novels

Favorite Books I Read Last Year


I usually write this post before the end of the year, but I had so many issues with my computer last month (thanks a lot, Windows 10!) that I had to set it aside. No worries, because when I looked back at my reading list, it wasn’t very impressive.

What did I spend all that time doing, anyway? Well, I worked on a new novel for the first half of 2016, and no, it’s nowhere near ready. Around June, I realized it wouldn’t be complete in time for the annual ARIA  Book Expo. And I do like to have something available every December for my local authors event. So I set to turning my grandfather’s journal into a little book. And it sold well!

Anyway, back to what I read. I didn’t want to title this “My Five Favorite 2016 Books,” because I’m usually late to reading bestsellers.

all-the-light

All the Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr was published in 2014. Best book I read in 2016, hands down. If you haven’t picked it up yet, make it a resolution for 2017!

carly

Boys in the Trees, a memoir by Carly Simon, was a favorite as well. She holds little back here, which made it difficult at times (her marriage to James Taylor).

sparrow

The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick. Her debut novel, and it was just lovely! A little bit of magic, a little more mystery.

oceans

The Light Between Oceans was published back in 2012. Honestly, I couldn’t remember if I read this book in 2015 or 2016, so I looked back at my end-of-2015 post, and the fact that I hadn’t included it in my favorite books list told me I must have read it this year. Because I definitely would have listed it in 2015. The book became a movie, but, unlike many books-turned-movies, the movie didn’t disappoint me. Still, read the book if you haven’t.

 

Now. There are many, many books on my to-be-read list. Here are the ones I resolve to read in 2017:

The Family Plot by one of my absolute favorite indie authors, Brea Brown. She never lets you down!

Fifty Ways to Make a Family by K.C. Wilder. The long-anticipated sequel to her brilliant Fifty Ways to Leave your Husband.

Mixing It Up by Tracie Banister. I’ve enjoyed all of Tracie’s previous books, so I downloaded this one as soon as it was released. Looking forward to getting mixed up in this one!

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close. Actually, I started reading this one back in the late summer, but had to set it aside. I so enjoyed her Girls in White Dresses, and I’m happy to have this book to finish.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon. I won this book and it’s on a side table, waiting for me to open it.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I’m about four chapters in and loving it.

And finally, another book I’ve started and am really enjoying is The Pie Sisters by the writing team of Leigh Brown and Victoria Corliss. A sweet book about three sisters and their memories of long-ago summers.

So…I’ve got my work cut out for me! Writing, reading, editing. I hope that by December of this year, I’ll have a good list to present.

What book did you read in 2016 that was your absolute favorite? 

It’s December!


lamott

Isn’t that the truth? For those of us who have been connected way too much to every tweet, snipe, or carp, perhaps it’s time to pick up a book. A real book, with pages you turn.

I just finished my Book-a-Day #Giveaway here on the blog (although each post stays ‘live’ for a week, so you can go back to November 25 and still comment on any of the last six posts for a chance to win) – this November series has led us up to what we in the Association of Rhode Island Authors call our BIG EVENT – the Fourth Annual RI Authors Expo. It’s this Saturday, from 11:00am to 5:00pm, at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet http://www.rhodesonthepawtuxet.com/directions/

Come join me and about 125 other talented writers – we’ll have plenty of books, discussions, raffle baskets, and I hear there’s even a bar. 😉

 

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! A LIFE BEFORE by Julien Ayotte


 Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00028]This article is from the US Review of Books:
“… I can’t explain it, but I think I was this woman in another life.”

In 1989, a young newlywed is murdered. At the time, her husband, attorney Mike Strange was working on a case against a company that withheld evidence pertaining to high levels of radon found on a site where they were constructing a large condo complex. Amid detailed investigations, courtroom drama, and his paralegal being run off the road, Strange continues to mourn the loss of his wife and her killer remains at large. Twenty two years later, young coed Samantha Collins is plagued by dreams suffered since adolescence, about a woman brutally attacked. When unexplained coincidences and an unexpected detour land Collins in the neighborhood of the decades old Strange crime, she soon realizes a deep connection to the murder victim. This same young woman who had once given an eerily topical valedictorian speech regarding life after death, suddenly feels compelled to flush out the killer.

For those drawn to the popular “Cold Case” television series or headlines of faltering investigations that benefit from the insight of uniquely gifted individuals, Ayotte delivers the perfect read. This is a story filled with emotionally distraught characters searching for answers, from a broken-hearted husband, devastated families, and determined detectives, to a young woman desperate to find peace in her own existence. In contrast Ayotte provides a cast of wrong-doers who need to be held accountable for their actions.

This is a smart, well-paced thriller that will give readers pause to rethink their own deja vu experiences. As an homage to the past life theme, Ayotte brings the plot full circle with creative touches that tie the opening and closing. A shocking, explosive twist plays into the well-crafted epilogue that not only bolsters the premise of A Life Before, but cleverly entices us to think about the possibilities of life ever after.

photo_500x468

Visit the author’s website here

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! Tiger Tiger by Joann Mead


tiger-tiger-book-cover-land-4

In a Hong Kong hotel room, a sexy scientist and her lover manipulate each other, in more ways than one. Not for love. For Mei it is the money. For both it is the sex. And for Kahliy the nihilist, it is his burning desire to wreak havoc on America.

Mei toys with microbes and men. She tests her Tiger Flu creation, the most lethal bioweapon ever known, on unwitting victims while her lover plots a 9/11-style attack of human time bombs. Are we doomed or will “The Partners” prevail in preventing it?

Nothing will stop those with evil intentions. And once the Tiger has escaped from her cage, there will be no way of capturing her.

Available on Amazon

“Move over Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Robin Cook, Michael Crichton and Ian Fleming because there’s a new kid on the block. Her name is Joann Mead and with just a little bit of luck she might turn the biotech thriller genre of fiction right on its head.  Ms. Mead tells a tiger of a tale in her biotech thriller “Tiger Tiger” as brilliant and hedonistic research scientist Mei Wong manipulates the DNA in a strain of bird flu in a secret Chinese government lab to create the most lethal virus ever known to humankind. The story of Mei and the men she manipulates to satisfy her lust sweeps across three continents with the speed of a pandemic, leaving the reader breathless, and wanting more as the plot unfolds one deadly detail at a time.”

~ David W. Christner, Playwright

“Tiger Tiger: Underlying Crimes” proves a smooth and sultry hybrid of Michael Crichton and Tess Gerritsen. Joann Mead fills those big shoes in splendid fashion, crafting a bio-thriller complete with a femme fatale and feel of classic James Bond as envisioned by Ian Fleming. A wondrous mix of science and speculation, certain to both enthrall and entertain.”

~ Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of Strong Light of Day

joann-mead-head-shot-tiger

Joann Mead is a writer, educator, and researcher. She has lived in four countries ranging from A to Z: America (USA), England, Russia, and Zimbabwe. She is currently adapting her novel Tiger Tiger into a screenplay. Check out more here and http://www.facebook.com/joann.mead.90

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

 

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! Braided Secrets by Theresa Schimmel


braided-secrets

Braided Secrets is told through the voices of two sisters in a close-knit Catholic family in 1963. A family drama unfolds when Maggie falls in love with an older man and the protective father forbids her to see him. As the younger sister, Petey, says, “Looking back, I wish I could erase that Sunday when it all started.”  Instead, events take a tragic and unpredictable course that almost unravels the family, challenges their faith, and threatens the close bond between the sisters.

This debut novel has been recommended by readers as a must-read for adults and young adults alike. “The author weaves together an amazing story of a loving Catholic family trying to live during a tumultuous changing time. While reading, you genuinely feel like you have been ‘braided’ into the fabric of the story by the richness of the characters, the complex problems, and the warmth of the Donovan family.…Braided Secrets is a story about much more than human sexuality, and family secrets. When you read it – it will change you forever.”

terry-schimmel

Theresa Schimmel is the author of three children’s books, numerous short stories and poems. She is a member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors. She lives and writes in her home town of Wakefield, RI. Her books are available through her website as well as through Amazon.

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

Mixing It Up – Happy Publication Day! #Giveaway


mixingitupfinal

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sautééé pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

traciebanister-mixingitup-giveawayfinal-1

Purchase a copy of Mixing It Up between October 19th, 2016 and October 25th, 2016 and you could win this fantastic prize pack inspired by the book’s heroine and her love of French food! This prize pack includes:

  • Garnier-Thiebaut Oh, La La, Chéri French-themed 4-piece Kitchen Linens Set (Apron, kitchen towel, pot holder, and oven mitt.)
  • Kate Spade Deco Dot Recipe Box with 8 tabbed dividers and 40 recipe cards
  • The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano

traciebanister-mixingitup-newrelease

To enter this giveaway, simply e-mail the author at traciebanister@gmail.com with your proof of purchase. Entries will be accepted until midnight on October 26th, 2016 when a winner will be selected via random drawing. This is an international giveaway, so anyone who buys Mixing It Up within the allotted time frame is eligible to win. Good luck!

Buy the book HERE

rsz_smauthorheadshot

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

CONNECT WITH TRACIE

Author Newsletter – The Banister Buzz http://eepurl.com/by0VAv

Blog http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/traciebanister

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tracie.banister

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/traciebanister/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5448518.Tracie_Banister

 

 

 

November is Book-a-Day Month!


win-books

Each day in November, I’ll be featuring a different book by a Rhode Island author, all leading up to the  4th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo on Saturday, December 3 (11:00am – 5:00pm) at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet.

There are hundreds of authors located in little Rhode Island, and this is a way for me to showcase some real talent. Each author will showcase one book, and, in nearly every case, there’s a chance to win that book just by commenting on the blog post. Easy-peasy! And just in time for some holiday gift-giving (because we all know books make the best gift).

So be sure you’re following this blog and each day in November you’ll have a chance to win. The contest for each post will run for a week before I let the computer randomly select a winner.

For more info about the Expo, follow this link http://www.riauthors.org/riexpo/

Happy Book-iversary (to me)!


99centsMy first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, was published on August 12, 2012 – nearly four years ago! (It was republished with a new cover in April 2013.) In those four years, I’ve written and published six novels, all of which have given me tremendous pride and a sense of accomplishment. I’m doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing, and that is sufficient. Well, pretty much.

New novels can trigger a sales flurry, but sales drop off after a time, even for beloved best-sellers.

So….for the coming week, every one of my six novels will be discounted to 99 cents for the e-book (Kindle version). I have no control over the print price, but if you come to the RI Authors Book Expo on December 3, 2016 http://www.riauthors.org/riexpo/ , I’ll have print copies available for a great price.

You can grab a three-book series, described by one reader as “writing (that) draws wonderful pictures of the characters and allows you to really ‘fall into’ the book ~ which is one of my favorite things about reading.” Or read about a group of classmates readying for their 25-year high school reunion and visiting old grievances. A novel about a young woman pursuing her dream of becoming a best-selling author, only to face a harsh reality check. And finally, a lighter story involving two friends who gamble on a dream of turning a rundown farm into a premier wedding venue. If you’ve already read these books, here’s a chance to give some gifts. In any event, I’m grateful – so very grateful – for all the positive feedback and encouragement I’ve received, from friends and strangers new friends, over the past four years.

Paris Between the Wars – “N” is for Anna de Noialles


A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib

Between 1919 and 1939, Paris experienced a cultural and intellectual boom. This blog will feature artists, writers, composers, musicians, and designers. Paris was at its cultural peak.

Portrait of Anna, Comtesse de Noialles, by Philip de Lazslo

Portrait of Anna, Comtesse de Noailles, by Philip de Lazslo

Born in Paris as Princess Anna Elisabeth Bibesco-Bassaraba de Brancovan (1876) to a Romanian father and Greek mother (both high-ranked members of their respective societies), she married Mathieu Fernand Frédéric Pascal de Noailles in 1897 and the couple became the toast of Parisian high society.

She wrote three novels, an autobiography, and several collections of poetry, and was the first woman to be received in the Royal Belgian Academy of French Language and Literature. The collection Poème de l’amour (1924) is a long series of short poems. This is from “LXIX,” translated:

If words put you too ill at ease,

Say nothing. Dream. But be not cold.

Let me speak, me, who kiss you, hold

You in  my arms; like woodland breeze

That murmurs low, let me enfold

You in great whispers, hushed, like these…

Anna de Noailles died at age 56, in Paris.

 

Paris Between the Wars – “F” is for F. Scott Fitzgerald


A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib

Between 1919 and 1939, Paris experienced a cultural and intellectual boom. This blog will feature artists, writers, composers, musicians, and designers. Paris was at its cultural peak.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1921

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1921

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896. He was named after his famous second cousin, the man who wrote the lyrics to our national anthem.

At a prestigious Catholic prep school in New Jersey, a priest noticed his talent with the written word and encouraged him to pursue his literary ambitions. Fitzgerald honed his craft as a writer while at Princeton, but his coursework suffered as a result, and he was placed on academic probation. In 1917, he dropped out of school to join the Army.

Fitzgerald was Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama, where he met Zelda Sayre, the “golden girl,” in Fitzgerald’s terms, of Montgomery society. When World War I ended in 1918, Fitzgerald moved to New York City, hoping to launch a career in advertising that would be lucrative enough to convince Zelda to marry him. His book, This Side of Paradise, was accepted by Scribner’s in 1919 and became an instant success, launching his career as a writer.

Paris in the 1920s proved the most influential decade of Fitzgerald’s development. He traveled often to Europe, mostly Paris, and became friends with many members of the American expatriate community in Paris, especially with Ernest Hemingway. Fitzgerald began working on his fourth novel during the late 1920s but was sidetracked by financial difficulties and by his wife’s schizophrenia. Tender is the Night was finally published in 1934, but critics, who had waited nine years for the followup to The Great Gatsby, had mixed opinions about the novel. The novel did not sell well upon publication but, like the earlier Gatsby, the book’s reputation has since risen significantly.

An alcoholic since college, Fitzgerald became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking, which had undermined his health by the late 1930s. He died of a heart attack in Hollywood on December 21, 1940. Fitzgerald was 44 years old.

It was written in a New York Times editorial after his death that Fitzgerald “was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a generation…”

This Side of Paradise bookGatsby bookTender is the Night book