Watch a short video of Cassandra Clare talk about the Clockwork Angel audiobook and narrator Jennifer Ehle
By: Cassandra Clare • Narrated by: Jennifer Ehle
Sharing the magic!
Watch a short video of Cassandra Clare talk about the Clockwork Angel audiobook and narrator Jennifer Ehle
By: Cassandra Clare • Narrated by: Jennifer Ehle
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING EWAN McGREGOR & PIERCE BROSNAN
read by Roger Rees
Robert Harris’ latest novel, The Ghost Writer sounds like an insider’s account, with all the sordid, juicy stuff we all want to know but will not admit we want to know. Mixing some recent history with fictional characters, in a real world, easily recognizable setting and the result is an entertaining listening experience!
The retired, disgraced British Prime Minister tapped his trusted aide, Mike McAra to help him write his memoir. After the mysterious, untimely death of McAra, a new ghostwriter is hired to iron out the wrinkles, add a little more detail and put the finishing touches on. The ghost joins Lang and his entourage, which consisted of a small security detail, several secretaries, his assistant and many speculated mistress, and his wife, Ruth, on Martha’s Vineyard, where they have rented a mansion. Adam Lang has created this cocoon, surrounding himself with those who are necessary or wanted, eliminating everyone else, including the citizens who turned on him.
Adam Lang’s smooth, charismatic demeanor catapulted him to the top of the political ticket, where he enjoyed high approval ratings. Then the world changed, as the war on terrorism branched off in an unpopular direction, taking with it Lang’s political popularity and casting a long, dark cloud over his legacy. Already being tried in the court of public opinion, the people unabashedly blame Lang for their suffering, as the UK has been the repeated target of terror attacks. And then it goes from bad to worse…Lang may be asked to stand before the International Criminal Court and answer to the charge of war crimes.
Robert Harris is as light with his pen as Fred Astaire was on his feet! Giving us a view of the inner sanctum is like pulling the curtain aside, revealing to the world there is no wizard…when all is said and done we are all human. And that’s what is at the heart of this story…people…living, breathing and flawed.
Narrator Roger Rees brings the characters to life, painting each with stunning audio detail, making them memorable and believable. The audio will keep you riveted, twisting your thoughts and emotions in a new direction with every chapter. You will laugh out loud, nod your head in agreement and shake your head in dismay, often all three within moments of each other. Even if you have read the book, the audio offers you a whole new experience!
Accustomed to aging rock-stars, the ghost is out of his element in the political arena, however, he will soon discover the two have more in common than he ever imagined! Ugliness and secrets abide here too…the difference…politicians “bury their stories.”
Author, Robert Harris allows us a bit of insight into his thoughts on the difference between good and bad books -
And what they have in common, these bad books, be they novels or memoirs, is this: they don’t ring true. I’m not saying that a good book is true necessarily, just that it feels true for the time you’re reading it.
- and he couldn’t be more right! The Ghost Writer definitely rings true, the characters are believable, displaying the kind of behavior we have come to expect from politicians. Of course, the actions aren’t always good and more often than not it is the mistakes, mess ups and out right corruption that catapult their memoirs to the top of the charts.
On the eve of Marcus Cicero’s inauguration as consul of Rome, the grisly death of a boy sends ripples of fear through a city already wracked by civil unrest, crime, and debauchery of every kind. For Cicero, the ill forebodings of this hideous murder only increase his frustrations and the dangers he already faces as Rome’s leader: elected by the people but despised by the heads of the two rival camps, the patricians and populists.
Caught in a political shell game that leaves him forever putting out fires only to have them ignite elsewhere, Cicero plays both for the future of the republic and his very life. There is a plot to assassinate Cicero, abetted by a rising young star of the Roman senate named Gaius Julius Caesar — and it will take all the embattled consul’s wit, strength, and force of will to stop it and keep Rome from becoming a dictatorship.
Robert Harris once again weaves a compelling and historically accurate tale of intrigue told in the wise and compassionate voice of Cicero’s slave and private secretary, Tiro. In the manner of I, Claudius, Harris vividly evokes ancient Rome and its politics for today’s listeners, documenting a world not unlike our own — where the impulse toward dominance competes with the risk of overreach, where high-minded ideals can be a liability, and where someone is always waiting in the wings for a chance to set the world on fire.
Also from Simon & Schuster -
Available June 1, 2010
The Year of Disappearances
ISBN 10: 1416552715
ISBN 13: 978-141655710
Simon & Schuster
Fiction, 304 pages
Susan Hubbard delighted vampire lovers with her morally refined, deeply emotional tale of a young girl, half human, half vampire and wholly exiled from both cultures for the first thirteen years of her life, in her debut novel, “The Society of S.” The sequel, Year of Disappearances, reunites us with Ariella Montero and takes us inside her search for that ever elusive sense of normalcy.
Ariella’s story is a voyage through adolescence, with a vampire twist – struggling to find your place in the world is hard enough as a teenager, but trying to secure a spot in two diametrically opposed cultures, simultaneously, spells trouble with a capital T. After the death of her best friend, Ari left New York, moved to Florida with her vampiric mother, where she learns more about her unusual genealogy, makes new friends, is targeted by sinister forces and becomes a murder suspect. And if this weren’t enough to give Ari premature wrinkles, her father falls ill, the water is contaminated, honeybees are dying or disappearing, a vampire is positioned to run for president and her old nemesis Malcolm lurks in the darkness.
Hubbard’s ability to imagine an incredibly detailed environment and fill it to the brim with really cool concepts has been a bit overdone in Year of Disappearances, there’s simply too much going on, especially considering the age of the main character, Ariella. There are several creative ideas that really grabbed me, unfortunately, my excitement was short lived, as many of these ideas were reduced to not much more than an introduction… To see such innovative, fresh narrative twisting in the wind was disappointing and I hope these concepts will be revisited in future novels and fully fleshed out, utilizing Hubbard’s unparalleled story-telling voice.
In a nutshell, Year of Disappearances is a good read, that will hold your attention and give you something to talk about around the water cooler, however, when compared to Hubbard’s stellar performance in Society of S it falls a bit short. That said, I am looking forward to the next installment in this unique series, because when Susan Hubbard has her finger soundly on the vampire jugular, her novels grab you by the throat and barely allow you to breathe.
Warning: Spending time with the Spellman Family is highly addictive and produces uncontrollable bouts of laughter.
Two years have passed since Lisa Lutz’s debut novel introduced the lovably, dysfunctional Spellman Family and mesmerized readers from coast to coast with the kind of snooping, scheming and blackmailing that could only exist between parties who truly care for one another.
We rejoin Isabel Spellman (a.k.a. Izzy), in San Francisco, now thirty years old and once again working for her parents at Spellman Investigations. Enjoying independence living in Bernie’s (an ex-cop and friend) apartment while he was away became a short-lived vacation when he unexpectedly returns nursing a broken-heart, forcing a reluctant Izzy to move back home. Thus beginning the spin of an all new web of action-packed insanity.
Izzy becomes fixated on her parent’s new neighbor, John Brown. She’s plagued by unanswered questions…what’s in those bags of shredded paper? If you live alone, why lock doors inside your home? It just didn’t add up and her incessant probing makes Mr. Brown suspicious of her. One thing leads to another as she is convinced his landscaping business is merely a front or cover that’s hiding something much more serious. She investigates Mr. Brown relentlessly, until he finally gets a restraining order against her. Arrested four times in the past three months, Izzy is in jeopardy of losing her PI license and even though her parents disagree strongly about Mr. Brown, she steadfastly refuses to let it go.
All the while her father seems to be experiencing a “retirement age freak out” and her mother has taken to vandalizing a motor bike every night. Younger sister Rae has developed an intense friendship with Henry Stone, a police inspector with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The considerable age difference sparks the interest of Social Services, who despite the parents argument, simply refuse to see things quite so cut and dried. So in order to protect Rae’s newly found “straight-laced way of life,” which everyone agrees should be credited to Mr. Stone’s obvious positive influence, big sister, is recruited and agrees to play along, pretending to be Henry’s fiancee’. It doesn’t take long for Izzy to discover Henry Stone is a really good guy, a little off, but a good guy non-the-less.
What follows is a laugh out loud, edge of your seat, knuckle crunching read that’s loaded with that special Spellman sassiness. The smart-mouthed, in your business, business of private investigating, has been laid bare for all to enjoy in Curse of the Spellmans. This is one of those books you just can’t seem to find a good place to stop – til you get to the last page. And then you can’t help but wish for more. Lisa Lutz has created an original series, that just keeps getting better and better. With a cast of kooky and oh so lovable characters that are both frustratingly nosy and eternally loyal readers are cheering, sneering and giggling their way through these delicious literary treats. Well written, funny and full of heart – Lisa Lutz has developed a signature series that above all else, entertains!
-RJ Read more…
Readers should be prepared for an experience like no other…Earthly Pleasures is a little taste of paradise, right here on earth! 8)
Karen Neches’ new novel, Earthly Pleasures is a light, fun read that is filled equal amounts of humor and heart. At the conclusion of this wonderful novel readers are left to hope that the eternal forever place will be as lovely, fun filled and exciting as Neches’ brilliantly designed and thoroughly developed fictional paradise.
As the story begins we are introduced to Skye Sebring, a greeter in Heaven’s Hospitality Division. Her assignment is to help Earths recently departed through the transition. Meaning, she meets and greets all the newcomers, takes them on a tour of their new ‘home’ and answers their questions. While the main objective of Skye’s fellow angels is to return to Earth, Skye is quite content to remain right here in Heaven.
That is until the day a motorcycle accident brings Ryan Blaine to Heaven. Son of a former president, attorney, star of Heaven’s reality show Earthly Pleasures, Blaine is popular, handsome and engaged. Skye is immediately taken in by Ryan, so when he is jolted back to his physical body on Earth she becomes almost obsessed with the show and with finding a way to be with Ryan. There was something between them…he appeared to know her…how could she remind him of someone? Skye was a ‘new soul,’ she had never been on Earth or had she?
The story takes off from the first chapter and soars right through to the conclusion. There are techno-gadgets that have their basis in reality, but Neches has souped them up. There’s a little of everything, but not so much of any one thing that it over-powers or detracts from the main theme. Well written, fleshed out and delivered with a passionate voice that commands the readers full attention. Earthly Pleasures will tickle your funny bone and touch your heart with a cast of clever characters carefully navigating multiple story lines that co-mingle perfectly to keep you guessing, wishing and hoping. Karen Neches has penned a truly original story that is absolutely brilliant in its’ creative simplicity. Delivering an interesting novel that maintains its’ entertainment level from beginning to end, allows readers to pass the time quietly turning pages…a pleasure, that to a book-lover, sure feels a lot like Heaven.I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.
The Spellman Files: A Novel
ISBN 10: 1416532404
ISBN 13: 978-1416532408
Simon & Schuster
Feb 12 – 2008 (reprint)
Lisa Lutz’s first novel, “The Spellman Files,” introduces readers to the lovable, albeit highly dysfunctional Spellman family. Be prepared to adore this zany cast of characters, that will butt their way right into your heart and have you laughing a long the way. A strong female protagonist with a meddling family may, at first glance, seem a bit blase’, but don’t be fooled, the writing, narrative and perspective work together like a well oiled machine generating the ideal reading experience…
Secrets, scheming and sneaking are all part in parcel of a good days work for a private investigator. Albert and Olivia Spellman have been spying on people for a living since shortly after they wed and their three children have been immersed in this environment all their lives. Even though David, the Spellman’s oldest son, left the family business to pursue a career in law, he can’t avoid occasionally being lured into one of his parents schemes. The youngest daughter, Rae, has been honing her spy skills from the tender age of six, when she convinced her parents to allow her to tag along during surveillance operations. Now a mischievous teenager, she utilizes this unique knowledge to conduct “personal surveillance,” on her friends.
Isabel, 28, is the stereo-typical middle child still trying to rebuild the bridge of trust destroyed during her rebellious teens. A sure-footed investigator, with sound judgement, when it comes to business; however, the same cannot be said for her choices in men. Criticized by her perfect older brother, emulated by her younger sister and hounded by her parents, Izzy’s life borders on the edge of insanity, which she desperately wants to escape.
Sharp-tongued, Izzy Spellman has even reduced her failing love life to a list of wise-cracking facts- name, age, relationship length and ‘famous last words.’ Izzy discovers potential ‘ex-boyfriend #9′ while working the case of Daniel Castillo. Izzy is quite smitten with the Guatemalan dentist and knows the importance of keeping her family in the dark about her new love interest. And in a family of snoops that’s impossible! When she discovers her parents have Rae following her, it is the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back and Izzy quits.
Of course, this hard-nosed, scheming family isn’t going to just wither-up and go away, so they offer Izzy a deal…solve this one last case and she is free of her contract. Catch? Oh certainly- there’s a big catch…The case they choose is that of a missing teen from Marin County that disappeared near Lake Tahoe some twelve years ago. Izzy hoped her grit and determination would light a fire under this cold case and thus dissolve the contract that had held her hostage in the family business. So she literally throws herself into this decade old case. However, while digging into the unsolved case, her little sister, Rae goes missing. She seems to have vanished into thin air and although Izzy and Rae bicker, as do all sisters, she loves the nosey little hellian and will stop at nothing to find her.
Sassy, witty and loaded with sarcasm, this fast-paced story swirls around the outrageously dysfunctional Spellman Family. Even in a house where it’s normal to find triple locks on bedroom doors, the Spellman’s hide their fair share of secrets. Lisa Lutz’s debut novel, “The Spellman Files” explores the inner workings of the family dynamic, from Izzy’s perspective. Revealing how just below the surface stuff… the snooping, scheming and wire taps, there’s a deep, heart-felt sentiment. Cleverly layered throughout the story is that familiar ”something” we can all recognize…that “thing” bonds and unites families despite all the shortcomings and misunderstandings. “The Spellman Files: A Novel” is an entertaining read that unfolds with deliberate precision. Kick and crunch action is followed by off-the-wall, whip-smart punch lines that will have you laughing out loud more than once. Original, kooky and delightfully dysfunctional, Lisa Lutz gives readers a fresh new way to enjoy comedic crime novels. And readers can rejoice, there’s more zaniness to follow. So get acquainted with the Spellman’s and settle in for a truly enjoyable series.
Wife In the Fast Lane
by Karen Quinn
Touchstone (a division of Simon & Schuster)
ISBN 10: 0743293967
ISBN 13: 978-0743293969
Ever wondered what it would be like to have it all? Of course, we all have…Karen Quinn’s novel, “Wife In the Fast Lane” provides a front row, often harried view of the glamorous life, that to the average person seems far-fetched and outlandish, at best. Quinn invites us to sit back, relax and see the world from the platinum side of the coin for a few hours. Christy Hayes knows the meaning of hard work and dedication, however, winning two Olympic gold medals did not prepare her for the cut-throat world of commerce. As founder and acting CEO of Baby G, an athletic shoe company, Christy needed to reinvent herself to look the part. Following the advice of her best friend and Baby G’s second in command, Katherine, she moves to an apartment, with the “right address,” a new wardrobe and haircut complete the transformation from athlete to successful athletic company owner. Well, superficially anyway…Christy is a beautiful, strong woman, but her lack of education and inexperience force her to rely on Katherine more and more.
Christy joins countless high profile, money makers and trend setters in Davos, Switzerland. Famous for hosting the annual World Economic Forum and global political and business elites, she looks forward to rubbing elbows with and learning the secrets of successful CEO’s. Christy is a fish out of water and finds herself star-struck at every juncture, especially with the gorgeous, media mogul, Michael Drummond. An evening of talk and sipping champagne and it is obvious Christy is in love. This whirlwind marriage creates a corporate power couple that would make others green with envy. Even with help at home from Maria, Christy’s maid and dear friend, she is unable to keep up with the demands of being CEO. So, she unwittingly turns the reigns over to her best friend, which plays right into Katherine’s diabolical plan to oust Christy from Baby G.
When Maria dies unexpectedly, Christy honors her friends’ last wish and adopts her 11 year old granddaughter, Renata. She soon discovers that cut-throat, backstabbing isn’t confined to the executive board room, there’s trouble brewing everywhere… It seems a newspaper reporter wants to have more than her eyes on Michael and the PTA leader of the private school where Christy enrolled Renata is bordering on psychotic.
From the Upper East Side of Manhattan to the luxurious village of St. Tropez, to the resorts of Aspen and Davos, readers will journey to glamorous locales, meet outrageous characters and laugh out loud more than once. Although the central theme is balanced atop a heap of coincidences which may be difficult for some, this is a good read, with light, quick wit, a few shadowy characters to add just enough shadiness to have you cheering for Christy and talking aloud, as you try to warn her of things to come. So, if you’re reading this one on a plane, subway or train don’t be surprised if, from time to time you catch the other passengers looking at you quizzically…You would do the same if the person in the seat next to you was having a conversation with their book.
I recommend “Wife In the Fast Lane” to anyone who enjoys a book that’s simply a lot of fun to read! Quinn’s quiet style and evocative characters delivers a truly distinctive reading experience. With only two novels to her credit readers are in for a real treat as she hones her craft and continues to develop that extra special something that defines a novel as a Karen Quinn original. I am on board for the long ride and anxiously await her next novel!
-RJ Read more…
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