Litstack Recs | Thunderstruck & Other Stories & A Fort of Nine Towers

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Thunderstruck & Other Stories, by Elizabeth McCracken Early on in Elizabeth McCracken’s extraordinary story collection, Thunderstruck, a grieving mother instructs her seventeen-year-old son to seal up the room of his dead sister. This, she imagines will somehow purge the house of the evil that caused her daughter’s lymphoma. “Don’t touch […]

Litstack Recs | Sophie’s Choice & Hearts of Oak

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Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron In 1979, John Gardner wrote in his review of Sophie’s Choice, “guilt is everywhere,” a jolt in an otherwise positive review. He called the book a “splendidly written, thrilling, philosophical novel on the most important subject of the 20th century.” The assertion must have seemed […]

Litstack Recs | Middlemarch & The Expanse Series

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Middlemarch, by George Eliot The first thing I knew about Middlemarch, George Eliot’s classic novel, was the ending. The year after the BBC’s series based on the book appeared, it came to public television in the States, and one evening, I caught the final scene. I’d seen none of the […]

Litstack Recs |The Refugees: Stories & The Orphan Master’s Son

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The Refugees: Stories, by Viet Thanh Nguyen If you’re a fan of The Sympathizer, the debut novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, you’ll find much of what you loved in the author’s second book, a collection of short stories. Where The Sympathizer explores the […]

Litstack Rec | Earn It & Class A

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Earn It! by Cinders McLeod This is the perfect book for young readers on your list, because it’s never too soon to learn financial literacy. Knowing how money works, and having the skills to make informed decisions about personal money matters, is said to be a concept best started early. […]

Cover Reveal: The Night’s Chosen by EE Hornburg

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The Night’s Chosenby EE Hornburg(The Cursed Queens Series, #1)Published by: City Owl PressPublication date: October 6th 2020Genres: Adult, Fairy Tales, Retelling, Romance SYNOPSIS: CHOSEN OF THE MOON GODDESS. DESTINED TO RULE. FATED TO MARRY. A QUEST TO SAVE HER FAMILY, KINGDOM, AND HEART. In this retelling of Snow White, for the past five years Princess […]

Litstack Rec | Brooklyn & Miranda and Caliban

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Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin Toibin’s 2009 novel, which won that year’s Costa Award, is a lovely and haunting story set in 1950s Dublin and New York. It tells of Eilis Lacey, born and raised in Enniscorthy, in Ireland’s County Wexford, and her immigration to the United States as a young […]

Litstack Recs |Epilogue: A Memoir & The Grind

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Epilogue: A Memoir, by Will Boast Both a remembrance and a elegiac account of the loss of a family, Boast’s 2014 memoir (a recipient of The Rome Prize) tracks the tragic early death of his mother Nancy, the untimely death of his younger brother Rory, and the family secret left […]

Litstack Rec |An Unnecessary Woman & John Saturnall’s Feast

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An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine “I like outsiders,” Aaliya Sohbi tells us, “phantoms wandering the cobwebbed halls of the doomed castle where life must be lived.” The narrator of Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, is herself an outsider, a reclusive, seventy-two-year-old bibliophile who lives alone in the Beirut apartment […]

Litstack Recs | #StayHome Summer Reads & The Resisters

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The summer of 2020 is unlike those past—no traveling, no baseball games, limited beach and park time, if any, and none of the barbecues and gatherings under the sun that so define our idea of summer. With that in mind, here are some summer-themed reads, escapes reminiscent of summers past […]

LitStack Recs | Space Opera & Fear: Trump in the White House

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Space Opera, by Catherynne Valente Having recently watched the surprisingly good Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix, I’ve been thinking a lot about Catherynne Valente’s novel Space Opera. The book is in the same vein as the movie – funny, weird, occasionally touching – but being […]

Litstack Recs: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel & Tranny

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, by Alexander Chee “Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being,” wrote Marguerite Yourcenar, and the sixteen essays that make up Alexander Chee’s 2018 memoir are at their heart about writing—but they are also about striving to succeed as a […]

Litstack Recs |AUTHOR: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan & Life on Mars

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Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan, with a foreword by Salman Rushdie. Beowulf Sheehan, the literary world’s foremost photographer, has a newly collected volume of stunning photographs of contemporary literature’s most prominent writers—as the publisher tell us, “from Roxane Gay to Masha Gessen, Patti Smith to Zadie Smith, Karl Ove […]

Litstack Recs |Three classics of Writing Craft & The Poet X

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If you’re devoting some of your stay-at-home to a work-in-progress, here are three classics of writing craft to see you through. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them, by Francine Prose In this collection, comprised of a series […]

Celebrating PRIDE Month: A Dozen LGBTQA SciFi/Fantasy Books I Would Highly Recommend

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As a middle-aged, monogamous white CIS woman, it may seem strange that I’m recommending LGBTQA books in the scifi/fantasy genre to LitStack readers. But at the risk of seeming insincere, it doesn’t matter to me if the sexuality of players in a tale are straight, gay, non-binary, gender fluid or […]

Litstack Recs | Dreams From My Father: A Story of Inheritance & Gideon the Ninth

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Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama Stories that center on fathers have a distinct place in the memoir genre. For better or worse, fathers hold a different place in their intersection of the world and experience. As in Jung’s archetypes, fathers are symbols of worldliness and action. They are […]

Litstack Rec |Delayed Rays of a Star & Feed

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Delayed Rays of a Star, by Amanda Lee Koe At a New Year’s Eve ball in 1928, the German-born American photographer and photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped a now-legendary photo of three women: Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong, and Leni Riefenstahl. In Amanda Lee Koe’s debut novel, the impromptu portrait is […]

Litstack Recs| Ship Fever & A Wild Sheep Chase

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Ship Fever: Stories by Andrea Barrett The eight stories in Andrea Barrett’s 1996 story collection, which won that year’s National Book Award for fiction, run from historical to contemporary settings, yet there is an essential and unifying voice. Like Edward P. Jones, Jim Shepard, and Hilary Mantel, authors whose work […]

Excerpt: TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS by Christopher Paolini

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Today on LitStack, we’re proud to host the full excerpt of Christopher Paolini’s space odyssey, TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS from Tor Books. The book “follows Kira Navárez, who, during a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, finds an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders […]

Litstack Recs|There There & The Expanse Series

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There There: A novel, by Tommy Orange Brilliant, innovative, lyric. Tommy Orange’s stunning fiction debut is all those things, but trying to describe this eclectic, very personal novel doesn’t do it justice. Called “groundbreaking, extraordinary” by The New York Times, and garnering praise from People Magazine to Entertainment Weekly, and […]

Micro-Excerpt: TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS by Christopher Paolini

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Congratulations to Christopher Paolini, author of the popular Inheritance Cycle on the upcoming release of his novel TO SLEEP IN A SEAS OF STARS. Today on LitStack we’ve got a small glimpse of an excerpt we’ll be featuring on Friday leading up to the September launch of this title so […]

Litstack Recs | Commonwealth & Otaku

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Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett Of divorce, Nicole Krauss wrote, “One of us held on to the ambition of the one idea far longer than was reasonable, whereas the other, passing a garbage can one night, had casually thrown it away.” That’s how ending a marriage can feel, especially for the […]

What To Do During the Quarantine…and Still Keep Safe

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Phase 1, in most states, has already begun. People are rushing to beaches and stores. Some have already hurried to bars and restaurants, foregoing restrictions and protesting to challenge what some see is a premature lessening of social distancing. Many others, however, are content to keep within the confines of […]

NEW RELEASES | May 2020

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Get those one-click fingers ready. Here’s our list for the new release titles we’re eager to get our hands one across genres. What about you, LitStackers? Which books have you already downloaded? Tell us about them in the comments below. Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Our heroes […]

Our Favorite Timeless Plots

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There are seven stories in the world. It’s a well used maxim and not necessarily true. (Kipling, for example, claimed there were sixty-nine stories in the world). But the truth remains that various plots have been invented and reinvented since the beginning of the press. Some have been re-imagined so […]

Litstack Recs |Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend & Exit West

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Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend, by Graham Russell Gao Hodges Anna May Wong was the first internationally acclaimed Asian American actor, with a career that spanned decades, from 1919 to 1961, and Hodges’ biography is a meticulously researched and carefully constructed account of one of early […]

Litstack Recs |The Good Soldier & The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards

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The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford If this novel had been published under the title the author chose, The Saddest Story, contemporary readers might have had a difficult time locating a copy. Fortunately, Ford Madox Ford agreed to his publisher’s suggestion of The Good Soldier, and with that, the […]

Litstack Recs |Spielberg, Truffaut and Me & Glow

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Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: An Actor’s Diary, by Bob Balaban With the Pentagon’s recent release of three unclassified videos of UFO’s taken by navy pilots, it’s understandable you might be watching the skies. And if you’ve yet to see Steven Spielberg’s classic of extraterrestrial contact, Close Encounters of the Third […]

Litstack Recs | WTAW Press 2019 ebooks & Cyber Shogun Revolution

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WTAW Press 2019 Titles WTAW Press released two great titles in 2019, Chimerica, the debut novel from Anita Fellicelli, and Like Water and Other Stories, the English-language debut of Olga Zilberbourg, Both titles are available as ebooks, here. In Chimerica, by Anita Felicelli, down-on-her-luck Tamil American trial lawyer Maya Ramesh […]

Litstack rec | Vanity Fair & The Stars Are Legion

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Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray The early nineteenth century didn’t have reality television, but it did have William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair—and if you’re in need of a novel to escape into, this is the one. Vanity Fair is a classic of social-climbing, backbiting, profligate behavior, and true love. […]

Litstack Recs | Little Failure & Chosen Ones

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Little Failure: A Memoir, by Gary Shteyngart “In order for me to be born,” Gary Shteyngart says early on in his memoir, “all four branches of my family have to end up in Leningrad, trading in their tiny towns and villages for that somber, canal-laced cityscape. Here’s how it happens.” […]

Litstack Recs |The Clothing of Books & The Sisters Grimm

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The Clothing of Books, by Jhumpa Lahiri “How do you clothe a book?” is the how this small, but powerful volume begins. For a writer whose stories are as personal and complex as Jhumpa Lahiri’s, a cover’s design presents a different set of questions. The Clothing of Books began as […]

LitStack Recs|The Priory of the Orange Tree & The Death of the Heart

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The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree has been getting quite a bit of buzz from the sci-fi/fantasy crowd of late, but for the longest time I wasn’t able to free up enough time to sink my teeth into it […]

Litstack Recs| How to Write an Autobiographical Novel & A Song for a New Day

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, by Alexander Chee “Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being,” wrote Marguerite Yourcenar, and the sixteen essays that make up Alexander Chee’s 2018 memoir are about the heart of being—and writing, about striving to succeed as a writer, reconciling […]

LitStack Recs: Car Trouble & Ninth House

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Car Trouble: A novel, by Robert Rorke As Car Trouble opens, the novel’s young protagonist, teenaged Nicky Flynn, is driving backwards in a Chevy Impala nicknamed the Blue Max. The car, which belongs to his impulsive father, Patrick, goes in one direction only, backwards, due to a jammed gearshift. And […]

LitStack Recs: Great Expectations & The Dead Fish Museum

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Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens Narrated by Eddie Izzard I will admit that in a life full of fondness for Charles Dickens (I have on one bookshelf a full set of the Worthington Dickens, published in 1884), Great Expectations is not my favorite. Not my least favorite, but definitely not […]

LitStack Recs: This Is How You Lose the Time War & The UnAmericans

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This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone In this extraordinary novella, two warring factions -the Garden and the Agency – are pitted against each other over control of existence. Their time traveling operatives slip upthread and downthread, influencing history in the making and […]

Litstack recs | The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides

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The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides “Heartbreak is funny to everyone but the heartbroken.” That ironic reflection comes early in Jeffrey Eugenides’ lively 2011 novel. The observation is made by Madeleine Hanna, one of three central characters, all of whom are students at Brown University. We meet them on the […]

Litstack Recs: The Vexations & Pet

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The Vexations: a novel, by Caitlin Horrocks The lives of artists must portray artmaking for what it is: work—anything else is a romanticized view—and Caitlin Horrock’s debut novel, The Vexations, occupies just that; it’s an intricate portrayal of the life of modernist composer Erik Satie—and his artmaking—that mines his most […]

Litstack Recs: There There & Emily Eternal

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There There: A novel, by Tommy Orange Brilliant, innovative, lyric. Tommy Orange’s stunning fiction debut is all those things, but trying to describe this eclectic, very personal, and contemporary novel in adjectives doesn’t do it justice. Called “groundbreaking, extraordinary” by The New York Times, and garnering praise from People Magazine […]

Litstack Recs: The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries & LaRose

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The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, by Emma Thompson Emma Thompson’s diary tracks the making of the award-winning Sense and Sensibility with Thompson’s trademark dry wit and in fascinating detail. The 1995 film, directed by Ang Lee, garnered seven Oscar nominations, with Thompson winning the Award for Best Adapted […]

Litstack Rec: Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend & The Wanderers

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Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend, by Graham Russell Gao Hodges Don’t be misled by the tabloid nature of the title. Hodges’ biography is a meticulously researched and carefully constructed account of one of early cinema’s most notable icons. You could be forgiven for not knowing the […]

Litstack Recs: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays & Wintering

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, by Alexander Chee “Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being,” wrote Marguerite Yourcenar, and the sixteen essays that make up Alexander Chee’s 2018 memoir are at their heart about writing—but they are also about striving to succeed as a […]

Litstack Recs: Without & Ormeshadow

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Without, by Donald Hall It doesn’t matter what I’m doing or what time of day or night it is, when I pick up this collection, I read it from first page to last. Published in 1998, Without traces the illness and death from leukemia of Hall’s wife, the poet Jane […]

Litstack Rec: The Vexations and The Lost Child of Lychford

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The Vexations, by Caitlin Horrocks One of my favorites books of this year, Caitlin Horrock’s debut novel, The Vexations, is an intricate portrayal of the life of modernist composer Erik Satie, and his artmaking, that mines his most nuanced sensibilities. Throughout this enchanting novel, it’s the details that matter: the […]

Cover Reveal: American Demon by Kim Harrison

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Guess who’s back? Our favorite ginger witch, no…not Mrs. Potter, the smart-talking, mostly demon, once-was witch, Rachel Morgan has returned in Kim Harrison’s latest Hollows installment, American Demon. Here’s what ACE has to say about the June 2020 release: A thrilling return to the #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, […]

Litstack Rec: The Dead Fish Museum & Suicide Woods

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The Dead Fish Museum: Stories, by Charles D’Ambrosio Charles D’Ambrosio’s 2006 story collection The Dead Fish Museum, is set in the Pacific Northwest landscape with its majestic Shasta Cascade mountain range, conifer forests, and crisp air, a setting that informs place, and character. Of the author, and this book, Michael […]

LitStack Review: Silver by Linda Nagata

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Silver (Inverted Frontier Book 2) Linda Nagata Mythic Island Press Release Date: November 19, 2019 I simply do not have enough superlatives in my vocabulary for Linda Nagata’s writing. Whether it be military science fiction (The Red: First Light, The Trials, Going Dark), speculative tech thriller (The Last Good Man), […]

Litstack Rec: An Unnecessary Woman & A Song for a New Day

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An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine “I like outsiders,” Aaliya Sohbi tells us, “phantoms wandering the cobwebbed halls of the doomed castle where life must be lived.” The narrator of Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, is herself an outsider, a reclusive, seventy-two-year-old bibliophile who lives alone in the Beirut apartment […]

LitStack Rec: This Boy’s Life and Landscape With Invisible Hand

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This Boy’s Life: A Memoir, by Tobias Wolff  First published in 1989, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life has become a classic of the contemporary memoir, the kind of book you can finish, like I did, in nearly one sitting. Wolff, the author of numerous works of fiction, including short stories, novels, […]

Litstack Recs: Vanity Fair & Slade House

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Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray The early nineteenth century didn’t have reality television, but it did have William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair—and if you’re in need of a novel to escape into, this is the one. Vanity Fair is a classic of social-climbing, backbiting, profligate behavior, and true love. […]

Litstack Rec: Car Trouble & The Sol Majestic

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As Car Trouble opens, it’s one a.m., and the novel’s young protagonist, Nicky Flynn, is driving backwards through the streets of Brooklyn in a Chevy Impala. The car, nicknamed the Blue Max, operates only in reverse, due to a jammed gearshift, and belongs to his impulsive father, Patrick. Patrick, who […]

Litstack Recs: Arranged Marriage: Stories & Shadow Run

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Arranged Marriage: Stories, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni The eleven stories in Arranged Marriage reveal Chitra Banerjee Divrakaruni’s gift for chronicling female cultural dislocation and the compound identities that come with leaving one place, and its engrained customs and beliefs, for another. An acclaimed poet, novelist, Divakaruni portrays Indian-born women and […]

Litstack Recs – Fear: Trump in the White House & A City Dreaming

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Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward With this week’s news that impeachment of the president looks to be on the table, some nostalgic reading may be in order. Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward has been called a bookend to the Nixon story, a […]

Litstack Rec: The Vexations & Relics

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The Vexations, by Caitlin Horrocks The lives of artists, when depicted in novels, must portray artmaking for what it is: work—anything else is an outsider’s view—and Caitlin Horrock’s debut novel, The Vexations, occupies that inner view; it’s an intricate portrayal of the life of modernist composer Erik Satie—and his artmaking—that […]

Litstack Rec: Epilogue: A Memoir & Zombie Baseball Beatdown

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Epilogue: A Memoir, by Will Boast Both a remembrance and a elegiac account of the loss of a family, Boast’s 2014 memoir (a recipient of The Rome Prize) tracks the tragic early death of his mother Nancy, the untimely death of his younger brother Rory, and the family secret left […]

LitStack Rec: Manhood for Amateurs & A Fort of Nine Towers

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Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, essays by Michael Chabon The trope of fatherly wisdom, borne of experience and dispensed with measured calm, is a wonderful thing, but how realistic it? There are some great memoirs about fathers. Alysia Abbott’s Fairyland and Will […]

Litstack Recs: Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List & Admiral

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Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List The #SummerReads of President Barack Obama are always an eclectic and smart collection of books that span genre and subject, from the classic to the just-released, proving once more that the 44th commander-in-chief is one of our most literary and well-read. On the list for […]

Litstack Rec: The 400 Blows & The Last Wish (The Witcher)

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The 400 Blows, by Francois Truffaut This year marks the 60th anniversary of the release of Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, a film that changed cinema—and on its debut, brought immediate recognition to the then-unknown director. In May, 1959, The 400 Blows won the Grand Prize for Direction at the […]

Litstack Recs: Passage to Ararat & The Orphan Master’s Son

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Passage to Ararat, by Michael J. Arlen Tuesday, April 24, marked a sober anniversary, 103 years since the Armenian genocide, when 1.2 million Armenians systematically died at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Government. In Little Armenia, in Los Angeles, marches and observances gave voice to the painful legacy of […]

Litstack Recs: Fleabag & Speak Easy

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Last week, when the Emmy nominations were announced, the BBC Three series Fleabag received eleven nominations—for writing, acting, and direction, and no wonder. Written by and starring creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the eponymous role, the series is a marvel of wit and dark humor. Broadcast in the US on Amazon […]

Litstaff Rec: Werewolves in Their Youth: Stories & The Cage

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Werewolves in Their Youth: Stories, by Michael Chabon Michael Chabon’s, Werewolves in Their Youth isn’t a horror or sci-fi, though Chabon is a fan. The collection, published in 1999, features characters who move about in the placid light of day, until some triggering event causes a dark side to emerge. The […]

Litstack Rec Fear: Trump in the White House & Six Gun Snow White

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Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward The story has been called a bookend to Richard Nixon’s, a tale of hubris, an account akin to a ticking clock. Of Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House, George Packer wrote in the New Yorker, the book “belongs on […]

Staff Rec: The Clothing of Books & Boy Erased

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The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri “How do you clothe a book?” is the how this small, but powerful volume begins. For a writer whose stories are as personal and complex as Jhumpa Lahiri’s, a cover’s design presents a different set of questions. The Clothing of Books began as […]

LitStack Recs: Cutting Teeth & Green

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Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro When my daughter was little, there was a universally acknowledged sentiment among the parents I knew. We referred to  summer as the busy season, when the steady routine of the school year fell away and the schedule went overtime. Still, when your kids are small, […]

Litstack Rec: The Mueller Report & Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

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On Wednesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller spoke publicly for the first time about the Russia investigation he began over two years ago, and with that a book that is likely to contain the political story of our era, came to life in a way it hadn’t before. I purchased my […]

Litstack Rec: The Love of a Good Woman & The Windup Girl

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The Love of A Good Woman, Stories by Alice Munro The short story has few practitioners as skilled as Alice Munro, now 88, a writer who’s all but required reading during #ShortStoryMonth. Munro famously began writing stories as a young mother, finding the story took “less time.” Lucky for readers […]

LitStack Review | Car Trouble: A Novel by Robert Rorke

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Car Touble: A NovelRobert Rorke Harper Perennial Publication Date: September 11, 2018 ISBN: 978-0062848499 As Car Trouble opens, it’s one a.m., and the novel’s young protagonist, Nicky Flynn, is driving backwards through the streets of Brooklyn in a Chevy Impala. The car, nicknamed the Blue Max, operates only in reverse, […]

Litstack Rec: Arranged Marriage & Class A

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Arranged Marriage: Stories, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Acclaimed poet, novelist, and story writer Chitra Banerjee Divrakaruni’s first book of fiction was published in 1995. The eleven stories in Arranged Marriage reveal her gift for chronicling female cultural dislocation and the compound identities that come with leaving one place, and its […]

LitStack Review: Gather the Fortunes by Bryan Camp

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Gather the Fortunes A Crescent City Novel, Book 2 Bryan Camp John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication Date:  May 21, 2019 ISBN:  978-1328876713 Renaissance Raines is an integral but somewhat minor character in Bryan Camp’s superlative first Crescent City novel, The City of Lost Fortunes. In that earlier book, the […]

Litstack Recs: Selected Stories & Space Opera

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Selected Stories, by William Trevor Today’s rec continues a celebration of #ShortStoryMonth. A volume of stories by William Trevor is a reader’s must-have, and this 2009 collection brings together some of the great writer’s best—48 classic stories, many of which were first published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and literary […]

Litstack Rec: The Refugees: Stories & Nightwise

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The Refugees: Stories, by Viet Thanh Nguyen May is Short Story Month, a great time to celebrate the short story, and the perfect opportunity to share some favorite Litstack recs of story collections, contemporary and classic. If you’re a fan of The Sympathizer, Viet Nguyen’s debut novel that won the […]

LitStack Rec: Green Thoughts & Renascence and Other Poems

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Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden, by Eleanor Perényi Writing and gardening share similarities: the same dogged tending, the cultivating of a certain turf, the attention to seeing that small things grow, and to not letting them get unwieldy. Virginia Woolf and Beatrix Potter both famously tended gardens, but […]

Our Favorite Shakespearean Quotes

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Despite the controversy surrounding his authorship and even the rumors spread about his life, Shakespeare is still an artist whose works, whose life, spans the centuries. As Ben Jonson wrote, Shakespeare “was not of an age, but for all time.”  That his sonnets and plays have stretched beyond his generation and […]

Litstack Rec: my name on his tongue & Baseball’s Great Experiment

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Presenting another installment celebrating #NationalPoetryMonth: my name on his tongue, by Laila Halaby Laila Halaby’s, my name on his tongue, her first book of poetry, published in 2012, mines issues of identity, geography and the dislocation that comes from inhabiting two worlds. Halaby, the author of two novels and the […]

Litstack Rec: Without & Feed

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Without, by Donald Hall In celebration of National Poetry Month It doesn’t matter what I’m doing or what time of day or night it is, when I pick up this collection, I read it from first page to last. Published in 1998, Without traces the illness and death from leukemia […]

Litstack Rec: Fruits & Vegetables, Poems & Ninefox Gambit

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Fruits & Vegetables, Poems by Erica Jong In celebration of #NationalPoetryMonth Long before Fear of Flying, before Erica Jong’s now-classic novel portrayed the freedom of the seventies with a knowing and irreverent voice, the author wrote a small book of poetry titled Fruits & Vegetables. After Fear of Flying was […]

Hugo Award Finalists Announced

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Congratulations to the 2019 Hugo Award Finalists who were just announced this week. We were impressed by the immense talent and the amazing amount of diversity among this year’s nominees. The Hugo Awards will be held August 18 in Dublin at Worldcon. Source BEST NOVEL The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette […]

Litstack Rec: The Dead Fish Museum & The Red

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The Dead Fish Museum: Stories, by Charles D’Ambrosio While most of the writing world is in Portland at #AWP19, myself included, taking in panels, readings, and the bookfair with hundreds of exhibitors of presses small and large, there isn’t much we get to see of Portland, the stunning Pacific Northwest […]

LitStaff Pick: Top Two SciFi/Fantasy Stories Every Genre Fan Should Read

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There is something unique about genre fiction. Perhaps it is the notion that great fiction should offer an escape. Perhaps it is with only these types of stories that true escapism can be attained some small path to temporary nirvana not found in other genres. That’s what we like to […]

Listack Rec: An Unnecessary Woman & How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

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An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine “I like outsiders,” Aaliya Sohbi tells us, “phantoms wandering the cobwebbed halls of the doomed castle where life must be lived.” The narrator of Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, is herself an outsider, a reclusive, seventy-two-year-old bibliophile who lives alone in the Beirut apartment […]

Litstack Recs: Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood & American Born Chinese

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Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, by Teri Garr Each year, the Academy Awards always generates memorable images, and this year was no exception. There was Billy Porter on the red carpet in his spectacular tuxedo gown, Regina King’s moving acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress, and Lady Gaga and Bradley […]

LitStack Recs: The End of All Things & The Death of the Heart

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The End of All Things, by John Scalzi Full disclosure:  I adore John Scalzi. I enjoy his writing, which I find adroit and entertaining. As a social media persona, I find him quick witted and refreshingly candid. As a person, I find him lovable and genuine. So it probably is […]

2019 Nebula Award Nominees

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The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has announced its nominees for its 54th annual Nebula Awards taking place in Woodland Hills, CA  on May 18th. The following nominees include selections for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction […]

Litstack Rec: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel & The Cost of Hope

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, by Alexander Chee “Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being,” wrote Marguerite Yourcenar, and the sixteen essays that make up Alexander Chee’s 2018 memoir are at their heart about writing—but they are also about striving to succeed as a […]

Litstack Rec The Goldfinch, & The Dead Lands

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The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt The reception Donna Tartt garnered for her third novel—her first in twelve years—was called a phenomenon and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014 (among other honors). The story centers on young Theo Decker, whose mother is killed in a terrorist attack […]

Release Blitz and Giveaway: King Me by Season Vining

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Title: King MeAuthor: Season ViningGenre: Contemporary Romance SuspenseRelease: January 29, 2019Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43190887-king-me Blurb: Delaney Mills is haunted by darkness. Not of a spiritual kind, but a terrible past that all the rum in the world cannot chase away. Enter Valentine King, a sexy and irresistible man with connections to the […]

LitStack Rec: A House For Mr Biswas & Hild

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A House For Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul This past week, we lost a giant when V.S. Naipaul died in London at the age of 85. My rec this week looks at his 1961 novel, “A House for Mr Biswas,” which has appeared in different posts here at LitStack over […]

The Least Predictable Books We’ve Read

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Sometimes, it isn’t all that difficult to sort out what will happen in a novel. It does, of course, depend solely on “who” you’re reading and, perhaps, your personal ability to pick up hints, to notice what has been foreshadowed. But sometimes, when the plot is thick and the author […]

Litstack Recs: Fairyland & Scribe

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Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, by Alysia Abbott “The truth is,” Alysia Abbot writes in her debut memoir, Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, “I did want to be my dad’s poem. I wanted to be his drawing, his novella, his most refined work of art. I wanted him […]

Litstack Recs: Arranged Marriage & This Case Is Gonna Kill Me

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Arranged Marriage: Stories, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Acclaimed poet, novelist, and story writer Chitra Banerjee Divrakaruni’s first book of fiction was published in 1995, and the eleven stories in Arranged Marriage demonstrated her gift for chronicling female cultural dislocation and the compound identities that come with leaving one place—with its […]

Book Endings We’d Like to Change

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It’s happened to you before. You’re invested in a great book, in the flux and flow of a twisting plot, of multidimensional characters that make you mad, make you cry, maybe even make you scream out loud. Then, after all the hours you’ve invested in the book, all the possibilities, […]

12/31/18: December Giveaway – Finding Juniper by Sadia Ash

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TITLE – Finding Juniper AUTHOR – Sadia Ash GENRE – Romance GIVEAWAY – Five E-booksSUMMARY – From London with love… or indifference?  “I have loved Kyle Paxton since I met him a year ago. We’ve gone through a lifetime of love and breakups. I can’t be with him. But I can’t […]

12/31/18: December Giveaway – Juniper Smoke by Sadia Ash

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TITLE – Juniper SmokeAUTHOR – Sadia Ash GENRE – Romance GIVEAWAY – Five E-booksSUMMARY – Juniper and Kyle meet when she is dangling forty feet from a museum scaffolding, hanging on for dear life. Juniper is a sassy, nerdy curator at the History Museum of Ann Arbor. Her life has been […]

Our 2018 Favorite Reads

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From my reading of the past year, some favorites—here a memoir-in-essays and three story collections. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee “Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being,” wrote Marguerite Yourcenar, and in the sixteen essays that make up Alexander Chee’s 2018 […]

12/28/18: December Giveaway – Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

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TITLE – Trail of Lightning AUTHOR – Rebecca Roanhorse  GENRE – Contemporary Fantasy GIVEAWAY – One E-bookSUMMARY – While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, […]

12/27/18: December Giveaway – The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

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TITLE – The Silence of the Girls AUTHOR – Pat Barker GENRE – HistoricalGIVEAWAY – One Print Copy (US Only)SUMMARY – The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, who continue to wage bloody war over a stolen woman–Helen. In the Greek camp, another […]

12/27/18: December Giveaway – The Accidental War by Walter Jon Williams

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TITLE – The Accidental War AUTHOR – Walter Jon Williams GENRE – SciFiGIVEAWAY – One Print Copy (US Only)SUMMARY – Blending fast-paced military science fiction and space opera, the first volume in a dynamic trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Praxis, set in the universe of his popular and critically […]

12/26/18: December Giveaway – Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

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TITLE – Birthday GirlAUTHOR – Penelope Douglas GENRE – Contemporary RomanceGIVEAWAY – Two E-book Copy (International)SUMMARY – From New York Times Bestselling author Penelope Douglas comes a new forbidden love story… JORDAN He took me in when I had nowhere else to go. He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or […]

12/26/18: December Giveaway – The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan

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TITLE – The Wish Collector AUTHOR – Mia Sheridan GENRE – Magical RealismGIVEAWAY – One E-book Copy (International)SUMMARY – New Orleans, a city of mystery and magic, of secrets and dreams, and a history drenched in both love and the deepest of heartache.  When ballet dancer Clara Campbell arrives in […]

12/24/18: December Giveaway – Nailed Down Series by Chelle Bliss and Eden Butler

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TITLE – Nailed Down SeriesAUTHOR – Chelle Bliss and Eden ButlerGENRE – Contemporary RomanceGIVEAWAY – Audio CDs of Nailed Down and Tied Down (US Only)SUMMARY – Nailed Down (Book One) Kit Carlyle isn’t just some woman. Beautiful? Yep. Seductive? Damn straight. She’s also my best friend and my co-worker. But, […]

12/24/18 – December Giveaway: Blackbird Summer by Em Shotwell

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TITLE- Blackbird Summer AUTHOR-Em Shotwell GENRE-Fantasy GIVEAWAY- One signed paperback copy of Blackbird Summer SUMMARY Meet Tallulah. Gifted. Magical. Cursed. When the world fears you, being Gifted is a curse. In the cornerstone of the rural south, Brooklyn, Mississippi, no one dares make eye contact with the strange Caibre family. […]

12/21/18 – December Giveaway: The High Court by Christopher Ledbetter

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TITLE- The High Court AUTHOR- Christopher Ledbetter GENRE- Fantasy GIVEAWAY-One signed copy of to US readers. SUMMARY High atop Mount Olympus, as dawn breaks on a new academic term, normalcy returns to campus following a harrowing expedition into The Underworld to rescue kidnapped students.  Zeus and his fellow Olympians now […]

12/21/18 – December Giveaway: Sky Throne by Christopher Ledbetter

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TITLE- Inked AUTHOR- Christopher Ledbetter GENRE- Fantasy GIVEAWAY- One signed copy of Sky Throne to US readers. SUMMARY- When the family of young Zeus is attacked by Hyperion, Zeus’s mother is knocked unconscious and his best friend is left for dead. Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman […]

Litstack Rec: My Misspent Youth & Santa 17

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My Misspent Youth, essays by Meghan Daum My introduction to Daum and her essays was Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House, her account of wanting, finding, losing and finding the ideal home. It’s a memoir of coming into one’s own in regard to matters of money—real […]

12/20/18: December Giveaway – Long Live the Beautiful Hearts by Emma Scott

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TITLE – Long Live the Beautiful HeartsAUTHOR – Emma ScottGENRE – Military RomanceGIVEAWAY – Signed Print Copy, International  SUMMARY –  Never again would I allow my heart to become the plaything of someone else. Never again would I let a man (or men) come between me and my goals. Never again would I love […]

12/20/18: December Giveaway – Bring Down the Stars by Emma Scott

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TITLE – Bring Down the StarsAUTHOR – Emma ScottGENRE – Military RomanceGIVEAWAY – Signed Print Copy, International  SUMMARY –  I fell for Connor Drake. I didn’t want to; I fought against it, but I fell in love with him anyway. With his words. With his poetry. With him. The gentleness and beauty […]

12/19/18: December Giveaway – Kill the Farm Boy: The Tales of Pell by Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. Dawson

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TITLE – Kill the Farm Boy: The Tales of PellAUTHOR – Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. DawsonGENRE – FantasyGIVEAWAY – One e-book SUMMARY –  Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told. This […]

12/19/18: December Giveaway: The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp

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TITLE – The City of Lost FortunesAUTHOR – Bryan CampGENRE – Urban FantasyGIVEAWAY – Signed Print Copy, US  SUMMARY –  The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters. The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a […]

12/18/18: December Giveaway – Purgatory’s Angel by B. Hughes-Millman

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TITLE – Purgatory’s AngelAUTHOR – B. Hughes-MillmanGENRE – Paranormal RomanceGIVEAWAY – Two Signed Print Copies, USSUMMARY –  Jaime Connor was once one of the mightiest archangels in heaven. Sent to earth to stop demons from claiming another victim in their sleep, she has battled far too long. Tired of all […]

12/18/18: Once Bitten by Heather McCorkle

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TITLE – Once BittenAUTHOR – Heather McCorkleGENRE – Paranormal RomanceGIVEAWAY – E-book or Print, Winners ChoiceSUMMARY –  After a hot night turns into something out of a horror movie, Sonya wakes up on her bathroom floor with a chunk taken out of her neck and her body going through some […]

12/17/18: December Giveaway – Lipstick Voodoo by Kristi Charish

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TITLE – Lipstick VoodooAUTHOR – Kristi CharishGENRE – Urban FantasyGIVEAWAY – Signed Print Copy, US and Canada (When available) SUMMARY –  Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner, is back in the freshly imagined and hugely entertaining second installment of Kristi Charish’s urban fantasy series. Kincaid Strange cannot catch a break. […]

12/17/18: December Giveaway – The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish

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TITLE – The Voodoo KillingsAUTHOR – Kristi CharishGENRE – Urban FantasyGIVEAWAY – Signed Print Copy, US and Canada SUMMARY –  For the first time since launching Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Random House Canada is thrilled to announce the debut of a new urban fantasy series. Kristi Charish’s The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, […]

12/14/18 – December Giveaway: Inked by Christopher Ledbetter

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TITLE- Inked AUTHOR- Christopher Ledbetter GENRE- Fantasy GIVEAWAY-One signed copy of Inked to US readers. SUMMARY You’re not truly alive until you know what you would die for… Cameron Shade and Farrah Spangled survived a near-death experience together. Now, their us-against-the-world relationship thrives despite pressure from their families, as well […]

12/14/18 – December Giveaway: Drawn by Christopher Ledbetter

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TITLE- Drawn AUTHOR- Christopher Ledbetter GENRE- Fantasy GIVEAWAY-One signed copy of Drawn to US readers. SUMMARY Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen-year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than […]

LitStack Recs: Author -Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan & The Jesus Cow

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Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan. By Beowulf Sheehan. Foreword by Salman Rushdie. If you need a gift for the book lovers on your list, this is the coffee table book everyone’s talking about—at least those who love books and their writers. Beowulf Sheehan, the literary world’s foremost photographer, has […]

12/13/18 – December Giveaway: Crimson Cover by Eden Butler

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TITLE – Crimson CoveAUTHOR – Eden ButlerGENRE – Paranormal RomanceGIVEAWAY – Three E-booksSUMMARY –  Ten years ago Janiver stole a kiss from the meanest boy in school.  He never forgot.  Senior year.  One minute before the tardy bell rang, Bane Illes would slip through the door.  He never smiled.  He […]

12/13/18 – December Giveaway: Reader’s Choice by Toni Aleo

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If you’re like us, you are a sucker for great sports fiction, especially Toni Aleo’s amazing hockey stories. Her stories are funny and sweet and swoon-worthy. In today’s giveaway, Toni is offering up FOUR e-book copies of ANY of her books so make sure you comment to qualify.  Not convinced? […]

12/12/18 – December Giveaway: Reader’s Choice by Kele Moon

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We have another wonderful reader’s choice giveaway from a long-time friend of the site.   Many of you are familiar with the super talented Kele Moon, but if you aren’t, we encourage you to pick up her remarkable books. Learn more about Kele and her novels below and comment to qualify […]

12/12/18 – December Giveaway: Deirdre’s True Desire by Heather McCorkle

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TITLE – Deirdre’s True DesireAUTHOR – Heather McCorkleGENRE – Historical RomanceGIVEAWAY – E-book or Print, Winners ChoiceSUMMARY –  Seeking the pot of gold at California’s end  She married rich, but not well. Now, with the Civil War ended and her husband gone, Deirdre must make her own way in the […]

12/11/18 – December Giveaway: Roughing the Kicker by Eden Butler

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TITLE – Roughing the KickerAUTHOR – Eden ButlerGENRE – Romantic Suspense/SportsGIVEAWAY – Two E-books and One singed print copy, internationalSUMMARY –  Reese Noble chased this dream for a decade. Now it was here. The NFL. A pro career. All eyes on the league’s new kicker. Millions of people expecting her to fail. […]

12/10/18 – December Giveaway: Chasing Destiny by Sydney Ashcroft and Dani Nichols

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TITLE – Chasing DestinyAUTHOR – Sydney Ashcroft and Dani NicholsGENRE – Urban FantasyGIVEAWAY – One E-bookSUMMARY –  Meet Akantha. Protector. Destined. Cursed.If there was anything Akantha hated more than the Nazis, it was Damianos. For twenty-four hundred years, Akantha has dedicated her life to defending mortals from destruction, yet the […]

12/10/18 – December Giveaway: Billionaire’s Wake-up Call Girl by Annika Martin

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TITLE – Billionaire’s Wake-up Call GirlAUTHOR – Annika MartinGENRE – Romantic ComedyGIVEAWAY – One E-bookSUMMARY –  When my manager assigns me the task of finding a new wake up call service for our CEO, I think, how hard can this be? Answer: practically impossible. It turns out that no wake-up […]

12/7/18 – December Giveaway: Maneuver by Chelle Bliss

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TITLE- Maneuver  AUTHOR- Chelle Bliss GENRE- Romance GIVEAWAY- One print copy US and Canada SUMMARY This isn’t how fairy tales typically begin, but it’s where mine starts… No money, no phone, and abandoned on the streets of Chicago. With my baby in my arms, I wander into a bar in a […]

12/7/18 – December Giveaway: Sorrow’s Lie by Danielle DeVor

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TITLE- Sorrow’s Lie AUTHOR- Danielle DeVor GENRE- Paranormal GIVEAWAY- One Signed Print Copy US Only SUMMARY Only an Exorcist Can Confront His Demons Jimmy Holiday, exorcist extraordinaire, is about to embark on his most unusual case yet—a baby that may be possessed by the demonic…or worse, a true demon spawn. The Order […]

12/6/18 – December Giveaway: Love in Hiding by Diane Holiday

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TITLE- Love in Hiding AUTHOR- Diane Holiday GENRE- Romance GIVEAWAY- One e-book and one pair of horse earrings. SUMMARY Running from danger, caught by love. With her life at risk, Sarah Cooper hangs up her ballet shoes and flees her glamorous career in San Diego. She assumes a new identity and takes […]

Litstack Rec: Earn It! and Viva Frida

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Earn It! by Cinders McLeod This is the perfect gift for young readers on your list, because it’s never too soon to learn financial literacy. Knowing how money works, and having the skills to make informed decisions about personal money matters, is said to be a concept best started early. […]

12/6/18 – December Giveaway: Best Laid Plans by LK Farlow

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TITLE- Best Laid Plans AUTHOR- LK FarlowGENRE- Romance GIVEAWAY- One Paperback, US Only SUMMARY The summer before my senior year of high school I had only one goal: to make Alden Warner see me as more than his best friend’s annoying little sister. Finally, my wish came true and he noticed me. […]

12/5/2018 – December Giveaway: Forbidden by Faith by Negeen Papehn

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TITLE- Forbidden Faith AUTHOR- Negeen Paehn GENRE- Contemporary GIVEAWAY- 3 e-books SUMMARY Sara knows her life would be easier if she married a man of her faith, but when has love ever been easy?  Raised by her immigrant Iranian parents, she’s been taught that a good daughter makes decisions based […]

12/5/18 – December Giveaway: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

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TITLE- Owl & The Japanese Circus AUTHOR-Kristi Charish GENRE- Urban Fantasy GIVEAWAY- One signed print copy, US and Canada SUMMARY Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and […]

12/4/18 – December Giveaway: The 12 Dares of Christmas by Leigh W. Stuart

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TITLE-The 12 Dares of Christmas AUTHOR- Leigh W. Stuart GENRE- Christmas/Contemporary GIVEAWAY- One signed paperback, Worldwide SUMMARY Lauren Hall has one wish for Christmas this year—raise money to build a new, no-kill animal shelter for the town of Sycamore Cove. And she is prepared to do anything to make it happen. […]

12/4/18 – December Giveaway: Forget Me Not by Em Shotwell

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TITLE- Forget Me Not AUTHOR-Em Shotwell GENRE-Fantasy GIVEAWAY- One signed paperback copy of Forget Me Not SUMMARY Meet Rex and Evelyn. Can Love Survive in the Midst of War? Maybe dating the good guy, isn’t so bad. When Rex Somersby’s family matchmaker sets him up with the famous Evelyn Cadeau, […]

12/3/18 – December Giveaway: Blood and Magic by Melissa Sercia

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TITLE- Blood and Magic AUTHOR- Melissa Sercia GENRE- Fantasy GIVEAWAY- 3 e-book copies SUMMARY Meet Gray. Dhampir. Undead. Cursed.  With supernatural powers and an insatiable need for blood, her existence is cursed.  When Gray awakens from a three-year spell induced coma, she not only discovers her lover as the one […]

12/3/18 – December Giveaway: Chaos and Control by Season Vining

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Welcome, LitStackers to our annual December giveaway! For those of you new to the site, each year since our inception, we’ve spent the entire month of December offering up print, e-book and sometimes audio copies of some of your favorite and new titles. We hope you’ll stop by the site […]

LitStack Rec: Barbarian Days & Alif the Unseen

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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan William Finnegan’s 2016 memoir begins with an epigraph from Edward St. Aubyn’s novel Mother’s Milk: “He had become so caught up in building sentences  that he had almost forgotten  the barbaric days when thinking was like a splash of colour landing on […]

Litstack Rec: Dreams From My Father & Time Salvager

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Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama Stories that center on fathers have a distinct place in the memoir genre. For better or worse, fathers hold a place that intersects with the world and experience in a way far different from that of a mother’s. As in Jung’s archetypes, fathers […]

Litstack Recs: The Romanoffs & The Burning Light

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The Romanoffs, by Matthew Weiner The thing I love most about linked story collections is the strategy of slow accrual. We are shown an idea, or character, or setting from different points of view and  varied points in time and space, and as with the novel, the narrative facets develop […]

Litstack Recs: An Unnecessary Woman & Lethal White

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An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine   “I like outsiders,” Aaliya Sohbi tells us, “phantoms wandering the cobwebbed halls of the doomed castle where life must be lived.” The narrator of Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, is herself an outsider, a reclusive, seventy-two year old bibliophile who lives alone in […]

LitStack Review: Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

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Catching Christmas Terri Blackstock Thomas Nelson Release Date: October 9, 2018 ISBN: 978-0310351726 The last thing Finn Parrish wants is involvement. Unhappy with life in general and disappointed with himself, in particular, Finn just wants to pay his rent and get through the crazy holiday season with as little fuss as possible. Sydney […]

Litstack Recs: Two New Titles from WTAW Press & Us

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Two New Titles from WTAW Press Northern California’s newest independent press has just released its 2018 titles: Unnatural Habitats and Other Stories, a debut collection by Angela Mitchell, and Hungry Ghost Theater:  A Novel, by Sarah Stone. From the publisher: Unnatural Habitats and Other Stories, by Angela Mitchell This collection […]

Litstack Rec: Bridge & The Stargazer’s Sister

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Bridge, by Robert Thomas “Welcome to the prayer-strewn pews of my brain,” Alice, the narrator of Bridge tells us, and quickly, we understand that this intellectually gifted young woman sees the world, and herself, in unconventional, and often dangerous ways. Robert Thomas’s powerful debut novel (BOA Editions 2014) takes place […]

Release Blitz: Broken Protocol by Eden Butler

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Title: Broken Protocol Series: Part Two of the Protocol Series Author: Eden Butler Genre: Romance Release Date: October 2, 2018   They call me America’s Widow.   They expect me to mourn forever.   But, I’ve taken a lover.    Someone fierce.   Someone irresistible.   Someone dangerous.   The closer […]

LitStack Rec: Life Drawing & A City Dreaming

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Life Drawing, by Robin Black “Nobody outside a marriage can understand it,” the narrator of Life Drawing tells us. In Robin Black’s first novel, Augusta Edelman is a painter, married to Owen, a writer, and they have moved to the Pennsylvania countryside to live in the quiet and pursue their […]

Release Blitz: Against Protocol by Eden Butler

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Title: Against Protocol Series: The Protocol Series #1 Author: Eden Butler Genre: Romance Release: September 25, 2018       Everyone has secrets, even the leader of the free world. Even his wife. I was Ophelia Harris, America’s youngest First Lady. Now I’m America’s Widow, and my husband’s secrets continue […]

A Few Thoughts on Banned Books Week

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This is Banned Books Week, and we here at Litstack applaud all the buzz that it’s gotten on social media. The very idea of banning books is the antithesis to an educated and progressive society, and yet some of our most cherished classics have been subject to challenge:  The Grapes […]

Litstack Recs: Fear: Trump in the White House & The Bone Clocks

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Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward It’s been called a bookend to the Nixon story, a tale of hubris, an account akin to a ticking clock. Of Bob Woodward’s Fear, George Packer wrote in the New Yorker, the book “belongs on a shelf with the literature of […]

LitStack Review: Mecha Samurai Empire by Peter Tieryas

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Mecha Samurai Empire  Peter Tieryas Ace/Penguin Random House Release Date: September 18, 2018 (USA) ISBN 9780451490995 Mac is a teenager living in Los Angeles in 1994 whose greatest desire is to become a pilot. But his test grades are mediocre, he’s not in the best of shape, and he’s a […]

LitStack Recs: By Nightfall & The Wanderers

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By Nightfall, by Michael Cunningham Peter and Rebecca Harris are forty-something New Yorkers, well-off, hip, empty-nesters. Peter is an art dealer, Rebecca an editor, and their twenty year-old daughter Beatrice has fled her parents’ downtown loft for an unstylish life in Boston, working in a hotel bar and living with […]

LitStack Rec: Little Failure & United States of Japan

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Little Failure: A Memoir, by Gary Shteyngart “In order for me to be born,” Gary Shteyngart says early on in his memoir, “all four branches of my family have to end up in Leningrad, trading in their tiny towns and villages for that somber, canal-laced cityscape. Here’s how it happens.” […]

LitStack Recs: Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries & Brotherhood of the Wheel

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The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, by Emma Thompson There’s enough left of summer to fit in at least one more light read, and Emma Thompson’s diary of the making of the award-winning Sense and Sensibility is a perfect choice. The 1995 film, directed by Ang Lee, would garner […]

LitStack Rec: Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List & Shotgun Lovesongs

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Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List In uncertain times, we look to the familiar things, and this past week, it was great to see a  summer reading from President Barack Obama. One of our most literary presidents, and a prolific reader and writer, he began a tradition of posting his summer […]

Why Do People Read Bad Books?

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Recently I’ve been reading What Makes This Book So Great, by Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Jo Walton.  In it, she takes various essays regarding the science fiction/fantasy genre originally blogged on Tor.com, and incorporates them under a single cover.  It’s a fascinating read from a well versed and […]

National Lighthouse Day – August 7th

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Lighthouses are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both human isolation and our ultimate connectedness to each other. ~ Virginia Woolf Perhaps that’s what fuels our modern-day fascination with these stalwart structures and makes them an ideal backdrop for stories of love and loss. The following books will give you the perfect opportunity […]

Litstack Recs: The Tall Book of Make-Believe & The Last Days of New Paris

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The Tall Book of Make-Believe ed. Jane Werner Illustrated by Garth Williams Well beyond the age it’s intended for, this collection of stories has stayed with me. This American classic of children’s stories and poems was compiled by Jane Werner in 1950, and from the start this book captured my […]

Release Blitz: Roughing the Kicker by Eden Butler

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Title: Roughing the Kicker Series: Sinners and Saints #1 Author: Eden Butler Genre: Contemporary Romance Release Date: July 31, 2018 Reese Noble chased this dream for a decade. Now it was here. The NFL. A pro career. All eyes on the league’s new kicker. Millions of people expecting her to fail. But Reese […]

LitStack Recs: Blood Will Out & The Adjacent

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Blood Will Out, by Walter Kirn In Preston Sturges’  romantic comedy, “The Palm Beach Story,” Claudette Colbert plays Gerry, reluctant divorcee of husband Tom (Joel McCrea) who’s bankrupted when his dream of building an airport fails. On a train to Palm Beach, Gerry meets eccentric millionaire John D. Hackensacker III, […]

Litstack Rec: The Refugees & The Hummingbird

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The Refugees: Stories, by Viet Thanh Nguyen Fans of The Sympathizer, Nguyen’s debut novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, will find much of what they loved in the author’s second book of short stories. Where The Sympathizer explores the effects of the Vietnamese War, and the experience of […]

LitStack Recs: How to Read to Read a Sentence and How to Write One & American Elsewhere

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How to Read to Read a Sentence and How to Write One, by Stanley Fish For writers, the sentence is the coin of the realm, the catch that holds a reader fast to a story. And I love that Stanley Fish wrote a book just about sentences.  A professor of […]

Of Words and Dogs and Little Fishes*

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I feel so blessed that I can “work” from home as a book reviewer, essayist and occasionally as a literary editor, and to comfortably say that I read for a living.  It’s like living the dream (well, until the bills come in, but that’s neither here nor there). But I […]

LitStack Recs: The Good Soldier & Sweetbitter

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The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford If this novel had been published under the title the author selected, The Saddest Story, contemporary readers might have had a difficult time locating a copy. Fortunately, Ford Madox Ford agreed to his publisher’s title suggestion of The Good Soldier, and with that, […]

LitStack Rec: Cutting Teeth & Wait Till Next Year

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Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro When my daughter was little, there was a sentiment among the parents I knew. We referred to  summer as the busy season, when the steady routine of the school year fell away and the schedule went overtime. Still, when your kids are small, there’s a […]

Release Blitz: Jackal by Tarryn Fisher & Willow Aster

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Jackal is LIVE and FREE on Kindle Unlimited! Are you ready to meet the next End Man? Amazon US: http://bit.ly/JackalUS Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/JackalUK Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/JackalAU Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/JackalCA   Jackal Emerson has never taken himself seriously. Dubbed the “orgy king,” he’s renowned for his reputation as the wild End […]

No Nonsense Writing Advice from Folks Who ‘Know’

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When you put yourself out ‘there’ as a writer, when you lasso the title of ‘writer,’ inevitably you are asked your opinion. You are also confronted by a litany of folks who make excuses. Now, I’m not adverse to the excuse bit. I hear and speak them daily. But what […]

Cover Reveal: Roughing the Kicker by Eden Butler

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Title: Roughing the Kicker Series: Sinners and Saints #1 Author: Eden Butler Genre: Contemporary Romance Release Date: July 31, 2018   Reese Noble chased this dream for a decade. Now it was here. The NFL. A pro career. All eyes on the league’s new kicker. Millions of people expecting her to fail. But […]

LitStack Recs: A Time of Gifts & Wolf in White Van

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A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople, by Patrick Leigh Fermor A classic of the travel memoir genre, A Time of Gifts is Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of his trek by foot from the Netherlands to Turkey in 1933-34. Though, famously, Fermor didn’t actually write the book until decades […]

LitStack Recs: Women in Their Beds & Luna: New Moon

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Women in Their Beds — Gina Berriault To cap off #ShortStoryMonth, my rec this week revisits a collection by one of my favorite story writers, Gina Berriault. Her admirers span Richard Ford, Grace Paley, and Robert Stone, but American fiction writer Berriault may be one of most revered writers you’ve […]

Persistence and the Writer’s Road: Lauren Alwan’s “An Amount of Discretion”

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When you are a creative type, staying in your own lane leads you places. For me, that meant moving in circles that opened paths to relationships with other writers. I’ve done writer’s workshops with New York Times bestsellers before and after they hit the “Big” list. I’ve helped friends edit […]

Tied Down by Chelle Bliss and Eden Butler: Cover Reveal & Excerpt

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  TITLE: Tied Down AUTHORS: Chelle Bliss & Eden Butler RELEASE: 12th June GENRE: Romantic Suspense SUMMARY: Cara Carelli is a silver-tongued mafia princess, master manipulator, and the only woman I’ve ever loved. But she’s also smokin’ hot and my ex-wife. When Cara led me straight into a trap and pleaded […]

Litstack Recs: The Refugees & All the Light We Cannot See

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The Refugees: Stories, by Viet Thanh Nguyen In celebration of #ShortStoryMonth, this week’s rec looks at another great story collection I’ve read and recommended this year. Fans of The Sympathizer, Nguyen’s debut novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, will find much of what they loved in the author’s […]

LitStack Rec: The Empty Family & Company Town

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The Empty Family, by Colm Tóibín  For #ShortStoryMonth, I’m recapping some favorite story collections—and chief among the story writers I admire is Colm Tóibín. And his 2011 collection, The Empty Family is one I always keep close by, dipping into the pages to take in the voices of its starkly […]

LitStack Rec – The Coast of Chicago & Red Rising

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The Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek May is Short Story Month, so this month I’ll be looking at story collections that have thrilled, taught, and changed me. This week, I’m starting with a classic of the contemporary short fiction. I can still recall first reading Stuart Dybek’s classic short […]

Gimbling in the Wabe – Inspiration in Transitions

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Today at the dog park, one of the topics discussed by us “8:30 regulars” included high school graduations.  It is, after all, that time of year, for mortarboards and diplomas and college visits and looking forward.  Some of the folks at the park have kids who are graduating in a […]

LitStack Recs: Passage to Ararat & Borderline

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Passage to Ararat, by Michael J. Arlen Tuesday, April 24, marked a sober anniversary, 103 years since the Armenian genocide, when 1.2 million Armenians systematically died at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Government. In Little Armenia, in Los Angeles, marches and observances gave voice to the painful legacy of […]

LitStack Review: Earn It! by Cinders McLeod

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Earn It! by Cinders McLeod (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2017) Teaching children financial literacy—knowing how money works and having the skills to make informed decisions about personal money matters—is said to be a concept best started early. The financial wisdom runs that parents should introduce the subject when children are young, […]

LitStack Rec: Two Award-Winning Titles from WTAW Press & Born A Crime

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And There And There was Evening And There Was Morning, Essays on Illness, Loss, and Love, by Mike Smith The Truth About Me: Stories, by Louise Marburg WTAW Press, a new independent nonprofit publisher, hit a home run last week when their two inaugural titles, released in 2017, each received […]

Litstack Rec: Patrimony & Biggie

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Patrimony: A True Story, by Philip Roth Roth’s 1991 memoir charts the illness and death of his father, Herman Roth, from an inoperable brain tumor, as it retraces the man’s life and the relationship between father and son. Roth’s account unfolds in his trademark penetrating and melancholy style, and in […]

LitStack Recs: Green Thoughts & Nightwise

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Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden, by Eleanor Perényi If you’re a writer who gardens, Eleanor Perényi writes in her foreword, “sooner or later you’re going to write a book about the subject—I take that as inevitable.” And indeed, there are some heavy-hitting precedents to Pereyni’s classic of the […]

Shakespeare and the Original Pronunciation

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Check out this very cool clip on the original pronunciations of Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays. From Open University: An introduction by David and Ben Crystal to the ‘Original Pronunciation’ production of Shakespeare and what they reveal about the history of the English language. clomid no prescription acomplia no prescription Buy […]

LitStack Recs: The Death of the Heart & God’s War

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The Death of the Heart, by Elizabeth Bowen Even though it’s spring, there may be snow and frigid temperatures outside your window, and in Elizabeth Bowen’s 1938 novel, there’s likewise cold temperatures, of the emotional sort: “That morning’s ice, no more than a brittle film, had cracked and was now […]

Release Blitz: Nailed Down by Chelle Bliss and Eden Butler

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      Nailed Down by Chelle Bliss & Eden Butler Release Date: 20th March Genre: Contemporary Romance     Buy the Book Amazon→ http://amzn.to/2sBII3OiBooks→ https://apple.co/2ByK8PENook→ http://bit.ly/2HlieXOKobo→ http://bit.ly/2o1Wc45Amazon UK→ http://amzn.to/2C3hbMKAmazon CA→ http://amzn.to/2HmY4fZAmazon AU→ http://amzn.to/2Cr1Px2   Goodreads TBR→ chellebliss.com/nd-tbr  #naileddown   Buy the Paperback & get the ebook FREE >>>>>> http://amzn.to/2C3dwye   Synopsis Kit Carlyle isn’t just some woman. […]

LitStack Rec: Out of Place & Miranda and Caliban

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Out of Place: A Memoir, by Edward Said Edward Said, the prolific author, political activist, pianist,  and music critic rose to academic stardom in 1978 with the publication of the seminal Orientalism, a critique of the appropriations and misrepresentations that founded Western study of the East. Said, who died in […]

LitStack Rec: Arranged Marriage: Stories & This Case Is Gonna Kill Me

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Arranged Marriage: Stories, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Acclaimed poet, novelist, and story writer Chitra Banerjee Divrakaruni’s first book of fiction was published in 1995, and the eleven stories in Arranged Marriage established her as a master of imagery in the short form. They also demonstrated her gift for chronicling female […]

Gimbling in the Wabe – Seeing the Story

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In the first telling of the tale, I don’t pick up the book at all. It is a very short story. The next time around, the book is lying around, in a place where I need to while away some time. I pick it up, idly flipping through the pages. […]

LitStack Rec: Epilogue: A Memoir & Hounded

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Epilogue: A Memoir, by Will Boast Both a remembrance and a elegiac account of the loss of a family, Boast’s 2014 memoir (a recipient of The Rome Prize) tracks the tragic early death of his mother Nancy, the untimely death of his younger brother Rory, and the family secret left […]

Litstaff Rec: The Oysters of Locmariaquer & Longbourn

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The Oysters of Locmariaquer, by Eleanor Clark Late in Eleanor Clark’s extraordinary book, she tells us the oyster needs the same landscape that a plein air painter does: a certain air, light, chemistry. “The explanation,” she writes, “might be quite simple, not esoteric at all—in some common equation of factors […]

Cover Reveal: Nailed Down by Chelle Bliss & Eden Butler

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COVER REVEAL AND PREORDER ALERT! Release Date: March 20th Authors: Chelle Bliss & Eden Butler Cover Designer: Lori Jackson Designs PREORDER NOW: AMAZON ★ IBOOKS NOOK ★ KOBO PAPERBACK ★ RELEASE ALERT GOODREADS TBR BLURB: Kitty Carlyle isn’t just some woman. Beautiful? Yep. Seductive? Damn straight. She’s also my best […]

LitStack Rec: I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place & Siege Line

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I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place: A Memoir, by Howard Norman Howard Norman’s memoir, I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place, is a collection of five long essays, each connected by a time and event of what the author calls an “arresting strangeness.” A Midwest summer of working in a […]

Emerging Author Interview & Excerpt: Stephen Michell

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Welcome to the site, Stephen Michell who’s new novel, Only the Devil is Here released in December. We had an opportunity to sit down and chat with the Toronto native about his writing, his influences and struggling with rejection. Be sure to check out the excerpt of Only the Devil […]

LitStack Rec: The Films in My Life & Slow River

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The Films in My Life, by Francois Truffaut The revered French filmmaker, who would have been eighty-six this year, is the subject of numerous books that cover his life and work, and we are lucky that Truffaut was also a prolific critic who wrote scores of essays. One of the […]

Litstack Rec: Thunderstruck & Other Stories & Kitchens of the Great Midwest

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Thunderstruck & Other Stories, by Elizabeth McCracken Early on in Elizabeth McCracken’s extraordinary story collection, Thunderstruck, a grieving mother instructs her seventeen year-old son to seal up the room of his dead sister. This, she imagines will somehow purge the house of the evil that caused her daughter’s lymphoma. “Don’t […]

Litstack Rec: Selected Stories & Gemini Cell

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Selected Stories, by William Trevor A volume of stories by William Trevor is a reader’s must-have, and this 2009 collection brings together some of the great writer’s best—48 classic stories, many of which were first published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and literary magazines such as Glimmer Train and the […]

Litstack Rec: Spielberg, Truffaut and Me & The Wanderers

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Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: An Actor’s Diary, by Bob Balaban In the summer of 1976, during the first weeks of the filming of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Francois Truffaut, who played the extraterrestrial specialist Claude Lacombe, was at work on a book about actors—tentatively titled Hurry Up and […]

Litstack Rec: The Refugees: Stories & All Our Wrong Todays

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The Refugees: Stories, by Viet Thanh Nguyen Fans of The Sympathizer, Nguyen’s debut novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, will find much of what they loved in the author’s second book of short stories. Where The Sympathizer explores the effects of the Vietnamese War, and the experience of […]

LitStack Rec: Werewolves in Their Youth & Safe From the Sea

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Werewolves in Their Youth: Stories, by Michael Chabon Not all scary stories are for Halloween. Michael Chabon’s, Werewolves in Their Youth isn’t a horror or sci-fi, though Chabon is a fan. The collection, which appeared in 1999, assembles nine stories that feature characters who move about in the placid light of […]

Featured Author Interview: Kristen Ashley

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Thanks so much to Kristen Ashley for spending the month with us as our Featured Author. Be sure to check out all the reviews for her fantastic works that we’ve posted this month and be sure to follow her on social media. Thanks again, Kristen! LS: Hi Kristen and welcome […]

Release Blitz: Whore by Willow Aster

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Whore by Willow Aster is now LIVE!!! PURCHASE YOUR COPY OF WHORE TODAY! Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2B0fsEe Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2yY5D83 B&N: http://bit.ly/2iQYB1U iTunes: http://apple.co/2yZTvHV Kobo: http://bit.ly/2xx0EL8 “I need a reason to exist.” Beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong-willed, wealthy—Lilith Fontenot seems by all appearances, to have it all. But that’s not how the […]

Featured Author Review: Unfinished Hero by Kristen Ashley

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An Unfinished Hero Series Kristen Ashley Titles: Knight, Creed, Raid, Deacon and Sebring Summary: An Unfinished Hero Series is a break from the straight romances Kristen Ashley writes; the chief concern in these novels is the couple, the romance and how they all come together, but the steam is hotter […]

LitStack Recs: Life Drawing & Viva Frida

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Life Drawing, by Robin Black “Nobody outside a marriage can understand it,” the narrator of Life Drawing tells us. Augusta Edelman is a painter, married to Owen, a writer, and they have moved to the Pennsylvania countryside to live in the quiet and pursue their work. The Edelmans have been […]

What’s Under Our Tree: Six Great Books to Give This Holiday Season

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There’s only eight days left until the big day and if you’re anything like us, you’re still scrambling for gift ideas. Don’t worry, some of our favorite authors and publishers have pulled out all the stops for the season’s buying public. From new editions of our favorite books, to compendiums […]

Featured Author Review: The Hookup by Kristen Ashley

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TITLE:The Hookup AUTHOR: Kristen Ashley GENRE:Contemporary Romance Kristen Ashley knows people. That much is clear in the effortless way she depicts relationships–all of them. But what she truly shines at, is the slow, sweet tumble to love and the many ways in which her characters find it. In The Hookup, […]

LitStack Recs: Top reads & Winterdance

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Are books, and stories, getting better? That is, are they getting richer, stronger, and more compelling? My answer is an unequivocal yes. Stories and voices we haven’t heard before are being published, and familiar stories, like those of love and relationships, are being told in a new way, with fresh […]

Featured Author Review: The ‘Burg Series by Kristen Ashley

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The ‘Burg Series Kristen Ashley Titles: For You, At Peace, Golden Trail, Games of the Heart,   The Promise Hold On Kristen Ashley sets her ‘Burg series in a town she knows well–Brownsburg, Indiana, the author’s hometown. But the characters in the series led very different lives than that of the talent writer. The six-book […]

LitStack Recs: Speedbumps & The Human Division

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Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, by Teri Garr Think of Teri Garr, the legendary actress turns 70 on December 11, and likely it’s as the outspoken girl next door, the slightly off-kilter girlfriend, wife, or mother—characters she played in Tootsie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Young Frankenstein. Even […]

12/1/17 December Giveaway: Once Bitten by Heather McCorkle

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It’s that time again! Welcome, LitStackers, to our annual December giveaway. This month, you’ll have the opportunity to enter to win scores of books and goodies from your favorite authors. Check back every day for our daily giveaways and make sure you comment on the giveaways you’re interested in winning […]

Featured Author Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley

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Welcome, LitStackers, to our December Featured Author segment. We love compelling voices and character-driven stories that take us away from the tedium of our lives and this month’s featured author is an expert at doing just that. Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother […]

LitStack Rec: Anna May Wong & We Were Liars

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Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend, by Graham Russell Gao Hodges Don’t be misled by the tabloid nature of the title. Hodges’ biography is a meticulously researched and carefully constructed account of one of early cinema’s most notable icons. You could be forgiven for not knowing the […]

Fictional Family Ties

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It’s been said that families are like fudge—mostly sweet with a few nuts. If we’re lucky, the balance between the two is just right, but even then, we have moments when we wonder what it would be like to have a different set of relatives. Reading gives us that opportunity. […]

Litstack Rec: The Goldfinch & Doctor Sleep

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The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt The reception Donna Tartt garnered for her third novel—it washer first in twelve years—was called a phenomenon and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014 (among other honors). The story centers on the childhood and youth of Theo Decker, an ordinary boy living in New York […]

LitStack Rec: Jerusalem: A Cookbook & Exit West

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Jerusalem:  A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi Some cookbooks are defined by a generation. Your grandmother’s shelf likely held The Joy of Cooking or Julia Child’s The  French Chef. Your mother’s, The Silver Palate or The Moosewood Cookbook. Jerusalem is a cookbook that has similarly struck a culinary-cultural […]

LitStack Rec: Out of Place & Landscape with Invisible Hand

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Out of Place: A Memoir, by Edward Said Edward Said, the prolific author, political activist, pianist, and critic who would have been eighty-two yesterday, rose to academic stardom in 1978 with the publication of Orientalism, the seminal critique of the cultural bias that founded the Western study of Eastern culture. […]

Litstack Rec: Blood Will Out & Vinegar Girl

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Blood Will Out, by Walter Kirn In Preston Sturges’  romantic comedy, “The Palm Beach Story,” Claudette Colbert plays Gerry, reluctant divorcee of husband Tom (Joel McCrea) who’s bankrupted when his dream of building an airport fails. On a train to Palm Beach, Gerry meets eccentric millionaire John D. Hackensacker III, […]

LitChat Interview: Samantha Wekstein, Writer’s House

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  Samantha is a Junior Agent at Writers House.  She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2012 with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing.  She interned at Rowman & Littlefield and Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency before landing at Writers House in 2013 with an […]

LitStack Rec: Manhood for Amateurs & The Last Good Man

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Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, essays by Michael Chabon You know a book on fatherhood is going to be interesting when the title includes the word amateurs. The trope of fatherly wisdom, borne of experience and dispensed with measured calm, is a […]

What We’re Listening To: The Daily, Podcast Review

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New York Times’ Aptly Named “The Daily” Podcast Delivers Consistent High Quality Back in 2016, during the height of the presidential campaign, I decided that when the election was over and Hillary Clinton was waiting to become president, I would engage in more responsible news media consumption. My mind actually […]

Litstack Rec: Barbarian Days & The Echo

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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan William Finnegan’s 2016 memoir begins with an epigraph from Edward St. Aubyn’s novel Mother’s Milk: “He had become so caught up in building sentences  that he had almost forgotten  the barbaric days  when thinking was like a splash of colour landing on […]

Flash Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

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The Buried Giant Kazuo Ishiguro Alfred A. Knopf Release Date:  March 3, 2015 ISBN 978-0-307-27103-7 It’s the dusk of Arthurian England; an uneasy peace lies over the land.  Britons Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple, leave their village to travel to the town where they believe their estranged son lives.  […]

LitStack Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North & Erica Henderson

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Ryan North and Erica Henderson Marvel Everyone should read the ongoing Marvel Comics series “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, written by Ryan North with art by Erica Henderson. Squirrel Girl is the alter ego of Doreen Green, teenage computer science student with the powers of both squirrel […]

LitStack Rec: Little Failure: A Memoir & Back Roads and Frontal Lobes

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Little Failure: A Memoir, by Gary Shteyngart “In order for me to be born,” Gary Shteyngart says early on in his memoir, “all four branches of my family have to end up in Leningrad, trading in their tiny towns and villages for that somber, canal-laced cityscape. Here’s how it happens.” […]

What We’re Watching: A Ghost Story by David Lowery

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A Ghost Story by David Lowery Fair warning, if you haven’t actually watched the movie, walk away now because I’m about to spoil the whole thing. Otherwise, read on. Just don’t get peeved with me … you’ve been given ample time to make a substantial change in your trajectory. A […]

LitStack Exclusive: Good and Bad Writing Advice

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As writers, new and seasoned, there’s one truth that seems to be universal: everyone has advice for you. The problem occurs when those “everyones” don’t quite know what they’re talking about. You’re going to get good and bad advice as you navigate your way learning the writing craft. There will […]

Litstack Rec: The Lesson of the Master and A Land More Kind Than Home

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The Lesson of the Master, by Henry James Colm Tóibín, in his introduction to the 2007 edition of Henry James’ classic novella, cites a note James made in 1888—an idea that came to him after reading the memoir of a colleague: “…it occurred to me that a very interesting situation […]

Travels and Travails of Small Minds – Excerpt

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Travels and Travails of Small Minds Daniel_Falatko Ardent Writers Press Travels and Travails of Small Minds follows the sideways trajectory of an unambitious career temp worker occupying the most nowhere of nowhere jobs. Nathan spends many a hungover morning and afternoon fetching coffee for his senile slumlord boss in a […]

Litstack Rec: The Hermit in the Garden & A City Dreaming

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  The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome, by Gordon Campbell You may not know it, but those winsome garden gnomes decorating the neighbor’s (or your own) lawn, have a distinguished lineage. In Gordon Campbell’s latest book, he draws a clear line of descent. It’s a […]

Cover Reveal: Brave by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Brave, A Wicked Saga, Book 3 Jennifer L. Armentrout Release: December 11th 2017 Ivy Morgan hasn’t been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave […]

LitChat Interview: Kelly Peterson, Corvisiero Literary Agency

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 Kelly has her B.S.Ed. in English and originally became a teacher. She quickly found out that the teaching profession wasn’t for her and followed her passion for books instead. After working for Corvisiero Literary Agency over the last two years, Kelly has come to find that she’s extremely picky, a tough […]

LitStack Review: Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee

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Raven Stratagem (Machineries of Empire, Book 2) Yoon Ha Lee Solaris Release Date:  June 13, 2017 ISBN 978-1-78108-537-0 In 2016, Yoon Ha Lee’s debut novel, Ninefox Gambit, burst on the scene and established itself as the newest entry in the trend towards imaginative, complex, norm-bending science fiction (think Ann Leckie’s […]

LitStack ‘In Case You Missed It’ Review: The City & the City by China Miéville

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The City & the City China Miéville Del Rey Release Date:  May 26, 2009 ISBN 978-0-345-49751-2 I enjoy exploring literary works whose titles have been short-listed for awards in my preferred genre; the Hugos and the Nebulas, the World Fantasy Awards.  Doing so has led me to many talented authors […]

Five Surprisingly Banned Books

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As book lovers, we don’t really understand the purpose of censorship. We certainly don’t support an effort to ban any books because we believe that readers should be able to judge for themselves the appropriateness of a given book. But sometimes, even the best books are pulled from the shelves. […]

LitStack Rec – The Marriage Plot & Leviathan Wakes

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The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides “Heartbreak is funny to everyone but the heartbroken.” That ironic reflection comes early the Jeffrey Eugenides’ lively 2011 novel. The observation is made by Madeleine Hanna, one of three central characters, all of whom are students at Brown University. We meet them on the […]

Cover Revamp: The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish

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Congrats to our good friend,  Kristi Charish  on the cover revamp of her spectacular novel, The Voodoo Killings: A Kincaid Strange Novel (The Kincaid Strange Series). Vintage Canada issued this gorgeous revamped cover in preparation for the release of the second Kincaid Strange series novel. Be sure to pick up your copy […]

LitStack Rec: Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood & American Born Chinese

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Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, by Teri Garr Think of Teri Garr, and likely it’s as the outspoken girl next door, the slightly off-kilter girlfriend, wife, or mother—characters she played in Tootsie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Young Frankenstein. Even when Garr is playing it straight, as in […]

Cover Reveal: The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp

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We’re ridiculously proud to introduce you LitStackers to The City of Lost Fortunes, the debut novel from former LitStack contributor, Bryan Camp. Be sure to add this amazing title to your pre-order list. Congrats, Bryan! Title: The City of Lost Fortunes Author: Bryan Camp Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Release Date: […]

The Writers We Lost Too Soon

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Death and taxes, as the old cliche goes. Both are unavoidable, and while we won’t give you our political opinions on paying taxes, we will say that it’s never easy or expected when we lose someone we love. Even if that “someone” is known to us from afar, from the […]

LitStack Rec: Cutting Teeth & The Dead Lands

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Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro For those who have young children, there’s a lovely innocence to summer—its sprinklers and days at the beach, its long days and late evenings. Julia Fierro’s debut novel, Cutting Teeth, captures that sense of fleeting summer pleasure, as well as the pleasures and the challenges […]

Celebrities Who Are Book Nerds

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In the past, we’ve shown you LitStackers a brief glimpse of some of classic Hollywood’s most eager bookish celebrities. Now, here’s a few shots of some of the “younger” generation’s biggest book nerds. Some of these may surprise you. Some, not so much. Feel free to tell us all about […]

LitChat Interview: Laura Zat, Red Sofa Literary

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Laura Zats graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in English and anthropology. She began working in the publishing industry in 2011, joining Red Sofa Literary in 2013. As an agent, she specializes in children’s fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. She is also one-half of the weekly publishing podcast, Print Run. In her free […]

LitStack Rec: Vivian Maier: Street Photographer & Private Diary of Mr. Darcy

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Vivian Maier: Street Photographer by Vivian Maier (Author), John Maloof (Editor), Geoff Dyer (Contributor) For forty years, Vivian Maier worked as a nanny in Chicago and took photographs on her days off. That may not seem extraordinary, but her work is quickly proving to be our era’s preeminent artistic discovery—the […]

LitStack Review: ROAR by Cora Carmack

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Roar (Stormheart #1) Cora Carmack Tor Teen ISBN-10: 0765386313 In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them. Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for […]

Litstack Rec: An Unnecessary Woman & Extraordinary Adventures

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An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine “I like outsiders,” Aaliya Sohbi tells us, “phantoms wandering the cobwebbed halls of the doomed castle where life must be lived.” The narrator of Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, is herself an outsider, a reclusive, seventy-two year old bibliophile who lives alone in the […]

LitStack Rec: The Good Soldier & Pride’s Spell

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The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford If this novel had been published under the title the author selected, The Saddest Story, contemporary readers might have had a difficult time locating a copy. Fortunately, Ford Madox Ford agreed to his publisher’s title suggestion of The Good Soldier, and with that, […]

OpEd: Young Adult Lit and the Classroom

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A few years back I was asked by a dear friend if I teach the classics and I answered with an emphatic “No!” He scrunched up his face, tilted his head to the side and replied “Why not?” I sighed and then prepared myself for explaining why I feel like […]

LitStack Rec: Desperate Characters & The Last Days of Magic

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Desperate Characters, by Paula Fox This classic of literary fiction, first published in 1970, serves too as a classic example of a novel that was lost to readers, then found. In 1999, when this—and all Paula Fox’s adult novels—fell out of print, interest in the author and her work was […]

LitStack Review: The Standard Grand by Jay Baron Nicorvo

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The Standard Grand Jay Baron Nicorvo St. Martin’s Press Release Date:  April 24, 2017 ISBN 978-1-25010-894-4 It’s rare when an author is able to take characters that are not exactly admirable, and makes them beautifully memorable, especially when the author does not shy away from that which makes them, well, […]

LitStack Recs: Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History & Blue Nights

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Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, by Stephen Jay Gould A book about the 1909 discovery of fossilized prehistoric multi-celled creatures in a rocky outcrop in the Canadian mountains?  Really?  That’s what’s being recommended? Really.  Completely and utterly, yes. Stephen Jay Gould was a brilliant paleontologist […]

LitStack Rec: Commonwealth & All the Birds in the Sky

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Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett Of divorce, Nicole Krauss wrote, “One of us held on to the ambition of the one idea far longer than was reasonable, whereas the other, passing a garbage can one night, had casually thrown it away.” That’s how ending a marriage can feel, especially for the […]

LitChat Interview: Executive Editor David Pomerico, Harper Voyager

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David Pomerico joined Harper Voyager in Spring 2014 as Editorial Director, coming from Spectra, Del Rey, and, most recently, 47North, where he helped launch the imprint. He is focused on all things science fiction and fantasy and very excited to be heading up Harper Voyager US! He’s currently working with […]

LitStack Review: The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata

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The Last Good Man Linda Nagata Mythic Island Press Release Date:  June 20, 2017 Oh my, does Linda Nagata know how to write thrilling military science fiction, or what? (The answer is an unequivocal “yes.”) Following her superlative The Red trilogy (The Red: First Light, The Trials, Going Dark), Ms. […]

LitStack Rec: The Portable Veblen & Wait Till Next Year

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The Portable Veblen, by Elizabeth McKenzie By way of Anne Lamott, we know the novelist Ethan Canin once remarked, “Nothing holds a story together better than a likable narrator.” Lamott went further (in the slim but influential memoir of writing, Bird by Bird), that a likable narrator is comparable to […]