Category: Three to Read

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 8/2/19

It just so happens that this week’s edition of Three to Read coincides with J.K. Rowling’s and Harry Potter’s birthdays. There isn’t a magic quite like reading a good book. We have plenty of recommendations that will take you to fantastic places, and push you towards your goals as though you actually are being guided by a mystical force.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

OUR HOT PICK

Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts

 

 

Synopsis:

Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts is an exhilarating, interactive guide to the iconic school of witchcraft and wizardry. This book features spectacular pop-up re-creations of key locations inside and outside Hogwarts castle, and it opens flat to form a pop-up map of the castle and its grounds—including the Quidditch pitch, the Forbidden Forest, and beyond. In addition to large pops on each spread, numerous mini-pops will bring to life beloved elements from the Harry Potter films, such as the Marauder’s Map and the Flying Ford Anglia. Each pop will include insightful text about Hogwarts as seen in the films, making for a must-have collectible for fans of the wizarding world.

NOTE: Before unfolding the Hogwarts map, unhook the two manila tabs on each spread by gently pushing them out from underneath. There are eight tabs in total to release.

 

Why?

Once again, it’s Harry Potter’s birthday this week, so you can join in on the celebration and take a nostalgia trip down Hogwarts’ hallowed halls. A tour of the actual Hogwarts might be out of the question, but this is the next best thing. The talented Matthew Reinhart’s pop-up sculptures add another dimension to the page, literally. His book also provides more insight into the school grounds than the Marauder’s Map. Even Google maps can’t do all that.

 

 

OUR Beach Read

Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life

 

 

Synopsis:

What if success doesn’t equal happiness?

Many of us spend our lives pursuing a singular idea of success, one that was created for us by someone else. We give votes to those who shouldn’t even have voices and strive to go faster and faster even as we find ourselves falling further and further behind. We chase gold stars, we check all the boxes, we Lean In – and we still feel incomplete. 

This is not a story about failure, but it might as well be. When we don’t define success in our own terms, finding our purpose and carving our own path becomes impossible. How do you break the cycle so that you can be better at work and life? 

In this book, Laura Gassner Otting teaches you how to ignore the rules that created your limits, align your energies and your actions, and do work that really matters so that you can live your best life. Often described as “a kick in the ass surrounded by a warm hug,” Laura brings both tough love and wisdom and offers a no-holds-barred look at what it really takes to get out of your own way and earn your success today. 

If you ever dreamed about discovering and crushing that  personal goal that is so big and so scary that you’ve only dared whisper it to yourself, this book is the permission you didn’t even know you needed to live into it as only you can.

 

Why?

A life well lived is a feat of magic in and of itself. Laura Gossner Otting is here to help. Whether you’re keeping up with the Joneses, chasing the approval of others, or trying to achieve what seems to be the unachievable, it’s important to know your worth as an individual. Success is not defined by the same standards for everyone, and nor should it be. Otting has collected invaluable knowledge and experience from interviewing figures who are at the top of their fields and shares it in her guide to strategizing a fulfilling life. Her book is a welcome piece of advice for narrowing down your priorities for achieving satisfaction and developing your own criteria for happiness. You can take a step towards further getting your life together with this read on the beach.

 

 

OUR DARK HORSE

The Magicians Original Graphic Novel: Alice’s Story

 

 

Synopsis:

THE MAGICIANS: ALICE’S STORY is an all new chapter set in the world of The Magicians trilogy of novels by New York Times bestselling author Lev Grossman that retells the events of the first novel through fan-favorite character Alice Quinn.

Alice Quinn is manifestly brilliant, and she’s always known that magic is real. During her years at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, she rises to the top of her class, falls in love with Quentin Coldwater, and witnesses a horrifically magical creature invade their dimension.

It’s not soon after graduation when Alice, Quentin, and their friends set their sights on the idyllic setting of Fillory—a place thought to only live in the pages of their favorite children’s books—where magic flows like rivers . . . But in this magical realm nothing is what it seems and something darker lies behind the spellbinding facade. It is in the darkness where Alice will discover her true calling and her life, and those friends, forever changed.

Acclaimed novelist Lev Grossman joins New York Times bestselling writer Lilah Sturges (Jack of Fables), and breakout artist Pius Bak for a new chapter in the smash hit trilogy The Magicians.

 

Why?

We continue our celebration of magic with Lev Grossman’s and Lilah Sturges’ The Magicians: Alice’s Story. The popular book series and TV show gets a graphic novel continuation that is sure to excite fans who want to learn even more about Alice Quinn. Her side of the story in the first novel, and the expansion of the series’ lore and mythology, are brought to life beautifully by Sturges and artist Pius Bak. If you can’t get enough of The Magicians saga, then this book is just the thing to fill the void while you wait for season five to arrive.

 

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage

 

A Booker Brace – Top 3 Booker Prize Picks

 

The Booker Prize has been a principal barometer of the British literary community since 1969, and since 2014, has considered all original fiction written in English. If you don’t have time to read all 13 books on the long list (a Booker dozen), and you don’t want to wait for the short list in September or the winner in October, here are our top picks.

 

 

 

1. My Sister, The Serial KillerOyinkan Braithwaite

 

Cover - My Sister, The Serial Killer

Image via Amazon

 

This is a gallows humor slasher about the things you do for the ones you love. Morally unencumbered, capturing the complexities of sibling life, this is a page turner you won’t want to put down. It’s already won several awards, including the LA Times Award for Best Crime Thriller and the Field Notes Morning News Tournament of Books, as well as being shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and optioned for a movie.

This is Braithewaite’s debut, but already shows a distinct, explosive voice, and has been perhaps one of the most publicized of the long list novels. Anyone with a taste for killers, or good female villains in general, should pick this up, but you don’t have to be a slasher fan to enjoy this novel.

 

 

2. QuichotteSalman Rushdie

 

Cover - Quichotte

Image via Amazon

 

Quichotte won’t be released until September, but the modern retelling of Don Quixote promises Rushdie’s signature blend of reality and magical realism, with both a commitment to the source material and the devastating strangeness of the present age.

Salman Rushdie has long been a towering figure in literature. Both literary and surrealist, Rushdie has won a battery of awards for his 13 previous books, including the Eggerton prize, and promotion to Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Frances greatest literary honor. Rushdie has won the booker three times, including the 25th and 40th anniversary prizes.

It may not be out yet, but it can be prehumously recommended on anticipation.

 

 

3. An Orchestra of MinoritiesChigozie Obioma 

 

Cover - An Orchestra of Minorities

Image via Amazon

 

This pick is both more tragic and more fantastical, narrated by the guardian spirit of a lovelorn chicken farmer. In love with a wealthy woman, and cheated out of everything he’s ever had, this book explores suicide, loss, and abandonment all through the lens of a narrator who is both hundreds of years old and removed from humanity. The prose is rich and ethereal, and explores what victimhood does to a person, and how far it’s possible to fall – all while traveling the world and more astral spaces.

This is Obioma’s second novel, and his first was short listed for the Booker Prize, so it’s a good bet this year.

 

 

Featured image via The Irish Times

 

 

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 7/26/19

We are approaching the middle of the summer when, depending on where in the world you are, you’re either seeking the refuge of air-conditioned spaces or taking advantage of your nearby beach. It goes without saying that you will likely be spending a lot of time in these sanctuaries, so why not pass the time with a new read?

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

 

OUR HOT PICK

Swipe Right for Murder

 

 

Synopsis:

An epic case of mistaken identity puts a teen looking for a hookup on the run from both the FBI and a murderous cult in this compulsively readable thriller.
 

Finding himself alone in a posh New York City hotel room for the night, Aidan does what any red-blooded seventeen-year-old would do–tries to hook up with someone new. But that lapse in judgement leads him to a room with a dead guy and a mysterious flash drive…two things that spark an epic case of mistaken identity that puts Aidan on the run–from the authorities, his friends, his family, the people who are out to kill him–and especially from his own troubled past.

Inspired by a Hitchcock classic, this whirlwind mistaken-identity caper has razor-sharp humor, devastating emotional stakes, and a thrilling storyline with an explosive conclusion to make this the most compelling YA novel of the year.

 

Why?

You never know how trying to “get lucky” will turn out. However, you definitely don’t expect to be so unlucky that you end up being framed for murder and on the run. Kirkus Reviews appropriately recommends that you “don’t swipe left on this one” and calls this thriller “an addicting read.” Derek Milman’s novel can be considered a modern reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North by Northwest, but with the extra enthrallment of cheering for this young teenager’s survival amidst a crisis he could never have prepared for. Swipe Right for Murder has been highly anticipated and is sure to keep readers turning the pages when it releases on August 6.

 

 

OUR BEACH READ

The Unhoneymooners

 

 

Synopsis:

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

 

Why?

It’s wedding season, vacation season, and pretending-as-though-you’re-not-jealous-of-other people-having-a-better-time-than-you season. This book captures all of those relatable feelings, and promises that good times are on their way as long as you’re patient and can seize opportunity when it arrives. Author Christina Lauren delivers a feel-good story about unexpected fun and excitement and unlikely romance. If you have pent up aggression from past sibling rivalries or lack of future honeymoon plans, then this book is for you. Bring it with you when you need a therapeutic and enjoyable trip to the beach, even if the water there isn’t blue like in your friends’ Instagram posts.

 

 

OUR DARK HORSE

Too Much of Not Enough: A Memoir

 

 

Synopsis:

Jane Pollak spent most of her life “looking for a family.” Raised by a mother who was emotionally unavailable, she grew up believing that love came from performance rather than from being seen, heard, and acknowledged for her true self. It followed that she married an extrovert who performed for his students and yet was unable to connect with his wife.

In this poignant, instructive memoir, Pollak investigates the roots of misguided love and paints a picture of what it means to live a satisfied life. Her tale starts in the couples’ counseling office, where her soon-to-be ex-husband drops the bomb that he’s seeing someone else. From there, Jane goes on to find self-empowerment through her La Leche League group, her career as an artist, her travels around the world, her journey through twelve-step recovery, and her experiences while dating in her sixties. At last, she forges a blissful life on her own in Manhattan, conducting business and enjoying time with family, friends and a bit of romance.

Inspiring and deeply relatable, Too Much of Not Enough is a primer on how to be the proactive agent of one’s own best path.

 

Why?

Unconditional love is a treasure that should never be taken for granted, and can take years to find or recognize. If you’re lucky, you’ll find it from a handful of people who truly love you for being nothing other than what you are, and not for being what is most convenient for them. For author Jane Pollak, it took most of her life and pretty significant bumps along the way. However, her gradual acquiring of inner peace very much influenced her journey from being the quiet, people-pleasing good girl to the successful artist and entrepreneur that she is today. Pollak is kind enough to share her story in her inspiring memoir, Too Much of Not Enough, and provides guidelines that anyone can follow in their quest for a more fulfilling life, surrounded by the people you were meant to be with.

 

 

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage

 

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 7/18/19

San Diego Comic Con (the biggest pop culture convention in the world that has something for everyone) is this weekend. Therefore, you’ll likely be dying from either, (A) not being there, or (B) anticipation, after all of the awesome upcoming books, comics, shows, film releases, etc. have been announced. However, we have just the thing to keep you entertained while you wait for those attractions to arrive.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

 

 

OUR HOT PICK

 

ONE LITTLE SECRET

 

 

Synopsis:

Everyone has a secret. For some, it’s worth dying to protect. For others, it’s worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town―and desperate for some kid-free conversation―she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others’ marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look.

A taut, locked room mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, One Little Secret promises to keep readers’ eyes glued to the pages and debating the blinders that we all put on in the service of politeness.

 

Why?

We’re fresh from ThrillerFest weekend, the literary event that celebrates thriller novels everywhere and their ability to keep us at the edge of our seats. Now’s your chance to celebrate with USA TODAY bestselling author Cate Holahan’s One Little Secret, her latest thriller about the challenges of looking for a fresh start, and how badly it can backfire if done indelicately. Holahan’s dark mystery will have you biting your nails, on your toes, and reconsidering how many alcoholic beverages you’ll want to consume in the company of those you’ve just met, so that you don’t repeat the mistakes of her vivid characters.

 

 

OUR BEACH READ

 

ELVIS IN VEGAS

 

Synopsis:

The story of how Las Vegas saved Elvis and Elvis saved Las Vegas in the greatest musical comeback of all time.

The conventional wisdom is that Las Vegas is what destroyed Elvis Presley, launching him on a downward spiral of drugs, boredom, erratic stage behavior, and eventually his fatal overdose. But in Elvis in Vegas, Richard Zoglin takes an alternate view, arguing that Vegas is where the King of Rock and Roll resurrected his career, reinvented himself as a performer, and created the most exciting show in Vegas history.

Elvis’s 1969 opening night in Vegas was his first time back on a live stage in more than eight years. His career had gone sour—bad movies, and mediocre pop songs that no longer made the charts. He’d been dismissed by most critics as over the hill. But in Vegas he played the biggest showroom in the biggest hotel in the city, drawing more people for his four-week engagement than any other show in Vegas history. His performance got rave reviews, “Suspicious Minds” gave him his first number-one hit in seven years, and Elvis became Vegas’s biggest star. Over the next seven years, he performed more than 600 shows there, and sold out every one.

Las Vegas was changed too. The intimate night-club-style shows of the Rat Pack, who made Vegas the nation’s premier live-entertainment center in the 1950s and ‘60s, catered largely to well-heeled older gamblers. Elvis brought a new kind of experience: an over-the-top, rock-concert-like extravaganza. He set a new bar for Vegas performers, with the biggest salary, the biggest musical production, and the biggest promotion campaign the city had ever seen. In doing so, he opened the door to a new generation of pop/rock performers, and brought a new audience to Vegas—a mass audience from Middle America that Vegas depends on for its success to this day.

A classic comeback tale set against the backdrop of Las Vegas’s golden age, Richard Zoglin’s Elvis in Vegas is a feel-good story for the ages.

 

Why?

While our Hot Pick would have been an “interesting” beach read to say the least, we feel as though a beach read should be a little more encouraging of seeking real life adventure, not murder, which is indeed what Richard Zoglin delivers with Elvis in Vegas. Zoglin is a contributing editor and theater critic for Time magazine, and gives us an informed account of the impact that Elvis had on stage performance in Las Vegas and live-entertainment. Embrace the legendary King of Rock’s comeback and return to the stage in this feel-good tale. When you hear “Vegas,” you think “adventure” right? Take this one with you for your next trip to the beach and be inspired to make your journey the best that you can make it.

 

 

OUR DARK HORSE

 

HER SECRET SON

 

 

Synopsis:

How far would you go to protect the ones you love…when they may not be yours to protect?

When Josh’s longtime partner, Grace, dies in a tragic accident, he is left with a mess of grief—and full custody of her seven-year-old son, Logan. While not his biological father, Josh has been a dad to Logan in every way that counts, and with Grace gone, Logan needs him more than ever.

Wanting to do right by Logan, Josh begins the process of becoming his legal guardian—something that seems suddenly urgent, though Grace always brushed it off as an unnecessary formality. But now, as Josh struggles to find the paperwork associated with Logan’s birth, he begins to wonder whether there were more troubling reasons for Grace’s reluctance to make their family official.

As he digs deeper into the past of the woman he loved, Josh soon finds that there are many dark secrets to uncover, and that the truth about where Logan came from is much more sinister than he could have imagined…

Tightly paced and brimming with tension, Her Secret Son is a heartbreakingly honest portrait of a family on the edge of disaster and a father desperate to hold on to the boy who changed his life.

 
Why?

Our Dark Horse pick is indeed dark, but it is also an intimate and powerful tale about the struggles of grief, and family bonds that are stronger than blood. Hannah Mary McKinnon delivers a hero with Her Secret Son’s Josh, whose drive to do right by his son (in every way but name), is something that deserves to be recognized and admired. McKinnon’s novel will keep you in both suspense and anticipation, as you’re led through a roller coaster of emotions, hoping that Josh and Logan will be able to make it as a family.

 

 

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage