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Daily Deals: World War 1 romance, frigid killings, early deaths

Daily Deals: World War 1 romance, frigid killings, early deaths

Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer RobsonSomewhere in France by Jennifer Robson. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lily from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps — an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front.

Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lilly is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend. The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lily’s dreams. She doesn’t care that Robbie grew up in poverty — she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more. Lilly is the most beautiful — and forbidden — woman Robbie has ever known. Fearful for her life, he’s determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart.

In a world divided by class, filled with uncertainty and death, can their hope for love survive. . . or will it become another casualty of this tragic war?

We had a giveaway for this book because it looked interesting.

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The Hurt Locker by Mark BoalThe Hurt Locker by Mark Boal. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

One of the most critically acclaimed war films in recent memory, The Hurt Locker is a riveting, extraordinary tale of courage and survival on the Baghdad bomb squad, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, from a script by Mark Boal, who researched the material by traveling to the war in Iraq. Boal’s screenplay follows the layered, complex relationship between three soldiers who are thrown together in the crucible of combat—with only 38 days left in their tour. Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, and Evangeline Lilly, with Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, and David Morse.

This Newmarket Shooting Script® Book includes:

Exclusive Introduction by Kathyrn Bigelow
Complete shooting script
16-page color insert with 23 color photos
Production Notes
Complete cast and crew credits

I don’t know about the book but the movie is derided by many in the military despite the awards Bigelow received.

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Cover of Snow: A Novel Jenny MilchmanCover of Snow by Jenny Milchman. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Jenny Milchman’s Cover of Snow is a remarkable debut, a gripping tale of suspense in the tradition of Gillian Flynn, Chris Bohjalian, and Nancy Pickard.

Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.

The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden.

There are several points of view in the book and negative reviews point to this as creating a disjointed and confusing narrative. However, it may be the perfect book to read during the Polar Vortex.

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Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left BehindLast Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind by Gavin Edwards. $ 2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

In Last Night at the Viper Room, acclaimed author and journalist Gavin Edwards vividly recounts the life and tragic death of acclaimed actor River Phoenix—a teen idol on the fast track to Hollywood royalty who died of a drug overdose in front of West Hollywood’s storied club, the Viper Room, at the age of 23.

Last Night at the Viper Room explores the young star’s life, including his childhood in Venezuela growing up under the aegis of the cultish Children of God. Putting him at the center of a new generation of leading men emerging in the early 1990s— including Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, and Leonardo DiCaprio—Gavin Edwards traces the Academy Award nominee’s meteoric rise, couches him in an examination of the 1990s, and illuminates his lasting legacy on Hollywood and popular culture itself.

I knew River Phoenix had died young but I forgot just how young. In today’s harsh spotlight, it’s unlikely he would have been able to hide his drug addictions. Maybe it would have saved him or maybe it would have propelled him to an even earlier end.

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REVIEW:  Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane

REVIEW: Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane

Dear Ms. Crane:

Apparently this is the second book in a series about members of The Associates, a somewhat altruistic entity that is funded by a secretive billionaire. I have not read the first one and didn’t miss it at all.

Off the Edge (The Associates #2) by Carolyn Crane Peter Macmillan lost his fiancee and his family in a Mexico and he transformed from Professor Peter Maxwell to the hunter Macmillan. Peter is a linguistic specialist and the detail with which this was incorporated into every aspect of the story from how Peter finds his prey to why he connects so intimately with Laney Lancaster. I was fascinated by this.

“Laney was onto another song—a young girl making dinner for her man. Cookbook full of wishes. If the scruffy little dog moving his legs like he was running in his sleep, or mama’s Irish lullaby didn’t get you, the cookbook full of wishes would.

He rubbed his eyes. “Good lord, woman, if you miss your alcoholic hoarder Mama that much, go back to Florida.”

Rio turned to him. “That’s what she’s singing about?”

“More or less. And all the bit about dinner—the cornpone mama meaning so well. The whole Mama song is infused with classic child of alcoholic thinking. It’s probably the reason our poor Laney up and married that controlling husband.”

Rio stared at him incredulously. “I’ve been listening to these songs for three nights, watching the tables. They’re just…lists of things. You can’t be getting all that meaning from lists of things.”

“English Lit 101. A poem is rarely about one thing. A rose is more than a rose. A cigar is more than a cigar.” Macmillan had always had a soft spot for the poets. Back in his life as Peter, anyway. He broke off a bit of cake. “My guess is that she’s on the run from that controlling husband.”

Laney is holed up in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, singing little songs that she has written herself. She’s there because it’s the only safe refuge she has found after she sold out her criminal husband to the FBI. Peter hears these songs and they speak to him. But her existence is spare. She lives in a hotel that she rarely leaves, she sings for her supper, and has little interaction with anyone but her friend Rajini whose family owns the hotel. Rajini has promised Laney that her brothers will get her fake identification so that if Laney needs to run again, she will have the means to do so but Rajini’s promises don’t ever seem to come to fruition.

In the meantime, Laney hides turtle-like within the hotel, writes her sad songs, and dreams of a life where she is something more than just background noise in a foreign hotel dining room. In this hotel, however, terrorists are gathering together to bid on a weapon called the TZ-5. There’s a little super hero wink and nod at the scope of this weapon and the gathering of the criminals but it is more than a mere MacGuffin that is easily discarded in the storyline when convenient. Instead the weapon is the focus of the suspense and the disparate threads are pulled together tightly at the end.

Language is so important in this book and used so cleverly:

“Not a professor, just an adjunct, there for the quarter. A subject matter expert, he called himself. The way he said it, she got that it was a buzzword, and that he didn’t quite like it.

“Subject matter expert,” she said, rolling it around for herself.

“S. M. E. for short.”

“But never a smee, I hope.”

He gave her a sly look. Lordy, his charm could light a burnt-out bulb. “Smee? Don’t even utter it. That’s how words like that start.”

I did feel that there were some elements of the suspense that were rather strained and required acceptance by the reader that these coincidences really could happen. And from a romance point of view, I felt like we didn’t get to experience as much as we could have. There are multiple points of view primarily to keep us interested in future Associates books and, I suppose, to provide more insight on the role of The Associates.

But the pleasure in this book is that it’s truly different yet not which is what we all want right? The word play is a joy to read and Peter and Laney are a perfect match. You can see them together decades from now enjoying just hearing the other talk and parsing out the meanings of words exotic and mundane.

As an aside Laney’s lyrics about the mundane reminded me of Lisa Loeb. B

Best regards,


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