Gift Ideas for Book Lovers (Part 2)

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This weekend, with the temps dipping down in the 40’s during the day- and even colder at night, the holiday visions danced even more in my head.

If they were dancing in your head as well- here are some more suggestions for books for the book lovers in your life!

To read part 1, visit here!

 

Women’s Fiction

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

looking for me

Photo Credit: Amazon

My first Beth Hoffman book- and boy was it a treat. Beth wrote a book that made me laugh and cry- and feel good and warm and fuzzy. Her main character, Teddi, was a character with flaws, and tons of potential. Teddi is also dealing with an incredible loss. She’s real and honest and lovable. Here is my review of Looking For Me.

 

Time Flies by Claire Cook

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Photo Credit: Amazon

High school reunions make some feel nostalgic, others feel nauseous. Claire Cook takes a rite of passage and spins a story that is funny- but sweet. Her character Melanie is dealing with a divorce- and finding out that life does not end- in fact, it may get better. Here is my review of Time Flies.

 

A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Susan Rebecca White tells this story with such feeling and emotion. Her characters, the storylines- all worth reading. This story reminds people of what life and love is really about- and how we, as people, want to have someone in our corner- someone who sees the real us- and accepts us 100%. Here is my review of A Place At The Table.

 

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapirio

the art forger

Photo Credit: Amazon

Love, lust, betrayal….. and the art world. Fantastic story- a mystery, a story divided into 3 sections- and art. Claire is flawed- she’s made mistakes. She’s also paid for her mistakes by being blackballed in the art world. When she makes a deal with the devil- will Claire come out on top? Or even more of a pariah? Here is my review of The Art Forger.

 

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Mia March’s 2nd book, Finding Colin Firth, is the same bubbly goodness that readers came to expect from her after Meryl Streep Movie Club. Plus, who doesn’t like Colin Firth? Highly recommended for readers who just want to be entertained! Here is my review of Finding Colin Firth.

 

NonFiction

 

Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog by Steph Davis

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

The story of Steph Davis- the things she overcame to find happiness- all with a dog by her side and the notion to learn to be a skydiver- something that goes against her climber personality. Steph’s story is an interesting one- and one that is worth a read. Here is my review of Learning to Fly.

 

Gods of Mischief: My Undercover Vendetta to Take Down The Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by George Rowe

gods of mischief fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Tough. Gritty. Entertaining. Interesting. The insider look into a tough motorcycle gang is not a story for the soft-hearted. It’s tough at times- but overall, nonfiction lovers will enjoy. Here is my review of Gods of Mischief.

 

Romance

 

The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

When Blake O’Hara Heart’s best friend forever, Vivi, gets herself into a bit of trouble- Blake is there to rescue her. And Blake learns plenty about life, love, and teaches the readers about the  power of friendship along the way! If you like your characters with lots of sass and fun- this is a book for you.  Here is my review of The Sassy Belles (along with my review of Wedding Belles and Sleigh Belles– the other 2 books in this fun trilogy.)

 

 

Author Spotlight: B.A. Shapiro

the art forgerOn Tuesday, B.A. Shapiro stopped by to talk about The Art Forger. Today she is back to tell her #literaryconfessions and more!

Author Spotlight: B.A. Shapiro

Barbara, when you are not writing- what do you like to do with your time?

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that I love to read novels, go to the theater and watch movies. I love stories, all kinds, and eat them up in any fashion I can. I also often be found in an art museum, gallery or haunting artists’ studios.

Could you tell us who some of your favorite authors are?

I don’t have favorite authors as much as I have favorite books. Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, Ann Tyler’s Accidental Tourist, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, Jane Hamilton’s Map of the World, Anna Karenina, etc. etc. etc.

Do you have any #literaryconfessions? 

I have three degrees in sociology and took only the required English classes as an undergrad, so I’ve read very few of the great books, can’t spell and I’m still learning correct grammar. (The spell checker just picked up original misspelling of grammar.)

Do you have a #literarycrush? 

Although it’s incredibly politically incorrect, I’ve always wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara.

 

What are some of the books you are looking forward to reading in 2013?

Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver; The Season of Open Water, Dawn Tripp; The Good Braider, Terry Farish

 

If you could be best friends with a character in a book- who would you pick? And why?

Sully in Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool. If you know Sully, you know why.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

A perfect work day would be one where I spend all day in the zone and don’t notice the day at all. My perfect play day would be on a beach with friends, family – especially my two-year-old granddaughter and a pitcher full of icy cold, perfect dirty martinis.

What is your favorite “guilty pleasure” song?

Well, I’ve been singing I’ve Been Working on the Railroad to my granddaughter a lot. Does that count?

 

*Special thanks to B.A. Shapiro for agreeing to the Author Spotlight.

 

Want more information on B.A. Shapiro? Check out her website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

Interview with B.A. Shapiro- author of The Art Forger

the art forger

The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro, was She Reads January 2013 book club selection. And I LOVED this book! I loved it so much- that Allison @ The Book Wheel- went through a snowstorm to get me a signed copy of this book (Note: I didn’t ask her to do that- she just knew how much I adored The Art Forger and wanted to get me a signed copy!)

Today, B.A. Shapiro is here to talk about The Art Forger– on Thursday, she will be back to discuss #literaryconfessions and more!

Interview with B.A. Shapiro

Barbara- The Art Forger, in part, was inspired by the real life Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist of 1990. What was your inspiration for Claire? Did you consider setting the novel in an earlier time- closer to the art heist?

Claire is a struggling artist, semi-confident in her talent, strong on ambition and feeling like she’s getting nowhere in her career despite past successes. When I was working on The Art Forger, I was a struggling writer, semi-confident in my talent, strong on ambition and getting nowhere in my career despite past successes. Need I say more?

How long did The Art Forger take to write?

It’s always hard to answer this question as you don’t start one day and end on another. Writing a novel is a process for me, it includes lots of planning – plotting, multi-colored file cards, character sketches – lots of research – including books, interviews, Internet – and then writing and rewriting and rewriting some more. If you count all of those things, my guess is it took me between three and four years start to finish.

Are any of the characters in The Art Forger based on people you know in real life? Or are they created from your imagination?

Some of them are, some are composites, some are completely fictional. But even if you start with a real person in mind, the story changes them and they become the character rather than the person. For example, Rik is based on a friend of mine; he fits the general description and behavior of the real Rik, but he’s a curator at the Gardner and the real Rik owns a boutique on Newbury Street.

Claire is the great imposter in the art world. Is that fair? Or is Claire being punished too severely?

This is a question I hope the reader will consider. How do we get labeled as good or bad? And who does the labeling? Human beings are complicated. I’m sure Mother Teresa did a few “bad” things in her life, and that the Boston Strangler did many good ones. What is fair? And is fairness something we can expect from life? From a novel?

If The Art Forger was made into a movie- do you have a dream cast?

I’d love to see Claire Danes and Jude Law.

Have we, as readers, heard the last from Claire and others in The Art Forger?

All of my books have been stand-alones, although I did once have a major character from one book (Shattered Echoes) become a minor character in another (Blind Spot). Although the temptation is there – and lots of people have told me they’d love another Claire book – I think that in most cases, one book is enough for a character. I worry she’d lose her freshness.

What are you working on next, Barbara? Can you give us any hints?

I’m working on another book about art, which also goes back and forth in time, but this one focuses on the past story. This story takes place right before WWII in New York City where the future abstract expressionists – Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko, etc. – are all young, unknown and working for the WPA. My fictional character is one of the gang, but aside from her passion for art, she is trying to get her French Jewish family out of France before the war begins. And as in all good stories, she finds trouble, trouble, trouble.

*Special thanks to B.A. Shapiro for agreeing to be interviewed!

barbara s The art forger

B.A. Shapiro, author of The Art Forger (which can be bought in paperback now!) can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and has a website.

To read my review of The Art Forger, visit here.

Literary Friday ya’ll…

It’s Friday. And it’s 40-something degrees where I live. Whatttt? What happened to my spring weather?

 

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday- The Great Gatsby (pictures and listening to the soundtrack) in preparation for “Gatsby week”, and other festivals, book-ish things and more.

2. I read and reviewed The Girl Who Married An Eagle by Tamar Myers for TLC Book Tours this week. It’s an interesting book- and worth a read!

3. For Cozy Mystery Reviews, I read Topped Chef by Lucy Burdette. Ya’ll know how I love my cozy books. And I ADORE the character Hayley Snow.

4. All week long at She Reads– the discussion of AND THEN I FOUND YOU by Patti Callahan Henry has been going on- still time to chime in!

My review of And Then I Found You can be read HERE

5. My #fridayreads: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and Deadly Harvest (A Detective Kubu mystery). What are your #fridayreads?

6. Read about Allison @ The Book Wheel’s meeting of BA Shapiro- author of The Art Forger- a book that I ABSOLUTLEY loved. I wanted to climb in this book, I loved it that much. Mystery, art, lust and love- I LOVE books like that. Allison was super-kind to send me an autographed copy because she knows how much I love this book!

My review of The Art Forger is HERE.

7. Looking for books to read for May? Read Bookmagnet’s suggestions!

8. She Reads articles you should read:

The Editor Recommends

Two Movies You Didn’t Know Were Books First

9. Like Cozy books? Want to join an online book club that only reads cozy books? Try Cozy Mystery Reviews

CMR is reading Mum’s The Word by Kate Collins for May!

10. #giveaway: The Fantastic 4 Cozy Mystery Giveaway

 

 

Valentine’s Ideas…..

Valentine’s Day. I’ll admit how much I love the red hearts, the glitter, the pretty packaging of the chocolate. How much I love having Valentine’s Day plans with someone special. I’ll even admit that some years I’ve been a Valentine hater- annoyed by the over-abundance of red, flowers, and the teddy bears everywhere. I’ve even participated in the “single awareness days” with good food and wine with friends. And there may even be a time or two where I’ve scoffed at the over-commercialization of the holiday, the cost of cards,dinner, flowers and more. But as the years keep turning, I’ll just admit that Valentine’s Day is a day to show love- to do something for yourself  that makes you happy. To make sure that your loved ones know they are special.

And while my heart still beats a little faster at the sight of red hearts and seeing all the over-the-top goodies and stuff; I recognize life is not a romantic-comedy (my life isn’t at any rate). So, in light of this- I always try to make my Valentine’s Day a bit special- no matter the status of my romantic life. Because being good to yourself is the best way to be happy.

I mentioned before that my Valentine’s Day plans include tickets to Cirque de la Mystique and having dinner with a friend. I also have my eye on a couple of different earrings at Dogeared Jewelry. I also plan to indulge myself the next weeked by going to the movies to see Safe Haven and have dinner at my favorite eating place.

Enjoy your Valentine’s day!

Gifts for Book Lovers:

Bookmagnet has a list of books that would make a great gift for the book lover in your life.

After reading the list, I thought of some other books that would make a great gift:

1. The Art Forger by B.A. Shapirio and tickets to an art exhibit/museum.

2. Beautiful Darkness and tickets to the movie

3. The Hunger Games trilogy ( I know, I know- I need to quit with The Hunger Games- but I still love it.)

4. The Meryl Streep Movie Club and a night of watching favorite Meryl Streep movies and snacks

5. Meanwhile Back at Cafe Du Monde for a foodie (even better to plan with a trip to New Orleans)

6. A gift certificate to favorite bookstore

7. An Audible subscription for audio-book lover

8. Like going to literary haunts? Buy Deep South Mag’s Literay Trail App and plan a road-trip!

 

 

 

Literary Friday ya’ll…

Hey ya’ll- it’s Friday. The first day of the new month. It’s also just a few more days till Valentine’s Day- which is a day that some people love, some dislike and some just don’t care. I, for the most part, love it. I like hearts and glitter personally. And no matter the status of my love life- I always make sure to treat myself- this year it’s all about culture- I have tickets to Cirque de la Symphonie and plans for dinner with a friend.  On to #literaryfriday news:

1. Deep South Magazine– Amelia Bedelia, The Following, literary events, and much more. Check out this week’s edition and if you do the Pinterest thing, check out Deep South Mag’s board- quite fun!

2. She Reads is discussing The Art Forger today, all day long! Get your book loving selves over there- let’s discuss art, love, lust, double-crossing and more!

Here’s the link to my review of The Art Forger– a book that still thrills me and I’m basically just telling everyone to read. I mean, seriously, everyone. Strangers on the street are hearing “Read The Art Forger”.

3. Not to toot my horn, but I have some good news: I’m the new She Reads Discussion Leader! The first book discussion I’ll lead is Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. So grab some copies (book comes out Feb 12!) and read- then come by She Reads at the end of the month and let’s discuss!

4. My #fridayreads is Gods of Mischief by George Rowe and The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones. Look for both books in February from Touchstone Books.

5. Speaking of Valentine’s Day- why don’t you give the book lover in your life a new book? A fellow #srblog member has ideas! Check out Bookmagnet’s Blog for suggestions of books to give and reviews!

Happy Reading!

Random thoughts….

It’s Tuesday- and I’ve got a few things to say, but nothing that fits under one cute title- hence the random thoughts!

Giveaways:

Cozy Mystery Book Reviews is still doing the 31 days of giveaways for January. If you are a cozy reader- check it out!

Hallie Sawyer is giving away a copy of The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro- just read the post to find out how to enter- and take some time to look at Hallie’s blog (it’s great!) and check out Great New Books (another great website to help readers find books and book chatter!)

Other news:

MVB Club is celebrating their 1 year Anniversary as bloggers! Join me in extending them congratulations to a great first year- and to many more!

Am I the only one who does not watch Downton Abbey? You’ll be happy to know that I’m downloading the first season 🙂

I’m reading A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano. Really enjoying it. However, I’m also reading The End Of Your Life Book Club– and honestly, I’m not enjoying it that much. Perhaps, my expectations were too high as everyone I know was raving about book. Thoughts?