Kim B's Picks
Kim's Staff Pick (October 2014): Once again Pete the Cat is one cool cat. He shows acceptance of difference and finds a way for everyone to do something fun together.
Kim's Staff Pick (October 2014): We have been so lucky to have had Jenny at our store for the launch of both of her books. She is a smart, fun and fabulous person as well as a clear up and coming thriller author. We will be seeing a lot from her.
In a suspenseful follow-up to her critically acclaimed Cover of Snow, Jenny Milchman ratchets up the tension with this edge-of-your-seat story of a mother determined to find her missing children.
Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz’s mind—but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her. Liz knows that Ally and Reid are safe, but she will stop at nothing to find them and get them back. From her guarded in-laws’ unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her own hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.
Kim's Staff Pick (September 2014): Now in PaperBack! Needing to knock some Literary Sojourn books off the list I picked a winner! Beautiful short Book packs a lot of punch. Loosely based on the real-life West Plains Dance Hall Explosion of 1928, it centers on Alma DeGeer Dunahew, a maid with three children in fictional West Table, Mo. After years of bitter silence, Alma has chosen to unburden her story on her grandson, Alek. When Alma’s sister Ruby is killed along with 42 other victims in the local Arbor Dance Hall, Alma is determined that the explosion was no accident. From these slim threads, Woodrell gives us many potential culprits, among them an Old Testament preacher and a gang of bank robbers, not to mention all the secrets and lies kept by the good people of any rural village. Short chapters reveal only the most telling and scarce details of Woodrell’s lineup of characters, lending the story a spare, bitter charm. Woodrell is a beautifully lyrical writer in that true southern prose.
Kim's Staff Pick (September 2014): Rupert has a secret night time passion that is discovered in a laugh out loud scene with fun illustrations. For the cat lover, the dancer or just a fun book lover, this fun picture book will be a pleasure to read over and over.
Kim's Staff Pick (August 2014): From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr,(and Literary Sojourn author) a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.
Kim's Staff Pick (August 2014):
Sometimes a Grandpa says “I love you” by mussing up your hair. Just after you’ve combed it.
A perfect excerpt from this sweet book that perfectly captures a Grandpa’s Love. This is an accurate explanation of how my Grandpa’s and now my dad who is a Grandpa say “I love you”.
Kim's Staff Pick (July 2014): Never confusing but very engaging, this a a compelling read.
The String Diaries finds fresh ground in its particular subject: shapeshifters, but in this case, into other humans.
The book uses a clever device of bouncing between three time periods that follows this long living shapeshifter and human prey, and her progeny.
Despite its quirks and the occasional flaw, The String Diaries is intensely readable: I raced through it. It’s a readable urban fantasy with likeable characters and a bit more depth than most. And if you want a villain? Jakab’s your man/shapeshifter.
Kim's Staff Pick (July 2014): A terrific follow up to I Want My Hat Back. This beautifully illustrated engaging picture book has a great sense of humor and a moral!
Kim's Staff Pick (June 2014): This novel has been on the BestSeller table for weeks now and for good reason. This historical fiction takes a bit of our American history that I was not familiar with and weaves it into an engaging story of a modern day orphan (Molly) exploring the history of an orphan (Vivian) that endured the orphan trains of the 1920’s.
As Molly learns Vivian’s story, the parallels to her own story become more and more clear. She comes to see Vivian as both a confidante and a friend, someone who can help her and who she possibly can help, too.
Readers who are unfamiliar with this episode in American history might be surprised to learn about the hardships and be struck by the parallels between Niamh/Vivian’s experience nearly a hundred years ago and the foster care system today. The afterword includes historical information, including a number of photographs, that will also help bring the period to life.
Kim's Staff Pick (June 2014): This is a terrific read. My first Literary Sojourn Author! I don’t want to give much away because the way she writes is to not let you in on something until half-way through. So do not read the back of this book, go straight to the beginning. It is worth it! Funny, sad, disturbing…
Kim's Staff Pick (June 2014): Love her picture books! The illustrations are so engaging. The text is simple and not too verbose. Some picture books have to much text for the intended audience. Divya’s books are perfect!
Kim's Staff Pick (February 2014): Joe Hill is really coming into his own. Definitely not content being in his father’s big shadow. He gives a funny nod to the master of terror, Stephen King, in the beginning of this spooky novel.
“NOS4A2” is full of chills and cliffhangers, but it never turns needlessly grotesque. Yes, Bing is a ghastly figure who uses stolen anesthetic gas on the children’s mommies. (That’s how he thinks of them.) He wears a gas mask and speaks in moronic but well-turned rhymes. (“Boys who yelp get no help.”)
Joe Hill makes a major point of emphasizing the extent to which his mother, Tabitha King, has influenced his work, no matter how eagerly others connect his writing with his father’s. His dedication is as nifty as any other line here. “To my mom,” he writes. “Here’s a mean machine for the story queen.”
If you are in the mood to snuggle in and be scared, this is the read for you.
Kim's Staff Pick (December 2013): Nobody could blame you for thinking that the Circle in Dave Eggers’ new novel is just another name for Google – or Apple, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It’s not, Eggers claims – though that’s all but impossible to believe, given the similarities. Instead, the Circle is a mega-corporation that has, in the near-future world of The Circle, devoured all of the above – it is not one of these companies, but all of them. And, through this corporate consumption, the Circle has gobbled up all of us, along with its competitors. The Circle is the first attempt I’ve seen in contemporary literature that paints, in vivid detail, the consequences of living in a world that shuns the ideal of privacy. Unlike its predecessor, George Orwell’s 1984, however, it explores the path to tyranny rather than a world consumed by it, far beyond the point of no return. But its world is not just similar to our own – it is our world, if to a less extreme degree. It makes its point – that total transparency is tyranny – without question, and with dire consequences for its characters.
Kim's Staff Pick (December 2013): Nobody could blame you for thinking that the Circle in Dave Eggers’ new novel is just another name for Google – or Apple, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It’s not, Eggers claims – though that’s all but impossible to believe, given the similarities. Instead, the Circle is a mega-corporation that has, in the near-future world of The Circle, devoured all of the above – it is not one of these companies, but all of them. And, through this corporate consumption, the Circle has gobbled up all of us, along with its competitors.
The Circle is the first attempt I’ve seen in contemporary literature that paints, in vivid detail, the consequences of living in a world that shuns the ideal of privacy. Unlike its predecessor, George Orwell’s 1984, however, it explores the path to tyranny rather than a world consumed by it, far beyond the point of no return. But its world is not just similar to our own – it is our world, if to a less extreme degree. It makes its point – that total transparency is tyranny – without question, and with dire consequences for its characters.
Kim's Staff Pick (December 2013): Chris Colfer wrote the film and the novel. The story of Carson Phillips, a self-righteous teen that knows exactly how he wants his life after high school to end up – far away from the small town of Clover, a “place where the pockets are small and the minds even smaller.”
Parents and younger teens may shy away from the “f-bomb,” but Colfer certainly does not. That said, I would highly recommend this book to fans of Chris Colfer’s character on Glee, as well as older teens and adults looking for a fast, fun, and thoughtful read.
Kim's Staff Pick (December 2013): “One of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. It’s truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid.”—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
That really sums it up. Whether Autism has touched your life or not, this book will open you up. If Autism has touched your life this book is an absolute must Read!
Kim's November 2013 Staff Pick: I should caveat that after meeting Mr. Dubus at Literary Sojourn I do have a huge crush. He is smart, funny, attractive and loves independent bookstores!
His publisher calls Dirty Love a collection of novellas and they’re fabulous. Tenuously tied together by common characters, the longest stories are the bookends.
Depressing? Of course. At times gritty? Definitely. And, yes, there’s a lot of sex. But if you enjoy Dubus, you’ll enjoy Dirty Love because his writing is as gorgeous as ever. And his insight into damaged relationships and real people begging for love is spot on
Kim's November 2013 Staff Pick: Nelson DeMille wrote The Quest nearly 40 years ago. It has been fully rewritten, showcasing this masterful author’s historical knowledge, understanding of the human psyche, and matchless entertainment skills. The novel crosses genres with its spiritualism, wit, adventure and romance, not to mention gripping action. Full of DeMille’s characteristic —- and unparalleled —- humor and intelligence, The Quest delivers. Boy, does it deliver.
Kim's November 2013 Staff Pick: King revisits The Shining’s primary victim, young Danny Torrance, with gleeful, assured mastery in the sequel, Doctor Sleep. It’s not just as good as The Shining; it’s far better. The Shining was a young writer’s work, written when King spent a lot of his time in an alcoholic haze (not unlike Danny’s dad, the book’s protagonist-villain). It was fraught with youthful energy and sailed from King’s imagination on a bright, boiling ocean of blood. King has been sober since the late 1980s, and like its writer and its protagonist, a grown-up Dan Torrance, Doctor Sleep displays grounding and maturity. It also goes to a deeper level of horror that, if not quite as gory and jump-out-at-you scary, carries the far more disturbing notion that the world’s most terrifying things aren’t in Room 217 or a bloody elevator — they’re traveling beside you on the turnpike.
Kim's Staff Pick (October 2013): This Pulitzer Prize Finalist will take you to the quirky dangerous swamps of Florida. Funny, sorrowful, and engrossing... Hardly a page goes by without the reader marveling. An adventure story; a tale of family; a testament to resilience and an account of America’s homogenization, Swamplandia! is an accomplished and affecting debut. The 13 year old heroine will be with you long after you finish this book.
Kim's Staff Pick (October 2013): Gone Girl meets Before I Go To Sleep in this riveting psychological thriller about a grieving mother who finds out 8 years after her daughter’s death that her child may still be alive and her beloved husband may have had something to do with it.Like Gone Girl I don’t want to give anything away because the twist, turns, and motives will surprise you. Stayed up late finishing this one!Great Suspense, Fun, Fast Read!
Kim's Staff Pick (September 2013): This Pulitzer Prize Finalist will take you to the quirky dangerous swamps of Florida. Funny, sorrowful, and engrossing... Hardly a page goes by without the reader marveling... An adventure story, a tale of family, a testament to resilience and an account of America’s homogenization, Swamplandia! is an accomplished and affecting debut.
The 13 year old heroine will be with you long after you finish this book.
Kim's Staff Pick (September 2013): GONE GIRL meets BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP in this riveting psychological thriller about a grieving mother who finds out 8 years after her daughter’s death that her child may still be alive and her beloved husband may have had something to do with it.
Like Gone Girl I don’t want to give anything away because the twist, turns, and motives will surprise you. Stayed up late finishing this one!
Great Suspense, Fun, Fast Read!
Kim B's Staff Pick (August 2013): Jenny Milchman’s Cover of Snow is a remarkable debut, a gripping tale of suspense in the tradition of Gillian Flynn, Chris Bohjalian, Laura Lippman, Harlan Coben and Nancy Pickard. Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from her husband’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden. A chilling psychological thriller that captures loss, danger, and mystery during an ice cold upstate New York winter.
Kim B's Staff Pick (August 2013): The #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.
Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.
A Thousand Splendid Suns was one of my favorite books and this does not disappoint. This man knows how to tell a beautiful story complete with lovely fables.
Kim B's Staff Pick (June 2013): Therese Anne Fowler’s often superb novel. She makes excellent use of Zelda’s biographical details, and pays close attention to the different arguments about Zelda’s life with Scott: did she, as Hemingway always insisted, bring her husband down? Or was she, as recent biographers claim, the victim of a controlling husband jealous of her artistic talents?
Kim B's Staff Pick: This is our Off The Beaten Path bookclub pick for September and the author also happens to be a Literary Sojourn author for 2012.In this introduction to the Tess Monaghan detective series, we first meet twenty-nine-year-old Tess Monaghan, a laid-off newspaper reporter who hasn’t figured out what she wants to do next. She rows every morning on the Baltimore’s Patapsco River and works part-time in her Aunt Kitty’s bookstore. When her rowing friend Rock hires Tess to see why his fiancé Ava is acting strange, Tess jumps at the chance for the extra income.Unfortunately, it looks to Tess like Ava is seeing someone else on the side. Tess confronts Ava and goads her into confessing to Rock. When that same man is found dead later that night, Rock is the prime suspect. Tess hires on with another rower who is a lawyer, Tyner Gray, to help solve the case.
A fun introduction to the series.
Kim B's Staff Pick: A love letter to Manhattan on the eve of World War II, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the way certain people lived back then, or how we like to imagine they did through the smoke-and-gin filter of great books, movies and indelible images. One night at the novel’s outset touches off the chain reaction that will produce both Katey’s career and her husband, and define her entire adult life. She’s swept into the satin-and-cashmere embrace of the smart set — blithe young people with names like Dicky and Bitsy and Bucky and Wallace — with their Oyster Bay mansions, their Adirondack camps, their cocktails at the St. Regis and all the fog of Fishers Island.
Kim B's Staff Pick: “Gone Girl” has two narrators, the halves of a broken marriage: Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy. Nick comes home on the day of their fifth anniversary to find their suburban house tossed and Amy vanished. His account of the unfolding media circus following his wife’s disappearance alternates with excerpts from Amy’s diary, in which she describes how they met as two young magazine journalists in New York and how they ended up, miserable and estranged, in North Carthage, the economically depressed Missouri town where Nick was born and raised.
the novel has two mysteries: What happened to Amy, and what happened to Nick-and-Amy? Why does this marriage, or any marriage, fall apart? Was it external pressures? Both partners lost their media jobs thanks to the Internet-enabled mentality that Nick describes as “free is better than good.” Or is it that they’ve taken each other for granted? Both husband and wife have totted up lists of slights, oversights and grievances, most of which result from inattention.
You couldn’t say that this is a crime novel that’s ultimately about a marriage, which would make it a literary novel in disguise. The crime and the marriage are inseparable. As “Gone Girl” works itself up into an aria of ingenious, pitch-black comedy (or comedic horror — it’s a bit of both)
This page turner is Dark fun! You won’t guess the ending.
Kim B's Staff Pick: Hillary Jordan is a 2012 Literary Sojourn author.
Hillary Jordan’s Frightening tale follows a young woman named Hannah Payne living in a near-future United States in which a totalitarian religious state has been established. Hannah has recently become “Chromed” — her skin synthetically dyed, in this case red — after having had an abortion. And if you’re thinking that some of this — Hannah’s initials, the color red, the religious state — sounds a bit familiar, you’re not wrong: Jordan’s novel consciously takes Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter as its inspiration. Think Margaret Atwood (A Handmaids Tale) meets Nathaniel Hawthorne.
In today’s political climate this book will definitely leave you with something to think and talk about.
Kim B's Staff Pick: What a fun read. Though Dr. Diana Bishop is a witch and her love interest is a vampire this novel has none of the teen angst of most popular vampire stories today. Historical fiction, romance, mystery, and part action thriller are apt descriptions.
We first meet our intrepid, youngish heroine Diana Bishop as she recalls a few archival manuscripts from Oxford’s Bodleian Library. The scholar is on leave from a tenured teaching post at Yale and is continuing research on the history of science, specifically the Newtonian era of the late 17th century where science begins to overtake the belief in alchemy and magic.
Diana immediately recognizes that one of the alchemical manuscripts, Ashmole 782, is bewitched. Her skin prickles at every touch of the leather-bound volume, and she is immediately both drawn and repulsed. Naturally—or unnaturally—Diana Bishop comes from a long line of powerful witches, descending from Bridget Bishop, the first woman executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692.
Diana has been denying her heritage and the use of magic, trying to pass as human her entire life. She can count on one hand the number of times she’s used her powers in a year, and those instances were specific emergencies (like casting a spell on an overflowing washing machine).
Ashmole 782 turns out to be a palimpsest—a manuscript hidden in a manuscript—believed lost until Diana unwittingly recalls it from the stacks. With manuscript in hand, she attracts unwarranted attention by vampires, witches and demons at Oxford who want to possess it and know the secrets it may hold. They’ll use force, if necessary, to extract the knowledge they need from Diana.
One creature tracking her every move is fellow academician and doctor Matthew Clairmont.
I couldn’t help recall Anne Rice affectionately throughout this novel.
Be warned that this is a fast paced read that leaves you wanting more because it is trilogy. The next one is due out in July 2012. Can’t wait!
Kim B's Staff Pick: Martine Desjardins has written an unusual little tale that will definitely keep your interest. Lurid and often graphic it is the found collection of heretic priest Vicar Jerome Savoie’s confessions. Scandalous because of the confessional breach, and more so because the same mysterious woman runs through each of the different men’s confession. Part travelogue, part theology, part mystery, this intriguing read will transport you in time and place.
Kim B's Staff Pick: Jesse Parker is back in this follow up to local favorite Storm Peak. Although Steamboat Springs plays a small role in this book, locals and visitors will enjoy the snowy setting of a fictional Utah ski lodge. Once again filled with tense action and Hollywood attractive characters Flanagan has added some international intrigue. Terrorists, drug lords, inadequate politicians, the FBI, and hostages all add to the fast paced fun. These books would make great action movies. For a fun romp in the snow check this book out.
Kim B's Staff Pick: In this new novel we follow as pregnant newlywed Lizzie and her husband The Reverend Neil MacKenzie embark on a journey to St. Kilda in the 1830’s. The Reverend is determined to civilize the native population and rid them of their pagan ways. We follow along as these two struggle with marriage, faith, poverty, and hardship on a ruggedly beautiful island. Part memoir, part historical fiction, part novel this book is a fast fascinating read based on the actual letters and journals of the Reverend.