Monday, March 3, 2014

Readers' Choice Spotlight - Contemporary/General Fiction

Remember to vote for your pick in each category and to enter the giveaway on this page.

Adrift in the Sound by Kate Campbell

Seattle street artist Lizette Karlson tries to pull herself together in 1973 and turns to the Franklin Street Dogs for help. This low-life softball team is a horrifying choice for a fragile spirit like Lizette, who’s only trying to stay warm and make through another rainy night. The Dogs don’t realize that while she’s beautiful, talented, and a bit off-kilter—she’s also cunning and very dangerous.

Lizette wants to hook up with top-Dog Rocket. But, he’s fixed on next-door neighbor Sandy Shore, a snake dancer who strips for soldiers coming home at the end of the Vietnam War. Everybody sleeps with everybody—whatever gets you through the night. It’s a sexual free-for-all until Sandy turns up pregnant and the scene goes haywire.

After witnessing a murder and getting kicked out by the Dogs, Lizette is on the run again, crisscrossing Puget Sound. She hides on Orcas Island and paints in a secluded cabin owned by her childhood friend Marian, a gifted midwife, who recently inherited her family’s ranch. On the island, Lizette works with Lummi tribal leaders Poland and Abaya, who stick to their cultural values, guard their family secrets and offer her unconditional love. Along the way, Lizette sorts out crippling secrets in her own past, unwittingly makes a splash in the New York art world—and finds the only thing that really matters.

If you’ve lived through the free-love 60s, if you’ve ever wondered what happened the day after the music died, Adrift in the Sound picks up the beat and offers unforgettable insights into a turbulent time in American history. It’s a story about fighting the tides, surviving the storm, and swimming for shore.

Blessed Are the Wholly Broken by Melinda Clayton

In her latest novel, Blessed Are the Wholly Broken, the award-winning author of Appalachian Justice weaves a harrowing tale of a family in the midst of self-destruction.

After the heartbreak of losing their newborn son to a previously undiagnosed genetic condition, Phillip and Anna Lewinsky managed to patch their lives back together and move forward, filling the emptiness with friends, work, and travel. 

When Anna unexpectedly finds herself pregnant again at the age of forty-three, Phillip is thrilled to have a second chance at fatherhood in spite of Anna's objections. 

But as desires clash, misunderstandings abound, and decisions are irrevocably made, the foundation of their marriage begins to crumble until only tragedy remains.
In a story ripped straight from the headlines, Blessed Are the Wholly Broken explores the boundaries of unresolved grief, postpartum depression, family loyalty, and friendship.

Sliding Past Vertical by Laurie Boris

Sarah Cohen doesn't mean to hurt anyone. But lately every decision this twenty-nine-year-old graphic artist makes ends in varying degrees of disaster. Fortunately for her, nursing home orderly Emerson McCann is just a phone call away, ready to help clean up the mess. Years after their brief college romance, Emerson still longs for her. Even though she moved to Boston and left him behind in Syracuse. Even though he can only dream about being with her, stuck in the friend zone and offering comfort as guy after guy breaks her heart.

When her latest fling lands Sarah in deep trouble, she runs to Emerson yet again. Thinking a change of scene will change her luck, or at least give her the opportunity to make the right choices this time, she decides to return to Syracuse. Emerson is happy, at first, to accommodate her, and he sets her up in his rooming house. But with her history, an innocent graduate student living down the hall, and Emerson ready to boil over, Sarah may be too close for everyone's comfort. And Emerson's dream may become a nightmare.

The 11:15 Bench by Paul Kijinski

Roger Jakubiak isn't where he thought he would be at age 45: single, predictable, and working as an eighth-grade social studies teacher in the same Cleveland area school district from which he graduated. Now a suspected brain aneurysm enters the picture to remind Roger that his life is more than half-spent, and that the vacuum at its center could only be filled by his first love, Regina Tucci. Roger becomes obsessed with the idea of reconnecting with Regina after a 25-year absence.

Set primarily in the late 1970s and early 1980s, The 11:15 Bench is a love story told by a wistful and often humorous first-person narrator.

Roger meets Regina in 1978 in their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, during their junior year of high school. Roger is the son of a practical Irishwoman and an uptight Polish father who measures the value of all things against the value of the paint he sells at Sears. Regina is the daughter of divorced Italian parents. Mrs. Tucci is protective of her daughter, sending her to an all-girls Catholic school on a waitress's salary and praying that Regina will be awarded a college scholarship for softball. To complicate matters, many years ago Mr. Tucci entered a weepy, wine-inspired pact to eventually marry off Regina to Johnny Gargano, the son of a childhood friend.

Against this backdrop of clashing cultures and conflicting expectations, the young Roger and Regina manage to build a tender and passionate relationship. They experience their share of troubles, though, due to Roger's jealousy, his penchant for physical fights with other guys, and his susceptibility to "moments"--seemingly inconsequential matters that take on great significance for him.

The Atheist's Prayer by Amy R. Biddle

After a solar eclipse, nineteen people were found dead in a remote area of the California National Forest. They were lying in a circle, holding hands and wearing plastic fairy wings. Years later, on the other side of the country, no one in the southern city of Jefferson is concerned about fairies or fairy-worshiping suicide cults. Except for Candy. She might not have proof, but she’s damn sure it’s going to happen again. The problem is, Candy is a coke-dealing stripper and the only person who will listen to her is an alcoholic mall Santa named Hank, who’s only listening because, well…she’s hot. There are seven days until the next eclipse.

1 comment:

Laurie Boris said...

Great bunch of books here!