BC Mom’s Author Update: Karen Haid and Uvi Poznansky

Welcome to Book Club Mom’s Author Update. Open to all authors who want to share news with readers.

Today let’s hear from Karen Haid and Uvi Poznansky:


Author Karen Haid announces
a new travel adventure!

Calabria: The Other Italy grew out of my four years living, working and traveling in the fascinating, lesser-known region in the toe of the Italian boot. Writing about Italy has taken me in directions I would never have imagined. One such unexpected and lovely consequence has been a number of invitations to speak in Italian schools, on the radio and to even appear on television in the bel paese, where I enjoy being referred to as la scrittrice americana, or the American writer.

I’m always traveling and exploring new places for My Italian Blog, and I am working on a new book about Basilicata, Calabria’s neighbor. I even hurtled off a cliff and zipped 75 miles per hour on a thin line over a half mile up in the air to inject the adrenaline of the first-hand experience into my next book.

My latest adventure is the inauguration of Karen’s Travel LLC, giving me the opportunity to personally show guests an authentic Italy. From the grandeur of the mountains in the country’s largest national park to the beauty of Calabria’s 500 miles of coastline, my “Calabria Cultural Tour” offers a rich taste of an undiscovered corner of Southern Italy. We will enjoy spectacular scenery, explore quaint villages, visit world-class museums, and learn all about Calabria yesterday and today, while indulging in great food and wine every step of the way. Join me on my Calabria Tour!


Uvi Poznansky has a new book coming out!

I’m so excited to share the news with you! My new series, Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance, just hit the shelves this January, with Volume II: Virtually Lace. It is #1 new release in Virtual Reality books!

Haunted by discovering the body of a beautiful dancer, Michael sets out to create a virtual reality simulation of her murder. Can he bring the mystery to life? Can he solve its clues in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves, Ash?

Then, Volume I will come out mid-February. Why do I publish Volume II earlier than volume I, you ask? Because I often find the characters so fascinating as to delve deeper into their past… So after writing Virtually Lace, I hopped back half a year, to the time my protagonist, Ash, wakes up in the ER where she is diagnosed with coma. Hence, Coma Confidential.

Uvi Poznansky is an award-winning author, poet and an artist. “I paint with my pen,” she says, “and write with my paintbrush.” She writes across a variety of genres: literary fiction, historical fiction, romance, romantic suspense, spy thrillers, biblical fiction, poetry, horror, and children’s books. You can learn more about Uvi and her books here.


For information about Book Club Mom’s Author Update,
email bvitelli2009@gmail.com.

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Book Talk – books about families with four children

Do you ever wonder if you are subconsciously drawn to certain types of books? Well of course you are! But sometimes the patterns of what you choose don’t become apparent right away.

I asked myself the same question last week, after finishing (and loving) yet another story about a family with four children. What’s the connection? I’m the youngest of four children and I’m also the mother of four children. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I have read so many books with the same number dynamic.

But I’ve also read many books about other size families and other subjects besides, so maybe this isn’t stat-worthy. Just something fun to think about.

Here’s a list of some of my more recent 4-children reads:

  

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


  

Text Me, Love Mom by Candace Allan

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin


  

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Tommy’s Mommy’s Fish by Nancy Dingman Watson


Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk


What types of books are you “subconsciously” drawn to? 😉

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What’s That Book? Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

 

TitleFrog Music

Author:  Emma Donoghue

Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction

Rating:  4

What’s it about?  The fictionalized account of the 1876 murder of Jenny Bonnet, an enigmatic free spirit in San Francisco, who dressed like a man and earned a living catching frogs for restaurants.

The story begins with Jenny’s murder, which takes place in a rented room at a railroad saloon. An unknown assailant shoots through the window, kills Jenny, but misses her companion, Blanche Beunon. Blanche, a burlesque dancer at the House of Mirrors, is certain she knows who is responsible, but will the authorities believe her? The author cleverly frames this original story with music and lyrics of the times.

The majority of Donoghue’s characters come from historical record and comprise San Francisco’s gritty underbelly during a smallpox epidemic and record heatwave. Blanche’s efforts to both save herself and point to those responsible for Jenny’s murder reveal many complicated and unlikable characters who are trying to scrape by in a rough environment and willingly take advantage of each other. Blanche’s lover and his companion are former trapeze artists from a circus in Paris, where Blanche performed on horseback. A back injury has forced him to quit performing and now Blanche is the breadwinner for the trio, earning money from her “leg shows” and private rendezvous.

Blanche thinks nothing of this until she meets Jenny, who has a knack for asking unsettling questions, and forces Blanche to see her life as it is.

How did you hear about it?  It is this month’s mystery book club choice.

Closing comments:  The author presents a vivid picture of the seedy side of San Francisco during this time period, including its widespread abuse and racial intolerance. Her characters’ attitudes towards other races, including the French, Irish, Chinese, Italians and Prussians, show how prejudice was deep seated during these times. While the story is based on actual events, Donoghue includes themes of love, friendship and motherhood, yet most of her characters don’t come close to holding onto these things. While Blanche’s character is the most developed, Jenny is the most interesting one. She was well-known throughout the city and I was very interested in her back story.

Frog Music is not for the faint of heart, due to many graphic and weirdly violent sex scenes. Many readers will question whether they are necessary to the story. I’m not sure. I think on one hand, they help define the characters and the times, but I also think there were too many “defining moments.”

The mystery is solved in the final pages and an Afterward provides much detail about the author’s research and the musical references. I thought this was one of the best parts of the book.

Contributor:  Ginette 😉


Have you read something good?  Want to talk about it?
Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for information.

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Who’s That Indie Author? Amie Irene Winters

Author name:  Amie Irene Winters

Genre:  Supernatural and Horror Fiction

Books:  Strange Luck, The Nightmare Birds, A Darling Secret. Forthcoming: Summoner of Sleep

      

When did you begin your writing career?  I was always excited about creative writing in elementary school but didn’t start writing an actual book until college. I wrote a few “practice books” throughout my undergraduate and master’s degrees and ultimately published my first book (Strange Luck) a few years after that. I’ve been writing books ever since.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  Panster.

What’s your working style – morning or late-night writer?  Morning.

Do you work at a computer or write long-hand?  Computer.

What gets those words flowing, coffee or tea?  Black Coffee.

Favorite book:  Chocolat by Joanne Harris and Love in The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Favorite movieThe Dinner Game by Francis Veber

Favorite musician:  Type O Negative is my all-time favorite band. A close contender is Summoning. I listen to them whenever I write.

Social media links:
Website:  amieirenewinters.com
Facebook: @aiwinters
Twitter: @AmieIWinters
Goodreads Author: Amie Irene Winters

Awards/special recognition:

A Darling Secret: Fantasia Reviews Best Story of the Year (2017)
The Nightmare Birds: Cybils Award Nominee (YA Speculative Fiction), Fantasia Reviews Best Story of the Year (2016), Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award Nominee, Amelia Bloomer Project Field Nominee
Strange Luck: Indie 50 Top Book, Library Journal SELF-e Selection, Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award Nominee


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere
by
Celeste Ng

Rating:

Nothing is left to chance in Elena Richardson’s life. Her family has lived for generations in Shaker Heights, a planned community outside of Cleveland, Ohio. And Elena has spent her adult life meeting the goals to match her life to the Shaker Heights model: marriage, career, beautiful home, and children. Raised in affluence and taught to help others, she makes a point of being generous.

Mia Warren and her teenage daughter, Pearl, live the opposite way. Low on money, they move from town to town where Mia waits tables and works on her art. When she needs new inspiration, they pack up and leave. But this time, Mia is determined to give Pearl a more grounded life.

The story is set in the 1980s and begins with a Richardson family crisis. Then Ng rewinds to explain how it all began:

It seems like the perfect arrangement when the Warrens move into the Richardsons’ subsidized rental. But the threat of change looms as their lives intersect. A fast friendship develops between Pearl and Elena’s son, Moody, and Pearl is soon fascinated with the Richardson family, believing Elena is the consummate mom. Elena’s kids are equally drawn to Mia, who shows them a different kind of parenting.

The kids can’t articulate these differences, but they form the slow-burning backdrop to the biggest story in Shaker Heights—an intensely debated adoption case. The baby is one-year-old Mirabelle McCullough, or May Ling if you ask her birth mother, Bebe Chow.

As the judge’s hearing approaches, the town takes sides and the question of motherhood figures into all of Ng’s characters. The McCulloughs are sure they can be the best parents to baby Mirabelle, but doesn’t Bebe Chow deserve to have her daughter?

Several side stories between the Pearl and Richardson kids highlight the intensity of high school years in which friendship, romance, hormones and fitting in figure prominently. Ng includes plenty of sibling rivalry to reveal the complicated dynamics in the Richardson home.

In addition to motherhood, Ng questions the motives of Elena’s good works and asks, “What is the best way to live?” Throughout the story are themes of sacrifice and life choices. Readers will see how some of her characters figure it out and wonder what fares for others.

I highly recommend Little Fires Everywhere. It’s a terrific story of complicated family dynamics. You’ll want to read it all at once to know how it works out!

And for those of you who are wondering, Shaker Heights is a real place. You can read about it here and here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon! 

Who’s That Indie Author? Kristin Ward

Author name:  Kristin Ward

Genre:  YA SciFi/Dystopian

Books:  After the Green Withered and the sequel, Burden of Truth

When did you begin your writing career?  When my 7th grade English teacher likened my writing to Saki, the author of The Interlopers, I was hooked. That defining moment began my foray into mad scribblings of terrible poetry and story starters galore. From that point onward, writing has been a passion though not a profession. Three sons, a career, and many, many years later, the closest I had come to that pinnacle of achievement was writing a published curriculum piece for a zoo and a graduate course in science.

 My first book, a dystopian fiction titled After the Green Withered, was officially published in May 2018 and won the 2018 Best Indie Book Award in young adult fiction. This novel was truly a labor of love and a long time coming! Of course, they say that good things come to those who wait, so I suppose this was one of those things that needed more time. Following the release of my award-winning novel was the sequel, Burden of Truth, published in November of 2018. There are so many more stories swirling through my mind, aching to be put on a page and enjoyed (hopefully) by others.

As I make personal goals for 2019, I plan to publish two or three more books and hope to broaden my readership by connecting with readers from all walks of life!

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I’m a procrastinator. In fact, I’d wager that most authors are. Having that particular character trait, I find myself diving into a piece of writing with a skeletal plan and letting the story take me where it wills. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t have an overarching vision. I do. I know exactly where and how the story will end, but I find that my characters take little side trips along the way that I didn’t originally anticipate. This is what makes me a classic pantser!

What’s your working style – morning or late-night writer?  I would love to have a set time to write. The truth is, I write when I can. Being a mother of three sons and having a full-time career leaves little time to plant myself in my writing chair and craft my masterpiece (I’m trying that whole positive-self-fulfilling-prophecy-thing by talking myself up *wink, wink*). The truth is that I write when I can which is often at night or on the weekends when my crew is busy running amok.

Do you work at a computer or write long-hand?  I cannot imagine having to write by hand. The very thought is rather horrifying considering my hand cramps after having to write multiple checks for scout dues, fieldtrips, and school fundraisers. If I didn’t have my wonderful, little laptop, there would be piles of balled up paper all over the house and the air would literally be clouded in profanity-laced thought bubbles.

So, the short answer is: computer. Yeah. That’s my medium.

What gets those words flowing, coffee or tea?  Coffee and dark chocolate are my drugs of choice. I do like a good cup of tea laced with honey, but I typically enjoy that when I’m relaxing with a good book rather than writing one.

Favorite book:  I’m a classic re-reader. The true test of whether I love a book or just like it is if I will re-read it. One of my favorite books to read every couple of years is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. This epic saga is a rollercoaster of action, emotion, intrigue, corruption, and storytelling that takes me back to a world I love to visit every time I read it.

In my own young adult genre, my favorites are The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Favorite movie:  I’m a bit of a movie nut and I quote movies. A lot. My favorite movie to quotes come from The Princess Bride. If you were to come to my house and utter the phrase, “No more rhyming now, I mean it!” There would be a chorus of, “Anybody want a peanut?” Yep, from The Breakfast Club to The Karate Kid, my movie favorites come out in numerous quotes and references.

Favorite musician:  I have a rather eclectic taste in music. I grew up loving 80s pop and 90s alternative music. Depeche Mode to The Cure were my constant companions as a teenager and I went to many concerts, back when you could afford to attend. The music I listen to now is heavily influenced by my current mood. I’m apt to turn on anything from Twenty-One Pilots to Air Supply!

Social media links:
Website: writingandmythreesons.com
Twitter: @YA_Author
Facebook: @KristinWardAuthor
Instagram: kristin_ward_author
Amazon Author Page: Kristin Ward

Awards/special recognition: Winner of the 2018 Best Indie Book Award in the young adult fiction category


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

On YouTube today – Happy Book Year! What’s up for January?

Hi Everybody!

Today on YouTube I’m talking about a few books I’ll be reading soon and some great bookish presents I got! I hope you’ll pop over to see!

What are you going to read in January?

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A shout out to blog commenters

Image: Pixabay

Happy New Year!

In the world of blogging, reader comments are gold. I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth repeating. When someone takes the time to leave a thoughtful comment on our blogs, it’s an affirmation of our efforts.

So I thank everyone who has left a comment on Book Club Mom. I’ve made many friends this way. And if you don’t already know some of these great bloggers, visit their links below and say hi!

746 Books
A Little Blog of Books
A Ruined Chapel by Moonlight
Annika Perry’s Writing Blog
Baydreamer
Bette A. Stevens
Booksandbakes1
Bookshelf Fantasies
But I Smile Anyway
Calabria The Other Italy
Carrie Rubin
Chatter Master
Echoes of the Past
Explore Newness
From the Laundry Room
Garden of Eden Blog
I Write. I Read. I Review
Jacquie Biggar
Jan M Flynn
Jemsbooks
Jennifer Kelland Perry
Jill Weatherholt
Jill’s Scene
JP McLean
Muddling Through My Middle Age
Norah Colvin
Novelgossip
ReadRantRockandRoll
Robbie’s inspiration
Roughwighting
Sarah Brentyn
Sayling Away
Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Stuff Jeff Reads
Tammie Painter
The Off Key of Life
The Showers of Blessings
The Stub Collection
Tuesdays with Laurie
yadadarcyyada
Image: Pixabay

I’m looking forward to making some new blogging friends in the new year. Here’s to a great 2019!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s highly-recommended listens and reads of 2018

2018 was a great reading year for me. Fiction is my favorite genre, including mysteries and thrillers, but I also read a few nonfiction. I tried audiobooks for the first time and enjoyed them all. Here’s my list of highly-recommended listens and reads!


I listened to some great audiobooks in 2018:

      

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, Narrated by Christina Delaine

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, read by Caroline Lee


I also enjoyed this excellent fiction:

    

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin


Have you read this terrific medical thriller?

The Bone Curse by Carrie Rubin


If you’re a mystery lover, you’ll want to check these out:

      

Death in a Mudflat by N. A. Granger

Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery by Andrew Shaffer

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

   

The Dry by Jane Harper

The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King


Nonfiction is better than ever these days!

      

Educated – A Memoir by Tara Westover

David Bowie – A Life by Dylan Jones

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann


And who doesn’t like to curl up with some great short fiction?

The Storyteller Speaks: Powerful Stories to Win Your Heart by Annika Perry


So there you have it! What were your favorite books of 2018?

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Book Club Mom’s top reads of 2018

Image: Pixabay

Today is the perfect day to look back on the best books I read in 2018. Who can resist a list? Here are Book Club Mom’s 5-bookmark reads:


Days Without End by Sebastian Barry – 2/4/18

Thomas McNulty and John Cole are just boys in the 1840s when they meet under a hedge in a Missouri rainstorm. A strong friendship develops during their early days and later as soldiers in the Indian and Civil Wars. Questions of morality, faith, and fate run through this poetic narrative. It’s an impressive feat that a writer can take a piece of ugly American history and throw a moving balance between love, friendship, honor and duty and the brutal violence that comes with following orders.


Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt – 6/13/18

Sometimes you need a feel-good book, a story in which realistic characters face many challenges, but are able to overcome them through love and faith. That’s what you get in Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt, a wonderful inspirational romance that promises just what the title suggests.


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – 7/25/18

Classic children’s books don’t get any better than this story about a spoiled, but frail and lonely ten-year-old orphan girl, sent to live on a vast English moorland manor, with a reclusive uncle she has never met. In a delightful transformation, fresh air, exercise, surprise friendships, returned health and the newfound wonders of a secret and neglected garden are the springtime magic that brings Mary Lennox and her new family together.


Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder by Claudia Kalb – 8/18/18

Excellent collection of mini biographies of twelve famous personalities and a look at their known or likely battles with mental illness. In addition to a compassionate explanation of the problems these entertainers, artists, musicians, leaders, writers and groundbreakers suffered, Kalb wonders how many would have fared had they been accurately diagnosed and treated with modern methods.


The Lady with the Dog and Other Stories by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov – 9/1/18

There’s a lot of great literature on the public domain and I found this terrific collection of nine short stories by Anton Chekhov for free at the Kindle store. Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian playwright and writer of short fiction and is considered one of the all-time greatest masters of the short story.


The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – 10/15/18

I wasn’t sure how I felt about reading a hardboiled detective novel from the 1930s. But one page in and I understood why Dashiell Hammett is considered a master of this genre. It’s a tightly written story about detective Sam Spade, three murders, a valuable falcon statue and an assortment of shrewd characters on both sides of the law.


Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – 11/4/18

Here’s a great family saga that begins in the 1960s with six kids from two different families, thrown together because of an affair, a divorce and then a marriage. As the four parents establish their new lives, the kids are left to figure things out for themselves. Until one summer when tragedy changes everything.


Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – 11/20/18

A great story about being different and making it anyway. In some ways, it is a classic success story about perseverance, but mostly, it’s a shout-out to anyone who’s not mainstream. Through a rambling, often irreverent and always hilarious “where is this story going?” narration, with plenty of colorful vocabulary, Lawson tells you about her childhood, depression, anxiety and illness, her family, early jobs, marriage, motherhood and how she became a blogger and writer.


Blue Monday by Nicci French – 12/9/18

First in a series of eight mystery thrillers featuring Frieda Klein, a highly regarded psychoanalyst who, in this story, becomes entangled in a kidnapping investigation. One of the things I enjoyed about Blue Monday is that it is a character-driven mystery. The authors’ characters are both interesting and complex, with their own sets of problems.


Audiobook: Have a Nice Day by Billy Crystal and Quinton Peeples – 12/14/18

Have a Nice Day is a play, but this version is a live script-reading. In addition to Billy Crystal, Kevin Kline and Annette Bening, the cast is full of stars, including Rachel Dratch and Darrell Hammond. Kline plays President David Murray, who has just received a visit from the Angel of Death, played by Billy Crystal. Murray learns that this is his day to die and he makes a deal with the Angel to give him until one second before midnight so he can finish strong.


What did you read this year? Coming next, more excellent reads from 2018. Meantime, check out all my 2018 reviews here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!