October 7, 2011

Friday Finds (Oct. 7)

Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

What great books did you hear about/discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!


Summaries from GR.

by Terry Helwig

In the tradition of The Glass Castle and The Liar’s Club comes the captivating memoir of a young girl forced by her mother’s instability to care for her siblings.

Terry Helwig and her five sisters were raised by their charismatic, troubled, and very young mother, Carola, who struggled with loneliness and infidelity. Because of their stepfather’s roving job in the oil fields, the family moved frequently from town to town in the American West. The girls were often separated and left behind with relatives, never knowing what their unstable mother would do next. Yet, even in the face of adversity, Terry found beauty in the small moments: resting in the boughs of her favorite oak tree, savoring the freedom she found on her grandparents’ farm, and gleefully discovering the joys of dating and dancing.

Despite the hardships and the limitations of age, Terry rose above her circumstances to become an excellent and faithful caregiver to her five siblings. She finds power in bonding with her sisters, and they manage to thrive in the face of constant upheaval and uncertainty. A moving and motivating portrait of love and perseverance, Moonlight on Linoleum is a poignant tribute to the bonds of family and the tenacity of love.


by S.B. Sebrick

The last few grueling years of training have served Kaltor well. He’s learned to harness the magic within his body, overcome a stronger opponent, avoid capture, and everything else an assassin-in-training needs to survive. 

Or so he thought. 

But when those they protect at an excavation site release a demon from the Abyss itself, Kaltor realizes just how poorly prepared they all are for what’s coming. Within a single night, their mining camp of one thousand people plummets to a couple hundred terrified survivors, the majority turned against each other by the demon’s potent abilities. Then she turns towards Shaylis, the largest city in the region, for the next stage of her plan. 

In a constant battle of both steel and strategy Kaltor and his friends struggle to delay, deceive and defeat their opponent, who’s spent the last thousand years planning out every detail of her assault to perfection. As the number of casualties mounts and her final plan comes to light, Kaltor is left with only one option. He must draw on the secret power within himself, knowing if his true identity is discovered, his life and the fate of the world, will be changed forever.


by Alice Hoffman

Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel. 

The author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune’s Daughter, and Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet—one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women. 

In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. 

This novel is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.


by Maggie Stiefvater

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. 

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. 

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

by Jeannine Garsee

Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother. 

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications (again!) and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home and school. She refuses to be daunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn's bedroom, or that her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists. 

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of? 

Annaliese? Or herself?


by Tamara Duricka Johnson

On the eve of her 31st birthday, after yet another painful breakup, Tamara Duricka Johnson decides it’s time to overhaul her dating habits. When a friend jokingly suggests that she embark on a “dating project,” inspiration strikes: in honor of turning 31, she'll go on 31 dates in 31 days — and resist the urge to turn each date into her next relationship. Instead, she’ll have to wait until the 31st date to pick one of the 30 men to go out with a second time. With each date, Johnson learns something about herself. Some experiences are awful, but others are amazing — and all of them help change her attitude about not just dating but people in general. In the end, though, she realizes there’s only one man of the entire 30 that she can see herself marrying — and one year later, she does. Chatty, fun, and confessional,31 Dates in 31 Daysis an entertaining journey that offers astute insights into the modern dating scene.


by Jocelyn Adams, J.A. Belfield, Aimee Laine

Three men never expected love to wreak so much havoc in their lives. 

In Marked, Darkness & Light’s Sean Holloway is on a mission—to find the perfect gift for the woman of his dreams. When all conventional choices turn out to be the wrong ones, each failed attempt convinces Sean his self-imposed task is impossible. But in the world of the Holloway Pack, anything is possible if it can be kept a secret. 

In Misguided, Little White Lies’s Wyatt Moreland is hot on the trail of a wanted man when a rumor about his fiancée halts his progress. His desire to keep her safe wars with her need to be involved in his work and could derail their entire wedding unless he finds out the truth before she does. 

In Tempted, The Glass Man’s Liam Kane made a promise to the fae he loves never to use his power to harm others. When a horrific event angers him, the energy boiling inside seduces him into walking a dark path. He has but one choice: resist his own nature or give up the one he loves. 

Will the three men make the right choices? Or will their actions destroy their futures with the women they love?


by Sandra Novack

Sandra Novack has earned great acclaim with her short fiction, which has appeared in more than thirty literary venues, including The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, and The Iowa Review. Now, in this new collection of stories, she further demonstrates her mastery of the form while exploring a universal theme: the desire for connection.

In “Cerulean Skies,” a wife must deal with her husband’s artistic calling while reexamining the loss of her own creative passion. A young woman is forced to confront the truth of her past, and its effect on her present love life, when she inherits her late dad’s possessions in “My Father’s Mahogany Leg.” In “Memphis” a man walks a delicate line between caring for his schizophrenic brother and keeping his new marriage afloat. “The Thin Border Between Here and Disaster” finds two married college professors faced with the fallout from their divorce, and a boy wrestles with his faith after the death of his mother in “Morty, El Morto.”

Fierce, sexual, and contentious, these moving tales place Sandra Novack’s prodigious talent on full display. Everyone but You illuminates the common truths behind some of the most profound moments in our lives.


by Liz Moore

Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career—if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur—a plea for help—that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives. Like Elizabeth McCracken’s The Giant’s House, Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.

What are your Friday Finds this fine week? 
Leave a comment down below or at SBR!


Darkest Mercy
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Rise of the Evening Star
Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books
Grip of the Shadow Plague
The Necromancer
City of Fallen Angels
Anne of Ingleside
Where She Went
Dust & Decay
The Legacy
Never Dead
Life Is But a Dream
The Lost Hero
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary

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