Monday, September 15, 2014

Jackaby

Idgie Says:
This is listed as  Young Reader book, 12 and up.  I don't necessarily agree that it needs to be locked into the YA genre.  The writing is mature with no dumbing down of the wording and while the Abigail is supposed to be young, it does not come across in the pages.
Before you start reading, take a close look at this fantastic cover.  So many layers, intertwined pictures and different textures - it's gorgeous and inviting.

This novel is very similar to a Sherlock Holmes mystery in nature, with a sensible sidekick, but with trolls, gnomes and banshees instead of the usual serial killer.  A realistically based story, with just enough fantasy involved to make it off-kilter and interesting. 

I really enjoyed reading it, had no trouble as an adult staying interested in it and give it a definite thumbs up!

Read the first SEVEN chapters by clicking HERE!

Jackaby
William Ritter
Algonquin Young Readers
September 16, 2014

Book Description:
“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion—and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant.

On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion—and there are many illusions. All the worlds a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”
Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackabys assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced its an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain its a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.
Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
- See more at: http://algonquinyoungreaders.com/book/jackaby/#sthash.8APOUHZx.dpuf
“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion—and there are many illusions. All the worlds a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”
Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackabys assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced its an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain its a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.
Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
- See more at: http://algonquinyoungreaders.com/book/jackaby/#sthash.8APOUHZx.dpuf
“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion—and there are many illusions. All the worlds a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”
Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackabys assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced its an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain its a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.
Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
- See more at: http://algonquinyoungreaders.com/book/jackaby/#sthash.8APOUHZx.dpuf
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Sweetwater Blues



Idgie Says:
Raymond has the creation of wordplay down to a fine art.   His words are magic and honey to the ear.  I know that sounds sappy, but there are certain authors whose words just flow so beautifully and amusingly - and I've said again and again he has that knack. There have been at least 15 different lines thrown out in his books that I have immediately worked to fit into my linguistic phrasing.  You know the saying, "I would listen to them read the phone book"?  Well,  I’d love to see what Raymond could do if he re-wrote it!

This is a deeper and darker book than I have read from him, dealing with a young man, right in his prime, being brought very low by a casual, reckless act.  An act that affects not only every aspect of his life, but so many lives around him.  The book follows his life and attempts at redemption (Mainly of  himself) from a careless bit of fun. He holds a lot of weight on his shoulders and you feel that weight yourself as you watch him survive, grow and attempt to thrive under his new circumstances.   As a mother whose man-child is the same age as young  Palmer, I believe this book may have hit me particularly harder that it would others.

As with all Raymond books so far, Idgie highly recommends this one.

                                              (A little glimpse into his writing style.)



Sweetwater Blues
Raymond Atkins
Paperback
Publisher: Mercer University Press (September 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0881465070
ISBN-13: 978-0881465075

Book Description:

Rodney Earwood and Palmer Cray had been best friends for as long as either could remember. They were brothers in all but the genetic sense, each born late in the lives of good women who had given up on the dream of motherhood by the time their respective miracles occurred.



They wandered the hills of North Georgia, hunted the pine woods, fished the cool, green streams, and camped under the stars. They shared each other's clothing, each other's families, and each other's homes. They grew into tall young men, and on a hot May afternoon right after they turned eighteen, they both graduated from Sweetwater High School, numbers seven and eight in the crooked, sweaty line that held a class of thirty of Sweetwater's finest.



Shortly thereafter, Rodney and Palmer flew a Camaro into a tree, Palmer flew into a haystack, Rodney flew into the great beyond, and nothing in Sweetwater was ever the same again.



Follow Palmer in the aftermath of his one great mistake as he confronts regret at his own fallibility, endures punishment for his actions, finds unexpected redemption in unusual places, and is given a second chance to try to make it all right.


He is joined in this journey by an unlikely cast of associate--including a methamphetamine dealer named Cheddar, a junkyard owner named Ottis Lee, a coffee-can addict named Bay-Annette, and an Alzheimer's patient who was once Rodney's mother--as they face each day and try to overcome their Sweetwater Blues.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Wishing Tide - A Shout Out.


NAL trade Paperback
September 2, 2014

*For Fans of Karen White*
 
From the acclaimed author of The Secrets She Carried comes a novel about the pull of the past and the power of love. As off-season begins on the Outer Banks, a storm makes landfall, and three unlikely strangers are drawn together.
Five years ago, Lane Kramer moved to Starry Point, certain the quaint island village was the place to start anew. Now the owner of a charming seaside inn, she’s set aside her dreams of being a novelist and of finding love again. When English professor Michael Forrester appears on Lane’s doorstep in the middle of a storm, he claims he’s only seeking a quiet place to write his book. Yet he seems eerily familiar with the island, leaving Lane wondering if he is quite what he appears.

Meanwhile, Mary Quinn has become a common sight, appearing each morning on the dunes behind the inn, to stare wistfully out to sea. Lane is surprised to find a friendship developing with the older woman, who possesses a unique brand of wisdom, despite her tenuous grip on reality.

As Lane slowly unravels Mary’s story, and a fragile relationship blooms between her and Michael, Lane realizes the three share a common bond. But when a decades-old secret suddenly casts its shadow over them, Lane must choose between protecting her heart and fighting for the life—and the love—she wants.


Click here to read an excerpt.

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Barbara Davis is the author of The Secrets She Carried and currently lives near Raleigh, North Carolina. Visit Barbara online at www.barbaradavis-author.com, www.facebook.com/barbaradavisauthor, www.twitter.com/bdavisauthor.  
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Dew on the Kudzu Interview: Barbara Davis/The Wishing Tide

People are always curious about how writers get started. Could you tell our readers a little bit about your own journey? 

I’ve always written. In fact, I can’t remember when I didn’t. But there was a time when I was in the corporate world, about I fifteen years, when writing pretty much went on the back burner. It was a high-pressure job with long hours and a lot of travel, which didn’t leave a lot of room for creativity. Then, a corporate shake up gave me the opportunity to change directions. I decided it was time to re-connect with my dreams. I’d been percolating on a story for about five years, one I’d been dying to write, so that’s where I started. I was about halfway through when I realized I needed to find a circle of writers and get some feedback. It was time to put myself out there and find out if I was on the right path. And thank goodness I did. The first night I submitted a piece for critique a woman approached me after the meeting. She turned out to be a literary agent scouting new clients. Two weeks later I had an agent. Four weeks after I finished the manuscript for The Secrets She Carried, I had a two-book deal with Penguin. It all happened so fast that I’m still pinching myself.   

The Wishing Tide is your second novel. How would you say your creative process changed between the writing of your first novel and this one?

With my first novel I had ideas, lots of them, in fact. I just didn’t have any sort of plan for how to tie them together into a nice neat story. Needless to say, there was more than one false start. When the book was finished I absolutely loved it, but it had taken nearly two years to produce. With book two, The Wishing Tide, I was under contract, which meant I had a deadline. I didn’t have two years. I needed to know where I was going before I started. So I found an outline process that worked for me, and now, before I start writing I already know every scene that will appear in a book and why. Once the outline for Tide was finished the book almost wrote itself. I finished it in just ten months. Lesson learned.

How difficult is it for a girl from New Jersey to become a “southern writer” and how did you make that choice?

Well, I’d be lying if I said I set out to be a southern writer. What I did set out to do was write a story about a grave on an old tobacco plantation in North Carolina. That story eventually became The Secrets She Carried, my debut novel. In writing one of the main characters, a woman named Adele, I had to work and rework her voice until I found what I was looking for. The result was an entirely new feel to my prose, which my publisher happened to love. I’ve been writing southern ever since. I might have been born in New Jersey, but I live in Carolina. I write about the south because it feels like home.

One of your characters in this novel is called Dirty Mary. Tell us a little bit about where the idea for this character came from, and what it was about her that you found so compelling.

The idea for Mary actually came to me while the hubby and I were on vacation in Newport, Rhode Island. We were walking along the Cliff Walk when a weathered old woman fell in with us. We began chatting, and over the course of the next mile and half, she shared snippets of her story, except I could sense that there were pieces she was purposely withholding, gaps in the timeline that, when I asked about them, were neatly sidestepped. By the end of that walk, I had filled in the blanks for myself, and I knew I was going to write the story of a woman named Dirty Mary. I wanted to tell the story of a woman who had seen things, been through things, and had come through to the other side, scarred but wise—or as Hemmingway put it, stronger at the broken places.  

Is there a theme to The Wishing Tide? Something you’d like readers to carry with them after they’ve turned the last page?

There are several themes that run through The Wishing Tide, but the main one, the one I hope readers take away from the book, is the importance of fighting for the life we want, for not settling, or letting other people call the shots. Too often, people abandon their dreams because someone else has made other plans for them. The reason I know this is because I was one of those people. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, most of them because someone else thought it was a good idea. And for a lot of years I was unhappy. Then I decided to stop caring what other people think, and go chase my dreams. It isn’t always easy to swim against the tide, but I honestly believe following our dreams is why we’re here, and that those dreams, whatever they might be, are worth fighting for.  

Tell us a little bit about what your life looks like when you’re not writing.

I write full time, which means my office is at home, so sometimes it’s hard to tell when I’m on the clock, and when I’m off. I’m also one of those people who’s lucky enough to be able to work anywhere, as long as I have my laptop. Again, this makes it difficult to draw a clean line between work and play, as I often write in the car, on trips, or even at the beach. I’ve also been known to plot scenes on a white board while in the hot tub. But when I’m truly, truly, off work, the hubby and I like to hit the road. Sometimes it’s just a day trip. We pull out the map, pick some place we’ve never been, and off we go. We explore local shops and restaurants, and are always on the lookout for new wineries. When we can get away for longer stretches we either head to New England, usually in the fall, or to Florida. We love Clearwater Beach, and are huge fans of Disney World.

You’re working on novel number three as we speak. What would you like to tell us about that project?

The novel I’m currently working on is set on Florida’s Gulf coast, on a pristine strip of beach called Hideaway Key. It’s the story of Lily St. Claire, a young woman who inherits a beach cottage from her father, that neither she nor her mother even knew he owned. When Lily heads south to investigate, she finds boxes and boxes of memorabilia, all of it belonging to Lily-Mae Boyle, the notoriously beautiful aunt whose name has been forbidden for as long as she can remember. As Lily sifts through journals and old scrapbooks, a series of shocking betrayals gradually comes to light, painting a very different picture of the infamous Lily-Mae than her mother has been touting for years.


I’m sure it’s hard to choose, but do you have a favorite book, and when was the last time you read it?

I do. It’s Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird. We read it in ninth grade, and I’ve probably read it thirty times since, with the last time being about two years ago. I fell in love with it the minute I read the first paragraph... “Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.” Apparently, even back then I had a penchant for southern fiction.      

What is it about writing that gives you the greatest joy, and what causes you the most angst?

I’d have to say the biggest joy would be talking to readers who really know and love my characters, even the so-called villains. It’s so much fun to talk about these characters like they’re real people, because for me they are real. I’ve spent so much time with them, creating their dramas and giving them their scars, walking them toward love, or redemption, or forgiveness, so it’s always a pleasure to get to revisit them, like catching up on what’s happening with old friends. As for what gives me the most angst, that would have to be juggling the non-writing aspects of my career, things like blogging, handling contests, scheduling travel and appearances, and keeping up with the myriad forms of social media. It really can swallow your day whole if you’re not careful, so I have to be really disciplined.     

10) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Three things: 1) Read. Read. Read. Chose well-written, well-plotted books, and study the way the authors build their characters and craft their stories. 2) Write. Write. Write. Write every day, and keep on writing in order to hone your craft. Find your own voice, and then write from the heart, every single day. 3) Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen to constructive feedback. Actively seek it out. Build a circle of readers and writers willing to read your work and give you a solid critique, then be willing to accept their observations and act on their advice. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

House of Wonder

A shout out - woman's fiction.  Life vs. Love... or can you have it at the same time?

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HOUSE OF WONDER

Theirs wasn’t always the misfit family in the neighborhood. Jenna Parsons’s childhood was one of block parties and barbecues, where her mother, a former beauty queen, continued her reign and her twin brother, Warren, was viewed as just another oddball kid. But as her mother’s shopaholic habits intensified, and her brother’s behavior became viewed as more strange than quirky, Jenna sought to distance herself from them. She is devoted to her career and her four-year-old daughter, Rose. But now, in his peculiar way, Warren summons her back to 62 Royal Court.

What she finds there—a house in disrepair, a neighborhood on tenterhooks over a rash of petty thefts, and evidence of past traumas her mother has kept hidden—will challenge Jenna as never before. But as she stands by her family, she also begins to find beauty in unexpected places, strength in unlikely people, and a future she couldn’t have imagined.

On Sale Sept. 2, 2014
NAL Trade Paperback