Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book, books and more books

I've decided to get back to Net Galley and be more active there. I have requested and been approved for three titles, "End of Secrets" by Ryan Quinn, "Dreaming of Spies" by Laurie R. King, and "Walking on Trampolines" by Frances Whiting. Penguin First To Read approved me for "Funny Girl" by Nick Hornby. I guess I know what I'll be doing between now and mid-February!

Funny Girl, takes place in the raucous 1960's and the main character, Sophie Straw is likened to Lucille Ball. I will start reading it this evening. The book is Mr. Hornby's first in five years. I have to be honest, I have not read any of his other books. I do enjoy British authors and British comedy, so I anticipate a lot of laughter. His books overall have 3-4 star ratings on Good Reads. The only one I'm really familiar with is "About a Boy" which was made into an NBC show starring Minnie Driver amongst others. I have not actually watched the show.

I guess the book I'm most pleased to be able to read and review from the above list is "Dreaming Spies". I have read many Laurie R. King books and this is the latest in the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series. I have read #1 and #2 and I absolutely loved them. She's a superb writer and to be able to make a continuation of the Sherlock Holmes series and give him a wife, Mary Russell, is a big risk to take, but she handles it beautifully.

"End of Secrets" is a  mystery involving a CIA agent and cyber-terrorism. I just completed "Intrusion" by Reece Hirsch, which was in the same vein. "Walking on Trampolines" is said to be in the style of Liane Moriarty. It's a coming of age novel.

If you would like to follow my Good Reads reviews, you can find me here:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6117137-barbara

If you'd like to find me on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/barbara.khan1

Thursday, January 23, 2014

John Kelley, author of the Fallen Snow and social media

I love how social media has changed our access to publishers, authors and books. I saw author John Kelley's book on Facebook in November and started following him through there. He had a small picture of the cover as the profile picture for the page. It's a beautiful cover (I know, never judge a book by it's cover) and I was interested in the book, because it took place during and immediately following World War One. I enjoy reading about that time period. John was very responsive through Facebook. I ordered the book for my Nook and told him that I would suggest it to my book club. He immediately told me he had a book club guide and would be open to Skyping with my group. That was something our group had done once before.

Last year "Contest Queen" (that's me, I can't resist entering contests!) entered my book club into a contest run by Goodreads. I honestly don't know what I did with my life before Goodreads! So much information there. I can lose all track of time on that site. They were running a contest for Carol Anshaw's new book "Carry the One". The winners got a Skype session with the author. I think several book clubs won and we were one of them! We all loved the book and it's a great choice for a book club. The premise is a catastrophic event happens, a car full of friends are returning from a wedding and the car they are in strikes and kills a young girl. The book follows how this one event impacts all their lives from that moment and continues to effect them over the years. I would recommend it. It was the first Anshaw book I've read.

My book club decided to read, The Fallen Snow" for our January meeting. We meet once a month, normally the last Wednesday, but with Christmas we didn't meet until mid-January. I had been going back & forth with John via Facebook and suggested that if he did a book tour and came to Miami, we'd love to meet him and even host him for our club. He said that his parent live in northern Florida, so there was a chance he might make it down to our end of the peninsula. In early December he emailed to say he was going to be here mid-January and would that work for our group. We were all excited to host an author in person.

We chose to have a Cuban cuisine dinner that we all brought in. The meal consisted of,  green salad, grilled tropical chicken, black beans,white rice, plantains, deviled eggs, with flan and cafecito for dessert. We all had a blast and John was great fun with an easy comfortable style. After dinner we had prepared a list of questions and we went around the room taking turns asking. Our member, Vesna, had a great idea to use questioning similar to, "Inside the Actor's Studio" which was very unique and fun.

I have been following some other new authors on Facebook and we may in fact read the second book by Ellen Marie Wiseman called, "What She Left Behind" for the February book club. I read her first book, "The Plum Tree" over the holidays and found her to be a good author who draws her characters out nicely.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

If you enjoy something, blog about it!

Well, today I take on a new challenge. I am starting a book blog. Part of the blog will not be a challenge, reading books, because I have done that as long as I can remember. The part that will be a challenge for me, will be consistently writing about the books I read, my favorite authors, and anything that has to do with books.

I have never been very good at keeping a diary, journal or log of any sort, but I think it will be a good habit for me to start and what better way to create a habit, than with something you love! At least then I will be more likely to keep it up.

I have been consistently writing reviews on Good Reads for the past 2 years. Here is a link to my Good Reads profile:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6117137-barbara

I have been organizing a book club for the past year and half and I have found that with so many online things pertaining to books, authors, and reading, I've just been more and more interested in getting a bit more serious about my passion.

I follow many author and book related profiles on Facebook, I receive many emails from publishers, authors, book related websites and blogs, plus I recently signed up for Net Galley, which will enable me to request proofs and advanced reader copies to read and review. I completed my first review on Net Galley for one of my favorite authors, Anne Perry. Her newest book, "Death on Blackheath" will be coming out March 2014.

Next up on my Net Galley reading will be "Precious Thing" by Colette McBeth. It looks like it will be a psychological thriller. Can't wait to get started.

Tonight, I am hosting book club for a very exciting experience. We are hosting the author John Kelley, whose debut novel, "The Fallen Snow", our group just completed. We are treating him to a Cuban themed meal, all brought by our members. Should be a lot of fun. I will post pics and details tomorrow.

Happy reading!!