong takes on Russian terrorists with a mission born of history and a new kind of weapon that could completely change the future of the United States. When Caitlin is called to a bayou where a bus full of local teens has gone missing and a cattle ranch where a full herd of cattle has been reduced to skeletons, she never dreams that the mysterious occurrences could possibly be linked. With help from Mexican gunslinger Guillermo Paz and her love interest Cort Wesley, whose youngest son is among the missing, Caitlin works to make sense of the scenarios, uncovering a plot linked back to Afghanistan in 2003 and the ghost of a villain who challenged the Texas Rangers, namely her father, in the ‘80s. Strong Light of Day, the seventh book in Jon Land’s series, boasts explosive action, heart-pounding drama, and a mystery steeped in history that will …

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Celebrating 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Emma with Penguin Classics (Giveaway)

“Jane Austen did not write for academic readers. […] Rather, Austen wrote to interest those who, like her, enjoyed well-observed, stylishly written novels of everyday life.” – Juliette Wells, from the introduction of Emma If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.  So says humble Mr. Knightley to the spirited heroine of Jane Austen’s fourth published novel.  Yet for readers and enthusiasts of Austen, Emma has been both well-loved and well-discussed in the centuries since the world was first introduced to a heroine whom Jane famously said “no one but myself will much like.”  Now, on the two-hundredth anniversary of its publication, Penguin Classics has released a stunning new commemorative edition that celebrates all the joy that disastrous matchmaker Emma Woodhouse has single-handedly brought to generations of readers. With new cover art specially designed by Dadu Shin (Instagram) – including front and back flaps – Penguin Classics’ bicentennial edition is “a reader’s edition, not a scholarly one” according to Juliette Wells, associate professor of English at Goucher College.  Wells, …

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Summer on the Cold War Planet by Paula Closson Buck

Cold War Berlin is the backdrop of Paula Closson Buck’s debut novel, one that adds to the author’s career as a writer of short stories and poetry. In Summer on the Cold War PlanetBuck draws from her experiences of the other literary forms as a means of approaching the novel format with a certain sense of being free from traditional constraints. The result is an artistically-driven and uniquely visionary novel that marries lyrical prose with a daring exploration of human nature. The novel tells the story of Lyddie, a young American woman who returns to old friends in West Berlin when her botanist husband Phelps disappears in Kurdish Iraq. Pregnant and supremely disenchanted with her circumstances, Lyddie finds herself driven back to the circle where she first met Phelps in the hopes, perhaps, of uncovering the place where her life and bliss slipped away from her. Once in Berlin, Lyddie’s journey introduces readers to the elusive Sabina, her sometime-lover Lothar, and most especially Axel, the refugee from the East whose stories and secrets seduce Lyddie …

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Those Secrets We Keep by Emily Liebert

In Those Secrets We Keep, Emily Liebert delves into the complex relationships between women when long-harbored secrets are exposed on an idyllic summer retreat. Growing up, when my family would visit relatives in New York we would sometimes adventure to Lake George, so the nostalgic sentiment attached to the setting in Emily Liebert’s new novel was something I could instantly relate to. Blissful Lake George (and a charming beach house therein) is the source of old memories and forgotten feelings when friends Sloane, Hillary, and Georgina steal away from their lives for a summer in Those Secrets We Keep. Sloane is still reeling from a tragic loss, and the predictable trajectory of her simple life with husband Eddie and nine year-old daughter Maddie has her feeling desperate for air. Sharing in the domestic discontent, Hillary has been harboring a secret that could ruin her marriage to husband Greg – a marriage that has been balanced precariously on the hope of starting a family. When Sloane and Hillary leave their troubles behind in Brookline for the …