September 4, 2017

The Reader’s Corner: September 2017

In The Reader’s Corner, I highlight the month’s most exciting releases.

Here are the books I’m reading this month, along with the publisher’s descriptions. (Click the image to purchase.)

Sweet Stallion (The Stallions)  by Deborah Fletcher Mello – September 1, 2017 

They’re not as different as she thinks 

After scoring phenomenal success in Phoenix with her organic food co-op, Naomi Stallion is ready to introduce Vitally Vegan to her Utah town. But meeting her half siblings and the extended family she never knew isn’t the homecoming she’d hoped for. And now a nasty bidding war over the property Naomi wants to buy pits the unconventional lifestyle coach against sexy, überconservative corporate attorney Patrick O’Brien.

Behind the power suit, ruggedly handsome looks and dazzling legal maneuvers, Patrick’s a country guy at heart. His attraction to the beautiful farmer who marches to the beat of her own unique drum makes him question his loyalty to the investment conglomerate he represents. The stakes rise when someone close to them both threatens Naomi’s business, forcing Patrick to choose between his career…and the woman he yearns to make his lifelong partner.

The Unexpected Affair (The Talbots of Harbour Island) by Monica Richardson – September 1, 2017 

Love doesn’t fit any preconceived guidelines 

Determined to avoid relationships that will only end in painful breakups, Whitney Talbot makes a checklist of everything she wants in a life partner. Construction worker Lane Martin possesses a few of these traits—especially the tall, dark and devastatingly attractive part. But Lane has unavoidable baggage… He’s divorced, with a teenage son. So why is Whitney still fantasizing about taking their mutual infatuation to the next level?

It takes an accidental encounter at a new condo development to open Lane’s eyes to the possibility of second chances. On a trip to Whitney’s family’s B and B in the Bahamas, their friendship transforms into something richer and much deeper. If only the beautiful kindergarten teacher and aspiring songwriter didn’t have such firm ideas about what makes the perfect husband. Now Lane could lose her to another man…unless Whitney opens her heart to the one thing she left off her list—love.

Love in Logan Beach (House of Thorn) by Shirley Hailstock – September 1, 2017

A love like this only strikes once… 

The storm that devastated the town of Logan Beach also ravaged everything Rosanna Turner once knew. First she lost her childhood home. Then the Thorn family bought out the store where she comfortably worked for most of her adulthood. Rosanna isn’t thrilled when eldest sibling David Thorn arrives in town, seeking her input before the grand reopening. Just like a Thorn, the man doesn’t play fair. He’s too charming, too gorgeous to resist…until she uncovers his secret agenda.

David wants to help repair the stricken town—all while discovering who’s been embezzling from his family’s new acquisition. Could it be Rosanna? The woman is irresistible and a force of nature in her own right. And he is in need of her expertise to make his store a success. Soon he also needs her in his arms…and anywhere else he can have her. Will mutual mistrust undermine their chance to build something wonderful together?

The One That I Want (The Meadows Family) by Michelle Monkou – September 1, 2017

Just the woman he needs… 

Since learning he’s part of the wealthy, powerful Meadows family, Professor Dresden Haynes has tried in vain to stay out of the spotlight—but it has inevitably found him. The only thing more difficult has been to stop filling his thoughts with visions of the gorgeous Laxmi Holder. A friend of his newly discovered relatives, ambitious, free-spirited Laxmi might just tempt the unruffled academic to let loose for once…

Despite her outer confidence, entertainment manager Laxmi is trying hard to prove herself in a competitive industry. Yet she can’t resist taking time to turn Dresden’s orderly world upside down. His serious, sexy vibe intrigues her. But helping him take his place as the long-lost Meadows heir is driving a wedge between them. With trust at a premium, will Dresden lose his chance with the woman who might be his perfect opposite—and his perfect match?

 

Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward – September 5, 2017

A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

Electric Arches by Eve. L. Ewing – September 12, 2017 

Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of Black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose.

Blending stark realism with the surreal and fantastic, Eve L. Ewing’s narrative takes us from the streets of 1990s Chicago to an unspecified future, deftly navigating the boundaries of space, time, and reality. Ewing imagines familiar figures in magical circumstances―blues legend Koko Taylor is a tall-tale hero; LeBron James travels through time and encounters his teenage self. She identifies everyday objects―hair moisturizer, a spiral notebook―as precious icons.

Her visual art is spare, playful, and poignant―a cereal box decoder ring that allows the wearer to understand what Black girls are saying; a teacher’s angry, subversive message scrawled on the chalkboard. Electric Arches invites fresh conversations about race, gender, the city, identity, and the joy and pain of growing up.

Eve L. Ewing is a writer, scholar, artist, and educator from Chicago. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, New Republic, The Nation, The Atlantic, and many other publications. She is a sociologist at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – September 12, 2017

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

The Origin of Others (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) by Toni Morrison – September 18, 2017

America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid?

Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and Camara Laye are among the authors she examines. Readers of Morrison’s fiction will welcome her discussions of some of her most celebrated books―BelovedParadise, and A Mercy.

If we learn racism by example, then literature plays an important part in the history of race in America, both negatively and positively. Morrison writes about nineteenth-century literary efforts to romance slavery, contrasting them with the scientific racism of Samuel Cartwright and the banal diaries of the plantation overseer and slaveholder Thomas Thistlewood. She looks at configurations of blackness, notions of racial purity, and the ways in which literature employs skin color to reveal character or drive narrative. Expanding the scope of her concern, she also addresses globalization and the mass movement of peoples in this century. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison’s most personal work of nonfiction to date.

 

The Perfect Present by Rochelle Alers, Cheris Hodges, Pamela Yaye – September 26, 2017 

Make your heart merry and unwrap these delightful stories of seasonal romance . . .

A CHRISTMAS LAYOVER Rochelle Alers 
When Navy SEAL Captain Noah Crawford and elementary school teacher Sierra Nelson meet on a plane headed east from San Diego, they’re glad to pass the time in friendly conversation. But when a freak storm grounds them, Sierra offers Noah a place to spend the night—with her extended family, all of whom assume they’re a couple. And as the holiday spirit infuses every moment they spend together, they both begin to wonder if a relationship is a special gift they didn’t expect . . .

THE CHRISTMAS LESSON Cheris Hodges 
Kayla Matthews isn’t looking forward to heading home this Christmas. Divorced and struggling, nothing has turned out the way she expected—including her childhood friend, DeShawn Carter. Now the high school principal, he’s also the kind of man she’s always dreamed about. But before the holidays are over, Kayla has a chance to reclaim everything she once thought she wanted—or prove to DeShawn that they have a second chance worth celebrating . . .

CHRISTMAS WITH YOU Pamela Yaye
Celebrity stylist Maya Malone can’t find anything joyous about the season, not since her ex-fiancé left her on Christmas Eve. But one look at suave, sexy sports agent Marc Cunningham is almost enough to change her mind. Their instant attraction feels like the best sort of present, except for one very large obstacle—Maya’s NFL star big brother, Marc’s new client. It will take more than holiday spirit to convince everyone involved that Marc and Maya’s connection will make the angels sing . . .

The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success by DeVon Franklin – September 26, 2017 

Secular and spiritual success are not opposites. To have one, you need the other.

You can be wildly successful without losing your faith. In fact, your secular success will strengthen your faith if you allow it. Too often we believe that success in secular environments contradicts the core principles of faith, but the opposite is true: Your faith was designed to thrive in the secular world and to transform it as a result. You may never experience the true fulfillment you were created for until you pursue the secular ambitions in your heart.

New York Times bestselling author DeVon Franklin knows this to be true. In The Hollywood Commandments, the prominent Hollywood producer and spiritual success coach reveals 10 life-changing lessons picked-up from his over-twenty-year career in the entertainment business. You won’t learn these lessons in the church yet they will help you achieve an amazing life and thriving career that glorifies God. The Hollywood Commandments will help you:

  • Identify how to use what makes you unique to propel your career.
  • Overcome fear and build the courage to pursue new opportunities waiting for you.
  • Gain the confidence to make important life decisions with greater peace and clarity.
  • Negotiate the life and career advancement you deserve.

No, you don’t have to work in Hollywood for this book to work for you, these “commandments” apply to every walk of life! If you are stuck, looking for the secrets to advance your career, or have a feeling there’s more to life, this book is for you.

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Natalya