Looking for a good book?

 

Avid readers are always looking for a “good” book. Of course what makes a book good to one reader is not necessarily going to appeal to the next, but we all search for that sometimes elusive read that will have us turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. We read reviews, seek out books on-line, watch for our favorite authors latest releases, and most importantly look for suggestions from fellow readers for word of mouth is said to be the best advertising off all.

 

And so I present three books I’ve read recently for your consideration.

 

   French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain

A letter that arrives 33 years late, a rock band that missed a chance to touch fame, the members of that group who have led diverse lives now trying to reconnect. Throw in right wing politics, an upcoming election and you have a compelling read. I decided to read this novel because I had already enjoyed two of Laurain’s books, The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook. And, bonus, he has another out soon called, The Portrait. It’s on my wish list.

 

 

  The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

Two women who lived 400 years apart are brought together by an embroidery book with faint dairy entries that tells a tale of pirates and captivity in 1625 Morocco. This review comment was enough to entice me to read the book. “The Tenth Gift is wildly yet convincingly romantic—a rare combo…both a sensitive portrayal of Muslim culture and a delectable adventure of the heart.”—USA Today

I now have more of Johnson’s novels loaded in my Kindle.

 

 

Watch the Shadows by Robin Winter

I know Robin (via the Internet) and had already read her first book Night Must Wait, a gripping story of the Biafran War. I tried to read her second book, Future Past, but it was too dark for me. Watch the Shadows is dark too, but so intriguing. Winters brings together a diverse group of characters—several homeless people, a postman, a couple of professors…. and a young girl determined to solve the mystery of the odd things that are happening in her neighborhood. Where have the birds gone? Why have many of the homeless disappeared? How did her neighbor’s cat lose its tail? I’m glued to this book every night and will be until I finish it.

 

What are you reading? Which books do you recommend?

 

Work In Progress

Anneli Purchase has tagged me to participate in a “Work in Progress” blog tour. Anneli is almost finished writing the sequel to The Wind Weeps which had me on the edge of my chair as I read. Check it out at http://ow.ly/K3i7w

The “Work in Progress” blog tour rules:

Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.

Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress. Some writers give more than the first sentences, and I like that idea, too.

Nominate some other writers to do the same.

My nominations are:

 

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P.C. Zick who says, “I write contemporary fiction, romance, and nonfiction. In everything I do, I seek a challenge. One day I might even write a Gothic thriller, so stay tuned.

I am a storyteller. Any time I use language, either in speaking or writing, I tell a story. I can’t help it. Someone once asked me if I could ever turn it off. I responded, “Why would I ever want to do that?”  http://pczick.com/

Robin Winter – multi-talented writer and artist http://www.robinwinter.net/

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Robin first wrote and illustrated a manuscript on ‘Chickens and their Diseases‘ in second grade. Born in Nebraska, she’s lived in a variety of places, Nigeria, New Hampshire, upper New York state and California. She pursues a career in oil painting under the name of Robin Gowen, specializing in landscape. Her work can be viewed at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara. (Past YouTube videos of two shows can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51nlFnJ71vU   and   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wGxdFFobJA )

I was thrilled that these accomplished writers have agreed to take part in this work-in-progress blog tour. Please stop by their sites and get to know them and their work

And here’s me. http://emandyves.com/

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In my Em and Yves series the heroine’s life is hijacked by beings from “up there.” Heaven and Earth, gods and aliens, reincarnation, and of course a love story holding it all together.

 

My work in progress stays on Earth this time. Teens play a role in an old woman’s life. Given that I worked with teens as an educator for over 30 years, having kids involved again is a natural for me. In this novel old age clashes with youth. Brittany has just begun working in a nursing home after graduation because she can’t afford college when she encounters crusty Flo who speaks to no one, but spends hourss tapping on her laptop. Can one help the other? Or will their interference in each other’s lives make things worse?

Chapter 1 – Flo

“Don’t look so shocked, Missy. I’ve still got a brain and a clit.”

The girl caught me red-handed so to speak, the fingers of my right hand in my crotch working the oil, the other on my right breast tweaking my nipple.

Chapter 2 – Brittany

I leaned against the door, my heart pounding. I couldn’t believe what I’d seen. I could never have imagined such a thing. Lying there naked, her hand running along the inside of her thigh. Caressing herself like that.

Chapter 3 – Flo

Brittany Wright. Brittany Wrong. Right. Wrong. Right. Wrong. I grabbed my laptop and peered out the door. Hallway empty. Good. I snuck past the nurses’ desk. Needn’t have worried. It was vacant. I could hear talking and laughter coming from the staffroom. Yep, that’s the way we work at Happy Hearts.

 

 

 

Why not a one-star review?

Have you ever written to an author and told them you couldn’t make yourself read their book? I have and, in this instance, it was an enlightening experience.

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I read Night Must Wait, by Robin Winter. This is what I had to say about it.

Masterful. Authentic. Gritty. Gripping. Complex characters. Night Must Wait has all the elements to make this novel so much greater than just a war story. Winter’s subtleties in depicting the characters, the setting, the basic elements of Africa add depth and dimension much appreciated by this reader.

I lived in Mali at the time and could not visit Nigeria because of the war, but did travel through Niger, Benin (then called Dahomey) and Togo. I saw enough and knew enough about the area to relate to much in Winter’s book. I have great admiration for what she has accomplished with Night Must Wait.

Robin responded to that review. We exchanged emails and got to know each other as well as one can, electronically. I like her philosophy and attitude. Her writing is strong. I admire that. She’s a painter too, with some amazing visual art to her credit.

FuturePast_Draft-1But what most impressed me, was her response to the note I had sent saying I couldn’t read her second book. The novel in question, Future Past, is set in a dystopian future. The first few chapters proved that her writing was as strong as ever, that her characterizations were clear and sharp, that she would handle this topic as well as she handled any other. That said, why couldn’t I read the book, write the review, and get on with my life? The story was simply too dark for me.

Robin did not take offense at my note. In fact she assured me that she understood my position and didn’t want anything to interfere with our fledgling friendship. She asked if I would consider writing a one-star review making my comments as a warning to other readers who might find this departure from her usual style offensive. I told her I couldn’t bring myself to do that as a one-star review would imply an unwarranted negativity to her work that I surely did not intend.

The one-star reviews I have read seem to be little more than blatant attacks on the author. To me, as a writer and a reader, there is a huge difference between slamming an author for the sake of slamming and offering an honest reaction which is what I tried to do.

Still, I’m in awe of her openness to and acceptance of a reader’s thoughts regarding a work that the reader didn’t like. I sit at my computer and wonder if I could be that receptive to similar remarks about one of my books. I would like to think the answer is yes.