In 1989, at the age of 37, Amy Tan published her first novel: it was an acclaimed bestseller, receiving a film adaption in less than five years and finding its place as a contemporary classic. The Joy Luck Club is the story of four women immigrated from traditional China and their four Chinese-American daughters. As the stories of these eight women take the reader from contemporary San Francisco to 1930s China, Tan explores both the generational changes and the cultural divide that envelopes the complex relationships between mothers and daughters. In his New York Times review, Orville Schell praised Tan for “a wonderful eye for what is telling, a fine ear for dialogue, a deep empathy for her subject matter and a guilelessly straightforward way of writing.”

This year, in celebration of The Joy Luck Club‘s 25th anniversary, Penguin Classics is releasing a special edition of the novel as part of their continuing Drop Cap series. A collaboration between Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley and illustrator Jessica Hisch, the Drop Cap series features enduring works of literature with every letter of the alphabet serving as homage to a different author. With The Joy Luck Club Tan joins the likes of Austen, Brontë, and Cather in an alphabet of timeless literary collectibles.

The special Drop Cap edition will be published next week, and the kind folks at Penguin are offering a copy to one Literary Inklings reader! The giveaway is open now through the end of the month (US and Canada residents only). I’ll contact the winner on April 30th!

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To see the previously published editions in the Drop Cap series visit

Read: my full review

With many thanks to the team at Center Street I’m happy to be offering one reader a hardcover copy of Michael Hurley’s nautically-inclined memoir, Once Upon a Gypsy Moon. Before we get to the details of the giveaway, I want to give a bit of praise to one element of this book that I didn’t mention in my review: that cover! I’ll be the first to advise not judging the books we read by them, of course, but as a graphic design enthusiast of sorts I simply have to acknowledge when a book’s design catches my attention. I love everything about this particular cover, from the photography to the choice of fonts. Every detail is just lovely. Much appreciation to Jody Waldrup, art director at Hachette, for a job so well done.

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Synopsis: Michael Hurley watched his world unravel in the wake of infidelity, divorce and failure. In August 2009, he was short of money, out of a job, and seeking to salvage a life that had foundered. Deeply in need of perspective, he took to the open seas in a 32-foot sailboat, Gypsy Moon. The story of his 2-year outward odyssey, deterred by rough weather and mechanical troubles, combines keen observation, poignant thoughts, and deeper introspection with glorious prose.

Once Upon a Gypsy Moon also presents a rare and much-needed point of view on the familiar spiritual-journey narrative. It offers a star-crossed love story wrapped inside a rollicking good sea tale, but it also has something important to say to the reader about relationships, faith and disbelief, life and death, love and marriage, and what really matters.

Connect with Michael: Website | Goodreads | Facebook

Read: my full review | my Q&A with the author

In addition to taking the time for a Q&A yesterday, author D.J. Williams has kindly offered readers a chance to win an autographed copy of his upcoming novel The Disillusioned (WestBow Press; 5/1)! The thriller follows two brothers as they search for answers long kept hidden by their father on a journey that will ultimately test their physical and spiritual strength. Below you’ll find an excerpt from The Disillusioned as well as a chance for one lucky reader to receive a signed copy of the novel!

An excerpt from The Disillusioned, Chapter 26

      In the far corner he noticed a boy in his early teens, who wore a knockoff Jordan jersey. He stared into the boy’s hazel eyes and tried to shake off a sudden urge to spend his last few Kwacha buying the boy a meal. He redirected his attention to the man behind the counter as wild thoughts flashed in his mind. He counted the money again, and reminded himself of his need to survive. He ordered two pieces of chicken and potato wedges. Thirty Kwacha.

      Back home most children are lucky, he thought. No real fear of starving. No real fear of dying. No real clue of how hard life really is when you’re only expected to live into your mid-thirties. Children back home were more worried about losing their cell phones, being grounded form Playstation, or being accepted into the right social circles. None of that mattered here. For a child, life on this side of the world was about one thing,

      Danny grabbed his tray, tried to shed himself of the guilt and found a table with a perfect view of the main street. Traffic passed as the thumping music from the neighborhood shebeen drifted through the night. Danny rather enjoyed the eclectic mix of American eighties pop and local African artists. It had become a unique soundtrack to his adventure.

      He wiped the sweat from the back of his neck and wondered how he’d made it thousands of miles from home. After just one week he was broker than broke. He had no idea what was going to happen next. He had jumped at thirty thousand feet without a parachute. What if he didn’t find her? What if the Vice President was wrong about his contact? Then what? He would have failed, again. He watched the miners laugh together.

      Danny tried to remember the last time he’d laughed. Even though it had only been a month, he wondered when he’d allow himself to grieve. It was hard to tell. His emotions had been unpredictable for weeks. The peaks and valleys left him unsure whether he had made the right choice coming to Zambia. He’d used the last three hundred dollars to pay for hotels, bus rides, and false information. He had risked everything.

      He opened the box, stared at two pieces of friend chicken, and realized this was all that was left. How he wished he could laugh. He wished he could be the man Brooke deserved. He wished he’d been wiser with the
opportunities given to him. He wished he could have saved his parents. In that moment, anger and envy crept into his soul.

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Synopsis: A mother’s suicide threatens to destroy a family legacy. Her sons, Sam and Daniel, are forced to leave their comfortable worlds behind and search for a woman they believe can unlock the secrets that have remained hidden. They are propelled into separate journeys from Los Angeles to the heart of the Zambezi, where they are forced to confront a man known as Die Duiwel, the Devil. On their adventures they will find themselves in a place where death is one breath away, where thousands of children are disappearing into the darkness, and where the woman they are searching for is on the hunt for revenge. When they stand face-to-face with the forgotten slaves of Africa, they will fight to redeem what has been lost.

Connect with D.J.: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Prices are for Amazon Kindle books only; offer valid all day on December 21st, 2012.

For a listing of books offered and to enter to win, click here!!

Just in time to help you stock up on reading matter for the new year, there’s a wonderful event going on today. The concept is simple, straightforward, and very fun: 99 authors have gotten together to offer 99 e-books for $0.99, for today only. The host site is, where links and cover images for all of the available titles can be found under five categories: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction/Nonfiction, and Science Fiction & Fantasy. There’s a wonderful diversity in the selection, which means there’s sure to be something for everyone; you may even find yourself intrigued by a book outside of your usual genre preferences. Of the participating books I’ve only read one, and it happens to be one of my favorites, Christine Nolfi’s Treasure Me, but there a lot of other titles that have caught my eye as well. Juli Alexander has what sounds like a charming and delightful story of a teen witch, Stirring Up Trouble, and Jennie James is retelling my favorite fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast; meanwhile Karla Darcy’s The American Bride is appealing to the unabashed Downton Abbey fan in me, and there’s also Dave Newell’s recently released Red Lory which was on my Notable New Releases a while back. But this is just a tidbit of the great literary offerings so I’m encouraging everyone to check out the site to browse through everything.

In addition to hosting all this marvelous shopping, is giving away $990 worth of prizes in the form of a Kindle Fire HD 7″, a Kindle Paperwhite, and Amazon gift cards with $500, $75, $50, $25, and $20 values. After you’ve done all your shopping visit the Prizes page for your chance at some of the fabulous goodies. And be sure to come back here and tell me which titles you snatched up!

99 Authors | 99 Books | 99 Cents from

Many thanks to Jillian Dodd for creating the event and AToMR Tours for organizing blogger promotions.