Three More Books to Read This Summer

You all know how much of a book nerd I am. I proudly fly my book nerd flag. 🙂 So while everyone else around me has been going clubbing or sailing or disappearing to summer houses or the Greek islands (and all those other things Stockholmers do when it’s summer), I’ve been working and reading. You may remember I took two weeks off in June, went to Italy, wrote and lived la dolce vita. Since then, I’ve been working, working, working and taking the occasional weekend trip. And all the while I’ve been reading. 🙂

Image

Cover of Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

Love Minus Eighty – Will McIntosh

It’s been a while since I read any sci-fi novels. None has really jumped out at me. So I was really pleased when I heard about Love Minus Eighty through a Twitter connection. The story is set in a future version of New York where one’s love life is as closely monitored like a reality TV show and death isn’t always the end–especially if you’re an attractive woman on the right side of thirty. This addictive novel follows the stories of several interconnected characters as they try to figure out romantic love in an age where technology has taken over. This is not your usual sci-fi novel. It reads more like speculative literary fiction and is a real page-turner. I loved sinking my teeth into it, and I think you will too. The world presented is like Facebook on crack…no, more like Facebook on the most psychedelic drug you could imagine. Hats off to Will McIntosh for such a brilliantly written novel! This was the first time I’d ever read his work and I am already a fan. 🙂

Image

Cover of French Kissing by Catherine Sanderson

French Kissing – Catherine Sanderson

French Kissing is not a new book. It was originally published in 2009, but I only just heard about it a few weeks ago. I was thinking about booking a weekend trip to Paris and stumbled upon a short interview with Catherine Sanderson and her experiences as an expat living in France. And as an expat living in Stockholm, I always find it fun to read books about others wading in the murky waters of another country’s culture and unwritten rules of society. And Sally, French Kissing‘s heroine, is doing just that while also trying to raise her four-year-old daughter Lila and maintain an amicable relationship with her ex, the faithless Nico. While Nico has moved on with two other women, Sally hasn’t dated and decides it’s time to take the plunge and rejoin the dating market. She does so via Rendez-Vous, the French version of match.com. We follow Sally through a few dreadful dates, a few not-qute-right-but-nice-enough dates and all the while get an idea of what it’s like to date in a foreign language. Sanderson does a great job of giving the reader insight into how the French (and especially Parisians) date and what it’s like raising a bilingual child while also trying to maneuver as a newly single mum. Sally is an extremely likable character. She is definitely not an all-too perfect Mary Sue. And her journey from coupledom to singledom while looking for love is an addictive read!

Image

Cover of S.G. Redling’s Damocles

I first heard about the plot of Damocles during a Matera brainstorming session. I thought the story–of a crew on a one-way expedition into deep space mission to search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence–was intriguing. I couldn’t wait for the book to finally come out, and it doesn’t disappoint. Linguist Meg Dupris and her crew have the daunting task of making first contact with the humanoid inhabitants of Didet, an earth-like planet with eternal sunlight. But first they must overcome the Didetos’ fear that the “earthers” are there as invaders…and they must find a way to communicate when there is no common language. The story moves quickly, with Meg and Loul, a Dideto who predicted that “aliens” would come, struggling to figure out how to interact and learn from one another–and realizing they have more in common than they think. What I really liked with Damocles is how the story is told from both Meg and Loul’s perspective. So we get a very interesting view of just how first contact might be. Two thumbs up!

OK! That’s it for now! Happy reading (and writing)!

Can’t wait to read Nancy Barone’s The Husband Diet…coming soon!

Image

I love the cover for Nancy’s book!

I love it when one of my friends gets their big break! In a few weeks a book written by fellow Matera Brainstormer Nancy Barone will be published by Bookouture. And what’s really cool is that it’s a book she brainstormed with our group.

I think it was during our first brainstorming session that Nancy first told us about the story that would become The Husband Diet. I loved the premise and couldn’t wait to read it. Well in May I’ll be able to do just that! Intrigued? Well check out the back cover summary…

The Husband Diet

 Erica Cantelli’s life feels more suffocating than a size 4 dress.

 On the surface she’s maintaining the image of successful career woman, perfect wife and a doting mother with two wonderful children.

In reality she’s running out of hours in the day; 6 dress sizes bigger than she wants to be; and the only man who shows her any affection is her gay best friend.

In fact fantasizing about how to kill her increasingly disinterested husband is just about all that keeps Erica sane.  That and a whole different type of fantasizing about the incredibly handsome new school principal, Julian Foxham.

 When her husband jokes about trading her in for two size tens, Erica knows something has to change.  But is another diet really the answer?  Or is getting rid of him the fastest path to happiness?  Now if she could only stop thinking about the gorgeous Mr Foxham…

 For any woman who’s ever felt under-appreciated, or thought about giving up on their dreams.  Erica is a laugh-out-loud breath of fresh air.

I hope you’ll show Nancy some love by clicking ‘Like’ on her Facebook author page and then head over to her website to find out more about her writing and The Husband Diet. And don’t forget to buy The Husband Diet in May!

 Congratulations, Nancy! Can’t wait to help you brainstorm the next book! 😀

Sorry for the radio silence (again) and off to Matera!

ImageI know it’s been mighty quiet here at Kim Talks Books and I can only blame it on having a lot on my plate at the office. When I come home, I end up either falling asleep on my sofa or working on Maybe Baby. 

Now I am on my way to Matera, Italy again for the annual Brainstorming at the Spa, which will take place at the Locanda di San Martino. I’m looking forward to brainstorming and discussing writing, to enjoying la dolce vita in Italy and avoiding wintry Stockholm for a while–yes, it’s snowing again. I feel like I live in a snow globe. It’s nice in December. It’s tiresome in March. I’m forever grateful to Elizabeth Jennings for inviting me to the Brainstorming–I think I went to the first one in 2011. It was amazing. 

When I return, I’ll post about the brainstorming sessions and which project I discussed with my writer buddies. 

Until then, hope you’ve all found an awesome book to read. I’m happy–I’ve got my hands on an autographed copy of Nick Alexander‘s new book, The French House. Yay! It’s going to Italy with me. Thanks, Nick! 😀

Happy Reading!

Supporting my Brainstorming at the Spa buddies

My Kindle, living la dolce vita.On Wednesday afternoon, I’ll be heading towards Matera (via Munich). I’ve met some amazing people there and I think you should get to know them too. Please do support my writing friends in their endeavors!

  • Claude Nougat, author of the Forget the Past series and a prolific blogger.
  • Elizabeth Jennings, romantic suspense author of Darkness at Dawn and the brilliant mastermind behind the Women’s Fiction Festival and Brainstorming at the Spa in Matera, Italy.
  • Elizabeth Aston, author of The World, the Flesh and the Bishop, she also writes under the name Elizabeth Edmondson.
  • Nancy Barone Wythe, romantic suspence author of the Sicilian Lovers trilogy who lives and writes on Sicily (can you tell I am a tad bit envious?) 🙂
  • Anselm Audley, fantasy author of the Aquasilva Trilogy and publisher behind Attica Books (ask him about the evil uncle!)
  • Cassy Pickard, mystery writer and Italophile who has also been helping me whip my project into shape.
  • S.G. Redling, thriller writer whose debut novel, Flowertown, is available for pre-order now.
  • Ingrid Christensen, chef/writer/restorer of Italian villa, read her blog and follow the progress of her restoration project in Abruzzo.
  • Rosemary Laurey, romance writer and author of Chase the Cook, who knows a thing or two about dragons.
  • Ann Reavis, freelance travel writer and tour guide whose working on a YA novel that sounds amazing.
  • Christine Witthohn, literar agent and owner of Book Cents Literary Agency, who facilitates for us and tries to keep us focused.

This list is incomplete and I will add everyone else soon but it’s enough to get you started. So what are you waiting for? 🙂

 

Going to Matera again

Lovely Matera

Next week I head to Matera for Brainstorming at the Spa 2012. I really feel like I need this after the last couple of weeks I’ve had. I don’t really have a concrete idea to brainstorm, but I think–with the help of my fellow brainstormers–I will have figured out a skeleton of my next project by the time I return to Stockholm on the 26th.

I’m looking forward to being in the company of my wonderful Matera friends who’ve cheered for me, given me pep talks and advice. And when I return I will let you know what sparkly ideas I’ve managed to come up with. I’ll be thinking about a new novel or novella and planning (already) for Nanowrimo 2012.

Before I leave, I’ll write another post and I hope to have an author interview (or two) ready for April.

Also: if you’ve already purchased The Melanie Chronicles and enjoyed it, please post a review on Amazon or BN.com. Your support means a lot to me! 🙂

Sorry for the radio silence…

First, let me apologize for the radio silence. I have been a bit busy the last few weeks–lots to do at work, trying to finish a few projects before I go away on Thursday morning. Plus, I was experiencing that weird phenomenon called “vårtrötthet” or “Spring Fatigue”. I don’t know if anyone else in the world experiences this but in Scandinavia it seems like it’s the norm.  When spring comes, after so many months of cold and darkness, we feel worn out by the light and the warmth (well, it’s not that warm yet but it’s warmer than it was). I have felt like a zombie. Which I guess is fitting since I’ve been watching a lot of “The Walking Dead” and reading Deborah Harkness’s  A Discovery of Witches and Justin Cronin’s The Passage.

I finished reading A Discovery of Witches a few days ago and really enjoyed the world Deborah Harkness has created. Imagine a world where everything is perfectly normal on the surface–it’s just that normal humans have no clue they’re sharing space with witches, daemons and vampires. Enter into this world Diana Bishop, the last of the infamous Bishop witches. Diana has tried to live a life without magic since the death of her parents, but magic refuses to remain dormant within her. One day while doing research at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, Deborah finds a bewitched book on alchemy that’s been missing for centuries. Her finding the book triggers intrigues all connected with the importance of this book–which could explain the very origin of otherworldly creatures–and it leads Diana to Mattew, a vampire who isn’t all he appears to be. The story is fast-paced and intricate, with a nice romantic touch for those of us who like that sort of thing. I love how Harkness describes daemons as creative geniuses with a wild, unpredictable passionate nature. One daemon in particular plays a small role in the book but those glimpses the reader gets of him are enough to prick curiosity. I have a feeling he will be there in a bigger role in the sequel, which is due out in 2012. Be prepared: A Discovery of Witches is part of a trilogy.

The Passage is of a much darker nature. Steeped in the paranoia of the near-future, Justin Cronin’s 962-page novel deals with the collapse of society following a government experiment gone wrong. Three characters become interconnected in ways that no one can predict: Amy, a six-year-old girl who’s been abandoned by her mother; Anthony Carter, a prisoner on Death Row who is trying to figure out what really happened on the day that led to his imprisonment; and FBI Agent Wolgast, who is  bound to Anthony and Amy via Project Noah and a strange feeling that something ominous is coming. And he’s right–there is something awful and insidious on its way and Amy is the only one who can stop it. This is the second novel by Cronin that I’ve read, the first being Mary and O’Neil which had a completely different feel but was equally engulfing. The language is lyrical and yet spare. And there are moments when The Passage feels so cinematic you’ll feel like you’re watching an apocalyptic epic.  Intrigued? You should be…and don’t be put off by the length of the book–you’ll be hooked from the first page…

That’s it for now. On Thursday I am off to Matera, Italy for a writer retreat at Locanda di San Martino. Four days of writing and creativity in southern Italy…that’s exactly what I need to get rid of this Spring Malaise. I was in Matera two years ago for the Women’s Fiction Festival and fell in love with the city. I am looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces and being in the company of writers again. Many thanks to Elizabeth Jennings for organizing the “Brainstorming at the Spa” retreat.