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1Q1A Gena Showalter Everlife
February 08, 2018 07:01 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Our guest today is Gena Showalter, author of, her new novel, Everlife published in February by Harlequin Teen. Everlife completes her trilogy, which commenced with First Life and then Lifeblood.

Gena is a NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author of Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark, all series and all unputdownable. She also authored The White Rabbit Chronicles and the Original Heartbreakers series. And I could go on, but we only have so much time.

She’s been a National Reader’s Choice awardee and her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen.

The Everlife Trilogy (close to 1500 pages), which I read in two days, is the story of life after life, that is, we live our eponymous first life, during which we make a choice between two warring factions that exist in the place we go to after we die in our first life. The two competing teams, if you will are Troika and Myriad. In essence, Troika is light and Myriad is shadow. Each has its benefits (seemingly) and our two protagonists Ten (Tenley Lockwood) and Killian (Flynn) although there are scores of well drawn characters, fight, compete, like and maybe love each other. The plot is riveting and the pace is breathtaking. It is a series you can’t put down and the conclusion is satisfying and revelatory.

If you like fantasy, science fiction, romance and adventure and violence, you will love this series.

Matt Haig How to Stay Alive
February 08, 2018 06:58 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today we are lucky to have with us Matt Haig author of, his latest novel, How To Stop Time, published in February by Viking.

Matt is the author of the bestselling memoir Reasons to Stay Alive, along with novels including The Humans and The Radleys as well as several award winning children’s books.

Matt is lucky enough that Benedict Cumberbatch has signed on to star and produce the film version of this book.

How to Stay Alive is a book about immortality, or as close to immortality as one can get.

Tom Hazard has been alive for centuries but he only looks like he is in his early forties, thanks to a genetic reconfiguration, mutation, what you will that for better or worse causes him to age very very slowly. The novel travels as does Tom (since he has all the time in the world) from Elizabethan England, where we fall in with Shakespeare for a few pages, to Jazz-Age lost generation Paris, where we converse with the Fitzgeralds, to New York, the South Seas, Australia.

Tom is forced, to avoid suspicions of all kinds, to move every eight years or so to avoid detection as the folks around him get older and wrinkly and he stays the same as he was (outwardly).

However you don’t leave the past behind, no matter how long you live and one of the hardest things Tom has to learn, imperfectly, is to never fall in love. Love transcends time.

Tom wants an ordinary life. But can he have one. Let’s find out.

JoJo Moyes Still Me
February 02, 2018 07:22 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. When last we spoke with Jojo, dear listener, it was more than five years ago and Me Before You had just come out. No thronging crowds at book signings, no billion-dollar movies with Deanery’s and Gayle, no After Me and of course no Still Me her latest and last featuring Louisa Clark. Now of course she has had three novels on the NYT best sellers list and is translated into hundreds of languages. I am amazed that she’ll still talk to me—although I was amazed five years ago.

For those of you living in some other universe, Jojo has written, in addition to the Louisa trilogy, Paris for One, The Horse Dancer, The Last Letter from Your Lover One plus One and other great books. A total of I think 11 or so.

And is now working on scripts and screenplays for new movies based these titles.

In Still Me Louisa has left Ambulance Sam for the moment, or is it just a moment, and ventured to America, to New York City and once again is a caretaker of sorts, this time for the Gopniks and specifically for the super wealthy, super beautiful, super enigmatic Agnes. Nathan got her the job. Along the way she meets a new guy, Josh, who looks a lot like Will but doesn’t necessarily act like him. And Ms. DeWitt, and Ashok and Garry and a bunch more characters as thoroughly and enjoyably drawn as Jojo has in her other books.

I’ve lived in New York, I still go there three or four times a year, and after a week or two of research in the city, Jojo seems to know as much about this unique city as I do.

In any event, as a conclusion to a remarkable trilogy Still Me does not disappoint and it reminds us of what a wonderful, quirky and really good woman Louis Clark is.

With that, welcome Jojo and thanks for coming by again to talk to us after all this time.

Robin MacArthur Heart Spring Mountain
February 02, 2018 07:19 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Robin MacArthur author of Heart Spring Mountain published in January by Eco.

Robin lives in Marlboro Vermont not far from where she was born and where the novel takes place. Her debut collection of short stories, Half Wild won the 2017 PEN New England award for fiction.

She is also one half of the musical duo Red Heart the Ticker, alongside her husband, Tyler Gibbons. And I suggest you check out their music on YouTube or at their website RHTT.
Heart Spring Mountain is a novel about death, disaster, love, loss and heartbreak. These things, things we have all experienced are told through the lens of three generations of women. The absent protagonist, Bonnie disappears during 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene and Vale leaves her bartending and exotic dancing job in New Orleans and comes back to her little town in Vermont to try and find her mom.

During this quest, Vale reunites with the matriarch of this family Hazel and her widowed cousin-in-law Deb.

Vale, when she is not searching for her mother, is intrigued by the family’s history and tries to preserve it as she uncovers secrets about it.

Some of the other characters are painted just as distinctly as our main protagonists. Bonnie’s mom, Deb’s husband and the absent Bonnie herself.

The novel is evocative as it brings up memories and experiences we all share in an almost poetic fashion and at the same time tells us that there is always room for hope and change.

With that welcome Robin and thanks for joining us today.

1Q1a Robin MacArthur Heart Spring Mountain
February 02, 2018 07:17 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Robin MacArthur author of Heart Spring Mountain published in January by Eco.

Robin lives in Marlboro Vermont not far from where she was born and where the novel takes place. Her debut collection of short stories, Half Wild won the 2017 PEN New England award for fiction.

She is also one half of the musical duo Red Heart the Ticker, alongside her husband, Tyler Gibbons. And I suggest you check out their music on YouTube or at their website RHTT.
Heart Spring Mountain is a novel about death, disaster, love, loss and heartbreak. These things, things we have all experienced are told through the lens of three generations of women. The absent protagonist, Bonnie disappears during 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene and Vale leaves her bartending and exotic dancing job in New Orleans and comes back to her little town in Vermont to try and find her mom.

During this quest, Vale reunites with the matriarch of this family Hazel and her widowed cousin-in-law Deb.

Vale, when she is not searching for her mother, is intrigued by the family’s history and tries to preserve it as she uncovers secrets about it.

Some of the other characters are painted just as distinctly as our main protagonists. Bonnie’s mom, Deb’s husband and the absent Bonnie herself.

The novel is evocative as it brings up memories and experiences we all share in an almost poetic fashion and at the same time tells us that there is always room for hope and change.

With that welcome Robin and thanks for joining us today.

Chandler Klang Smith The Sky is Yours
February 02, 2018 07:13 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Chandler Kling Smith author of The Sky is Yours, published this January by Hogarth.

Chandler is a graduate of Bennington and the creative writing MFA program at Columbia. She has worked in book publishing and currently lives, teaches and tutors in New York City.

The Sky is Yours is Chandler’s first novel but will not be her last.

We are in the future. We are in Empire Island, a lot like New York. It is a crumbling edifice to man’s folly. And on top of that it is beset by a pair of fire breathing dragons who languidly circle the city, belching fire at buildings and people in a somewhat (perhaps) haphazard way, especially interested in Torch town, a prison colony set inside of the city and self governed in a Machiavellian but workable manner.

Against this background, emerge our three protagonists, Duncan, Swanny and Abby who run away under the most unsettling of circumstances and settle in various parts of the heart of darkness that is Empire.

Because of the ubiquitous dragons and their flame throwing, Duncan who is (or was) a spoiled brat with a serious case of “affluenza” (he has an inhaler) becomes a fireman, and a good one, Abby a magical and lovely enchantress of sorts takes us through a maze of riddles and wonders to a crystalline point and which to say more would be a spoiler, and Abby surprises all of us with a mouthful of extra teeth, a lot more spunk than one would expect as she settles and thrives in Torch town with an unkempt and canny Sharkey, who reminds me of Danny DeVito where she doles out licorice- like skeins of soporific and vintage drugs.

The momentum of the novel is almost musical and the latter part of the book is like the pull string at the top of a velvet bag, drawing the characters and there are many finely drawn ones, beside the protagonists, tighter and tighter into to a point where we all understand (kinda sorta) where we have been and perhaps where we are going.

And on top of everything else, Chandler’s agent is Bill Clegg who is probably the best in the world.

And with that and my usual run-on sentences, welcome to the show Chandler and thanks so much for joining us today.

1Q1a Chandler Klang Smith The Sky is Yours
February 02, 2018 07:10 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Chandler Kling Smith author of The Sky is Yours, published this January by Hogarth.

Chandler is a graduate of Bennington and the creative writing MFA program at Columbia. She has worked in book publishing and currently lives, teaches and tutors in New York City.

The Sky is Yours is Chandler’s first novel but will not be her last.

We are in the future. We are in Empire Island, a lot like New York. It is a crumbling edifice to man’s folly. And on top of that it is beset by a pair of fire breathing dragons who languidly circle the city, belching fire at buildings and people in a somewhat (perhaps) haphazard way, especially interested in Torch town, a prison colony set inside of the city and self governed in a Machiavellian but workable manner.

Against this background, emerge our three protagonists, Duncan, Swanny and Abby who run away under the most unsettling of circumstances and settle in various parts of the heart of darkness that is Empire.

Because of the ubiquitous dragons and their flame throwing, Duncan who is (or was) a spoiled brat with a serious case of “affluenza” (he has an inhaler) becomes a fireman, and a good one, Abby a magical and lovely enchantress of sorts takes us through a maze of riddles and wonders to a crystalline point and which to say more would be a spoiler, and Abby surprises all of us with a mouthful of extra teeth, a lot more spunk than one would expect as she settles and thrives in Torch town with an unkempt and canny Sharkey, who reminds me of Danny DeVito where she doles out licorice- like skeins of soporific and vintage drugs.

The momentum of the novel is almost musical and the latter part of the book is like the pull string at the top of a velvet bag, drawing the characters and there are many finely drawn ones, beside the protagonists, tighter and tighter into to a point where we all understand (kinda sorta) where we have been and perhaps where we are going.

And on top of everything else, Chandler’s agent is Bill Clegg who is probably the best in the world.

And with that and my usual run-on sentences, welcome to the show Chandler and thanks so much for joining us today.

John Bacon The Great Halifax Explosion
January 29, 2018 07:57 AM PST
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Good Afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is John Bacon author of The Great Halifax explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism, published in November by William Morrow. Mr. Bacon has worked for the past two decades as a writer, public speaker and a college instructor. He has written for NYT and Time magazine. His previous works, primarily dealing in sports, include: Three and Out Fourth and Long End zone The great Halifax Explosion is something that not many of us have heard about although it was the largest conflagration caused by a weapon of mass destruction aside from the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including that hallmark of a mushroom cloud and a shock wave. After having left NY on December 1, 1917, the munitions ship Mont-Blanc, full of three thousand tons of TNT and other even more volatile explosives, made its perilous way from New York up the dangerous waters of the Atlantic Coast, always on the lookout for the accurate and almost ubiquitous German U-boats. Although it escaped storms and U-boats, it did not escape incompetence and enormous risk and, as it approached the port city of Halifax, it exploded with the force of 2.9 Kilotons of TNT-the most powerful explosion ever seen or heard by human beings whose lives were destroyed or ruined, other than, as I remarked, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The ship itself was vaporized in 1/15th of a second. A shockwave leveled the city. But it was what happened afterward that is so astounding. So let’s talk to John about this incredible story.

1Q1A Andy Weir Artemis
December 22, 2017 10:15 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Andy Weir, author of The Martian and most recently Artemis published by Crown just a month or so ago.

Artemis is a story of the moon. Once again, as in The Martian Andy couples both hard science and a character driven plot, but this time it is coupled with a story of intrigue, murder and mystery.
As many of you know, Andy’s success story stems from his self published The Martian, picked up by Crown in 2014 and then made into the blockbuster movie starring Matt Damon in less time than you can say Jack Robinson and Artemis seems destined for the same fate. Its story is almost a template for a screenplay and the novel is almost cinematic in its approach.

Jazz Bashar is a petty criminal who is a smuggler of questionable goods to the populus of the Moon’s sole city, Artemis. From there we are led on a trail of murder and sabotage culminating in an ending that leaves us expecting more from a next book.

Andy Weir Artemis
December 22, 2017 10:13 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Andy Weir, author of The Martian and most recently Artemis published by Crown just a month or so ago.

Artemis is a story of the moon. Once again, as in The Martian Andy couples both hard science and a character driven plot, but this time it is coupled with a story of intrigue, murder and mystery.
As many of you know, Andy’s success story stems from his self published The Martian, picked up by Crown in 2014 and then made into the blockbuster movie starring Matt Damon in less time than you can say Jack Robinson and Artemis seems destined for the same fate. Its story is almost a template for a screenplay and the novel is almost cinematic in its approach.

Jazz Bashar is a petty criminal who is a smuggler of questionable goods to the populus of the Moon’s sole city, Artemis. From there we are led on a trail of murder and sabotage culminating in an ending that leaves us expecting more from a next book.

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