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September 9, 2011

What I Read On My Summer Vacation

Posted by carol

While vacation this year never hit the relaxing “drop into the zone” pace that I love, I did do some great reading, which will make even the craziest of vacations become a memorable one!

I started with THE SISTERS, a debut novel by Nancy Jensen, which will be in stores on November 8th. I was lucky enough to have both a advance galley and a manuscript for this book on my iPad and thus my reading never broke stride even when we were without power. When it got dark, I clicked on the iPad and kept reading. Take that, Irene! THE SISTERS opens with the story of two sisters who become separated through a sad string of events. But these are not the only compelling sister characters we read about. As the years unfold other generations of sisters in this family also form the backdrop for the narrative. The story flows through eighty years marking the social changes that affect life in America as well as  the ways these changes affect the characters. Book groups will love this book, I see a bright future for it and it will be a Bets On selection.

As we are still making plans for our college/twentysomething site, which frustratingly remains nameless, I read THESE DAYS ARE OURS by Michelle Haimoff, which looks at a young woman and her group of friends who are beginning to find their way in life post-college. Set six months after 9/11, but as contemporary today as it was then, it’s just the kind of book that will  be perfect for that site. It comes out in February; hoping our site will be live by then!

One of my favorite parts  of my annual summer beach adventure is floating in the pool reading Sandra Brown’s latest book and this trip was no exception though I needed to wait for the sun to shine and the pool heater to warm the hurricane-chilled waters so I could indulge myself with LETHAL, which will be in stores on September 20th. It’s pure Sandra Brown with a great plot, terrific characters and um, smoldering sex. I can picture her tapping the keys, raising an eyebrow and thinking --- hmmmm…let me take the readers another way here! And now let’s punch up this action and ramp up this emotion. Honor Gillette and Lee Coburn will grab your attention from the very first page. You are in for a treat with this one.

Read a VERY early copy of ROGUE by Mark Sullivan, which is not publishing til next fall. I know, I know….too far in advance. But it’s so wonderful I want you to remember you heard about it here first. Mark’s never disappointed me and ROGUE with his character Robin Monarch, aptly named as he is a modern-day Robin Hood is just brilliant excitement. Great action, dialogue, plotting, characters. It has it ALL.

Over the summer I never had time to read MAINE by J. Courtney Sullivan, and it was just the right book for poolside reading. Set at a family beach home in Maine it brings together the family drama that comes from siblings sharing a family home. It laces together the history of the family and the secrets hidden through the years that erupt onto these pages giving readers a cathartic look at what’s happened through the years. The shared home is a place of drama, as well as warm memories and the sibling rivalry that has erupted through the years is as dramatic as the waves hitting the shores. One note. The cover of this book is gorgeous, but that said, it has nothing to do with the book inside. Just saying.

HABIBI by Craig Thompson is a graphic novel that people are going to take note of when it pubs on September 20th. John Hogan at has called it the best graphic novel of the year --- and the decade.  I will quote him as I cannot say it any better, “ It’s an allegory on the areas in which Islam and Christianity overlap, a story about love and family and devotion, an intense look at Middle Eastern life, and a wonderful scrutiny of human existence. It reads in parts like a fairy tale or a spiritual parable, but it’s also an epic novel and includes all the attendant literary values of one. And then, on top it all, there is the artwork. Thompson’s line work here is beyond brilliant, combining myriad styles and capturing the rich historical legacy of the cultural and religious volumes that inspired it. This is a work that truly changes the game and sets a new standard for all the graphic novels that follow it.”

Of course I overpacked books. Of course, I am disappointed I did not read more. But it was a very satisfying reading adventure!