Friday, May 27, 2016

Where Jen's Book Thoughts' Readers are Reading

Happy Friday everyone! For those who are observing it, happy Memorial Day weekend. I hope everyone has a nice book or two to enjoy this weekend.

Today I'm excited to welcome a friend to the blog for Where Jen's Book Thoughts' Readers are Reading. And again, I owe my friendship with her to the blog. So many connections made through this funny phenomenon.

Sarah White also sent me her picture during the winter months, but it's a bit different from last week's. ;-)

Coming to us from Florida, Sarah says this is her favorite place to read.



As a post script she told me, "I moved here for a reason in 1984. Record blizzard in DC, when it thawed I left." I think I know that feeling well.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone, no matter WHERE you are reading!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

King Maybe - Timothy Hallinan

My review of Tim Hallinan's King Maybe first appeared as a starred review in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission. Hope you enjoy.

First line: "Bad luck, as my mentor and surrogate father, Herbie Mott, used to say, arrives on the wind."

In the fifth book of Timothy Hallinan's caper series, Junior Bender is having a run of bad luck. "If--as some ironic people used to say as they flashed air quotes--life was a box of chocolates, someone had sat on the box." First, the Los Angeles burglar finds himself trapped during a burglary by two goons determined to ensure he doesn't make it out of the house alive. Some fancy footwork and quick thinking help him evade the goons but not the hot water.

Hollywood has-been producer Jake Whelan harbors a beef with Junior. In order to set things straight, he demands Junior break into the office of King Maybe, the studio exec who makes or breaks people in Tinseltown. But when the seemingly easy job is turned on its head, King Maybe might just break Junior.

To top it all off, Junior's daughter has boy trouble and he's on the outs with his girlfriend, Ronnie. Part burglar, part cupid, Junior will have to up his game if he has any hope of making it through the week alive.

Timothy Hallinan is an incredibly gifted writer with a knack for blending vivid settings, exciting plots, dynamic characters and clever humor to create captivatingly complex stories. King Maybe exemplifies all of this. From his sensory-stimulating description of a low-rent hotel room to the insightful development of Junior and Ronnie's relationship, Hallinan's writing is so distinctive and refreshingly original, it would probably be fitting to crown him the caper king.


King Maybe is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9781616954321) from SoHo Crime and as an unabridged audiobook (ISBN: 9781504616669), narrated by the wonderful Peter Berkrot from Blackstone Audio.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Where Jen's Book Thoughts' Readers are Reading

Happy Friday friends! We're supposed to have a rather lovely day today and I'm tickled pink at our forecast for the next week. Lots of sunshines and warm temperatures showing on my weather app. I hope it's just as nice in your corner of the world as well.

I'm also hoping my reading improves a little along with the weather. I've had a run of luke-warm reads (and listens) lately, which has been disappointing. What are you reading that's good?

Last week, as many of you know, I headed out to Chicago for my interview with Fredrik Backman at Anderson's Bookshop. (It was wonderful; he was wonderful; it's all going in my Book of Amazing.) I stopped in to BEA for a few hours on Wednesday and was hoping to see today's featured reader, but alas--no such luck. "Beth Fish" blogs at Beth Fish Reads, she's also a fellow audiobook reviewer at AudioFile. In fact, she was this year's Audio Publishers Association Book Blogger of the Year! I don't think the APA could have made a better choice. So it gives me tremendous pleasure to welcome her to Jen's Book Thoughts today.

And since I'm so far behind, the snow in her picture doesn't look quite so cold now. ;-)

I live in small-town central PA -- outdoor living whenever possible. 


Many thanks to BFR. I know what an outdoorsy person she is since I follow her Instagram feed that includes so many wonderful nature pictures, so this is such a fitting picture of her.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lies, Incorporated - Ari Rabin-Havt

I've been a bit remiss in getting my Shelf Awareness reviews posted lately, so I'm going to try to have a run of them here and catch up. Today's review is Lies, Incorporated: The World of Post-Truth Politics and it first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission.  A very good read for this political season.


First line: "Richard Berman is a liar."

While researching The Fox Effect, The Agenda radio host, Ari Rabin-Havt continually questioned where lies and propaganda filtering through the controversial news network were originating. As he points out, "Lies do not simply appear and take hold. They must be developed, introduced, and nurtured into the public discourse." Rabin-Havt's research into various falsehoods indicated the existence of a profitable industry doing just that on behalf of those willing to pay for it. He called this business Lies, Incorporated. Bestowing the name on his book, Rabin-Havt examines the origins of some of the most significant deceptions muddying the current political waters.

Through meticulous examinations of issues such as climate change, immigration reform, gun control and others--issues where scientists and other researchers have publicly debunked the lies preventing progress, yet they continue to cling to the important conversations and debates--Rabin-Havt theorizes Lies, Incorporated is a result of "a political culture where ideological victory, not progress, is the ultimate goal. Where what is good for my country plays second fiddle to what is good for the bottom line of my clients." 

Well-researched and documented, Lies, Incorporated presents hot button topics with diplomacy and tact. It won't likely convince every reader to relinquish the stronghold on their ideologies--Rabin-Havt himself says, "it is far easier to ignore the truth than to confront the failure of your argument"--but it is convincing motivation to closely scrutinize the evidence on which one bases their beliefs and hold the political media accountable for reporting practices.


Lies, Incorporated is available in trade paperback (ISBN: 9780307279590) from Anchor Books and as an unabridged audiobook (ISBN: 9781515956334), narrated by Mike Chamberlain from Tantor Audio.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

The Highwayman - Craig Johnson

First line: "There is a canyon in the heart of Wyoming carved by a river called Wind and a narrow, opposing, two-lane highway that follows its every curve like a lover."

The next full-length Walt Longmire novel doesn't come out until September, so for those like me who are impatient for their Absaroka County fix, The Highwayman is here to appease. Craig Johnson's second novella is a ghost story of sorts set in the Wind River Canyon.

Wyoming Highway Patrolman Rosey Wayman has recently been assigned to the night shift in Wind River Canyon. The canyon, coupled with two tunnels, makes radio reception tricky in her beat, but Rosey starts hearing 10-78 calls at 12:34 a.m. 10-78 calls--officer needs assistance--at the exact time Bobby Womack, a former patrolman, met his death in that same canyon nearly fifty years earlier. In fact, the calls seem to be coming from Bobby.

In addition to the calls, Rosey finds two rare silver dollars believed to be from a cache stolen just before Bobby Womack died. There were rumors he was in on the theft. The rumors were never confirmed by they tainted Womack's legacy nonetheless.

Rosey's supervisor pulls patrol with her a couple of times to try to hear the radio calls, but there's only silence when he's present. So Walt and Henry head over to Wind River Canyon to spend a few nights with the young officer. If they can't discover anything, Walt has to talk Rosey into seeing someone for psychiatric help.

Walt's adventures will never be as easy as a trip to the shrink, and The Highwayman proves that once again. This little gem of a read is all that makes the Walt Longmire series wonderful packed neatly into 190 pages. The breath-taking Wyoming setting, painted in Craig Johnson's stunning wide strokes of beauty and danger co-existing on the same palette, provides a fitting backdrop for the ghostly plot. A handful of new and delightfully entertaining characters step into the roles since Walt is on the road for these exploits. All would be welcome additions to the series if they happen to show up again in the future.

And of course, a book could not carry the Walt Longmire name without crackling dialogue full of wickedly smart humor and touching insights into human nature. Walt, himself, is a gem in this genre, and it's a special treat to be able to visit with him two times this year. While I understand the appeal of the television series and am beyond tickled that it has introduced many people to this sterling series, no screen version can even begin to compare to the world that comes alive on Craig Johnson's pages. It's as rare as the Hot Lips Morgan silver dollars and will make you feel just as rich to possess it in your imagination.



The Highwayman is available tomorrow in hardcover from Viking Penguin (ISBN: 9780735220898) and as an unabridged audiobook, narrated by the unparalleled George Guidall, from Recorded Books (9781501928529). You can find a copy at your favorite independent bookstore or at any of these online retailers:

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