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ALL THE NEWS I NEED: a novel ~Joan Frank

Monday, March 20th, 2017

ALL THE NEWS I NEED is full of wonderful words placed with delicate care and mixed with adjectives, which are perfection.  Frank’s has created a word salad that is filled with glorious descriptions of feelings and attitudes and fears and delights that just move the reader along the page onto the next and each new expression.  It was a heady trip into two lives contemplating being old and the losses of their lives.

ALL THE NEWS I NEED is the winner of the Juniper Prize for fiction.

The story moves at just the perfect pace to draw the reader into the lives of two well-described characters, who lead us to our own feelings about aging and the use of our time.  Do we walk and walk or read and read remembering to water the plants and do our shopping?  What are our habits and routines that keep us moving forward?

Fran and Ollie’s ‘rules for aging’ section makes this book well worth the price – actually the whole story makes the book a keeper.  I have bookmarked the rules and read them at least a dozen times.  They make me smile

From the cover:

All THE NEWS I NEED probes the modern American response to inevitable, ancient riddles – of love and sex and mortality.  Frances Ferguson is a lonely sharp-tongued widow who lives in the wine country.  Oliver Gaffney is a painfully shy gay man who guards a secret and lives out equally lonely days in San Francisco.  Friends by default; Fran and Ollie nurse the deep anomie of loss and the creeping, animal betrayal of aging.  Each loves routine but is anxious that life might be passing by.  To crack open this stalemate, Fran insists the two travel together to Paris.  The aftermath of their fun, bittersweet journey suggest those small changes, within our reach, that may help us save ourselves – somewhere toward the end.

I am sorry the publisher sent me this book so close to the review date as I would have loved to read it twice before writing the review, as it turned out I only had 3 days, so I will read it again and again at another time.  It is on the schedule for both of my book groups.

TLC Book Tours sent the book to me and Trish really insisted that I read this book, as she wanted to know my thoughts.  So here they are and I LOVED this book and now want to read some more of Frank’s words in the future.  Thank you so much.  ALL THE NEWS I NEED is definitely on the top of my list of great reads.

This book is perfect for those who have retired or suffered a loss and are curious about the next parts of life to launch for themselves.  It is really just a magnificent read for everyone.  Oh how important are those small changes that define and bring meaning.

“Joan Frank is a writer of sublime power who reveals the lives of her characters with such care, insight, and elegance, that deeply buried feelings of victory and loss become inextricably bound up with our own.” (Simon Van Booy, author of FATHER”S DAY)

JOAN FRANK is the author of five books of fiction and a collection of essays on the writing life.  She lives in Northern California with her husband, playwright Bob Duxbury.

www.joanfrank.org

“Joan Frank is a human insight machine.” —Carolyn Cooke

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DECEPTION ISLAND: A Romance Novel ~Brynn Kelly

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this novel for review.  It was an advance copy and there was no other promo information that accompanied the e-book, nor was there a cover.  As per my usual, I just dove in to see what this first novel was about.

There is some excitement to the story right away as there is a kidnapping of a politician’s daughter, who is sailing her boat around the world by herself, within the first few pages.  Sharks, three to one odds, kicks to the groin, fancy moves, and a talented heiress makes it to the attackers boat and then there is an attack of human kindness and the hope to save the kidnapper being attacked in the water.  First downfall and the heroine is overtaken and off to a hidden island and a honeymoon resort.

Holly, the heroine in this novel is very well written and even though size matters a great deal in this abduction, she has skill and huge survival instincts.  The reader has great hopes for her.  Her backstory is well written and very believable although her best actions are intimate manipulations and sex- throw in some kickboxing maneuvers and a pocketknife and she is ofttimes amazing.

Rafe, our hero, was kidnapped as a boy to become a child warrior and killer. He is trying to rehabilitate himself after his warrior group left him behind and Missionaries rescued him.  His son has been kidnapped and he must do this job of holding the heiress for ransom and in order to regain custody of his son.

Kelly’s story is located in a series of islands maybe near Malaysia – paradise. It exposes the American politician’s fake set up to get elected, sex trafficking and how it is concealed in Asian countries, and child warriors; what happens to them as they grow older.  The story is primarily a romance and I know there are hundreds of readers who will want to read this story and be involved in all the action and feelings shared.

I advise Romance readers to connect with the TLC link if they wish to know more about the story and how other readers enjoyed it.  This is not my favorite genre. I do not find these stories even entertaining. I did read the book from start to finish, and wish Ms. Kelly well on her writing career.

Brynn Kelly
“As a journalist Brynn Kelly once spent her days chasing stranger-than-fiction news reports. Now she spends them writing larger-than-life novels, in a happy bubble of fiendish plots and delicious words. Brynn has a journalism degree and has won several prestigious writing and journalism awards, including the Valerie Parv Award and Pacific Hearts Award. Her debut novel Deception Island was a Golden Heart finalist. She’s also a bestselling non-fiction author in her native New Zealand.”

Author’s website
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PRIVATE CITIZENS: A Novel ~Tony Tulathimutte

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

  • An Amazon “Best Book” of Month
  • A Buzzfeed “Most Exciting” Book of 2016
  • A Flavorwire “Most Anticipated” Book 2016

I was so lucky to be sent PRIVATE CITIZENS for review for TLC BOOK TOURS.  We started off by getting the tour dates mixed up and this book arrived before May.  This was okay and we rallied around to find a new spot for it.

Here’s what it said on the book cover:
“ From a brilliant new literary talent comes a sweeping comic portrait of privilege, ambition, and friendship in millennial San Francisco.  With the Social Acuity of Adelle Waldman and the murderous wit of Martin Amis, Tony Tulathimutte’s PRIVATE CITIZENS is a brainy, irreverent debut “ – This Side of Paradise for a new era.

“Private Citizens is a freak of literature – a novel so authentic, hilarious, elegantly plotted, and heartbreaking that I’d follow it anywhere.  Tony Tulathimutte is a singular intellect with an uncanny 40/20 vision on the world.”  – Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes

Tony Tulathimutte is a very smart fellow
“Tulathimutte has contributed to AGNI, The Three Penny Review, The American reader, Salon, The New Yorker on line, and other publications.  A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Stanford University, he has received an O. Henry prize, a MacDowell Colony fellowship, and the Michener- Copernicus Society of America Award.  He lives in New York.”

Hilarious, authentic, intelligent were the words that truly captivated me and to learn about the privileged young people who graduated from Stanford University, I was totally ready to read this book.  Four friends reconnecting, yes!  This sounds very good indeed.  I set aside a whole afternoon to start the read.   After 4 hours at it, I realized I had slept 90 minutes of my time away instead of reading.  I am too old to find bowel track humor very funny any more, I could not find humor at all instead I found the style very distracting and the 4 friends pathetic.

On the second session of reading, I engaged a bit with Cory the social activist as she connected with a cultish self-help seminar,  I could identify as my wishes and hopes were not being met early after graduation either and I fell pray to something like this situation.  When I had 75 pages left to read, I jumped to the last chapter and finished PRIVATE CITIZEN’s. I have no idea why one character needed eye surgery.  I did not care.  I felt rather hopeless about recent graduates and a kind of despair sticks with me as I begin reading the next book on the list.

I did not like this book and thought the drug usage, sex, and alcohol consumption were too big a focus for these whiney characters.  Wow not funny, not smart, and I find it sad that PRIVATE CITIZENS is so anticipated and folks are so excited about it – worrisome to me. All that privilege and such weak outcomes.  I am concerned for our future.

Tony Tulathimutte Website
Tony Tulathimutte Twitter
Tony Tulathimutte Facebook

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THE RAVEN ROOM: A Trilogy Mystery (Book 1) ~Ana Medeiros

Monday, November 16th, 2015

“Anything you can imagine. Everything you crave.”

“The Raven Room will have everything you could possibly want and more.” (The San Francisco Book Review – cover)<‘blockquote>

You need to be in Chicago to find the RAVEN ROOM finely tuned into Chinatown and the underground levels under traditional storefronts.  It is a Sex Club and offers its membership every delight they could possibly imagine and now there is a murder involved with the club; the press and police would like access.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review and I have mixed emotions about this request.  I was only offered Book One, which has a very unsettling ending and no book two or three in the offering.  The book is very well written and finds a hold on the reader very quickly and the sex keeps coming full throttle and does not let up page after page after page.   The characters are well developed and disturbing at times and have numerous psychological attributes, which can be overwhelming.  Even though I would rather not know about this kind of club and it’s activities the story is believable.

Meredith is a young journalism student and has discovered an older fellow who arouses many new feelings in her.  She wants to write an expose’ about THE RAVEN ROOM club and Julian is her point of entry member.  Julian is self-destructive, because of his abandonment as a child and his trials within the foster care system, and yet he is working on healing himself and has developed a fine reputation as a child psychologist and caregiver.  Meredith wants to keep him from self-destruction and yet will she be pulled into his controlling side life situations?

The book is about sexual deviations and I know I should not feel like there was too much sex, but I did feel there was just too much.  A loving encounter would turn into beatings and cutting and choking….  I just had to set the book aside and go do something else.  The who-done-it part of the story was wonderful and the development of the backstories was very good and kept me proceeding until the very rude, abrupt last page.  Yikes!  I kept trying to figure out where the story was headed and could not get it out of my mind.

I would offer a warning for those who are not wanting to read about such violence and so much sex – The RAVEN ROOM has it all and will take the purchase of 3 books to get the whole story.

About the Author

“Before THE RAVEN ROOM there was Paris, books, coffee, chocolate and zombies. Ana Medeiros lives in Toronto, Canada, with her boyfriend and two cats. THE RAVEN ROOM is her first novel.” (From Amazon’s page)

“Readers who enjoy complex stories with strong characterization and psychological depth will find The Raven Room a satisfyingly story of emotional turbulence…” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review