Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Attention all bibliophiles, mark your calendar ~ the 16th National Book Festival will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (Washington DC) on 24 September, 2016. It’ll be open from 10am to 10pm and all events are free of charge.

A list of authors already scheduled to attend (from the Library of Congress website):

  • Kwame Alexander, Newbery Medal winner
  • Douglas Brinkley, prize-winning historian
  • Christopher Buckley, author of such satirical works as “Thank You for Smoking”
  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and author
  • Philip Glass, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Winston Groom, author of “Forrest Gump”
  • Stephen King, best-selling, prize-winning author and literacy advocate
  • James McBride, National Book Award winner
  • Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
  • Joyce Carol Oates, prize-winning author of more than 70 books
  • Ed Piskor, alternative comics artist
  • Michael Ramirez, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Diane Rehm, NPR host and author
  • Salman Rushdie, Man Booker Prize winner
  • Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Bob Woodward, Pulitzer prize winner and author of 17 No. 1 best-sellers
  • Luis Alberto Urrea, prize-winning author of “The Devil’s Highway”
  • Gene Luen Yang, Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

More authors expected to sign-on in the coming months.

For those who are unable to attend, but want to follow along, there’s an free app available. Click here.



Read Full Post »

Book Giveaway: And The Winners Are…

Logan made the book giveaway video complete with sound effects!

Congratulations to Kelly and Kellee!!  Books will be in the mail this week ~ I have to take a train to the APO so it’ll probably be Friday.  Enjoy and if you want more information about Brad Taylor’s books (he has a sequel to “One Rough Man” and a third novel coming out in January 2013) then go to his website here.

Read Full Post »



Winter weather has made its way to the UK.  Combine the cold with short days and it makes me what to cuddle up to a good book with a cup of hot chocolate.  I joined a book club here in London and, so far, I’ve read two of their selections: In the Garden of the Beasts (Erik Larson) and Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn).  Both are books I wouldn’t have picked up on my own and that’s one reason for belonging to a club~ gets me out of my comfort zone.

The Garden of the Beasts (non-fiction) is a fascinating account of the newly appointed US Ambassador to Germany in 1933.  As much as I’ve read/studied about World War II, I found this book to be a fresh perspective of a mild-mannered college professor who became Ambassador by default and his rather wild, promiscuous and ambitious daughter.  It was impossible for me to read it without a deep sense of foreboding ~ not unlike watching the movie “Titanic” or “Dances with Wolves.”   Hindsight affords us the knowledge of what happens in the end and, as we all know, it’s not a happily ever after even for the survivors/victors.

Gone Girl (fiction) is currently #8 on the New York Times best sellers list. It’s a quick read with lots of twists and turns.  I found it difficult to like the characters and it was even more disconcerting because I found them to be deeply flawed but surprisingly realistic.  I’ve known people who are like Nick, Amy, the parents, etc.  Not to the extent they’re portrayed in the book but muted variations.  What kept me most interested though is the fast-paced, sharp and tense writing style. The story alternates 1st person between the Nick, the husband and Amy, the wife.  I don’t want to say much about the storyline because just describing it might give away too much.

Next month’s book selection is the classic: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee).  I read it in the dark ages High School ~ great book, great story but I’m not sure I want to re-read it now.  May skip next month’s meeting and move onto the February selection which is Bringing Up the Bodies (Hilary Mantel).  I’m half way through her first book Wolf Hall and it’s fabulous!

Yesterday, the book club luncheon included a “book exchange”, and since I was the last to pick, I stole away with The Days and Nights of London Now ~ as Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It and Long For It LONDONERS (Craig Taylor).  It definitely wins the prize for longest titled book I’ll be reading this year.  I was very excited about the book until I read the author is Canadian.  For some reason, I assumed a book with that lofty London title would surely be written (compiled) by a Londoner.

The book I took to be exchanged was The Ambassador’s Suitcase (Matthew Parris) which my friend Leslie ended up with whichs works out well. We can trade books after we’ve read our own books. Originally, I ordered the action packed novel One Rough Man (Brad Taylor) to take to the book exchange. I wrote a review on it last year here. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it in time so I decided to do this book giveaway.   Also, my copy of Gone Girl is in pristine condition and it’s not a book I’m likely to re-read so I’m giving that away as well.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  Please leave a comment beginning with “The best book I’ve read in a long time is…”   Also, if you want to be considered for one specific book, please write either One Rough Man or Gone Girl.  Otherwise,  I’ll put your name in for both.  It will be possible for one person to win both books.  The winner will be chosen by my daughter, Logan who will pull a name from a hat for One Rough Man and then she’ll draw a name from the other “hat” with those who want to be in the running for Gone Girl.  I know, I can’t get any more “low tech” than that but it’s more fun this way.   Deadline to leave a comment will be Sunday, 9 December 2012 at midnight (GMT/London time).  We’ll choose names on Monday, 10 December.  FYI both are hardcover books which I’ll mail to you if you win.

Good Luck!!

Read Full Post »

Book Signing in Arlington


It was definitely worth the drive to see Brad and, BONUS, we got to see his lovely wife, Elaine.  Brad’s talk before the signing was very informative (& funny).  He spoke about character development, how he selects locations, and how he takes precautions to protect those who are still serving.  I’m happy to see they are both doing so well and wish all good success for Brad’s future novels.

Here’s John and Brad at the signing:

I wasn’t quite so impressed with the Book Store 😦   I emailed a week ago and specifically asked if I could have a copy of All Necessary Force set aside along with the David McCullough book, The Greater Journey ~ Americans in Paris.   Unfortunately, they sold out of the book and decided to sell MY copy before I got there.  I know you Kindle readers are laughing at me because all you have to do is click a button for your book, but I still like reading hardback books.  It’s easier on my eyes.

If you’re looking for a good read, I recommend you start with One Rough Man. 

I’ve always wanted to attend a book signing/author talk but, for some reason or another, have never make it.  But I’m determined to go to One More Page bookstore this Wednesday (18 Jan) for Brad Taylor’s book signing for his new book, All Necessary Force.  Brad is the twin brother of Scott Taylor, who was the best man at our wedding.

Brad’s first book, One Rough Man, is an action packed story of a Special Forces soldier who finds himself on the edge after his family is murdered.  For the first few chapters, I had a hard time not imagining Brad as the main character but, as the story went, I became so engrossed I forgot all about Brad and just enjoyed the rest of the novel.  All Necessary Force continues the adventures of Pike Logan and I’m looking forward to reading about how he gets in and out of predicaments.

The author, Brad is a former Special Forces officer and I can’t help but wonder how those who are still in Special Forces feel about his book. It contains A LOT of,  what seems to me, insider information.  If that were my profession, which relies on anonymity for safety reasons, I’d been a bit put-out but as a lay person, I found the book to be interesting and fast-paced.

One More Page promises to be an interesting book store to visit ~ they not only sell books, but they sell wine (and have wine tasting on site) and chocolate.  Can’t go wrong with books, wine and chocolate!!

Read Full Post »

Teaser Tuesday: The Beach House

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to: Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My Teaser Tuesday is The Beach House by Georgia Bockoven. I picked it up at Borders on Sunday ~ it was the name and cover of the book that appealed to me. Here’s my teaser from page 197:

Her voice washed over him like a warm summer rain, the kind you tilted your head back to let the drops hit your face, where you licked the moisture from your lips and closed your eyes to concentrate on the utter sensuality of the moment. “I have them for three weeks. Their mother is on her honeymoon.”

It’s an easy read with interesting stories weaved together at the beach house. It’s not a breezy story though and I’ve ended up crying during a couple of chapters so I’m only reading it at home 😉  Once I’m done, I’ll post a review.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Read Full Post »

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to: Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

This teaser is page 221 from Now You See Him by Eli Gottlieb.

Leaving aside the sickness I felt at heart, what did it mean? And what did it mean that my real father, week after week, year after year, had stared at me living my life literally fifty feet from his front door until the day of his death, and never once, for my sake, let the mask slip from his face.

I’m half way through the book and, although it’s a bit depressing with stories of loss, infidelity and betrayal, it’s so well written that I keep reading so as to enjoy the beautiful sentence structures and the eloquent way he describes the events happening in his life.

Thankfully, Lisa at Books on the Brain was kind enough to send a light hearted novel:

  as my next book to read. I need to lighten things up as far as reading goes.

Read Full Post »

Tuesday Teasers

Here’s how the Tuesday Teaser works:  Grab your current read.  Let the book fall open to a random page.  Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!  If you have your own blog, post it there and leave a link or just leave the teaser in the comment section.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell from page 211

But then, as it happens, from miles out, the captain sees the lights of Guam.  So he relaxes.

How funny that I opened to a page with Guam as an example.  One more reminder of the sun and fun I’m missing so much right now.

Back to the book ~Outliers refers to men and women who do things that are out of the ordinary.  I’m only a couple of chapters into it but I’m enjoying it so far. The book is his theory as to why some people succeed significantly more than others.  He has some very interesting thoughts on why people are more successful than others. 

What are you reading these days?

Read Full Post »

gods behaving badly

I won the book, gods behaving badly written by Marie Phillips, in a giveaway by Books on the Brain. What a treat. It arrived while I was reading the Twilight series so it got put to the side until I finished with those books.

Summary of the book: 12 Greek gods, with waning powers, living in modern day London, all cramped into a dilapidated house they’ve lived in since 1665. The gods are bored, cranky and petty. Add in 2 mortals in a race to save humankind and you’ve got a very interesting read. Not only did I get a good chuckle, but it sparked an interest in re-learning my Greek mythology. I recognized the well known gods i.e. Apollo, Aphrodite, Artemis, Ares, etc. But there were a few I had to look up. Click here if you want a refresher of  The Olympians.  My favorite is Artemis (goddess of hunting) with Dionysus (god of wine), who owns a sleazy bar called Bacchanalia, being a close second.

Each god has a job that coincides with their talents. Artemis is a dog walker and is always on the look-out for a dog with some feistiness left in him/her. She’s thrilled when she finally gets to tangle with Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Hades (god of the underworld).  Here’s a passage about Artemis’ search for a “real” dog:

There were dogs all around, on leashes, and Artemis tried to catch their eyes, hoping to detect some wolfish spark, some indication that they knew their heritage, but they were all the same – fat, lazy, dull. There was no point. No true dog would allow itself to be tethered to a human anyway.

Apollo (god of the sun and a gift of prophecy) has a TV psychic show, Aphrodite (goddess of Love and Beauty) is a sex phone operator.  And so it goes.  The power of belief  is a main theme of the book, but be warned, there are several unsettling comments “against” Jesus and God which comes from the point of view of the gods.  In the end, the book is a light farce and a romantic comedy.

After reading the vampire series (4 books) and about the Greek gods, I’m in serious need of a more realistic novel. Any suggestions for a “feel good” story based in reality?

Read Full Post »

Feeling A Lot Less Guilty

Thanks to Books on the Brain, I’m feeling a lot less guilty about my all-consuming weekend of reading. Since I started reading Twilight and New Moon, I’ve been neglecting Favorite Man, Girl and Grandma Betty. Only the dogs were happy with my reading since they got to lay next to me and got petted occassionally.  Feeling guilty, I decided to stop reading my book and checked out what was happening in the blog world. Yeah, I know ~ that’s just more reading and neglecting BUT thankfully, I popped into Books on the Brain, which is my usual first stop, and was thrilled to see I’m not the only one “escaping” into a book. 

Yet another reason why Books on the Brain is one of my favorite blogs ~ if you’re a reader and haven’t checked it out, I recommend you head over and give it a read.

The good thing about reading is Favorite Girl likes to curl up with me and read at the same time. And she’s thrilled that we can talk about the story of Edward and Bella. 😉 Although she doesn’t always like my take on things…

Read Full Post »

Tuesday Teasers

From Books on the Brain, Tuesday Teasers:

Grab your current read.  Let the book fall open to a random page.  Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

It was a strange combination to absorb – the everyday concerns of the town doctor stuck in the middle of a discussion of his early days in the seventeenth-century London. It was also unsettling that he spoke outloud for my benefit.

Favorite Girl is a big fan of the “Twilight” series and begged asked me to give Twilight a chance. So far, I’m half way through the first book and enjoying it more than I thought I would. When I heard it was about vampires, I thought it would be just “re-tread” but it’s more about love and the fight between “good and evil” ~ I can certainly understand why teenage girls are “obsessed” with all things “Edward.” 

If you’re looking for a book to escape with, I highly recommend Twilight.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »