Tag Archives: Books & Authors

Stop! Drop! Roll! Into… R.G. Alexander

Stop! Drop! Roll! Into…

Often people ask what we’re reading. What’s hot? What’s exciting? Who is someone new to try? This lead in is where you’ll get some of those answers. So stop what you’re doing, drop everything that is going on in your life, and roll into these books/authors/subgenres if you want to know what is lighting our fires!

We are soon going to be able to sell e-books through our website! (Small break for Doug & Becky to do The Dance of The Happy Booksellers.) What does this mean for you? Well part of this means a whole new world of recommendations, and I’m going to jump the gun to start just a bit early.

If you’re a fan of erotic romance you should be reading R.G. Alexander. Now let me stop here for a moment to clarify. If you do not like: funny heroes and heroines; adventurous intimate relations; or really hot sexy fun then these are not the books for you. However if you’ve always wanted to be on a dating show with superhero, be ravished by a sexy guy possessed by a voodoo spirit (possibly with his friend there and yours watching), or be a part of a magical menage these will be your cup of tea.

Hitting all points from contemporary settings to fantastical worlds R.G. Alexander has published books in print from Berkley, Ellora’s Cave, and Samhain as well as e-books. I stumbled upon Wicked Sexy, the first book in the Wicked Series, and fell in love with two sexy, magical brothers that were courting the ‘human’ girl of both of their childhood dreams while setting a sting for a killer. From that book on I was reeled into her worlds and her words.

From werewolves to vampires, bikers to bondage, her books reflect a sly sense of humor packed around a hot sexy center with an underlying layer of love. These are books that turn up the heat while touching the heart. Also I have to say that I’ve had a very Merry Christmas the last few years reading the Kinky Christmas Carol box set from R.G. and fellow Smutketeers Eden Bradley & Robin L. Rotham. (It beats the dickens out of Dickens!)

So stop, drop what you’re reading, and roll on into the store to talk about which series you want me to order for you first. I think you’ll fall in love with R.G. Alexander as well.

Check out  R.G.’s site at www.rgalexander.com/

Additional fun can be found at The Smutkeers site http://www.smutketeers.com/

2014 Columbia One Read–The Boys in the Boat

One of Columbia’s literary traditions, sponsored in part by the Daniel Boone Regional Library, is the Columbia One Read.  The past few years selections have spanned both fiction and non-fiction titles including, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Weight of Water, The Tortilla Curtain, The Tiger’s Wife, and last year’s winner The Ruins of Us.

This year the One Read committee has chosen The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown.

Trade Pb / 416 pgs / May 2014 / List Price $17.00 / Our Price $12.75

Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

For more information on the Columbia One Read Program follow the link below.

http://oneread.dbrl.org/

Bob Binges on…. Stephen King

One of the things that we love is hearing what you think of books. It keeps interactions intimate along with helping us to find more literary lanes to lead you on. One of the things our friends hate is when we start nagging and begging for them to write reviews for us. Bless Bob’s heart though, after listening to us whine for longer than a person should have to, he has written us reviews on the last three Stephen King books he’s read. (On a side note he did try bribing us with sodas which did delay, but not halt the stream of whine.)

Here are both a quick summary and reviews for 11/22/63, Under the Dome, and Joyland. Please note we are not responsible for spoilers, so if you don’t want to know something then we recommend that you don’t read beyond the book blurb. When you see the title followed by the author’s name you are entering into the review itself, and the recesses of Bob’s mind.

11/22/63

Receiving a horrific essay from a GED student with a traumatic past, high-school English teacher Jake Epping is enlisted by a friend to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a mission for which he must reacclimate to 1960s culture and befriend troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald.

“Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

11/22/63 by Stephen King

For a retired man, Stephen King puts out an impressive volume of work.

11/22/63 takes the reader on the perils and pitfalls of stopping the most talked about assassination of the 20th century. As a man who lived through through the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination Steven King certainly has enough details to draw upon to create a vivid picture of what the world was like leading up to that fateful day in 1963.

The protagonist is given a charge to stop the murder by a friend of his. He can no longer physically make the arduous journey. The time portal that allows this to happen opens in 1958 and requires that any would be hero wait five years to be in place.

The main question of this story is can you prevent the assassination and if you, should you?

I don’t want to spoil the story, because the world is so rich. I especially appreciate that King does not gloss over the racism that prevalent during the time period. This is made apparent by a few clear scenes as the character moves south from Maine towards Dallas.

As a writer (Hey! I can pretend.) I love the way King creates characters and makes them live and breathe.

A special shout out to King for his acknowledgments. He thanked quite a few people and then thanked his son, Joe Hill (a fine fellow and an excellent writer) for his help with perfecting the ending.

Under the Dome

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away. 

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

Under The Dome by Stephen King

Lord of the flies in a bell jar. That is the most succinct description that I can give people when they ask what I am reading.

Without warning the people of Chester’s Mill are cut off (pun FULLY intended) from Maine, the United States of America, and the world. The transparent dome cuts animals and people in twain, causes vehicles to crash (there are air planes flying), and wrecks havoc. People go through the five stages of grief.

While Chester’s Mill is only cut off for a week, oh yeah, spoiler alert, they get out! This is one of the truly transformational weeks there is. This is the equivalent of being stranded after surviving a shipwreck. You’ve survived, but you’re not out of danger.

As in all of Stephen King’s work, there is much going on below the seemingly calm surface of the small town and they are exposed in the most unseemly of ways.

I feel a word of warning must be given here. The television program is, by its very nature, a different story then the novel. Many of the characters are muted for the show. Junior Rennie is made much more palatable for the viewing audience.

Also, you cannot have the more definite ending that the novel has if you wish to continue on for multiple seasons. Having said that, many of the elements, themes, and ideas are present in the television series.

I enjoyed the name check. Stephen King refers, several times, to Jack Reacher as a character in the same universe. I find this funny as Lee Child, creator of Jack Reacher, has a featured quote on the front cover.

I agree Stephen King is a master of the craft. His characters are vibrant, vital, and real. His pacing and structure only get better the longer he writes.
Joyland
In a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

Joyland by Steven King

Stephen King a behind the scenes view of what a regional amusement park in the early 70s. From what he shows us, I gather it was pert summer camp, part hell, and all hard work. The central murder mystery is not the focus of the tale. Instead, we follow our protagonist as he remembers having his heart broken, learning to recover and love again, and enjoys his time at Funland.

I had concerns about how well King, as if I should ever doubt the Master, would wrap up the mystery. The novel is short and he doesn’t dwell on the murder at all. But, Mr. King expertly weaves the threads of his tale to an exhilarating and satisfying conclusion.

I must confess I was somewhat disappointed Joyland, as the previous entry in the Hard Case Crime series [The Colorado Kid], failed to deliver. The novel is not a classic story of the hard boiled private eye slugging against all odds to solve the case. Instead we are treated to a lovely slice of life that shows us an Average Joe just trying to cope with the shift from adolescence into adulthood.
I enjoyed it and think you will as well.

To keep track of what Bob may be saying out in the ether of the webs you can check out @celticorca on Twitter.

Mr. Mercedes — Stephen King

Hot on the heels of Under the Dome, Doctor Sleep, and Joyland, Stephen King brings his typical chipper, up-beat writing style to Mr. Mercedes his first “hard-boiled detective tale.”  Just released in Hardback at the low, low price of $22.50 (25% discount)

In the gloomy pre-dawn hours of a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of unemployed hopefuls are lined up for a job fair. Without warning, a merciless driver plows through the crowd in a roaring Mercedes. Eight people are killed; 15 are wounded. The killer escapes into the early-spring fog never to be seen from again. Until now…

Detective Bill Hodges is a battle-hardened and streetwise crime fighter originally assigned to the Mercedes killings. Now retired, Hodges has lost his way in boredom and depression craving the thrills of taking down the region’s most notorious criminals. When a disturbing letter from the Mercedes Killer arrives at his door, Hodges soon finds himself uncontrollably drawn into a cat-n-mouse pursuit with stakes beyond comprehension.

If you are looking for more Stephen King it can be said that the VB staff believes that there is “no school like the old school.”

Becky recommends Eyes of the Dragon

Doug recommends Dead Zone, and Salem’s Lot

ReTales: Life Behind the Counter

Most of us have worked in retail, or a service industry, for at least a small amount of time, and if you haven’t you should have. If asked about their experiences most often the reply would be, “The best thing about working retail is the people, and/or the worst thing about working retail is the people.”

As a small business we have an amazing amount of wonderful people we come across, plus the added bonus being able to have in depth conversations that are rare at a box store. (Since I was “most likely to own a bar” according to several of my high school friends it seems Village Books would be a version of Cheers for the bibliophile set.) Some of the best conversations stem from that joint profession in retail and the ability to trade horror stories. One of these surfaced into the middle of a sale the other day when I was thanked for asking about identification with a credit card purchase. We talked about the people who appreciated being asked for ID, those that hated it, reasons, motives, and all the emotion behind pulling out that dreaded DMV photo.

Today’s story came after a nice long discussion about magazines on the topic of, and specifically the magazine,  “Off Grid.”  Everything was jovial until the person refused to show an ID for a credit card purchase………. We’re going to let that sentence sit there for a bit, let it simmer in the back of your mind.  They were so incensed that purchases were thrown on counters, before storming to the door to yell that parting shot. “I’m not showing my ID to anyone because I’m staying off the grid!” At the end of retelling of this story is when we both started laughing. FYI if you’re staying ‘off the grid’ and using a credit card then you’re doing it wrong.

New Non-Fiction on our Shelves — A Higher Call

Now available in Trade size “A Higher Call” by  Larry Alexander and Adam Makos.

Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be calledthe most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II. 

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II. 

A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of 1,000 bombers each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack. 

Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.

A Day in the Life of a Bookseller

I love the act of digging through an old bookstore, or antique mall, or garage sale for books the older the better.  The books themselves have a story to tell and I am prone to wonder and imagine too much of my day in their stories.  I’m fairly certain that I’ve had this affliction for quite some time.  My family would argue that I have many afflictions this being the most definitive of all.  I contend that it is one of the many layers of a storyteller of which I received a double helping of the outrageous.

But old books among other things remind me of something from my youth that is just beyond my touch.  The nearly undescriptive scent that tickles a faint memory.  The something that links the “who we are” to the “who we were” to the “who they were.”  So nothing breaks my heart anymore than when someone brings in moldy, musty, still damp books.  Honestly, who owned these?  Swamp Thing?

Village Books Spotlight: Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden has dazzled us for fourteen years and with Skin Game the fifteenth book in Jim Butcher’s wildly popular Dresden Files series looks to continue the trend.

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day…

Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

He doesn’t know the half of it…

Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever. 

It’s a smash and grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.

Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance…

Sci-Fi/Fantasy—464 Pgs

List Price $27.95          Village Books price $21.00

It’s the End of the World?

I feel fine, this being despite the love affair with what happens when the world around us collapses. In a time where we’re still avidly awaiting the next seasons of The Walking Dead, The 100, and Defiance lets take a moment to look at the books that take us beyond the end of all we know.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
In a novel set in an indefinite, futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, a father and his young son make their way through the ruins of a devastated American landscape, struggling to survive and preserve the last remnants of their own humanity.

The Stand by Stephen King

A monumentally devastating plague leaves only a few survivors who, while experiencing dreams of a battle between good and evil, move toward an actual confrontation as they migrate to Boulder, Colorado.

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

First published in 1959 to critical acclaim and enduring popularity, a new edition of the landmark novel follows the struggle of the Monks of the Order of Saint Leibowitz to preserve the remnants of civilization after a nuclear war and to protect them against tyranny.

The 100 by Kass Morgan

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.

World War Z by Max Brooks

An account of the decade-long conflict between humankind and hordes of the predatory undead is told from the perspective of dozens of survivors who describe in their own words the epic human battle for survival.

The Last Man by Mary Shelley

The last man by Mary Shelley marks the beginning of a new genre in the field of literature, the post-apocalyptic fiction. Set in the 21st century, this novel is the premonition of a dark future, where a deadly plague brings an end to human civilization. An immaculate amalgamation of subtle romance, destructive wars and a catastrophic plague.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

In the aftermath of a cataclysmic event, sixteen-year-old Evie, from a well-to-do Louisiana family, learns that her terrible visions are actually prophecies and that there are others like herself–embodiments of Tarot cards destined to engage in an epic battle.

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

“Alas, Babylon.” Those fateful words heralded the end. When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness.

Patriots by James Wesley Rawles

After a cataclysmic financial crisis prompts a total collapse of American society and forces people to fend for themselves, a group of protagonists make their way to a shared secure ranch in northern Idaho, where they struggle to survive against violent looting and natural hazard.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Apocalypse prophecies and terrorist uprisings in a near-future world erupt when all of the planet’s technologies abruptly stop working, triggering global looting, food riots, and insurrections; a situation that places humanity’s fate in the hands of a small mountain village in the American south.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever!

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

In a nightmarish, post-holocaust world, an ancient evil roams a devastated America, gathering the forces of human greed and madness, searching for a child named Swan who possesses the gift of life.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
A novel of the future explores a world that has been devastated by ecological and scientific disasters.

Summer Reading

“Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” by Diana Gabaldon.

A latest entry in the best-selling Outlander series that includes An Echo in the Bone finds Jamie returning to Claire’s side as a new army sweeps through revolutionary Philadelphia

Hardcover 1008 pgs–list price 35.00  our price 26.25

“The Book of Life” #3 in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

Historian and witch Diana Bishop and her vampire scientist husband Matthew Clairmont return from a trip to the past still searching for the elusive alchemy tome Ashmole 782 in the final installment of the best-selling trilogy following “Shadow of Night.”

Hardcover 560 pgs  list price 28.95–our price 21.74

“Remains of Innocence ” by J.A. Jance.

While investigating two separate cases, Sheriff Joanna Brady must discover if the death of a family friend whose body was found in a limestone cavern is linked to the discovery of a fortune in $100 bills hidden in the house of a hoarder.

Hardcover 352 pgs –list price 26.99  our price 20.25

“Born of Fury” #6 in the League series by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

A founding member of the Sentella organization that has declared war on the League, Hank ruthlessly protects his brethren only to meet his match in Sumi Antaxas, a determined League assassin.

Hardcover 496 pgs–list price 25.99  our price 19.50

“The City” by Dean Koontz

A gifted musician relates the terrible and wonderful events of 1967 that impacted his family and friends, from his indomitable “piano man” grandfather and struggling single mother to the everyday saints and sinners who shaped his life.

Hardcover 352 pgs  list price 28.00  our price 20.99

“Wayfaring Stranger” by James Lee Burke

A decade after taking a shot at Bonnie and Clyde during one of their notorious armed robberies, a Depression teen-turned-soldier escapes death during the Battle of the Bulge and marries a beautiful young woman with whom he seeks his fortune along the Texas-Louisiana oil coast.  By the Edgar Award winning author of Light of the World.

Hardcover 544 pgs   list price 27.99  our price 20.99

For some fun sized reading here is a list of upcoming Summer titles in Trade Size Paperback.

“No River Too Wide” by Emilie Richards

“The Summer Wind” by Mary Alice Monroe

“This is the Water” by Yannick Murphy

“The Boleyn Reckoning” by Laura Anderson

“Take Me Home” by Dorothy Garlock

“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King