Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bum Rap - a Shout Out

Idgie says:
Federal agents, Russian mob, murder, hot detective and a little humor and sarcasm thrown into a murder mystery...........what could be more fun!  Sounds like a great pool/beach read!

Bum Rap



Thomas & Mercer

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date

Description

Trial lawyer-turned-writer Paul Levine won the John D. MacDonald fiction award, has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, Shamus, and James Thurber prizes, and has written for multiple hit television shows. 

Jake Lassiter, star of ten of Levine’s previous novels, is also a man of many talents: an NFL linebacker-turned-lawyer who’s a “brew and burger guy in a paté and Chardonnay world.” In Levine’s newest, BUM RAP (Thomas & Mercer; July 1, 2015), Lassiter faces his toughest case yet: the murder trial of Steve Solomon, half of the bickering legal duo at the center of Levine’s Solomon vs. Lord series.

Disillusioned by the justice system after his own recent murder trial, Lassiter is ready to call it quits when he gets a call from Victoria Lord. Her partner, Solomon, has been arrested for murder and he needs the hardest-hitting lawyer he can find. Used to working alone, Lassiter soon finds himself teamed up with Lord to track down the only witness who can clear Solomon’s name – before the feds or the Russian Mob find her first.

A page-turning legal thriller that marks the first literary meet-up between Jake Lassiter, Steve Solomon, and Victoria Lord, BUM RAP is as hot as the city it’s set in, Miami.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

University of South Caroline Press Titles - June/August 2015

Idgie Says:
Take a look at some of the intriguing novels coming out of USC Press in the upcoming months.  I am looking at a collection of fascinating books here.  Mary Hood writes absolutely wonderful characters crackling with vitality  - they are fully alive in your mind.   Jacob Jump looks like it will have us on the edge of our seats as we read it - I can feel the tension pouring out of the back cover description. The Headmaster's Darlings appears to be filled with wonderfully quirky characters and sarcasm - both of which I happen to adore in a good novel. 

Take a few minutes and peruse the descriptions of the books below.  I think you'll find yourself heading out to pick up a copy of one... or maybe several choices will be found below! 


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A Clear View of the Southern Sky
Stories
Mary Hood
Foreword by Pat Conroy
Stories of women on the edge pursuing happiness and salvation through courage and human connection 
July, 2015
 
A Clear View of the Southern Sky reveals women in the twenty-first century doing what women have always done in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. In each of the ten tales from Southern storyteller Mary Hood, women have come—by circumstances and choice—to the very edge of their known worlds. Some find courage to winnow and move on; others seek the patience to risk and to stay. Along the way hearts, bonds, speed limits, fingernails, and the Ten Commandments get broken. Dust settles, but these women do not.

In the title story, a satellite dish company promises that happiness—or at least access to its programming—requires just a TV and a clear view of the Southern sky. The short story itself reveals the journey of a Hispanic woman whose mission is to assassinate a mass murderer, an agenda triggered by post-traumatic stress wrought by seeing the murderer's cynical grin on a news program. We follow her into the shadow of an enormous satellite dish on a roof across the street from the courthouse and ultimately into a women's prison English-as-Second-Language class where she must confront her life. She has slept but never dreamed, and now she wakes.

In other stories Hood introduces us to a kindergarten teacher, stunned by a student's blurted-out question, as she discovers her deepest vocation and the mystery of its source. We meet a widow who befriends a young neighbor, only to realize they must keep secrets from each other and hold fast to their hope. A woman trucker discovers the depth of her love as she imagines her cell phone calls—and her sweetheart's own messages—winging their way, tower to tower, along her interstate route. Two stories deal with one man and two of his wives and how they learn the lessons only love can teach about the reach and limitations of ownership and forever. The collection concludes with the novella "Seam Busters," in which a diverse cast of women workers in a rural Georgia mill sew camouflage for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The women are part of a larger purpose, and they know it. When the shadow of death passes over the factory, each woman and the entire community find out what it really means to have American pride.
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Jacob Jump
A Novel
Eric Morris
Foreword by Pat Conroy
Old friends on a week-long boating trip seeking escape get caught in a terrifying current of fear and madness
August, 2015
 
Jacob Jump, the dark and meticulously crafted first novel from Eric Morris, follows a weeklong ill-fated boating trip down the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia, to the lighthouse at Tybee Island. Chance and danger trump planning and intention at every turn, and the pull of the historic river and of fate itself propels Morris's characters with unrelenting force.

Old friends Thomas Verdery and William Rhind, each seeking temporary escape from the failures of their lives, take to the river with Rhind's father. Verdery, a native Southerner, has left his job and lover in Nepaug, Connecticut, while Rhind has lost his wife and child to his drinking. Encounters with dangerous weather and unhinged locals imperil the trio, who are held at gunpoint when they try to dock and soon are fighting among themselves. The hazards of the trip and a shocking loss along the way exacerbate William Rhind's drinking and tendencies toward violence.

When Verdery and Rhind must become reluctant custodians of young Caron Lee, a lost girl from the backwoods family that had previously accosted them, tensions build toward explosive ends as the serene open waters of the Atlantic Ocean wait just beyond reach on the unknown, unknowable horizon.

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The Headmaster's Darlings
A Mountain Brook Novel
Katherine Clark
Foreword by Pat Conroy
A social satire of an unorthodox English teacher at an elite private school trying to save his students and career
August, 2015

The Headmaster's Darlings is a satirical comedy of manners featuring the morbidly obese Norman Laney, an unorthodox, inspirational English teacher and college counselor for an elite private school in Mountain Brook, a privileged community outside of Birmingham. A natural wonder from blue-collar Alabama, Laney has barged into the exclusive world of Mountain Brook on the strength of his sensational figure and its several-hundred-pound commitment to art and culture. His mission is to defeat "the barbarians," introduce true civilization in place of its thin veneer, and change his Southern world for the better. Although Laney is adored by his students (his "darlings") and by the society ladies (also his "darlings") who rely on him to be the life of their parties and the leader of their book clubs, there are others who think he is a larger-than-life menace to the comfortable status quo of Mountain Brook society and must be banished.

When Laney is summoned to the principal's office one day in November 1984, he expects to be congratulated for a recent public-relations triumph he engineered on behalf of the school. Instead his letter of resignation is demanded with no explanation given. Faced with an ultimatum and his imminent dismissal, Laney must outflank the principal at his own underhanded game, find out who said what about him and why, and launch his current crop of Alabama students into the wider world—or at least into Ivy League colleges.

In her debut novel, Katherine Clark casts a comical eye on Southern society and celebrates the power of great teachers and schools to transform the lives of young people and lift up their communities. Surrounded by a colorful cast of his colleagues, his young protégés and Mountain Brook's upper echelon, Laney emerges as a heroically idiosyncratic character with Falstaffian appetites, an inimitable wit and intellect, and a boundless generosity toward his students that reshapes their lives in profound, unexpected ways.

Tomorrow War

Tomorrow-war-9781451629132_hrIdgie Says:
To me, this book somewhat resembled "The Martian" but instead of a man minutely detailing how to survive on Mars with a lot of experience and some MacGyver techniques,  Max is straight out of the military trying to survive the complete and sudden breakdown of society.   In this dystopian novel, America destroys the very infrastructure of modern day civilization in a terrorist military maneuver.  I grasped why this plot was formed, but never grasped how the total breakdown of the world was going to help the economy. 

This book is military in nature, but Max is not a hard-assed Colonel with a cold nature.  He's just a guy who made it into an intensive Seal like unit, only to shortly thereafter realize he just helped destroy the world.  He spends the rest of the book surviving and sometimes helping others.  

Interesting reading, but need to be prepared for a lot of detail on weapons, training and whatnot. 

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Tomorrow War
Gallery Books
June 30, 2015

Book Description:
The Chronicles of Max [Redacted]
In this riveting, ultra-realistic novel from J.L. Bourne, a man struggles to survive after the US infrastructure collapses and martial law engulfs the streets of America.

In the not-too-distant future, during an unacknowledged mission inside the Syrian border, a government operative unwittingly triggers an incredible event that alters the course of society. A terrible weapon has been unleashed—a weapon that, left to run its course, will destroy the moral fabric of humanity.

In the midst of crisis, the population struggles to survive in a world short on vital resources. Inflation cripples the US economy and post-war armored military vehicles patrol the streets.

One man stands up to push back the overwhelming wave of tyranny triggered by the onset of nationwide martial law. How can he possibly succeed against a high tech and tyrannical enemy that is hell-bent on ripping liberty from the pages of future history?

From the author and military expert who brought readers the riveting horror series Day by Day Armageddon, Tomorrow War is a compelling account of an alternate dystopian America located just down the tracks of oblivion.


In this riveting, ultra-realistic novel from J.L. Bourne, a man struggles to survive after the US infrastructure collapses and martial law engulfs the streets of America.

In the not-too-distant future, during an unacknowledged mission inside the Syrian border, a government operative unwittingly triggers an incredible event that alters the course of society. A terrible weapon has been unleashed—a weapon that, left to run its course, will destroy the moral fabric of humanity.

In the midst of crisis, the population struggles to survive in a world short on vital resources. Inflation cripples the US economy and post-war armored military vehicles patrol the streets.

One man stands up to push back the overwhelming wave of tyranny triggered by the onset of nationwide martial law. How can he possibly succeed against a high tech and tyrannical enemy that is hell-bent on ripping liberty from the pages of future history?

From the author and military expert who brought readers the riveting horror series Day by Day Armageddon, Tomorrow War is a compelling account of an alternate dystopian America located just down the tracks of oblivion.
- See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Tomorrow-War/J-L-Bourne/9781451629132#sthash.Y0ONuMhB.dpuf

Weightless - A Shout Out and Excerpt

Idgie Says:
I feel these types of books are important to have out there - to open all of our eyes to the fact that sometimes teen angst is serious and that bullying is a real threat to the children. Teenagers are still young people, but in large enough bodies with skills to really harm each other, physically and emotionally. 

I have not only seen my older child's personality go through a huge change during these years, when life was suddenly not so golden, but he has lost a friend to what became overwhelming life pressure for him.  Yes, this may be a novel, but it's based on a very serious issue.
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On June 30 St. Martin’s Press will release Weightless, a novel that tells the story of the new student at a small Alabama high school and her downfall from golden girl to social outcast, orchestrated by the school’s original “it” crowd. Though I know this description doesn’t make Weightless sound like the first book of its kind, I assure you that this is not a typical high school bullying story.

So many aspects of Weightless make it unique to other high school-centered novels, from the way Bannan hauntingly writes in the first-person plural point of view, to her inclusion of snippets from the characters’ lives like Facebook posts, newspaper articles, letters from teachers, and graded essays. The speakers tell Carolyn Lessing’s story in the past tense, so readers are never quite sure from what age they are looking back on the events.
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When Carolyn Lessing moves from New Jersey to Alabama with her mother, she rattles the status quo of the juniors at Adams High. Gorgeous, stylish, a great student and gifted athlete without a mean girl bone in her body Carolyn is gobbled up right away by the school's cliques. She even begins dating a senior, Shane, whose on again/off again girlfriend Brooke becomes Carolyn's bitter romantic rival. When a make-out video of Carolyn and Shane makes the rounds, Carolyn goes from golden girl to slut in an instant, with Brooke and her best friend responsible for the campaign.

Carolyn is hounded and focused on, and becomes more and more private. Questions about her family and her habits torture her. But a violent confrontation with Shane and Brooke in the student parking lot is the last attack Carolyn can take.

A novel to drop us all back into the intensity of our high school years, WEIGHTLESS is a startling and assured debut.

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Sarah Bannan's deft use of the first person plural gives Weightless an emotional intensity and remarkable power that will send you flying through the pages and leave you reeling.

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Chapter 1 Excerpt

Weightless, by Sarah Bannan


1

They came out in groups of three, wearing matching shorts and T-shirts, their hair tied back with orange and black ribbons. Their eyes were wide and they yelled and clapped and turned, precisely, rehearsed. They smiled and their lipstick was pink and smooth, their teeth white and perfect. They sparkled.

We sat in the bleachers, towels underneath our legs, trying not to burn our skin on the metal. We wore our Nicole Richie sunglasses and our Auburn and Alabama baseball caps and our Abercrombie tank tops and shorts. The scoreboard on the left of the field displayed the temperature—97 degreesand the Adamsville morning news said that the heat index made it closer to 105. This is something we had learned to get used to, to air so hot and sticky that you felt like you were moving through liquid, to summers so hot you moved as little as humanly possible, and even then, only to get into air-conditioned air. The temperature flashed away and the time appeared—5.24 P.M. The sun would set in two, maybe three hours, but the sky was already turning a deeper orange; some clouds gave a little shelter, softening the glare. We sat and we let the heat do what it had to; sweat collected underneath our knees, between our legs, on the backs of our necks.

Three more moved to the field, all spirit fingers and toe touches and back handsprings. Thin, tanned and golden: they were smiling and they did not sweat. They looked fresh and impossibly clean and their mascara didn’t run and their foundation didn’t melt and their hair didn’t frizz. We clapped and we cheered and we watched and we waited. The marching band played in the bleachers across from us: brass, drums, Adams Highs fight song. We sang along to the parts we knew, we screamed during the parts we didn’t. And it always ended the same way:

ADAMS HAIL TO THEE.”

The pep rally would have been indoors, would have taken place in the gym on the basketball court, like always, like we were used to, only a bunch of seniors had vandalized the walls the day after graduation, and they hadn’t turned up to do their punishment, to remove their spray paint with paint thinner and methyl chloride: the administration couldn’t do a fucking thing now, until
the day before the school year began. But Mr. Overton refused to give in, refused to have the janitors paint over it. So, here we were, a week before that, a gym full of expletives or some kind of soft core porno crap or something. Our parents had been told that the whole school was being fumigated for asbestos, but we knew better. We knew the real story. We’d heard it from Taylor Lyon, and she’d told everybody, and eventually, it was something that everybody knew. Or everybody who was anybody.

We watched the girls run to the side of the track, but Taylor Lyon stayed in the center and we watched her cheer. All on her own. The faculty sponsors sat in the front row—Miss Simpson, Mr. Ferris, Coach Coxand we watched them watch her, watch her as she jumped and clapped
and touched her toes and yelled. She yelled so much louder than you could imagine, a deep voice from an almost invisible body:

Jam with us! You’ve got to, got to, got to jam with us! Go AHS!”

Taylor had hair that was just a little red—mostly brown, but with fiery glintsand when the sun hit it, the little glints looked supershiny, like something out of a Crayola box. When we were in kindergarten, Mrs. Cornish picked her for everything: to be Snow White in our end-of-year production, to be the line leader, to be the Pilgrim who said grace at Thanksgiving. Mrs. Cornish loved Taylor, and said her red hair was her crowning glory.” And when she said that, or when she picked Taylor for another honor, for another role, Taylors face would burn deep, a red that looked like it stung her cheeks, like it ran through her whole body. It was strange to watch her now, and we wondered if she thought it was strange too, how much she had changed.

 The heat was still unbearable, and we took out bottles of Gatorade and tried to focus on Taylor as she did her back handsprings, as she tumbled across the track. She came back to the center again, gave us spirit fingers and a smile, picked up her pom-poms, and she ran to the side. Her solo was over.