Tag: Goodreads

Swoon Over Bookstr’s Romance Picks This Week!

Each week, Bookstr will be offering a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list. Today, we’ll be recommending five recent romance books for your recommendation pleasure. Romance offers a look into the lives of couples, dealing with love and all the trials it offers. Let’s fall in love with the couples of these books and the worlds they create!

 

5. The unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

 

A toucan sits on a tree branch against the backdrop of a yellow sky

 

Image via Goodreads

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is a romance set in the sweeping tropical vista of Hawaii. It tells the tale of twins, different as night and day. Olive Torres is constantly faced with bad luck and mishaps, while her sister Ami is a perfect, seemingly unflappable champion who is getting married. Olive is forced to attend the wedding with the best man, her nemesis Ethan Thomas. But when the entire wedding gets food poisoning, there’s a honeymoon up for grabs and Olive begrudgingly decides to spend it with Ethan. But as they spend more time together, Olive realizes she might be developing feelings for the man she hated.

 

4. The View From Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

 

A beautiful view of an island with mountains rising in the distance around the Golden Gate Bridge

Image via Amazon

The View From Alameda Island by Robyn Carr tells of a woman who dares to confront her unhappy marriage and start a new life. Lauren Delaney seemingly has a perfect life, with a successful career and a rock solid marriage but on their twenty fourth anniversary , she defies her abusive husband and divorces him. As she starts a new life, she meets another soul, a man who also is struggling to end an unhappy marriage. As she is pursued by her husband who wants her back, Lauren struggles to start a new existence, one that will make her truly happy.

 

3. Boyfriend for Hire by Kendall Ryan

 

A man smiling sits on top of a woman in bed

Image via Amazon

Boyfriend For Hire by Kendall Ryan tells the story of a hot male escort. One of the sexiest guys women can hire, he has only one rule: this is a job and he earns a pay check. In six years, he hasn’t fallen for a client. Not once. Until a woman called Elle. Elle’s friend has hired him to accompany her to a wedding but Elle doesn’t know her date isn’t real. He falls for her but what happens when Elle finds out he’s been hired to make her happy?

 

2. The Girl he used to know by Tracey Garvis Graves

 

A young woman in blonde hair stands facing away from the viewer

Image via Amazon

The Girl He Used to Know tells of a young woman with social anxiety called Annika Rose, who attends the University of Illinois. She prefers the quiet solitude of chess and books to being around people. But when she plays against a boy her age called Jonathan Hoffman, he is smitten with her, especially after he loses to her at chess . He pursues her and they begin a doomed love affair. Now, a decade later the two reunite and the attraction blooms but to be together, they need to face their own circumstances that drove them apart.

 

1. Normal People by Sally Rooney 

 

Two sketches of a woman and a man stand on top of her each other

Image via Amazon

Normal People tells of two people who attract from opposite circumstances. Marianne is quiet, isolated, and lonely. Connell is popular, well-adjusted, and the star of the football team. They pretend not to know each other but share a secret bond behind closed doors. A year later, the two attend Trinity College together and grow closer as the years at the school go on. As Marianne begins to veer towards self-destruction through her isolation and Connell searches for a more meaningful life, the two will always share a bond that will show how far they’ll go for each other.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

Joshua Jackson Joins Cast of ‘Little Fires Everywhere’

Dawson’s Creek‘s Joshua Jackson has been cast in a leading role in Hulu’s adaptation of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. Published 2017, written by Celeste Ng’s second novel is about two families living in 1990s Shaker Heights who are brought together through their children. Shaker Heights is Ng’s hometown and she described writing about her hometown as “a little bit like writing about a relative. You see all of the great things about them, you love them dearly, and yet you also know all of their quirks and their foibles.

 

Little Fires Everywhere

Image Via Amazon

The Kenyon Review wrote that the novel “shows a particular place and time that makes us reflect on the limits of our own views and consider the spiderwebs of connection, conflict, privilege, and exclusion that we, too, create,” and, despite not liking the novel overall, The Guardian still described it as “well crafted”, saying that “[t]he characters are vividly drawn. The author manages a large cast, multiple points of view, and all three rings of her circus with grace and authority”.

 

Celeste Ng

Image Via The TLS

 

The book was voted as the winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards for fiction in 2017The Hollywood Reporter wrote about the long history with the adaptation, despite the book barely even being two years old. Before the book was even published, “[Reese] Witherspoon’s company, Hello Sunshine, snatched up the rights…and brought it to fellow star and exec. producer Kerry Washington”.

 

Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington

Image Via Deadline

Reese Witherspoon, June Carter-Cash in Walk The Line and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, and Kerry Washington, who portrayed Broomhilda von Shaft in Django Unchained and Olivia Pope in Scandal, then went to Liz Tigelaar, who agreed to adapted the novel and serve as series showrunner.

Soon afterwards, ABC Signature agreed to executive produce “the series alongside Hello Sunshine and Simpson Street” and Tigelaar, Lauren Neustadter, Pilar Savone, producer of Django Unchained and associate producer for Inglourious Basterds, and Lynn Shelton, director of We Go Way Back and Humpday, all came on board as executive producers.

Streaming platform Hulu ended up winning a bidding war for the whole package.

 

Joshua Jackson

Image Via Disney Wiki – Fandom

Now joining this all star team is Joshua Jackson, perhaps best known as Pacey in Dawson’s Creek, who is set to portray Bill Richardon.

As of today, the cast list is as follows:

Joshua Jackson will play Bill Richardson, an attorney and husband to Elena.

Elena an engetic and strong willed 3rd generation resident of Shaker Heights who writes for the local paper, will be portrayed by Reese Witherspoon.

 

Jade Pettyjohn

Image Via Justine Magazine

Jade Pettyjohn, who played Shelby in Destroyer, will play Lexie Richardson, the oldest Richardson child and a senior in high school. Jordan Elsass, who played Kyle in People with Issues, will be Trip Richardson, the second oldest Richardson child who is a jock.

 

Jordan Elsass

Image Via Indieactivity

Gavin Lewis will be Moody Richardson, a well-meaning child who introduces Pearl to his family and develops a crush on her.

 

Gavin Lewis

Image Via IMDB

 

Megan Stott will be Izzy Richardson, a black sheep of the family who rejects the Richardsons upper-middle class lifestyle.

 

Megan Stott

Image Via IMDB

 

Kerry Washington will be Mia Warren, a photographer and single mother. Lexi Underwood will be Pearl Warren, a kind child who doesn’t know who her father is and is the same age as Moody.

 

Lexi Underwood

Image Via IMDB

 

Rosemarie DeWitt, who played Laura Wilder in La La Land, will be Linda McCullough, a childhood friend of Elena’s, whose adoption of a Chinese baby causes controversy in the close-knit community.

 

Rosemarie DeWitt

Image Via The Hollywood Interview

 

 

No word yet on who has been cast as Bebe Chow, Mia’s co-worker who wants her abandoned baby back from the McCulloughs and ends up in a custody battle with them, or who has been cast as Mirabelle McCullough/May Ling Chow, the daughter at the heart of the custody battle, but we’ll keep you updated!

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon, Bustle and Vox

Book covers for Two Can Keep a Secret, Shout and Lets Go Swimming on Doomsday

This Week’s Top Genre Must-Reads: Young Adult

Each week, Bookstr will be offering a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list. Today, we’ll be recommending five recent young adult books for your reading pleasure. Young adult novels are generally written with an 12-18 age bracket in mind but over half of the audience for YA novels is adults (as our audience can attest!) Young adult novels are often just as sophisticated as their adult contemporaries, with a lot of themes about growing up into adulthood and dealing with the perils of being a teenager mixed in. Below, are some of our favorite recently published YA must-reads!

 

5. Let’s Go swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson

 

A young African boy stands amidst a raging sea, backlit by a city

Image Via Goodreads

Let’s Go Swimming On Doomsday is a harrowing novel that is nevertheless a great (if stressful) read. Written by Natalie C. Anderson, the story tells of a Somali refugee called Abdi whose family is kidnapped by a ruthless jihadi terrorist group. In order to save his family, he’s forced to become a spy for the American CIA and infiltrate the organization, witnessing horrific acts while trying not to blow his cover. He eventually escapes but is caught for petty theft and forced to reckon with his past. Horrifying and deeply touching in equal measure, the novel touches on themes of redemption and family, making it a must read. Just bring a box of Kleenex.

 

4. Two Can Keep a secret by Karen M. McManus 

 

Two photographs of two young women are stitched together via tape

Image Via Amazon

A gripping YA thriller, Two Can Keep A Secret is about an isolated town called Echo Ridge, where Ellery’s her aunt went missing many years ago, and just five years before Ellery moves there, a homecoming queen also vanished. Ellery has just moved in with her grandmother who she barely knows when another girl goes missing. Now Ellery has to solve the mystery of Echo Ridge, suspecting her grandmother and mother may be keeping dark secrets from her. Captivating and exciting, this new thriller from the author of bestseller One of Us Is Lying is one you’ll want to pick this one up and watch out for the plot twists!

 

3. Four Dead Queens By Astrid Scholte 

 

Four golden crowns lie on the ground amidst a black. void

Image Via Goodreads

Four Dead Queens takes place in the fictional world of Quadara, focusing on master thief Keralie Corrington and upstanding citizen Varin. When their paths cross, Varin accidentally foils Keralie’s latest theft and the bungled thievery attempt leaves them caught in a conspiracy game that leaves four queens of Quadara dead. With no other choice, the two join forces to find who killed the queens and form an uneasy alliance in their quest. Fast paced and with a building mystery, this is a great novel to get sucked into.

 

2. Field Notes on Love by Jennifer Smith

 

A young couple standing front of a train, with a heart between them

Image Via Amazon

Field Notes On Love by Jennifer Smith tells the story of two young teenagers, Mae and Hugo, who decide to ride cross-country via train. Hugo’s girlfriend dumps him, while Mae has been rejected from USC’s film school. The two happen to find each other on the train and grow close inside of the train. But can they stay together as the real world infringes on their idyllic train adventure? This is a fun, romantic, and sweet coming-of-age story of two strangers finding love.

 

1. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

The cover to Shout featuring a tree growing in a black void

Image Via Goodreads

SHOUT  by Laurie Halse Anderson is a young adult novel for our time. Anderson, author of the groundbreaking Speak, recounts her own upbringing via verse, creating angry, yet hopeful portraits of her life. It is a call to action for survivors of sexual abuse and advocating for them.  It is a novel that will tear you down yet make you feel energized to make real change in what the author calls a failure of society to help survivors of sexual assault. It is a great read and one that everyone should pick up.

 

 

Featured Image Via Goodreads 

Top Genre Picks: Crime/Thrillers

Each week, Bookstr will be offering a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list. Today, we’ll be recommending five recent crime/thrillers for your reading pleasure. Thrillers and crime novels often overlap, containing equal amounts of suspense, anxiety, anticipation, and shock. These novels will certainly set you on edge and leave you guessing until the very end.

 

The cover to the Boy by Tami Hoag, featuring numerous reeds against a blue set sky

Image Via Goodreads

1. ‘The Boy’ by Tami Hoag

The Boy by Tami Hoag has quickly shot up the New York Times bestsellers list and it’s easy to see why. The premise of the novel is that a detective, Nick Fourcade, enters into a home in Louisiana to discover a young boy of seven murdered by an alleged intruder, yet his mother appears to be unhurt and there is no sign of forced entry. The waters are further muddled when the boy’s babysitter goes missing. All fingers begin to point to the mother as the murderer of her own child but Nick thinks there may be more to the case than meets the eye. With a premise like that, this is a must read that will keep you guessing until the very end.

The cover to the Drowning by J.P. Smith, featuring a ladder descending into a shallow lake

Image Via Goodreads

2. ‘The Drowning’ by J.p. Smith

The Drowning by J.P. Smith isn’t an easy read but it’s a great one. Alex Mason, a camp counselor, leaves a young boy in the middle of the lake to teach him a lesson but the boy vanishes. Alex doesn’t tell the truth, leaving the death to be forgotten, until twenty years later he begins receiving threatening notes from the boy, Joey Proctor. But Joey is dead. Or is he? With a strong prose, an excellent hook for its creepy plot, The Drowning is a book that’ll keep you guessing until the very end. Alex Mason is a multilayered protagonist, at once unsympathetic yet showing enough humanity for the audience to be on his side. Check this one out for sure.

 

The cover of My Lovely Wife featuring a woman looking at herself in the mirror of a knife

Image Via Amazon

3. ‘My Lovely Wife’ by Samantha Downing

This one isn’t technically out yet, but it’s received excellent early reviews and features a wild as hell premise that’s impossible to ignore. My Lovely Wife is about a married couple who engages in a new activity to keep their marriage alive. One catch: the activity in question is murder. The book is described as deliciously wicked, dark, and ‘completely crazy’ but in a good way! This one is suggested to just go in blind, so we won’t give in anything away, so pick this one up when it hits shelves March 26th.

The cover to the Stranger Diaries, featuring a house being carved in half in a cozy suburb

Image Via Goodreads

4. ‘The Stranger Diaries’ by Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths is a modern gothic fantasy, themed around literary killings. Clare Cassidy specializes in a course revolving around gothic writer R.M. Holland. But when a dead body turns up with a quote from Holland’s story, ‘The Stranger’, Elly Griffiths is drawn into a dark murder mystery, as more murders begin to pop up themed around Clare’s beloved book. To make matters worse, Clare receives a note in her personal diary, from the killer that says ‘Hello, Clare. You don’t know me.” This should be a must read for literature fans, especially since the killings are themed around literature!

A young woman walking in a snow drenched filed in a red coat Image Via Goodreads

5. ‘The Reckoning’ by Yrsa Sigurdardottir 

The second novel in the Children’s House series, a series of psychological thrillers that examines police procedurals in Scandinavia. This novel deals with series characters Huldar and Freyja, a detective and a child psychologist respectively. In the present time dismembered limbs begin popping all over town, while flashbacks deal with a young girl who went to use the phone at her friend’s house and didn’t return. The mystery gets quite dark, but leaves readers invested in seeing it through to the end, thanks to the author’s strong sense of characterization and excellent atmosphere. Its not an easy read but well worth the ride.

Will you be picking up any of these thrillers? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Via Deadline

 

A woman in binoculars looks like a stalker

This Author Stalked a Negative Reviewer… and Got a Book Deal?

Common sense should tell any writer never to Google themselves… but compulsion is usually both meaner and louder. When author Kathleen Hale received a one-star rating and harsh review, she did what anyone would do and absolutely freaked out. Then she did something few others would do—she tracked down the blogger’s home address.

 

Kathleen Hale superimposed over a series of bad reviews

Image Via Salon.com

 

Hale has since revealed the full review that began her spiral into panic and obsession: “Fuck this. I think this book is awfully written and offensive; its execution in regards to all aspects is horrible and honestly, nonexistent. I can say with utmost certainty that this is one of the worst books I’ve read this year, maybe my life.” Hale claims this negative Goodreads review was followed by extensive cyber-bulling from blogger Blythe Harris, including endless Tweets ridiculing her work. Hale’s conundrum was clear:

 

Confronting [Blythe] would mean publicly acknowledging that I searched my name on Twitter, which is about as socially attractive as setting up a Google alert for your name (which I also did).

 

 

Kathleen Hale's negative review

 

But Hale did publicly acknowledge searching her name on Twitter. She did so inadvertently when, while “good-naturedly drunk on bourbon and after watching Blythe tweet about her in-progress manuscript, I sub-tweeted that, while weird, derivative reviews could be irritating, it was a relief to remember that all bloggers were also aspiring authors.” This, like the rest of the story, did not end well. Fellow readers tweeted her what she might have already known: reviews are for readers, not authors. Hale responded as a victim, tweeting: “Sorry. Didn’t mean all bloggers, just the ones who talk shit then tweet about their in-progress manuscripts.”

 

Kathleen Hale's drunken tweets

 

 

With her public image tarnished, Hale opted for a more anonymous approach—spending so much time searching the reviewer’s social media profiles that she noticed the inconsistencies. On one profile, Blythe Harris claimed to be an 8th grade teacher. On another, she taught the 10th grade. Hale became obsessed with the accumulation of these details, noting that many of Blythe’s Instagram photos appeared generic and impersonal, as if they had been Google searched. And they had been Google searched—by Hale, and repeatedly.

 

Things had clearly already taken a turn for the worse. Then it took a turn for the much, much worse. Hale used her connections with a book club to obtain Blythe Harris’ address—and when she paid for a background check, she discovered what felt like the lynchpin of the whole mystery: Blythe Harris was a pseudonym, and her story was a lie. According to Hale’s own article, the real mystery seems to be why Hale felt that, when she rented a car to drive to Harris’ house, she believed she was standing up for herself. Though she backed out of actually knocking on Blythe Harris’ doorstep, she continued to confirm the reviewer’s identity by calling her at work.

 

Kathleen Hale

Image Via Buzzfeed.com

 

Hale describes “feeling like the biggest creep in the world, but also that [she] might be talking to a slightly bigger creep.” The title of her article, “‘Am I Being Catfished?’ An Author Confronts Her Number One Online Critic,” shows her readers who she think the real creep is: the woman who concealed her real identity online. And Hale does not seem to consider that she had given Blythe a reason to hide it. Blythe Harris has since retreated from social media, setting all profiles to private.

 

Blythe's goodreads account, set to private

 

 

Authors and celebrities tweeted both their support and dissent, with names as big as Neil Gaiman and John Mulaney getting in on the discourse.

 

John Mulaney tweets his support

 

 

Neil Gaiman tweets his response

 

Though this is Kathleen Hale’s most notorious instance of stalking, it’s also not her first. That came when she was fourteen—came in the form of a perhaps more morally nebulous circumstance. After a fellow student made criminal allegations about Hale’s mother, Hale called the girl fat and poured isopropyl alcohol over her head. Hale recollects this situation in an earlier article, published before any of her novels.

 

While the stalking incident happened several years ago, there’s been a new development: Kathleen Hale has a book deal… and she’s set to make money off the stalking. Slated for June publication, Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker is a collection of essays including one piece, “Catfish,” which directly addresses the incident. Critics say that Hale doesn’t know what catfishing actually is—and some of them have even made an online campaign to stop Hale’s publication. Grove Press, Kathleen’s publishers, express support: “We stand by our publication. There are six essays in this collection which have been revised and expanded since online publication, including the essay “Catfish.” We would encourage people to read the collection before passing judgement.”

 

Consider the collection. What do you think?

 

'Kathleen Hale is a Crazy Stalker'

Image Via Groveatlantic.com

 

Kathleen Hale has been known to stalk people from time to time. Not recently, of course, and only online. Well, mostly online. She once tracked a mountain lion running loose in the Hollywood Hills, while pregnant with her daughter. And then there was that time she hunted eight-foot, three-hundred-pound feral hogs in Florida–all for the good of mankind, of course.

In these six extraordinary essays, Hale proves herself to be an exhilarating new voice whose commentaries on womanhood, obsession, and the Internet are both hilarious and profound. In “Catfish,” she recounts a standoff with a caustic Goodreads reviewer who writes under an alias, spurring Hale on a treacherous Instagram investigation that ends badly at the reviewer’s house. In “Prey,” she tells the troubling story of her assault at a massage parlor in the days before her fresh-man year at Harvard, sending her to seek shelter in the library, where she spends hours researching and memorizing the weak spots of various dangerous animals. Whether she’s visiting a colony of misfits in the desert who claim to suffer from undiagnosable environmental illnesses or watching the Miss America pageant at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Hale wields razor-sharp wit, uncommon levels of empathy, and fearless honesty, especially when turned upon herself.

Hilarious, candid, and sometimes unsettling, Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker examines the many forms that trauma can take, revises our ideas of who or what a predator can be, and introduces an arresting and madcap new voice for this strange American century.

 

 

Featured Image Via Thedailydot.com