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Fall 2014 TV Shows I’ve Seen So Far, Pt. 1

Fall 2014 TV Shows I’ve Seen So Far, Pt. 1

September 22, 2014 – 11:36 pm | 2 Comments

Fall is officially here and so’s the fall network TV season. I enjoy sampling all the new shows, even if I end up faithfully watching only two of them. Below are my first impressions of …

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Books & writing »

Book Review: THE DISTANCE by Helen Giltrow

September 16, 2014 – 10:39 pm | One Comment

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.

the distanceCharlotte Alton may seem like a well-bred London socialite, but her alter ego, Karla, operates in the shadows, gathering information that can be used for deadly purposes but also for good. While at the opera one evening, Charlotte sees a man she helped disappear eight years ago–a man she never thought she’d see again. Simon Johanssen is a killer for hire who was forced to go underground when a job went wrong.

Johanssen has returned to take a new assignment, but he needs Karla’s help—to break into a prison to kill a woman. Karla arranges the necessary paperwork and gets him admitted as a convicted double murderer, after she warns him that the man who wanted him dead eight years ago is incarcerated at the same prison.

Karla digs further into the identity of Johanssen’s target and discovers no record of the female prisoner or her supposedly horrific crime. Fearing Johanssen has walked into a trap, Karla gives orders to her colleagues to pull him out… and is told he can’t be found anywhere.

Helen Giltrow’s debut novel, The Distance, has many threads with multiple narrators, and nothing can be taken at face value since most of the characters mistrust each other. Johanssen’s determination to finish the job—despite the sadistic treatment he suffers, the lack of information about his target, and Karla’s repeated attempts to get him to abort—seems unreasonable if not foolish at first, but his commitment helps bring about a satisfying ending to this brutal thriller.

Nerd verdict: Intense Distance

Book Giveaway: WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas

September 8, 2014 – 8:43 pm | 7 Comments
Book Giveaway: WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas

If you’re a big reader and frequent a lot of bookish sites, you may not have been able to avoid hearing about one of the buzziest books this year—Matthew Thomas’s debut novel, We Are Not …

Movie Review: THE GIVER

August 14, 2014 – 8:38 pm |
Movie Review: THE GIVER

The Giver, adapted from Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal-winning novel, opens in black and white, with best friends Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), Fiona (Odeya Rush), and Asher (Cameron Monaghan) living in a dystopian community free of strife. Every …

Book Review & Giveaway: ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

July 16, 2014 – 7:55 pm | 4 Comments
Book Review & Giveaway: ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
British novelist Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) examines the different shapes of families and the widening gap between rich people and those who …

Book Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

July 13, 2014 – 8:31 pm |
Book Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

TV writer Georgie McCool finally gets a shot at writing her dream show. The problem: She needs to stay in L.A. and work on it over Christmas. Georgie’s husband Neal decides to take their young …

Giveaway: THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness

July 7, 2014 – 9:57 pm | 11 Comments
Giveaway: THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness

On the July Nerdy Special List posted last week, one of the recommendations was Deborah Harkness’s The Book of Life, the finale to her Book of Souls trilogy. I now have a giveaway of that book (out July 15), …

Giveaway: WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke

June 30, 2014 – 6:00 pm | 9 Comments
Giveaway: WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke

The good people at Simon & Schuster are letting me give away two copies of James Lee Burke’s new novel, Wayfaring Stranger, which comes out July 15. Here’s the book description from the author’s website:
From …

Book Review: MAMBO IN CHINATOWN by Jean Kwok

June 22, 2014 – 4:56 pm | 2 Comments
Book Review: MAMBO IN CHINATOWN by Jean Kwok

In Jean Kwok’s follow-up to Girl in Translation, twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong starts out as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Chinatown, where her father is a noodle maker. She has an eleven-year-old sister, Lisa, and …

Book Review: THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD by Michael Koryta

June 12, 2014 – 7:23 pm |
Book Review: THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD by Michael Koryta

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
At the start of Michael Koryta’s Those Who Wish Me Dead, 13-year-old Jace Wilson tries to conquer his fear of heights by …

Book Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT

June 9, 2014 – 9:55 pm |
Book Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
Like her previous historical novels (Overseas and A Hundred Summers), Beatriz Williams’s The Secret Life of Violet Grant alternates between time …

Movie Reviews: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS & EDGE OF TOMORROW

June 7, 2014 – 12:21 am | 3 Comments
Movie Reviews: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS & EDGE OF TOMORROW

Movie-studio execs must’ve thought releasing a sad teenage romance and a big sci-fi action thriller on the same weekend meant they were targeting different audiences, but I don’t belong to any one group so I …

Review & Giveaway: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joël Dicker

June 5, 2014 – 7:11 pm | 7 Comments
Review & Giveaway: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joël Dicker

When Penguin Books acquired US rights to Joël Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair last year, it announced the book was the publisher’s biggest acquisition in history.
Why so much money for a debut …

Nerdy Special List June 2014

June 4, 2014 – 10:34 pm | 5 Comments
Nerdy Special List June 2014

How can it be June already? This year is flying by so fast, I can almost hear Christmas music.
But before we get there, we still have summer and summer books. Jen of Jen’s Book Thoughts …

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