Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Hub City Titles - A Wild Eden and Let Me Out Here

A Wild Eden

When Jack Parker's father dies Jack knows one thing: Tom Parker was a good man. Beyond that, decades of distance and silence had kept the two men from truly knowing each other. Jack attends the funeral with the hope he can shovel some dirt onto Tom’s casket, collect a few commiserations, and put miles between himself and the questions he’d let simmer since he’d left home years before. But when a group of strangers appears at the funeral, Jack realizes he has more questions than answers about how his father actually lived his life.

Jack picks up the pieces, moving back home to help his ailing mother and continue work on his father’s many projects. He soon finds himself at the center of a family maelstrom, worsened by his troubled siblings’ lives and continued unearthings of Tom’s secrecy. Haunted by hazy nightmares from his youth and driven by guilt, Jack tries to uncover why his father kept such a considerable part of his life from them all. The secrets Jack uncovers might shake the foundation of the refuge he hopes to create.

Suddenly thrust into a dangerous world of drug deals and violence, Jack is forced to examine his own brutal limits and those of his father. When finally faced with the truth of his and Tom’s past, he realizes that sometimes secrets are best left buried on the river bottom.

A Wild Eden was the 2018 South Carolina Novel Prize winner, selected by Jill McCorkle.

August 2019

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Let Me Out Here

In her debut collection, Emily W. Pease is at work redefining the short story.  

Let Me Out Here explores the underbellies and strange desires of our neighbors, our loved ones, ourselves. A co-ed takes up with a with a mysterious cab driver who’s been calling every night on her dormitory’s hall phone; a family isolated by their faith hikes to a waterfall in search of healing; a mother sets her balcony on fire after an awkward family dinner; a woman befriends the snakes her preacher boyfriend keeps in their shed. This revealing collection offers a deep empathy for people doing the best they can, despite themselves.

Spread over varied landscapes of the South and offering surprising moments of raw revelation, the characters here find themselves at crossroads or alone on an empty street at night. With Let Me Out Here, Pease joins the ranks of Mary Gaitskill, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Kelly Link, and adds to their tradition a deft, singular style and a voice as darkly funny as it is exacting.

Let Me Out Here is the 2018 winner of the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize.

March 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

Land of Wolves (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 15) - Review



Hardcover | $28.00
Published by Viking
Sep 17, 2019 | 336 Pages


The new novel in Craig Johnson’s beloved New York Times bestselling Longmire series.

Attempting to recover from his harrowing experiences in Mexico, in Land of Wolves Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire is neck deep in the investigation of what could or could not be the suicidal hanging of a shepherd. With unsettling connections to a Basque family with a reputation for removing the legs of Absaroka County sheriffs, matters become even more complicated with the appearance of an oversize wolf in the Big Horn Mountains to which Walt finds himself feeling more and more empathetic.


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Previous Review for the Entire Book Series:
Idgie Says:
I was slow to start reading these books, as somehow their absolute awesomeness passed me by.  I met Craig Johnson about 3 years ago and became intrigued with the stories, but still was so busy with review work that I didn't branch out to try books not already on my desk glaring at me to hurry up, read and review. 

My hubby started watching the show about 3 months ago in a delightful binge fashion and I quickly found myself drawn into the characters and plots.  Lots of snarkiness and sarcastic humor, which I happen to love. 

I decided I needed to try one of his books.  I grabbed the first book in the series, The Cold Dish, and was instantly hooked!  The characters, descriptives, flow of the wording... all glorious. I immediately bought the second one after finishing.  I've since been to several book stores and am picking them up a bit out of order as I find them.  The prices have not reduced, not even in the older books, as this is still a top selling series.  

You can read them out of order, but I don't recommend it as there are a lot of background nuances going on that are better understood if you have followed the series as it evolves. I now find myself reading the books and watching the show at the same time.  Of course the show lasted for 6 seasons and there are only 14 books, so while it's similar, it's no longer overlapping. 

I can highly recommend this series and am somewhat glad that I found it late, as I can now binge read instead of impatiently waiting for the next in the series to come out. 










 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Don't You Forget About Me - Review

Idgie Says:
The press release for this novel references similarities to Bridget Jones Diary, and I do agree with that for it's tone and snarkiness.  There's some wonderful dry British humor in this story.   

I will say though, that I found this storyline to ramble off onto sideroads quite a bit.  You could easily remove 100 pages and still have a full novel.  It became a bit frustrating to me. 

But one can always skip over whole chapters and keep to the basic plot!

William Morrow
September 10, 2019

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You always remember your first love... don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the worst restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat... what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth... or a second chance with the one that got away?

The Passengers - Review and Q & A

Idgie Says:
This is a fast paced ride of a read!  It starts out with a bang and continues it's twists and turns until the very last page.  It keeps you on the edge of your seat as secrets continue to be revealed and as you realize just how much of your personal information is out there, waiting to be grabbed by others, via cameras, electronic messaging, records that are easily hacked, etc. 

The novel has a huge moral conundrum surrounding it in regards to who is worthy of flourishing in the world and who might be considered "disposable".  It shows a sad depiction of social media, which unfortunately is probably spot on.

 I tore through the novel in two days, forgoing other needed things such as food and sleep....... and it was worth it.

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You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die.”

Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.

From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, "Which of these people should we save?...And who should we kill first?"
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (August 27, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1984806971
  • ISBN-13: 978-1984806970
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A Conversation with
John Marrs, author of
THE PASSENGERS




How would you describe THE PASSENGERS?

I’d describe it as five minutes in the future, speculative fiction. It follows five people from different walks of life who climb into their driverless cars one morning and are warned their vehicles have been hacked. In two hours time, they are set to collide head-on in front of a global audience of millions. It’s up to social media and a selected panel of experts to decide which of them should survive. The book has been described as Speed meets Hunger Games with a Black Mirror twist. Praise doesn’t get much better than that! 

What influenced this book?

A conversation with my former editor about driverless vehicles led to it. We were discussing my previous book, The One, when she suddenly asked if there was anything that could be done with autonomous vehicles in a novel? I loved the idea and two weeks later, I sent her a four-page outline of the story. She was immediately onboard.

What sort of research did you do while writing THE PASSENGERS?

Setting a book in the near future means looking forward to the technology we might soon be using. Everything from how we access the Internet to how our mobile devices might look. And of course, what driverless cars will look like and how they will operate. So with the help of my husband, we researched all we could about these vehicles, how they operated, how they made life or death decisions, the ethics behind them and even what they might look like inside and out. We also travelled to Switzerland to the Geneva Motor Show to look at the vehicles of the near future, some of which were autonomous ones. It was fascinating.

Which one of the characters did you enjoy writing the most?

I enjoyed writing Sophia Bradbury the most. She’s a working actress in her seventies whose career is winding down, albeit reluctantly. When she finds herself trapped in a driverless car and broadcast to millions, she thinks she is in a reality TV show. She’s camp and unwittingly funny but hides some very dark secrets. I based some of her mannerisms and sense of entitlement on a character played by a British actress in 1980s soap Dynasty.


Social media plays a significant role in THE PASSENGERS, how do you see it shaping where we are now? Are you on social media? 

Yes, I am on social media— probably too much! I have my own Facebook page, an author one, I use Twitter and I have two Instagram accounts, one primarily for posting images of books, my own and other novels that I’m reading. Social media can be brilliant and do so much good, but can also be an awful place for some people. I know that if I were being picked on or trolled, I would not remain a part of it. Life is too short to be dragged down by negativity. I don’t involve myself in online spats, I’d rather argue with people I know in the real world than people I’m never likely to meet! However I’ve been fortunate. Social media has been a fantastic way for me to interact with my readers. I try and answer each of their messages or Tweets; they’ve been kind enough to purchase and read my books and given me a career, so it’s only right that I try and respond if they get in touch.

What challenges did you face while writing THE PASSENGERS?

The biggest challenge was finding the balance between including the technology used for driverless cars but without overloading the reader with facts and figures and having it come at the expense of pace and plot. Then on a personal level, my mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer during the writing of this book. During the four-week run up to her operation, we spent a lot of time in specialists’ waiting rooms. And when she was in different clinics facing a barrage of tests, I brought with me a rucksack full of printouts to proof read and edit until she returned. Discussing the plot and characters with her during these long waits also took both of our minds off what was to come. Thankfully, mum’s a survivor and her cancer had not spread. After an operation, she has fully recovered. But even now, almost a year later, when I re-read selected parts of THE PASSENGERS, I can still recall exactly which hospital waiting room I was in and what tests she was having done when I wrote them. 

Tell us about your literary influences.  Who are your favorite writers and what kind of books do you love to read?

As a boy, I grew up obsessed with The Hardy Boys books, and wanted to write like their author, Franklin W. Dixon. It was only as an adult that I learned he didn’t exist; he was a conglomerate of writers. Nowadays, I am a huge fan of Peter Swanson. No two books of his are alike. He is not afraid to take risks, explore the darker side of human nature yet makes his characters relatable. And for me, Gillian Flynn is a fearless and innovative writer. Her stories both fascinate and scare the living daylights out of me. I’ve recently become obsessed with Irish writer John Boyne and am working my way through his back catalogue, devouring his every word. 
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THE PASSENGERS
by John Marrs
Berkley Hardcover (978-1-984-80697-0)
On-sale:  August 27, 2019