This Reader’s Choice

I know the summer reading season is over, but I want to share some of the good books I’ve read recently. I’m always delighted to find new authors as well as new books from favorites.

I was honored to read an advance copy (ARC) of The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft, which will be out in January 2014. A great Art of Fallling Coverread! Penelope Sparrow, a 28-year-old dancer, has spent her entire life focusing on the perfection of her body. But when she wakes up in a Philadelphia hospital unable to move after a near-fatal accident, she can’t remember the events leading up to her crushing 14-story fall. Now, with a second chance at life, Penny must find a way to reconnect with her past and come to terms with the limitations of her body. This is a masterful portrayal of a young woman trying to understand her own past and begin again, beautifully expressing the language of dance and broken dreams.

A Wilder RoseAnother ARC I enjoyed is A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert, out in October. Fascinating history about our classic favorites, the “Little House” series. In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, highly-paid magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71 and Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. Then came the Crash. Rose’s investments vanished and the magazine market dried up. That’s when Laura wrote “Pioneer Girl,” her story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest is literary history. But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. Based on the unpublished diaries of Rose Wilder Lane and other documentary evidence, A Wilder Rose tells the surprising true story of the often strained collaboration that produced the Little House books—a collaboration that Rose and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, concealed from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers.

Forgiving Effie Beck by Karen Casey-Fitzjerrel, award-winning author of The Dividing Season.  Another excellent story. MikeForgiving Effie Beck LeMay, a Federal Writers’ Project interviewer arrives in a small Texas town days before the town eccentric, Effie Beck, is reported missing. While conducting his interviews, Mike learns that the enigmatic, elderly Miss Effie has moved through the lives of the town’s populace “like brown smoke” after having suffered a harsh childhood under the discipline of a cruel father. Paralleling Effie’s mysterious disappearance is the baffling relationship Mike observes between barefoot, bird-boned Jodean Travis, the young woman from whom he rents a room, and the rest of the community. By the time the WPA bridge collapses in a horrible storm, Mike knows what happened to the baby shoe matching the one found in Effie’s house, why Jodean is ostracized by the town, the real reason the sheriff’s wife sent her kids out of town for the summer, and how hurtful it is to live where all the good people look the other way.

Weeping WillowThe Weeping Willow Sings by Billie Grable. This debut novel sings! John O’Brien’s suicide by drowning throws him into an afterlife he never expected. His fifteen-year-old daughter, Maggie, almost dies trying to save him, and her distorted memory of the traumatic event leaves Maggie believing that John is still alive. Maggie sets off on a journey to find her father and the mythical weeping willow he often told her about – a journey that takes her to the world between – and beyond. When Maggie’s path meets imminent danger, John must find a way to cross the threshold between life and death to save his daughter one last time. A blend of fantasy and fiction, The Weeping Willow Sings provides a glimpse into the theory of life after death and the possibility for the dead to make amends with those still living. A moving depiction about the secrets families keep, the tragic side of mental illness and the bond between a father and daughter, The Weeping Willow Sings reminds us all that love never dies.

Others worth checking out:

Nobody’s Child by Janet Dawson. A decomposing body buried in an empty lot isdug up by a construction company, and Jeri Howard’s demanding, imperious client thinks the victim could be her daughter.

My Next Husband will be Normal by Rae Ellen Lee. A humorous, bitter-sweet memoir. Soon after unpacking their flip-flops on the paradise of St. John Island, the husband—a former Republican state legislator with a silver crew-cut and solid traditional values—realizes he is really a she.

One Foot on the Edge by C.K. Crigger. In 1896, there aren’t many career choices for a young lady. China Bohannon has fled one bad situation, and is looking to start her life over as a strong, independent woman in the wild and woolly town of Spokane, Washington.

Forever Young: Blessing or Curse by Morgan Mandel. What could possibly happen when a 55 year old widow takes a pill to be 24 forever?

The Driftwood Diaries by Ava Wilson. Three women are revealed in their diaries found by a book store owner.

Happy Reading! What are some of your favorites from this summer?

What Was Life Like Before An iPhone?

My guest this week is Morgan Mandel, who is on e-tour with her newest novel, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.

Fresh beginnings turn tragic when Dorrie Donato’s husband, Larry, is killed in a hit and run accident a few months after starting a new job at the Life is for Living Institute. Discouraged and desperate after  suffering countless setbacks, Dorie accepts an offer by  Larry’s boss, the famous Angel Man, to  be the first to test an experimental pill designed to spin its user back to a desired age and hold there, yet still retain all previous memories.  The pill seems too good to be true. Maybe it is.

by Morgan Mandel

I’m very attached to my iPhone.  I hardly go anywhere without it. It’s super-handy for my lifestyle. I can easily fit it in my pocket or purse , and whip it out to check emails, take or send photos, access Facebook or Twitter, add something on the calculator, listen to music or radio, or actually use it as a telephone.  That’s just a start, but you get the idea. It’s hard to recall what my life was like before this handy gadget.

Because an iPhone is such a vital part of my life, it was a natural for me to include one in the plot of Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.  In the opening scene, the last words of Dorrie’s husband, Larry, involve his iPhone. Believing he refers to all the photos and songs they’d shared together, she mistakes what he’s actually trying to convey.

Though her husband’s boss, Roman, asks about its whereabouts, Dorrie pretends not to know. She plans to keep the phone for sentimental reasons, despite the fact her husband used it at work and synced it to the computer there. She has no interest in formulas and chemistry, so if anything from his job is on there, the secrets are safe with her.

Her chance discovery of the explosive evidence contained on that iPhone throws her into danger from all sides, as she flees for her freedom and her life.

This paranormal romantic thriller is available at the Blog Book Tour Price on Kindle for $1.99 – http://tinyurl.com/6tsntn6

See entire list of other available electronic venues at http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com

Thanks for inviting me over Heidi, and letting me share about my iPhone and my paranormal romantic thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.

Thank you, Morgan, for stopping by on your tour!

Maybe the readers here would like to mention if they have an iPhone or smartphone, and if they’re also as dependent on theirs as I am on mine.

Morgan Mandel is a former freelancer for the Daily Herald newspaper, prior president of Chicago-North RWA, prior Library Liaison for Midwest MWA, and belongs to Sisters in Crime and EPIC. She enjoys writing thrillers, mysteries, romances and also enjoys combining them. Her latest paranormal romantic thriller is Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, Book One of the Always Young Series, available on Kindle and Smashwords. Other novels by Morgan Mandel include the romantic suspense, Killer Career, the mystery, Two Wrongs, and the romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams. Morgan is now working on Book Two of the Always Young Seres, called Blessing or Curse: A Forever Young Anthology, where readers will learn what happens to others who have taken the Forever Young pill.  One more book will follow bringing back the original heroine to close out the series.

Blog: http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.morganmandel.com

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