Sunday, December 28, 2014

Still Another Local Author New to Me - Ann Packer

I met Ann Packer at Books, Inc., Palo Alto, in late November for Small Business Day. Each of the local bookstores had authors coming during the day to help customers choose books.  I didn't know that Ann was going to be there in the early afternoon, but I'm glad she was.  She's written 2 novels and 2 books of novellas/short stories.  Since I'm a novel (double meaning?) kind of guy, we talked about which of her 2 I should read.  We picked one, she signed it, and I read it.  It's Songs without Words, and it's darn good. Here's the rundown from the back of the book:

"Liz and Sarabeth were girlhood neighbors in the suburbs of northern California, brought as close as sisters by the suicide of Sarabeth's mother.  In the decades that followed, their relationship remained a source of continuity and strength.  But when Liz's adolescent daughter enters dangerous waters, the women's friendship takes a devastating turn, forcing Liz and Sarabeth to question their most deeply held beliefs about their connection."

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of a genre that goes by many names - women's fiction, chick lit, literary fiction, among others.  Bottom line is that I like books written by women about women.  Does that mean I lose my man card?  Some (maybe many!) would say that it's too late.  That I lost it long ago.  Well, gosh darn it, so be it.

Several elements of Songs without Words resonated with me immediately.

1.  Ann does a great job of setting up the story in her prologue.
2.  The story grabs you immediately.
3.  You learn on page 3 that Sarabeth's mother committed suicide.  This is like C. Lee McKenzie's The Princess of Las Pulgas (our RBC author/book for March) when we find out on page 2 that Carlie's dad died.
4.  Ann's writing reminds me a little of Meg Waite Clayton's writing.  That's obviously a good thing.

And then there were other parts of the book that I liked:

1.  The story takes place in the Bay Area.  El Cerrito is mentioned.  That is right next to Albany, where I grew up.  And Montclair in Oakland is also mentioned.  I moved from Albany to Oakland and spent lots of time in Montclair.  Recognizable geography is always fun.
2.  The book is told from the point of view of 4 people - Liz and Sarabeth, of course, along with Liz's daughter, Lauren (my younger daughter's name!), and Brody, Liz's husband. And here's the thing - I absolutely cared about all of them.
3.  Sarabeth goes to a movie theater called the Albany Twin.  This is where I saw my 1st movie with friends.  I was probably around 13.
4.  The word perspicacious is used to describe Sarabeth.  I specifically remember my father using that word with me when I was young.  He never substituted a small word when the bigger word was what he wanted to use.
5.  Jim, Sarabeth's friend, comes to pick her up.  She gets in the car, and he waits until she is buckled in before he drives away.  I do that.  I know sometimes it's a little annoying to family and friends.  But I can't help myself.

I enjoyed Songs without Words and, just like with Linda Gunther's Endangered Witness, I intend to read Ann Packer's other novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier.  Ann, can I get you to sign it for me?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I Finally Read Another Local Author - Linda S. Gunther.

Linda has self-published 2 novels, Ten Steps from the Hotel Inglaterra and Endangered Witness.  Linda appeared at Village House of Books this past July.  I got Ten Steps signed by her and put it in my TBR pile, where it sat...and sat...and sat.  Finally, earlier this week, I picked it up.  I don't know what took me so long.  I really liked it a lot.  In fact, I need to get a hold of Endangered Witness and get that into the TBR pile - high up.  In the meantime, I'm sure you want to know what Ten Steps is about, right?

Charlotte Sweeney, aka Charlie, is a 38-year old who, along with her business partner/boyfriend Doug, owns a consulting business in the heart of Silicon Valley.  Charlie is also an amateur, but very skilled, photographer.  She has been all over the world on photography adventures.  But she hasn't been to Havana and desperately wants to go. So she tells Doug that she's going to do that, even though it means she will only be spending a couple of days with him on a planned vacation in Hawaii.  She starts in Cancun, where she meets Enrique Ruiz, a very suave, very sophisticated, and very handsome Mexican man, by chance.  Or is it?  What follows looks like your typical vacation romance.  But, trust me, it's not.  And it's also very interesting that there are sub-plots surrounding getting into and out of Havana.  The book takes place in the early '90's. Obviously, in light of the very recent developments between the United States and Cuba, it's going to be a lot easier getting in and out in the future.

I read this at the same time that I have been watching Showtime's The Affair.  There are some parallels.  What's particularly funny about it is that you really kind of root for Charlie and Enrique to get together, even though she has a boyfriend.  And in The Affair, it's the same thing with Noah and Alison, even though both are already married.  In fact, Noah has a wife and 2 teenage kids on vacation with him.  It's wrong, but compelling at the same time.  It's a little hard to explain.

There are some very poignant moments in Ten Steps.  One of them is a brief encounter Charlie has with an 80-year old Indian man, who is on vacation with his family, including his 6-year old great-granddaughter.  It's a one-on-one that really shouldn't matter - but does.  And, in Havana, Charlie befriends a 10-year old boy who sells cigars to tourists to help support Marta, his 14-year old sister.  Marta has a baby and a Monday-Friday job in a factory, but prostitutes herself on Saturdays.  She's trying to save enough money to bribe the authorities so that she can get to the U.S.  Again, this is a side story that definitely connects.

P.S.  I loved both endings!  You'll have to read it to figure out what I mean.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Return to The Los Gatos Library 3rd Tuesday Book Club (plus a mini-review of our book)

In November, I got back to the 4th Tuesday Night Book Club at Books, Inc. in Palo Alto. This past week, it was Los Gatos Library's turn.  Along with the RBC, that's now 3 book clubs I belong to.  This is really cool.  Melissa, like Margie at Books, Inc., does a great job running the book club.  We met on Tuesday night, the 16th, my 1st appearance in a while.  The book is Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander, M.D.

This is an interesting book because it chronicles Alexander's near-death experience (NDE).  Alexander is a neurosurgeon who contracted a disease that most everybody dies from.  And if they don't die, they are severely impaired.  And, yet, he came out of a 7-day coma without any negative repercussions.  In fact, his NDE was so dramatic, that he felt he needed to write about it.  Here is what Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., and author of Life After Life, had to say about it:

"Dr. Eben Alexander's near-death experience is the most astounding I have heard in more than four decades of studying this phenomenon."

I won't go into detail, because you can read that for yourself.  I will say, though, that the book was very clearly divided into 2 sections for me.  One was his description of what he saw and where he was during the NDE.  And the other section was when he was in a coma and how his family reacted to it and the doctors.  The 1st section was difficult for me to get into.  I was not emotionally connected to his NDE.  The other section, however, did get me emotionally involved.  I teared up a number of times when different family members came to his bedside, especially when his son came home from college and saw his dad in the hospital bed for the 1st time.

This is one of those books that will elicit different opinions from just about everybody. Even our discussion at book club got reactions that were across the board.  There was one member, a scientist, who just didn't believe it.  There was a woman, not a member, who came because she believes in the afterlife and wanted to know what Alexander saw. And many of us were in the middle.  Would I recommend Proof of Heaven?  Not really. But this is a book, more than most, where I do not feel confident deciding for others.  I think you almost have to read it to know whether or not you're glad you did.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Am Becoming a Middle-Grade Fantasy Fiend (I can't make every blog about my son's new publishing contract - can I?)

By now, a number of you know that I made a deal with Hannah, an 11-year old family friend, at Thanksgiving.  If she reads book 1 of Alina Sayre's The Voyages of the Legend (The Illuminator's Gift), then I would read book 1 of Chris Colfer's (yes, that Chris Colfer, with 2.49M followers!) The Land of Stories (The Wishing Spell).  Both series are middle-grade fantasies.  The trigger was when Hannah started The Illuminator's Gift.  And she did.  So, I finished what I was reading and started on The Wishing Spell.  I mean, after all, I didn't want to look like a flake.  My book-reading, family friend-loving reputation was at stake!  Bottom line?  The book was really good.

A very quick story line, because the plot is mostly secondary.  Conner and Alex, 12-year old boy and girl twins (soon thereafter turned 13), get a fairy tale book from their grandmother.  One thing leads to another (as these things often do), and they both end up falling into the book, which acts as a portal to a fairy tale land.  And they encounter every imaginable fairy tale character - from Cinderella to Little Red Riding Hood to Goldilocks to the Evil Queen and her Huntsman and on and on.  And many of these fairy tale icons are not as we all remember them.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

Let me now say this:  The Wishing Spell is extremely clever.  Not only are the multiple story lines so creative, there are a whole mess of laugh-out-loud lines; countless, in fact. Here are just a few of Colfer's bon mots:

1.  The first "person" they meet is a talking, walking frog.  When he offers Alex and Conner tea, he asks them:  "Do either of you take flies with your tea?"  Conner replies:  "No thanks.  Trying to quit."
2.  Alex and Conner are walking through the forest (one of many) and talking about their situation.  Conner says:  "I wonder if there's a support group for people like us?  You know, people who accidentally travel into other dimensions and whatnot."
3.  When Alex and Conner are taken by the witch in the Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house, Alex convinces the witch that Conner gets one wish before she eats them. Conner says:  "I wish you would become a vegetarian!" C'mon, that's funny.
4.  Red Riding Hood (known as Red) says to Conner:  "So, tell me, what's new with you?" Conner says:  "Same old, same old."  I'm laughing all over again.

There were many parts of The Wishing Spell that I related to other books and even movies.  A few examples:

1.  When Alex puts her fingertips into the book to see what will happen, it reminded me of Field of Dreams (maybe my favorite movie of all time!), when James Earl Jones puts his hand and arm into the corn in centerfield to see what would happen.
2.  Of course, the kids going through a portal brings to mind C.S. Lewis' classic series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  In fact, I love the quote from Lewis right at the beginning of this book:  "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
3.  Toward the end of the book (don't worry - it's not a spoiler alert), Goldilocks slaps Red Riding Hood and says:  "Now we're even."  Remember in Major League, after the Indians win the pennant?  They are celebrating, and Corbin Bernson slugs Charlie Sheen because of something Sheen had done to Bernson.  Then they start hugging and celebrating again.

Bottom line is that Colfer combines a lot of the present-day with classic fairy tales.  The result is a very entertaining book.  As you know, I try to read book 1 of the most popular series.  And then I'm done.  I read The Hunger Games and really liked it.  But didn't read 2 or 3.  That was my intention here too.  However, I have offered Hannah another deal.  If she reads book 2 of The Voyages of the Legend (The Illuminator's Test), then I will read book 2 of The Land of Stories (The Enchantress Returns).  Seems fair, right?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Balcony7's Newest Author - My Son, Josh!

I have said many many times that one of the great advantages of writing a blog is that I can basically say whatever I want.  It's up to you readers whether or not you want to read what I wrote.  Well, this time, I've got to say I'm a little more excited to post than usual. That's because I'm here to announce that my son, Josh, has just been signed by Southern California publisher, Balcony7 Media & Publishing, for his children's book, Little Boy Soup.  I could include a link to the Balcony7 website.  But, instead, I am including the entire intro below.  It's not like I'm making you read it.  Not really.  I have also added Jasmine Bingham's (Balcony7's VP/author) Facebook post from today.

I know this is just a tad self-serving.  But, hey, it's not all the time that a family member becomes a published author.  In this case, Josh is #2.  My wife, Joni, co-authored a book called The Everything Baby Shower Book, 2nd edition, back in 2008.  Pretty cool, huh?

I have very talented daughters, and I'm equally proud of all 3 of my kids (and Joni, too). But, after all, this is a book blog!

“My day job at Silicon Valley Creates lets me play the role of ultimate matchmaker: with my fingers on the pulse of trends and opportunities in SV, I help raise visibility for the arts and increase participation. At home, I’m a dad who’s always read to his kids, and I wanted to write a book that filled a void for me—one that would allow me and my son to read and play at the same time, especially in the bath, which is one of my little boy’s favorite times with his dad. So I wrote Little Boy Soup. It brings all our favorite toys into story time.”

Little Boy Soup is Joshua Russell’s debut work, written for dads (or moms) and their sons, to turn bath time into play time through the concept of mixing favorite toys and your favorite little boy into a tub full of fun. Mark Spring 2016 to add this new title to your favorite bathtime books list.
Russell’s Silicon Valley roots are deep with over seventeen years in marketing, strategic communications and community based programming. He is currently the Executive Vice President of Silicon Valley Creates, a nonprofit organization whose mission is building community through arts and creativity. Before that, Russell was a professional blogger, having managed three separate blogs for two years, focusing on the San Francisco 49’ers, the Golden State Warriors, and the Oakland A’s.
Russell is a graduate of Leadership San Jose’s 2008 Class and is the former Board President of the San Jose Leadership Council. He currently serves on the board of the Silicon Valley Chamber Foundation as well as the Artspiration Steering Committee for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Russell also serves on the Advisory Boards of City Lights Theater Company, Silicon Valley Reads and CreaTV San Jose. In addition, he is founder and past chair of genARTS Silicon Valley and past co-chair of the San Jose Arts Marketing Roundtable. He is also the former president of the Ad Club of Silicon Valley and was a co-founder of the Chamber’s young professional program (TYP) and of First Fest.

A graduate of the University of Arizona, with a major in Media Arts and a minor in Theatre, Joshua Russell currently lives in Campbell, California, with his wife, Jennifer and two children Haley (9) and Ryan (6). He has other children’s books in various stages of production, including Little Girl Soup and other whimsical stories.

Excited to be working with Balcony 7 Media and Publishing new author Joshua Russell. He's got an adorable series of bathtime books: Little Boy Soup, followed by Little Girl Soup. Click this image and read more. He's also an arts maven in Silicon Valley. A great talent and asset for Balcony 7 and young readers. Welcome Aboard, Joshua!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Playing Doctor - No, I Didn't Make Up That Title

As you all know, I really like to read different genres.  So, when Kate Allure, through LinkedIn, asked me to read an ARC of her 1st book, Playing Doctor, how could I say no? And how did I know it was it going to be a very hot romance?  Just lucky...I mean, us bloggers have responsibilities, don't you think?

Actually, this is 3 stories in one book.  And all of them involve doctors.  In one story, the doctor is a woman, and in the other 2, the men are the doctors.  All 3 involve women who take control of their (sex) lives.  These are strong women who determine their own romantic fates.  But here's the interesting thing about all 3 stories - they are romances, and there are erotic love scenes.  But I wouldn't call them erotic romances.  I would say that they are somewhere in between.  Let's call them semi-erotic or half-erotic romances.

Another literary decision Kate made that I liked centers on the length of the stories.  I felt that they all ran their course.  They are approximately 100, 65, and 80 pages.  Just right. None of them, I believe, could have carried an entire book.  Despite that, I still cried 32 pages into the 3rd story; said "uh, oh," on page 60 of the 3rd story; and both smiled and cried at the end of the 3rd story.  I enjoyed all of the stories, but it's pretty interesting that only the 3rd one got emotional reactions from me.  Huh.  I never realized that until I wrote this paragraph.

You all know, of course, that I'm a big fan of Jasmine Haynes, who is my only true erotic romance author.  And I'm sure you remember my post of Jasmine's Past Midnight from 11/19/11.  As erotic as the book was, it still taught me a lesson on being a better husband to my wife of 45 years (at that time, I was married 40 years and had dated Joni for 5). And in this case, again, the erotic sex doesn't detract from the message.

Kate's book comes out this coming January 6.  I liked it a lot and recommend it.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Review of The Mathematician's Shiva - The RBC book for January

I'm going to make this easy for you.  We don't even need Goodreads for a synopsis.  In Stuart Rojstaczer's The Mathematician's Shiva, the world's most famous female mathematician, Rachela Karnokovitch, dies at the age of 71.  Her 50-year old son, Sasha, along with a whole host of quirky characters, sits shiva for 7 days following her funeral. (Do you know what sitting shiva means?  Did you see the movie or read the book This Is Where I Leave You?  If you did one or the other, then you know what it is.  If not, do a quick search for a detailed explanation).

Right off the bat I can tell you that I enjoyed reading something very different from anything else I've read.  Really, the whole story revolves around the decades-long quest of mathematicians around the world to solve one particular math problem.  And many of these mathematicians come to Rachela's house over the ensuing 7 days to, ostensibly, pay their respects.  But, actually, they want to see if Rachela solved the mystery math problem and, if so, how they can get their hands on the answer.

Besides Sasha, there are a host of other family members:  Sasha's dad, divorced from Rachela; his uncle, Rachela's brother, who reunited with his sister after many years of being separated; Bruce, his uncle's son, who is a big shot producer in Hollywood; Anna, the ballerina, who was unofficially adopted by Rachela when Anna was 21; and (NON-SPOILER ALERT), a very big human surprise package.  And then there are the mathematicians themselves.  You have to read about them to believe them.  Stuart has created a whole bevy (isn't that a bunch of quail?) of interesting, and very atypical, characters.

I enjoyed this book a lot.  And I'm definitely looking forward to having Stuart come to the Recycle Book Club meeting on January 13.  If you have a chance to read it, and want to come hear Stuart talk about The Mathematician's Shiva, then stop on by on January 13. Our club members meet from 6:30-7:00 to talk about the book.  And Stuart will come at 7:00 to answer questions and sign.  It's super fun to get the back story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I'm running out of clever ways to announce a post with a bunch of miscellaneous snippets in it.  That's assuming, of course, that any of the other titles have been clever!  Debatable, to be sure.  Regardless (I was just reminded by Grammarly that irregardless is not a word), here are a few bullet points of (potential) interest:

1.  Alina Sayre, author of the fantasy, middle-grade series, The Voyages of the Legend, came to Recycle this past Sunday morning to sell, sign, and promote her 2 books, The Illuminator's Gift and The Illuminator's Test.  It was a great morning.  And Alina will be coming to Recycle for the RBC on January 21.  We're going to have a bunch of 9-14 year olds at a regular book club meeting.  I'll meet with the kids from 6:30-7:00, and then Alina will come to answer questions and sign more books.

2.  Saturday, November 29, was Small Business Day.  I was able to get to Books, Inc. in Palo Alto.  Typically, authors come for part of the day and help sell books.  I didn't have any idea who was going to be there.  It turns out that it was Ann Packer.   I had never met her and hadn't read any of her books.  She's written 2 novels (plus some short story collections).  After a lot of discussion with her, I finally picked Songs without Words.  I finished it today and liked it a lot (review to follow).

3.   Last Tuesday night, the 2nd, Natalie Baszile, author of Queen Sugar, came to Recycle Books for our December RBC meeting.  She was terrific.  But equally important, everybody loved her book.  If you want to see my review, I posted it on August 28.  It's definitely one of my favorite books of 2014.

4.  An up and coming publisher in Southern California, Balcony 7, is starting to get a lot of notice.  Randy Morkved, the owner, is being very aggressive about adding authors.  In fact, he's already signed 3 from our very own area:  Tyler Draa and Ann Bridges and ____________.  (An announcement will be made about #3 early next week).  An online magazine, Forward This Week, just wrote an article called The Best in the West, the Indie Alternative to NYC.  Here's the link:

5.  I was at Recycle Books a couple of Sundays ago and was approached by Helene Morley.  She is in charge of the Camden Literature Group, which is part of the Camden Senior Group.  Why did she approach me, you wonder?  Well, she asked if I would let everybody know that they're looking for new members.  They've got a couple of members who have moved and a couple who have, unfortunately, passed away.  The only requirement is that you must be at least 50 years old (except she said that this is not even an absolute must).  They've got some great books lined up for the 1st part of next year, including Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen, and God's Hotel (I reviewed this one on 4/15/12) by Victoria Sweet.  If you are interested in looking into this book group, you can leave me a message, and I will privately give you Helene's phone number.

C'est tout, people. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick - Social Media Experts

Thursday night, Joni and I went to Kepler's to see Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick talk about their new book, The Art of Social Media.  Basically, the book gives very practical advice on how to take advantage of social media.  Since I'm trying to build my business, The Corporate Chef, as well as my blog,, I thought I would benefit from seeing these gurus in person.  And I was right.  Not only did I pick up the book (personalized and signed, of course, by both authors), but I also got tips on how best to use social media.  I'm definitely looking forward to reading it.  Here are a couple of tidbits that came out of their discussion (they mostly answered questions - and there were plenty of them):

1.  Guy started with Apple in 1983 and built up his brand over a 20-year period before he began concentrating on social media 10 years ago.  He has 10 million followers.  And that is NOT a misprint.
2.  Peg has a more traditional marketing background.  She started working with social media in earnest about 5 years ago.  She has a mere 700,000 followers.  It's only chump change compared to Guy, but she is, otherwise, probably one of the most followed people out there.
3.  Facebook has 1.2 billion members, but only about 10% will see a post.  Google+ and LinkedIn have only 300-400 million (only!) members, but everybody sees those posts. So, actually, it's better to have followers on Google+ or LinkedIn.
4.  LinkedIn is the most serious social media platform.  Because people on LinkedIn tend to be looking or posting for jobs (I actually belong to 2 book groups on LinkedIn, in addition to the main site), everybody uses their actual names.  Because of that, there is more self-policing.
5.  Guy's last book, APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur), How to Publish a Book, was self-published.  Why did he go with a traditional publisher for The Art of Social Media? Guy said he got an offer from Penguin that he simply couldn't refuse.  This is true even though authors get about 15% of the cover price from traditional publishers vs. 70% from self-published books.
6.  Guy and Peg were introduced by Praveen, the owner of Kepler's.

As you know, I'm a big fan of author events.  But this one had a lot more practical application for me than most.  I'm very glad I went.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Latest from James Grippando

Grippando's latest, Cane and Abe (a very clever title, as you will see when you read it), will be released January 20.  And, like his other 20 books, I liked it. I actually like his Jack Swytek books, which account for 11 of his 21, more than his stand-alones.  And the other 10 are, of course, stand-alones.  Did I like Cane and Abe?  I did.  Is he one of the authors on my B list?  He is.  This one is a very solid 2.5/4.  I think it was a 3/4 for 300 pages but faltered in the last 50.  The solved mystery didn't cut it for me.

So let's get to Goodreads' synopsis:

An explosive psychological thriller from New York Times bestselling author James Grippando in which Miami’s top prosecutor becomes a prime suspect when his wife’s disappearance may have a chilling connection to the vicious murders of beautiful women in the Florida Everglades
Unbelievable was the word for her. Samantha Vine was unbelievably beautiful. It was unbelievable that she’d married me. Even more unbelievable that she was gone . . . 
Samantha died too soon. Abe Beckham’s new wife, Angelina, feels like Samantha never left. Through it all, Abe has managed to remain a star prosecutor at the Miami State Attorney’s Office. But his personal life is a mess, and it’s about to get worse. 
When a woman’s body is discovered dumped in the Everglades, Abe is called upon to stay on top of the investigation. The FBI is tracking a killer in South Florida they call “Cutter” because his brutal methods harken back to Florida’s dark past, when machete-wielding men cut sugarcane by hand in the blazing sun.
But when the feds discover that Abe had a brief encounter with the victim after Samantha’s death, and when Angelina goes missing, the respected attorney finds himself in the hot seat. Suspicion surrounds him. His closest friends, family, professional colleagues, and the media no longer trust his motives. Was Angelina right? Was their marriage failing because he loved Samantha too much? Or was there another woman, and did Abe have a dark side that simply wanted his new but very unhappy wife gone?

As you can see, it's a pretty intricate plot.  That part was okay for me.  And I thought that most of the writing was pretty good.  Here are a couple of lines that stood out for me:

1.  Grippando is describing stacks of boxes in an attorney's office.  He says:  "It was leaning to the left, the legal aid version of the Tower of Pisa."
2.  "It was 3:00 in the afternoon, the geriatric version of happy hour..."
3.  When Abe and his wife, Angelina, are in her attorney's office, Abe asks her to leave with him.  "She looked at her lawyer, but she didn't move.  Winters had her under a sit-and-stay command worthy of the Westminster Kennel Club."

Pretty good stuff.  But then he's talking about his wife taking a 20-minute drive, and he says that she had "time aplenty" to do some plotting.  I think that's an odd construction. I'm probably just nitpicking.  But if it stands out to me, I imagine it will also stand out to others.

Do I recommend Cane and Abe?  Sure.  I recommend most books/authors from my B List.  Will I put Cane and Abe (or any other Grippando) on my table at Recycle?  That would be no.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Results Are In - The Goodreads Reader Favorites 2014

The Goodreads Awards are the only ones based on readers' input.  There were 3,317,504 votes cast.  And here are the winners in all 20 categories:

Fiction - Landline - Rainbow Rowll
Non-Fiction - The Opposite of Loneliness - Marina Keegan
Mystery/Thriller - Mr. Mercedes - Stephen King
Historical Fiction - All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
YA Fiction - We Were Liars - e. lockhart
Romance - Written in My Own Heart's Blood - Diana Gabaldon
Humor - Yes Please - Amy Poehler
Science Fiction - The Martian - Andy Weir
Fantasy - The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness
Horror - Prince Lestat - Ann Rice
Memoir & Autobiography - This Star Won't Go Out - Esther Earl
History & Biography - The Romanov Sisters - Helen Rappaport
Business Book - #Girl Boss - Sophia Amoruso
Food & Cookbook - Make It Ahead - Ina Garten
Graphic Novels & Comics - Serenity:Leaves in the Wind - Zack Whedon,Georges Jeanty,Fabio Moon
Poetry - Lullabies - Lang Leav
Debut Goodreads Author - Red Rising - Pierce Brown
YA Fantasy - The Mortal Instruments:City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare
Middle Grade & Children's - The Blood of Olympus - Rick Riordan
Picture Books - The Pigeon Needs a Bath - Mo Willems

I have only read 1 of these books - All the Light We Cannot See - and I liked it a lot (review on 11/15/14).  But I have 2 others in my TBR pile, sitting among 30 others.  One is The Martian (science fiction), and the other is We Were Liars (YA Fiction).  Both of these were highly recommended to me by Kepler's staff at 2 different events I attended.  I bought them without knowing how popular they were.  I guess I'll move them up the pile(s) a bit.

NEXT UP:  I've got a few reviews coming in the next week or so:
Cane and Abe - James Grippando (hitting the stores in early January)
The Mathematician's Shiva - Stuart Rojstaczer (our RBC selection for January - the 13th)
Proof of Heaven - Eben Alexander, M.D. (the December book for the Los Gatos Library Third Tuesday Night Book Club)