It’s All About The Girls

It’s All About The Girls

The Girls, by Emma Cline

If you haunt bookstores you sure have seen this book, Emma Cline‘s debut novel The Girls showing beautifully on the most visible shelves. It could be the “magnetic” cover -with that combination of red and blue that warps your mind (you genius cover designer!)- or probably just the fact that everyone is talking about it. Named the Summer’s hottest novel by WMagazine and PublisherWeekly, No. 3 on The New York Times bestseller list,  The Girls is on everyone’s lips.

Not to mention that Cline’s editorial debut fetched a $2 million advance and immediately got the attention of  Scott Rudin -film producer known for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Zoolander (2001) and The Truman Show (1998), to name a few-  who bought film rights just before the sale.

cover80098-mediumNorthern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon.

Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted.

As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

The story -based loosely on the Manson murders– is told from one acolyte’s point of view, but is definitely not what you would expect from a book “inspired” by what was probably the most famous counterculture cult that eventually ended with the infamous Labianca-Tate killing spree in August of 1969. Maybe it’s just me, but I was expecting a bit more than some subtle psychological insight and a profound perceptiveness of a 14-years-old’s mind. Nonetheless, beside some stylistic annoying choices -as it the “present chapters”- that kinda ruined the mojo, I have to admit that Emma Cline owns the literary finesse of building suspense and keeping the reader’s eyes glued to the pages.

Reviews of The Girls have been enthusiastically positive except for a few high-profile demurrals -most notably (and my personal favourite) by Dwight Garner in the New York Timesbut I am caught in the middle; I can’t say this book was afwul, nor I can say it was my best summer read, but somehow I devoured it in 2 hours straight.


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

Dogs Know Stuff

Dogs Know Stuff

Jonathan Unleashed, by Meg Rosoff

My dog knows stuff! I am pretty sure now that behind those puppy eyes she is hiding a whole lot more about life that I will ever understand. Maybe Confucius was right by saying that life is really simple, but somehow we insist on making it complicated. And every time I look at my dog I know that she knows that I know I don’t really know what to be when I grow up, or even how on earth to get there.

Meg Rosoff delivers a splendid story set in Manhattan about a young New Yorker searching for happiness, and the two dogs who help him find it.

cover84285-mediumJonathan Trefoil’s boss is unhinged, his relationship baffling, and his apartment just the wrong side of legal. His girlfriend wants to marry someone just like him—only richer and with a different sense of humor. He doesn’t remember life being this confusing, back before everyone expected him to act like a grown-up.

When his brother asks him to look after his dogs, Jonathan’s world view begins to shift. Could a border collie and a cocker spaniel hold the key to life, the universe, and everything? Their sly maneuvering on daily walks and visits to the alluring vet suggest that human emotional intelligence may not be top dog after all.

This book is just perfect. I loved how Jonathan’s life changed because of the dogs. I loved how New York looked like a whole different city just because it wasn’t zooming past Jonathan’s peripheral vision. I loved how he learned to slow down and simple things.

Splendid! Jonathan Unleashed is a funny, romantic story of tangled relationships, friendships and dogs so well written that just made sense of my entire life.

Maybe -just maybe- this is what is all about; slowing down and stop worrying about that picture in our heads of how life is supposed to be.


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

The Power of the Hashtag

The Power of the Hashtag

American Babe. A White Girl Problems Book, by Babe Walker

Hidden amid more useful punctuation, the hash tag is now the most popular button on the keyboard. The idea of grouping by using the fancy symbol was first trialled in 2007, in a blog post by Stowe Boyd. And since then, it has been enthusiastically embraced… and sometimes abused.

What started off as a Twitter account –which now counts more than 825K followers– among two brothers and a friend has turned into big business for authors David and Tanner Cohen and Lara Schoenhals, the talented writers behind the mega successful “White Girl Problems” books.

#whitegirlproblems started off along the lines of rich girl problems, and Babe Walker is the voice behind it -a wealthy girl living in Los Angeles whose “problems” landed her in retail rehab after spending $246,893.50 one afternoon at the luxury department store Barneys.

In the third book “American Babe“, Babe Walker faces her most daunting challenge yet: suburbia.

cover86772-mediumBabe thought she had done it all.  After all, she’s survived the highly exclusive social hierarchies of Bel Air, traipsed around Europe in true white-girl fashion, and left her mark on several of the best rehab facilities in the United States. But now Babe is about to enter a terrifying new world: Middle America.

After a freak accident that was definitely not Babe’s fault, her estranged mother offers her the perfect escape from LA: an invite to her grandfather’s eightieth birthday party in Maryland, of all places. Babe’s journey throws her headlong into elementary school classrooms full of small, unfashionable people and pizza buffet restaurants that will haunt her nightmares and eventually back to Los Angeles, thank goodness. Tossed together with her cousins—basic preteen Cara and mature and preternaturally stylish Knox—Babe learns that connecting with someone on an intimate, familial level might be the most rewarding experience.

Unapologetic and unfiltered Babe Walker is light and entertaining. If you aren’t in the mood for serious literature but pure satire, that’s the book. Enjoyable and easy to read.. American Babe is #perfect!


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

Also from Babe Walker:

  • White Girl Problems (Book) – (eBook)
  • Psychos: A White Girl Problems Book (Book) – (eBook)
Great Summer Readings for Kids and YA

Great Summer Readings for Kids and YA

Untitled design-3

 

Isn’t this the sweetest picture ever? If you have kids you sure know what I mean: your lovely child sitting quietly with a book in his/her hands.. Key word: quiet!

No kidding.. kids are cool! Hungry for knowledge and ready to experience the world. Super energetic –probably sugar fueled– and always on the move. But you know that can be quite hard to get them reading, and -let’s be honest- when comes to kids, it’s hard race to compete with the Internet, videogames, movies and social networks.

I’m not in the “parents league” but I know about kids. Matter of fact I still am one of them -at heart! I read children books, watch cartoons,  I still go playing on the swings in Central Park (or wherever I see one of those), never pass up an opportunity to pop bubble wrap and  I keep saying things like “when I grow up” even though I am grown up.

Does it make me a reliable source? Here some of the coolest stories I have found-read-loved!

Middle Graders (age 8-12)

Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve Tiger Trouble Book 1 Cover  (Version 2).jpg

Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in Tiger Trouble, by Grant Goodman

Agent Darcy is 13 years old and she’s an agent-in-training at the Bureau of Sneakery. Her rival, Agent Serena, is sharp competition and Darcy doesn’t deal well with failure. 

Ninja Steve, 12 years old, lives in the village of Ninjastoria. His sister, Nora, is a ninja genius who graduated from college at the age of 16 (with a double degree in Ghost Studies and Spin-Kicks). 

When Darcy gets sent on her first mission, she’s off to Ninjastoria. And when an ancient ghost is freed from his prison, they’re going to need to rely on teamwork to seal it back up. 

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


 The Gallery, by Laura Marx Fitzgeraldc4adb4117afcf5479bce6c4c17026740.jpg

 It’s 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family.

But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the household—specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room.

The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks there’s more to the story—and that the paintings in the Sewell’s gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth. But in a house filled with secrets, nothing is quite what it seems, and no one is who they say. Can Martha follow the clues, decipher the code, and solve the mystery of what’s really going on with Rose Sewell?

 Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


cover87026-medium.png

Wish, by Barbara O’Connor

Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade.  But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true.

That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. 

From award-winning author Barbara O’Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places.

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


Young Adults (age 13-18)

26142850

The Quantum Door, by Jonathan Ballagh (review)

The mysterious woods behind Brady and Felix’s house have been deserted for years. But things change when a fence goes up and the brothers notice strange things happening at night.

From the moment they dare cross the fence, the brothers enter a world of dark technological secrets that will rock the foundation of everything they know to be true.

And once they enter, there’s no turning back.  Some places are better left alone…

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


cover78858-mediumBeware That Girl, by Teresa Toten (review)

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner.

As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had. 

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


cover83093-mediumDreaming of Antigone, by Robin Bridges (review)

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, including a drug problem.

Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she–the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe–is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him. 

Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life…and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


TwoSummers_cover.jpgTwo Summers, by Aimee Friedman

ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . . ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . . 
When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds.

In one, she travels to France, where she dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue but nothing is as it seems. 

She will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. But a terrible family secret may break her.
From “New York Times” bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.”

Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)


Fooled By The Title

Fooled By The Title

My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix

Peacefully walking down the aisles of your favourite bookstore in town. Touching the spine of infinite books with the tip of your fingers, a gentle touch like playing the roulette. Eyes fervently catch a glimpse of titles, names, pictures on the cover. Then something hits you… and here’s the chosen. Congratulation! You got yourself a new book.

cover77536-medium.png

Have you ever been fooled by the title of the book? By picking up Grady Hendrix’s novel I hoped to read some quality horror literature…but, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is pure and simple  (a bit boring) general fiction.

This book is about friendship. Abby and Gretchen have been best friend since fifth grade. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act . . . different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behaviour start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favourite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen and their friendship.

This book will probably make you trip if you are missing -really missing- the 80s. Heavy doses of 80s references, E.T., roller-skating parties, LSD and scratch-and-sniff stickers are all in here. But where is the creepy stuff? Head spinning around 360° like Regan’s in The Exorcist, people crawling up the kitchen wall? Where is the exorcism?

I can’t deny that I was a little bit disappointed. It’s a good story, decently written.. but the title fooled me big time!


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)

 

Are You Ready for a Thrill Ride?

Are You Ready for a Thrill Ride?

All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda

 Gillian Flynn paved the way for a lot of girls to come. Some got crazy, otherscover80631-medium.png missing and others got crazy because missing. Some of those books were riveting, others not so much. That is why I am a bit skeptical when I see the word “girls” on the title.

Megan Miranda took her chance with this “girl thing” and she came back with a compelling novel!

Just for the sake of  your curiosity, this breathtaking story is about the disappearances of two young women -a decade apart- told backwards.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left Cooley Ridge after her best friend Corinne disappeared without a trace. Back again for some family business, Nic is plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds.

When another girl  -Annaleise Carter – goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbour’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Presented as the next The Girl on the Train or Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel All the Missing Girls is even better! Original, engaging and beautifully written. Megan Miranda’s writing style is something you could easily get addicted to.

All the Missing Girls has it all! A spine-tingling ride from beginning to end.

 


Pre-order your own copy! On Amazon.com (eBook) – (Book)

Secrets

Secrets

Sister Dear, by Laura McNeill

Convicted for a crime she didn’t commit, Allie watched her life vanish behind bars

cover80627-medium.pngTen years passed and out on parole Allie is determined to clear her name and find the truth. But what she uncovers is far worse than she imagines. Allie is strong, smart and refuses defeat. Undertaking a battle for the truth, she put her parole status and her personal safety at risk.

A dark secret is now standing between two sisters. The very one that holds the key to Allie’s freedom.

Sister Dear is a beautiful novel, masterfully written, that perfectly describes how painful is for  ex-cons to clear their names, rebuild their lives, and reconnect with the families.

#toogoodtobejustabook just saying!


Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)

 

Why Kerouac means Freedom

Why Kerouac means Freedom

 

The Town and The City is Jack Kerouac’s debut novel, published seven years before his iconic On the Road, about the adventures of the Martin family as they navigate the seismic cultural shifts following World War II.cover83423-medium.png

Inspired by Kerouac’s own New England youth, the eight Martin children enjoy an idyllic upbringing in a small Massachusetts mill-town, but when was breaks out, everything is interrupted and falls apart.

After returning home, Peter, the  is drawn to the kinetic energy of New York City and the progressive, bohemian ideas springing from its denizen young poets, writers, and artists. His new friends are fictionalized versions of Kerouac’s contemporaries: Allen Ginsberg (as Leon Levinsky), Lucien Carr (as Kenneth Wood), and William Burroughs (as Will Dennison), and other members of the Beat Generation.

You can’t go wrong with Kerouac, father and authentic voice of the beat generation.
The American myth of the road, the freedom and eccentricity of the young beats, the magic of the the Oriental Philosophy, this book represent Kerouac at the very best.
Absolutely recommended!

 

 

 

Are You Afraid of Your Own Mind?

Are You Afraid of Your Own Mind?

A Dark Assortment, by Mikey Campling

A Dark Assortment is a collection of seventeen stories just mildly scary.
What’s really and truly scary is what your own mind and imagination create out ofcover84826-medium.png it.

I liked this book for a very simple reason: it made me use my imagination; it made me think and create something unique, something that only my own fears and experience could mix up together and turn into a work of fantasy.

Read this book and let your mind play with it..they’re just stories, aren’t they?

 

 


Get your copy now! On Amazon.com

 

The New Bizarro Fiction

The New Bizarro Fiction

How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers, by Max Booth III

How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers is the perfect example of the new genre called “Bizarro Fiction” which, according to Wikipedia, is:  “a contemporary literary genre, which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive, weird, and entertaining works.”

Intrigued? Well, you should be!

Grotesque. Idiotic. Brutal. Yet, you absolutely have to read it. Hilarious in it’s craziness, you can’t put that down.


Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)