Monday, November 12, 2012

Books, books, books...

Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in books. Of course, I love it.  Then again, this means that I usually don't have as much time to write reviews as I would like.  So, I figured I would use this post to mention some of these interesting and engaging reads that I've read, but haven't posted about.  I figure that way I'm spreading the word about some good reads.  Here goes:

about book:  "Signs of Life is the fearless, inspiring debut memoir from Natalie Taylor. At the age of twenty four, Natalie had a fulfilling job as a high school English teacher, a wonderful husband, a new house and a baby on the way.  Then, while visiting her sister four months before the birth of her son, Natalie is leveled by the loss of her husband in a freak accident.  What follows is an incredibly powerful emotional journey, as Natalie calls upon resources she didn’t even know she had in order to re-imagine and re-build a life for her and her son. In vivid and immediate detail, Natalie documents this journey: from the day of Josh’s death, through unexpected joys of her new life the utterly breathtaking, but often overwhelming new motherhood and her healing return to the classroom, all delivered in a way that feels like Natalie’s right beside you in her bathrobe and with a glass of wine--the cool, funny girlfriend you love to stay up all night with.
my thoughts:  Diary confessions that will break your heart.

about book:  "Simultaneously a trip deep down the intelligence rabbit hole – one that shows how the “game” actually works, including the compromises it asks of those who play by its rules -- and a portrait of two people trying to regain a normal life, The Company We Keep is a masterly depiction of the real world of shadows that absorbed CIA Agents Robert and Dayna Baer as their clandestine relationship unfolded amidst assassination proposals, Arab sheiks, oil tycoons, and terrorists."
my thoughts:  Exciting read about CIA married couple.

about book:  "In Operation Family Secrets, Frank Calabrese, Jr., tells the story of how he was driven at the age of thirty-nine to the painful and life-threatening decision to work with the FBI to put his father away for good. It is the dramatic tale of how,for six months he wore a wire in the prison where both he and his father were serving time, as his father revealed the details of decades’ work of crimes. While the FBI had solved only eight mob murders in a hundred years, Frank’s work solved forth murders and sent two Outfit bosses and twelve of its highest-ranking members to prison. It was the largest organized-crime case in the history of Chicago and one of the largest in US history."
my thoughts:  "Family" drama in more ways than one.

about book:  "Mesmerizing and heart-in-your-throat compelling, The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith is a completely unique thriller that introduces an unforgettable protagonist and blurs the line between good and evil. Geiger has a gift—he knows a lie the instant he hears it. And if he wants the truth from you, he will get it. Geiger works in the unsavory business of “information retrieval.” To put it bluntly, he tortures people for a living. But when a twelve-year-old boy is brought in for interrogation, Geiger instinctively rescues him and finds himself the target of a deadly manhunt and a ruthless adversary."    
my thoughts:  Intense thriller filled with action and suspense.

about book:  "Set across three generations, this gripping page-turner brings explosive force to the traditional historical novel. When Isabel, a Spanish aristocrat living in Pro-Nazi Spain becomes involved in a plot to kill her Fascist husband, she finds herself betrayed by her mysterious lover, setting off a power struggle that grips a family for generations."
my thoughts:  Historical fiction set in Spain: violence and betrayal ensue.

about book:  "Road To Valor is the inspiring, against-the-odds story of Gino Bartali, the chain-smoking, Chianti-loving, Italian cyclist who made the greatest comeback in Tour de France history by winning the race twice with ten years and World War II in between his wins.  Bartali was not only a cycling hero but secretly sheltered a family of Jews in an apartment he financed with his cycling winnings during World War II. Set in Italy and France against the turbulent backdrop of an unforgiving sport and threatening politics, Road To Valor is the breathtaking account of one man’s unsung heroism and his resilience in the face of adversity."  
my thoughts:  A well-researched and fascinating read about cyclist, Gino Bartali.

about book:  "Death In The City of Light represents the exact sort of impeccably researched, highly dramatic nonfiction readers have sought out again and again from the Crown list. Detailed, compelling, and suspenseful, Death In The City of Light is the definitive account of the most charming serial killer in European history - Dr. Marcel Petiot. Charged with the murder of 27 Parisians, Petiot defended himself eloquently; his manipulative grace and easy popularity are recounted perfectly in King’s examination, which re-creates in lush detail the twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld the trial unearthed. Hailed with early starred reviews and fantastic praise from the mainstream press, King’s book gives second life to a story so disturbing that most at the time refused to believe it was true."
my thoughts:  True crime story told in a spellbinding narrative.

about book:  "In Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden, novelist Laurel Dewey introduces a dynamic heroine—58-year-old Betty Craven, former beauty queen and recent widow, the epitome of elegance and propriety—who gets involved in the controversy over medical marijuana, in shocking, convention-defying, emotionally complicated, and life-transforming ways. Driven by memorable, colorful characters and packed with intrigue, humor, romantic tension, and enlightening facts about the healing properties of cannabis, the novel gently raises awareness of a timely subject matter while drawing readers into the story of a woman who gradually comes to question her long-held beliefs and principles, let down her facade, and rediscover her true and amazing self."
my thoughts:    Interesting and engaging story about a cast of colorful characters.

about book:  "Michael Frayn is recognized as one of the greatest living English dramatists, known for such critically acclaimed plays as Noises Off and three-time Tony winner Copenhagen. He is also the author of the bestselling novels Headlong (Booker Prize finalist), Spies and, most recently, his memoir, My Father’s Fortune. Skios is his first novel in ten years, and the greatmaster of farce turns to an exclusive island retreat for a comedy of mislaid identities, unruly passions, and demented, delicious disorder."
my thoughts:   Farcical novel filled with misunderstandings that will have you laughing out loud.

about book:  "Karen Nieto grew up as a feral child, left alone to wander the beach near her family’s failing tuna cannery. But when her aunt Isabelle comes to Mexico to take over the family business, she discovers a real girl amidst the squalor. Karen, an autistic savant, soon finds freedom not only in the love of her aunt, but also swimming amongst the creatures of the sea. Karen is defined by the things she can’t do until her gifts with animals are finally put to use to save the fishery: Consolation Tuna will be the first humane tuna fishery on the planet. Greenpeace approves, fame and fortune follow, and Karen is swept on a global journey that shows how our lives can defy even our own wildest expectations."
my thoughts:  Remarkable tale about a uniquely gifted girl.

about book:  " A wickedly funny, outrageous, and gritty memoir.  Dirty, hard-core, transformative, Klonopin Lunch is Jessica’s hilarious and uncensored journey down the rabbit hole and back out again, from Upper East Side good girl, to the rock and roll bad girl she never was. This incredibly entertaining book is an excellent summer read for anyone who has ever wanted to break (or in this case smash) the mold."
my thoughts:   Page-turner about a woman who dives head first into the sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll lifestyle.

about book:  "Sam Israel was a man who seemed to have it all – until the hedge fund he ran, Bayou, imploded and he became the target of a nationwide manhunt.  Born into one of America’s most illustrious trading families, Israel was determined to strike out on his own.  So after apprenticing with one of the greatest hedge fund traders of the 1980’s, Sam founded his own fund and promised his investors guaranteed profits.  With the proprietary computer program he’d created, he claimed to be able to predict the future. But his future was already beginning to unravel.  After suffering devastating losses and fabricating fake returns, Israel knew it was only a matter of time before his real performance would be discovered, so when a former black-ops intelligence operative told him about a “secret market” run by the Fed, Israel bet his last $150 million on a chance to make billions. Thus began his year-long adventure in “the Upperworld” -- a society populated by clandestine bankers, shady European nobility, and spooks issuing cryptic warnings about a mysterious cabal known as the Octopus. Whether the “secret market” was real or a con, Israel was all in – and as the pressures mounted and increasingly sinister violence crept into his life, he struggled to break free of the Octopus’ tentacles."
my thoughts:  Con man's story about getting caught up in a fraud-ster's world.

about book:  "The Unconquered tells the extraordinary tale of a journey into the deepest recesses of the Amazon to track one of the planet's last uncontacted native tribes. In this gripping first-person account of adventure and survival, National Geographic photojournalist Scott Wallace follows a 34-man team into the Amazon's uncharted depths, discovering the rain forest's secrets while moving ever closer to a possible encounter with the mysterious flecheiros--or "People of the Arrow"--a seldom-glimpsed tribe of deft archers known to defend their lands with showers of deadly arrows before melting back into the forest shadows. Rich in historical and anthropological detail, and boasting a Conradian cast of characters--all driven by a passion to preserve the wild, but also wracked by fear, suspicion, and the desperate need to survive--The Unconquered brings alive the final battleground that the Amazon has become, while illuminating the complex issues surrounding indigenous tribes and their relevance to us all."
my thoughts:   Fascinating account of trekking through the Amazon rainforest and the plight of the  Amazonian natives.

about book:  "From Blood introduces readers to Shannon Fairchild, a brilliant but troubled woman who has abandoned her Ph.D. studies to settle into an unambitious life cleaning the homes of the wealthy in a California seaside community. When her academic parents are brutally murdered, Shannon discovers that they were part of the radical anti-war movement of the 60s and begins to suspect that their killer’s motive may lie in their past… She soon finds that they were friends of Diana Burke and John Paul West, two of America’s most wanted fugitives, anti-war militants who went underground after a fatal bombing in 1968 and never resurfaced. Propelled by her Propelled by her mother’s dying words – "Find them and warn them" – Shannon sets out on a mission to locate the couple and tell them that someone is after them – someone much more dangerous than the FBI. Her search, which begins in California and ranges through much of western America, takes her into unexplored territory as she discovers an unexpected personal connection to Burke and West. As she unearths long-buried secrets while trying to stay one step ahead of a shadowy killer, she feels the passions of the tumultuous Sixties being reborn, and she now knows that nothing is more dangerous than someone willing to die for a cause…"
my thoughts:   Well written mystery novel filled with intriguing twists and turns.

And there you have some of the great books that I've read this year.  Check them out - you won't be disappointed!

Thanks to the following publishers for providing me with copies of these books:  The Crown Publishing Group, Henry Holt and Co., The Orion Publishing Group, and The Story Plant Publishing. 


Jennifer Hartling said...

ALL of those sound good! Good grief, my tbr list! ;)

Ti said...

I am drowning in books too. It's a blessing and a curse. I don't have any of these though.

Nadia said...

Jennifer, they are good! And, I know what you mean - I keep adding to my TBR list that it is now overwhelming to look at :)

Ti, most definitely a blessing and a curse ;)

Andi said...

Sadly, I am a super slow reader. I never seem to have more books in my queue than I've written reviews for. I would adore that problem. LOL

Good stuff here!

Nadia said...

Andi, I'm a fast reader, but when I look over at my piles of books I think its not fast enough :)