Lee Child – Personal

Personal by Lee ChildLee ChildAbout PERSONAL: “Eight days ago my life was an up and down affair. Some of it good. Some of it not so good. Most of it uneventful. Long slow periods of nothing much, with occasional bursts of something. Like the army itself. Which is how they found me,” Reacher says at the opening of PERSONAL. ‘They’ is the Army, who reels in Reacher after an assassination attempt on the French president. Reams of evidence suggests the elite sniper behind the incident is one of Reacher’s more prominent arrests, newly released from prison and a gun-for-hire. But soon the lines blur and the real question becomes whether Reacher is there to bring the target out into the open—or if Reacher is the person in the crosshairs.

That’s the publisher’s description above. All you really need to know is this is the latest Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. Just grab it and run to your favorite reading chair. You won’t be doing anything else for the next few hours. This is the Good Stuff: enjoy.

To listen to our interview with Lee Child, click on the grey podcast bar below.

Andrea Portes – Portrait of a Misfit

Anatomy of a MisfitAndrea Portes, author of Anatomy of a MisfitHere’s the publisher’s description:  Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blonde hair — the third most popular girl in school. Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell. So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who?

Anika’s hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth. The so-sad-it’s-funny high school setting will pull readers in, but when the story’s dark foreboding gradually takes over, the devastating penultimate tragedy hits like a punch to the gut. Readers will ride the highs and lows alongside funny, flawed Anika — from laughter to tears, and everything in between.

Let me add that there is a scene toward the end where Anika lets loose and Tells it Like It Is, which is immensely soul-satisfying. This book will grab you, even if you’re an ancient adult. To hear our interview with Andrea Portes, click on the podcast bar below,

Chris Wild – Retronaut

1400144284Retronaut-book-coverChris WildEver wonder what Martha Stewart looked like as a supermodel? What about getting a behind-the-scenes photographic tour of the making of the Statue of Liberty? This fall, Chris Wild, creator of the Internet sensation Retronaut.com, which attracts more than 1 million viewers each month, will show you the past like you’ve never seen it before with his new book, RETRONAUT: The Photographic Time Machine.
RETRONAUT (which to Chris means “someone who travels back”) includes more than 300 photographs that capture the essence of the Retronautic experience by unveiling something jarring, unexpected, out of place, or oddly funny. The book features chapter-length capsules of rarely seen images narrated by Wild with short captions and bits of running commentary. Organized by themes such as ‘Icons Unmade’ and ‘Alternative Realities,’ this visual journey is full of jaw-dropping images that will change the way you look at history
To listen to our interview with Chris Wild, click the grey podcast bar below.

Joshua David Bellin – Survival Colony 9

Survival Colony 9Joshua-Bellin-author of Survival Colony 9Joshua David Bellin has written three nonfiction works. This is his first fiction. Amazon does a good job of setting up the situation:

In a future world of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn struggles to recover the lost memory that might save the human race.
Querry is a member of Survival Colony Nine, one of the small, roving groups of people who outlived the wars and environmental catastrophes that destroyed the old world. The commander of Survival Colony Nine is his father, Laman Genn, who runs the camp with an iron will. He has to–because heat, dust, and starvation aren’t the only threats in this ruined world.
There are also the Skaldi.
Monsters with the ability to infect and mimic human hosts, the Skaldi appeared on the planet shortly after the wars of destruction. No one knows where they came from or what they are. But if they’re not stopped, it might mean the end of humanity.
Six months ago, Querry had an encounter with the Skaldi–and now he can’t remember anything that happened before then. If he can recall his past, he might be able to find the key to defeat the Skaldi.
If he can’t, he’s their next victim.

This is not a book to read if you happen to be vacationing in a desert climate anywhere. The heat, the dust, the desperation come very vividly through it. It’s very uncomfortable to imagine living in such a desperate situation. The struggle against the desiccated environment would be bad enough, but to be constantly looking over your shoulder for a vicious attack or wondering if one of the people in your small band has been taken over by an alien without your being aware, would have already strained nerves on a hair trigger.

And, without giving out any spoilers, I can say on top of that, not everything Querry knows about life, his situation and those around him is true and there are some major revelations that will have readers rethinking everything

But its not just about plot – there are some very real characters here, not cardboard cutouts. And because our hero has memory issues, we learn about his world along with him, no big chunks of exposition. It’s a lot more organic feeling

Survival Colony 9 works on both a deep psychological level and as a sometimes-explosive action-oriented adventure.

You can hear our interview with Joshua David Bellin, recorded in August, by clicking on the grey podcast bar at the bottom. The title goes on sale Sept. 23

Connect with Joshua David Bellin: www.joshuadavidbellin.com
Twitter: @TheYAGuy

Sandra Brown – Mean Streak

Mean Streak by Sandra BrownSandra_brown_2009Sandra Brown’s first career was in television – as a weather reporter in Tyler, Texas, and later host of a magazine show in Dallas/Ft. Worth.  When she was laid off in 1981, her husband challenged her to write a book. Since then, she’s written more than 75 of them, mostly romances and romantic thrillers. Last year, we interviewed her about her book, Deadline. Listen to that interview here.

Her latest book is Mean Streak, published on August 19. .As the story begins, Emory Charbonneau, a wealthy Atlanta-based pediatrician who runs marathons, is training for an upcoming race in a remote mountainous region of North Carolina. She’s left behind her self-centered husband, Jeff, with whom she’s had one of their frequent arguments; that’s fine with Jeff, who plans to spend Emory’s absence with his mistress. But then Emory’s plans go very wrong. She wakes up injured and disoriented in a strange cabin with a tall, gorgeous man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. The mystery man tells her she had an accident on the trail and he brought her back there to recover. Emory suffered a head wound and is both woozy and mistrustful of the stranger, but after a day or so, when she feels well enough to leave, she discovers the mountain road is covered with ice, socked in with a pea-soup fog and not at all navigable, so she heads back to the cabin without even trying to get home. As Emory falls in love with the tall stranger, her petulant husband comes under scrutiny by two small-town police detectives who believe he might not be telling them everything about his missing wife. We spoke to her by phone on August 26 about her new book, writing, flower arranging and her son, who is also a novelist. You can hear that interview by clicking on the grey podcast button below.

Connect with Sandra Brown at her website.

Peter Stark – Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire

Astoria coverPeter-StarkPeter Stark, author of Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire – A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survivalwill be visiting Klindt’s Booksellers on TuesdayAugust 19th at 5pm.

Here’s the way the book’s press release puts it:In 1810, John Jacob Astor sent out two advanced parties to settle the wild, unclaimed western coast of North America. More than half of his men died violent deaths. The others survived starvation, madness, and greed to shape the destiny of a continent.

Astoria is a harrowing tale of the quest to settle a Jamestown-like colony on the Pacific Coast. Though the colony itself would be short-lived, its founders opened provincial American eyes to the remarkable potential of the Western coast, discovered the route that became the Oregon Trail, and permanently altered the nation’s landscape and global standing. 

That description doesn’t begin to cover the skill with which author Peter Stark has laid out this absorbing true story. Backed by two and a half years of research with access to recently discovered journals of some of the adventurers on the trips, Stark ‘s propulsive narrative glues the reader to the tale. Whether you’re  a scholar or a casual reader, Astoria will engross, entertain and enlighten simultaneously. To hear our interview with Peter Stark, click on the grey podcast bar below.

Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil – Dear Nobody: The true diary of Mary Rose

Gillian McCain Legs McNeil, editors of Dear Nobody photo credit Annie WattDear Nobody coverYou will recognize authors Jillian McCain and Legs McNeil from a host of individual publications and as the co-authors of Please Kill Me,The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, which was translated into 12 languages and became a worldwide best seller in 1996. Their latest, Dear Nobody: the True Diary of Mary Rose, is a work of extraordinary intensity and insight and it comes from a surprising source – the journals of a teenage girl in the late 1990s.

In them, she recorded her ferocious thoughts against the circumstance of her life: abandonment by her father, her mother’s abusive live-in boyfriend, her terminal disease, cystic fibrosis, addictions to alcohol and drugs, problems at school and with the law, treatment in rehab centers, and all of that between the ages of 15 and 17.

The first half of the book deals with Mary Rose’s tumultuous life, additions, abuse and more. The language is harsh, but also incredibly powerful. 

“Every time I drank, I would feel the little beads of precipitation on the bottle and think of it as the only friend that would ever cry for me. I’d peel off the label like I was unwrapping a present.

“I felt secure with alcohol, like I had finally found my home. Alcohol had become my mother, my father, my boyfriend, my best friend and my religion. I drank with a passion. I was always done first and always drunk first—but still wanting more—and if I didn’t get it I felt like I was going to die.

“It didn’t matter how drunk I already was, or how much I had thrown up, or how I couldn’t remember what had happened three minutes ago, or where I even was. With alcohol, I was my own role model. I was never alone…….and she never hurt me. I was obsessed and in love with her. I would lie, steal, beg, and cry for her. I did time for her; I was dying for her. I hated life, unless I was drunk. I didn’t even want to go to heaven—because I thought I’d have to leave alcohol behind on earth.”

Her mom reveals in the afterword that McCain and McNeil are the authors of one of Mary Rose’s favorite books, Please Kill Me,The Uncensored Oral History of Punk.

The second half brings more and more of her fight against cystic fibrosis into the picture.

“In the hospital, we wear our IV scabs and scars like they are badges of bravery. We flaunt our paleness as one would flaunt beauty. In the hospital, each coughing fit is like a dutiful performance by the orchestra of viruses in our lungs—and we are obligated to do encores. Our frailness and weakness are signs of beauty—and suffering. In the hospital the machines and IV poles that you wheel along are like the status symbols the popular girls in high school wear around their necks.

“In the hospital—the closer to death you are—the closer you are to sainthood.”


“Yes, after a while—those cards and flowers and phone calls fade away, much like your health. And the other lonely, sickly freaks become your new family because to the rest of the healthy people we know, we have already died.

“It’s haunting to think that my family members will not drive an hour to come and visit me while I am in the hospital and yet I know they would drive two hours to attend my funeral.”

Mary Rose, even with just this assembled collection in her slim portfolio, is already one of the finest, most insightful authors of the 21st Century. It is stunning to have the editors note they did not change one word of the writing – it’s all original with Mary Rose.

To listen to our interview with the editors, click on the grey podcast bar below. Author photo by Annie Watt.