Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Finds (March 18, 2016): This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by Jenn of Books And A Beat, and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Friday Finds | Books And a Beat

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

My Friday Finds:

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

From Amazon: 
"The dazzling new novel from bestselling, award-winning author Maggie O'Farrell, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage.

"Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.
"He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

"Maggie O'Farrell's seventh novel is a dazzling, intimate epic about who we leave behind and who we become as we search for our place in the world."

"This Must Be the Place" by Maggie O'Farrell, has a release date of May 17, 2016 (UK) and July 19, 2016 (US). You can pre-order this book from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books (USA, Canada & Australia), iTunes (iBook), The Book Depository (free worldwide delivery), as well as from an IndieBound store near you.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own FF post, or share your ‘finds’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Titanic Flight

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

The Hindenburg was the famous Nazi zeppelin that blew up just as it was about to land in New Jersey in 1937. Built to be a modern aviation miracle, and the last word in luxury travel, this incident was not only tragic, but like the 1936 Olympics, it was quickly a black spot on Germany's national pride, at the exact time when they were trying to show their superiority in every way, shape or form possible. More importantly, why it blew up remains a mystery to this day. However, through the vivid imagination of Ariel Lawhon, we get a theory that until now, no one ever hypothesized, and thereby she turns history into a stunning mystery action novel!

Much like her previous novel, The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress, Lawhon tells this story by spotlighting a select group of crew and passengers, with each chapter focusing on a different person. In this case, Lawhon chose the stewardess, the journalist, the navigator, the American and the cabin boy. This is where Lawhon truly shines - taking facts of real events and people, making up fictional relationships and actions and then combining it all into a mystery that is both true and imagined, with a similar mix of solutions. Furthermore, Lawhon knows how to add background information that sounds like a perfectly natural part of the action, and thereby makes even the real-life events sound even more like part of the fiction.

Of course, this wouldn't work if Lawhon didn't write this to perfection, with each character so carefully developed and well rounded that we are sure the relationships she describes must have been for real. In the author's note, Lawhon tells us that practically all of the survivors called everything that happened prior to the explosion as "uneventful," but Lawhon doesn't believe them. That's probably why Lawhon decided to fill the five days crossing Europe and the Atlantic with many interesting events. Furthermore, she includes some sleuthing on the part of some of the passengers and crew, as well. Lawhon must have poured over the manifests of the crew and passengers and while checking the facts for consistency, so she could put together a set of back-stories for each of the main characters and thereby place each one into her spiders' web of connections. Using this formula, one could almost say that Lawhon takes historical fiction to a completely new level.

If that wasn't enough, Lawhon uses a very carefully calculated pace with this book. At the beginning of the novel, the separate stories gently rise and slowly start to blend into each other through some slight back-tracking from focus character to focus character. As the flight gets underway, the characters float around each other, intermingling and parting, as if on a breeze. As the time of the explosion nears, the speed of the stories start to increase and by the time we get to the explosion itself, the pace builds to a frenetic climax. Then, in the aftermath, everything takes just the right amount of time to slow and cool down, as she finishes telling each of the various stories. As you can see, this pacing is the perfect mirror of the flight itself, and you might find your heart rate increasing as you get to the climax, as well as at a loss for breath until you get to the last few chapters.

The only drawback I can find in this book is that I'm not totally convinced that all of the after-story chapters were completely necessary, but their brevity made up any feelings of it being overly drawn-out. (Also, remember I read the uncorrected proof ARC, so they might have corrected this in the final version.) Still, this tiny niggle isn't enough for me to reduce my rating by even half a star, so I'm giving it a full five out of five and recommending this wholeheartedly!

"Flight of Dreams" by Ariel Lawhon, published by Doubleday, released February 16, 2016, is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books (USA, Canada & Australia), iTunes (iBook or audiobook), The Book Depository (free worldwide delivery), new or used from Alibris as well as from an IndieBound store near you. I would like to thank the publishers for sending me the ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen eBook price promotion!

Special eBook Price Promotion

Beginning March 7 and through March 21, you can buy the eBook of

Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen

for only $1.99 from:

Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and 

Kobo (USA, Canada & Australia)


Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen

Summary: Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents' rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she's lost her mind or she can actually see her son's active imagination. Frightened for David's safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon and how best to protect him. But what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son's imaginary friends truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood imaginary friend.

Living next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna's childhood friend who's grown much more handsome and hardened than the boy she once knew. But past regrets and their messy lives are making the rekindling of their complex friendship prove easier said than done. Between imaginary creatures stalking her son and a tumultuous relationship with David's biological father, Anna may find it impossible to have room in her life or her heart for another man. But as David's visions become more threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which dangers are real and which are imagined, and whom she can truly trust.

About the Author:
Andrea Lochen is the author of two novels, Imaginary Things and The Repeat Year. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and lives in Johnson Creek with her husband and daughter. For more information, visit

Praise for "Imaginary Things"

Imaginary Things takes place in a Midwest made so vivid and alive, so much its own character, that it becomes thrillingly believable that as Grandma styles the local brides’ hair into ringlets and the next door neighbor may be fighting a pain-killer addiction, a T-rex is running through the backyard. This isn’t just a psychological thriller, but a love story, and Andrea Lochen has put words to a reality that is as imaginary as it is rock solid. 
          -Laura Kasischke, author of In a Perfect World

Cleverly written with a perfect touch of magic, Imaginary Things will take you on a journey of the unexpected, and leave you contemplating the power of your own mind. 
          -Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, authors of Your Perfect Life

Rarely does a book surprise me. But Imaginary Things caught me completely off-guard! Andrea Lochen writes another beautiful book, filled with vivid scenes, unforgettable characters, and oodles of heart. With a page-turning plot and an utterly unique concept, Imaginary Things entertains, inspires, and provokes thought--a perfect book club pick. 
          -Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List

If it's possible to write a witty modern fairy tale about a down-on-her-luck young mother, her erratic ex, and her charming four-year-old boy, Andrea Lochen has done it. Anna is not your typical overwhelmed mom, but her story feels like a friend's. Imaginary Things reminded me again and again that the act of raising a child is a love story, a test of strength, and a thrill ride. 
          -Susanna Daniel, author of Stilsville

Friday, March 4, 2016

Feature & Follow Friday March 4, 2016

The Feature and Follow is the premium BLOG HOP of Book Bloggers. Running for over five years, the Feature and Follow’s goal is to promote the book blogging and author community to join together and support each other – even if it is just through a simple follow. The FF also promotes creative post options by offering interesting topics we can all talk about and comment on! Come join us.

How Does the #FF Work?

  • The goal is to increase blog followers, make friends and have something to post.
  • You create your own post using the post prompt.
  • You leave your link and thumbnail in the linky list that links back to your post prompt.
  • Once you have your post up and linked, visit other posts and tell them hi. The point is to FOLLOW them not just comment.
  • If you see a post that just hit it to the moon, or just want to show appreciation to a fellow blogger friend, COME BACK AND VOTE for them on the linky list to show some appreciation.
  • The person with the most VOTES gets chosen as the next Feature (you can be chosen every 90 days unless we are in need of features)
  • It is required that if you participate that you have to follow the FEATURE. It is a big no-no to participate and ignore the feature. They are the special snowflake in this little blizzard.
  • As a participant it is up to your discretion on how you want people to follow. Please post RSS, GFC etc if you have a follow of choice.
Specific RULES
  • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed FOLLOW as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers

The Feature & Follow is back after a two-month hiatus! I know you missed it, but the plan was to make it bigger and better – and I hope we have accomplished that.

The Changes:

  • Weekly Features will be chosen from VOTES on the linky list and not as random.
  • Bloggers and Authors will get to have ONE spot a quarter (90 days) as the feature. But, you can still participate.
  • The reason we are switching to this method is because we had issues with contacting people. This way we just choose them.
  • We have also switched to THUMBNAIL link list – use a graphic that you want us to use when we showcase you as the feature.
  • Weekly questions have been changed to Post Prompts. Very similar just a little more open ended.
  • We are asking for ideas submitted by participants.
  • We will have the post schedule available so you can schedule in advance.
The Weekly Feature

Readiculously Peachy!

Feature for Tongith

Write a letter to your favorite author.

submitted by Parajunkee

Dear Michael Ondaatje,

As a long-time fan of your work, I have to tell you that sometimes I feel you've partially ruined me for other authors. Your poetic phrasing and deeply rich prose just brings tears to my eyes. Because of this, a vast number of authors pale in comparison. However, despite this, I still have to thank you for how you've enriched my life - particularly with "The English Patient" and "The Cat's Table" - two of my all-time favorite books! Furthermore, your "Running in the Family" is the finest piece of non-fiction I've ever had the pleasure to read.

Yet, I must complain; you just don't write enough books for me. On the other hand, I do understand that we can't push an artist such as you; and anything worthwhile is worth waiting for. Therefore, for what you will someday give us again, may I say in advance, thank you!

I anxiously await your next book, and please know that I will be first in line to read it.

With deep appreciation, humility and gratitude, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Davida Chazan (aka The Chocolate Lady)  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...