Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Release: Modern Persuasion by Sara Marks

Modern Persuasion
by Sara Marks
-Contemporary Romance, Jane Austen
Release date: May 29, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Which would you pick: the person you love or your own dreams?

What would you do if given a second chance at that decision? Eight years ago Emma Shaw picked her career and family over the man she loved, Fredrick Wentworth. Since then she has built a career in publishing and spends her free time making sure her father and sisters are taken care of. Fredrick has spent the same years building his career as a screenwriter under increasing public scrutiny as a celebrity. When the editor of Fredrick s first book is injured, Emma is forced to travel with Fredrick on his book tour. Tension builds for the two former lovers over the course of the tour. Emma and Fredrick must face their emotional baggage and their misunderstanding about how their break-up impacted the other.

Will they be able to find their way back together for a second chance at love?

Excerpt: Chapter 10

Patrick dealt with the early morning shows without me. His logic was that he and Fredrick did these all the time to promote movies. We agreed to meet at the Columbus Circle Barnes & Noble for the first book signing later that afternoon so we could set up together. Not having to get up before the sun didn't stop me from turning on the morning shows to watch what happened. The interviews went off without a hitch for most of the shows. This first New York City round centered on the large, national morning shows. The anchors focused on the book and not Fredrick's personal life. Christi told me she made a point of asking them to do this. One show did ask about the insanity of PubCon and what it was like there. Fredrick didn't mention Christi's accident and I mentally thanked him for that. The only hiccup occurred on one of the later morning shows. Their newest anchor apparently didn't get or care about the requested focus.

"So," the man said. "You recently had a pretty bad break up with Abby."

"These things happen," Fredrick said.

"It surprised a lot of people considering that she has a child and you seemed to really be in a good place together."

"Things change in relationships. People change and it requires that you change the relationship."

"Abby has commented that you refused to leave Los Angeles when she wanted to make New York City her permanent home."

"That was one of many reasons."

"Well, I know there are thousands of women out there who would love to take her place. What should all the women of the world know is your number one barrier to a lasting relationship."

Fredrick sat there for a moment, thinking.

"You know, I have to say the number one barrier in a lasting relationship with me is weakness of character. If a woman can easily be persuaded by her friends and family to do something she doesn't really want, then she and I won't make a good pair."

I sat there looking at the television and I realized I was never going to be able to fix the mistake I had made. This next month was going to be torture.

--~ Blog Tour Giveaway ~--

a Rafflecopter giveaway


FOR more details check out the blog tour:

5/22 My Jane Austen Bookclub
5/22 Most Agreeably Engaged
5/23 Half Agony, Half Hope
5/24 JustJane 1813
5/24 The Ardent Reader
5/25 From Pemberly to Milton
5/26 Diary of an Eccentric
5/26 My Love for Jane Austen
5/27 Babblings of a Bookworm
5/28 Musings from the Yellow Kitchen
5/29 vvb32 reads -- that would be here ;-)
5/29 Austenesque Reviews

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Still Here by Lara Vapnyar

Still Here
by Lara Vapnyar

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: May 2, 2017 reprint
Publisher: Hogarth
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, New York, Russia
Paperback: 336
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Promise me you won't call it 'virtual grave,' Vica said as they turned onto the West Side Highway.

Zombie sighting:
She could just eat them in dumb silence like an animal, like a stupid zombie, or she could do the more civilized thing and turn on episode two. -ch 3, page 76

A profound and dazzlingly entertaining novel from the writer Louis Menand calls "Jane Austen with a Russian soul."

In her warm, absorbing and keenly observed new novel, Lara Vapnyar follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age.

Vica, Vadik, Sergey and Regina met in Russia in their school days, but remained in touch and now have very different American lives. Sergey cycles through jobs as an analyst, hoping his idea for an app will finally bring him success. His wife Vica, a medical technician struggling to keep her family afloat, hungers for a better life. Sergey’s former girlfriend Regina, once a famous translator is married to a wealthy startup owner, spends her days at home grieving over a recent loss. Sergey’s best friend Vadik, a programmer ever in search of perfection, keeps trying on different women and different neighborhoods, all while pining for the one who got away.

As Sergey develops his app—calling it "Virtual Grave," a program to preserve a person's online presence after death—a formidable debate begins in the group, spurring questions about the changing perception of death in the modern world and the future of our virtual selves. How do our online personas define us in our daily lives, and what will they say about us when we're gone?

My two-bits:

Delightful read with Russian characters and some scenes in Russia.

The experience of modern day Russian immigrants in the world with social media and apps is explored. Four different perspectives are equally engaging with their issues that intertwine.


* review copy courtesy of Blogging for Books

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 5.27.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)


Got delayed in posting this last weekend. So, below reflects two weeks worth. As you will see certain purchases were influenced by events attended.

I started entering books read with ratings into Goodreads from my reading logs that date back to 2006. This was the year when I started getting serious with reading and making notations of the books. In working with the lists it was fun to see which I remembered and which I accidentally re-read.



Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, hosted a reading, signing and Q&A with Jeff VanderMeer for his latest release of Borne. Started out with a bird diary. Borne inspired by experience of growing up in Fiji and environmental issues.

Don't remember why, but Jeff wanted the crowd to say...

Bears can't fly
or can they?

Maybe I will know why after reading the book.

by Jeff VanderMeer
Amazon | Goodreads

THIS will be my first VanderMeer read.

by Jeff VanderMeer
Amazon | Goodreads

FOUND this in the used book section. It is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy which is the Winner of the 2015 Nebula Award.

by Jeff VanderMeer
Amazon | Goodreads

GOT this with the first one above. It is the third book in the trilogy. Gotta search for the second, Authority.

The Clothes They Stood Up In And The Lady And The Van
by Alan Bennett
-Short Stories, England
Amazon | Goodreads

Also found this in the used section while looking for Smut. Due to the theatre production I mentioned below, I was taken with Alan's style.

For Review:

The Vestige
by Caroline George
Release date: June 30, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

I am curious about the end of the world scenario in this one.

Slave to Love
by Julie A. Richman
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Goodreads

I have been accumulating some beefcake reading with from this club. But, have not yet had a chance to dip into any. I definitely will start in June!

Still Here
by Lara Vapnyar
-Contemporary Fiction, Russia
courtesy of Blogging for Books - Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

THE Jane Austen mention in the description caught my eye for this one along with the idea of virtual graves.


From Owlcrate package (details & signup):
OwlCrate is a subscription service that sends you magical monthly boxes tailored to a chosen theme. Each OwlCrate will contain one new Young Adult novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish treats to help you get your nerd on. @owlcrate

MAY Box includes:
theme: Comic Explosion
- Owlcrate spoiler card with comic book style page
- Owlcrate buttons - comic book theme
- Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
- Signed bookplate, letter and art piece from author
- Batman - FunkoPop
- Pen (6-colored) comic book theme from Ooly
- Wonder Woman - Dio Candle Company
- Afar (first chapter sampler) from Image Comics
- Coffee candies from Kafe Zing

Eliza and Her Monsters
by Francesca Zappia
Release date: May 30, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds meets Nimona in this novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. Features illustrations by the author throughout. Perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this is the second novel by the acclaimed author of Made You Up.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is Lady Constellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

AND watched: in theatre (live)

SMUT (2017)
An Unseemly Story
(The Greening Of Mrs. Donaldson)
Director: Amy Kossow
Producer: HARLYN | Associate Producers: Bruce Colman, Shelly Osborne
Based on book: Smut: Stories by Alan Bennett
-Comedy | Zspace | my rating: 5

One of England’s finest and most loved writers, Alan Bennett, explores the uncomfortable and tragicomic gap between people’s public appearance and their private desires in this tender and surprising story. In The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson, a recently bereaved widow finds interesting ways to supplement her income by performing as a patient for medical students, and renting out her spare room. Quiet, middle-class, and middle-aged, Mrs. Donaldson will soon discover that she rather enjoys role-play at the hospital, and the irregular and startling entertainment provided by her tenants.A master storyteller dissects a very English form of secrecy with this story of the unexpected in otherwise apparently ordinary lives.

THE interesting thing about this production is that it is presented as a short story (in action) versus a play. So the dialogue includes what you would read in the short story.

AND watched: in theatre

The Lovers (2017)
Director/Writer: Azazel Jacobs
Starring: Debra Winger, Tracy Letts, Aidan Gillen
-Comedy | imdb | my rating: 4

Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a long-married, dispassionate couple who are both in the midst of serious affairs. But on the brink of calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance.

Not what I expected, but very interesting. Lust versus love. Non-traditional relationships.

AND watching: on Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale (2017)
Creator: Bruce Miller
Based on book by: Margaret Atwood
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Joseph Fiennes
-Drama, SciFi | imdb | my rating: 5

Netflix trivia: Margaret Atwood, the book's author, makes a cameo as an Aunt in Episode 1. She is the one who slaps Offred when she is reluctant to join in the group shaming circle.
Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.

Just as chilling as the book with a great cast.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently


Friday, May 26, 2017

The Second Jezebel by Peter Mowbray

The Second Jezebel
by Peter Mowbray

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: January 2017
Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing
Genre: Historical, Royalty
Paperback: 372 pages
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
France by the summer of 1572 was a country on the brink of complete collapse.

The wedding between the Princess Marguerite de Valois and Henri King of Navarre was intended to be a celebration that would at last bring peace to the warring Catholics and Huguenots in France.

Instead, it was a precursor for the infamous Massacre of Saint Bartholomew.

By the time the bloodshed had abated, none was seen as guiltier of creating the horrors of that night than the Queen Mother - Catherine de Medici.

Seventeen years later, as Catherine's life hangs in the balance, the mob threatens to drag her body through the streets.

To them she is no longer Queen Mother, merely the second Jezebel in history to be thrown to the dogs.

My two-bits:

While interesting to read historical accounts of what went on with the royalty during the 1500's, this large cast of characters come across flat and mostly unlikable.

The political schemes, dastardly deeds, loveless alliances, etc. play out with little drama which again made for a dry read.


* review copy courtesy of author

Diesel Book Club

DIESEL Book Club
a face-to-face group in Larkspur, CA

Always trying to enhance the reading experience...

I came across the announcement for this book club while at the store during my Independent Book Store quest in April. Going to give it a go.

MAY pick:

A History of Loneliness
by John Boyne
Amazon | Goodreads
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu