Last is kind of a funny word to choose smack dab in the middle of the alphabet, but it’s one of those words that grabs your attention right away. It’s a story, all by itself, and the use of it in a title gives the book a sense of nostalgia before it’s even started. It makes you ask “why,” and that’s a strong pull to read onward.
Last Train to Istanbul: A Novel by Ayse Kulin; translation John W. Baker.
Amazon for $4.99. International bestseller by one of Turkey’s most beloved authors
As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life.
But when the Nazis invade France, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing—not war, not politics, not even religion—can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety. Together, they must traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in a desperate bid for freedom. From Ankara to Paris, Cairo, and Berlin, Last Train to Istanbul is an uplifting tale of love and adventure from Turkey’s beloved bestselling novelist Ayşe Kulin.
Like a mystery? Try Her Cousin Much Removed. Or download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities. It’s free!
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This week, I’ll be kicking off some challenges, which I’ll talk about in my bit post in, well, a bit. So I thought I’d pick a novel this morning that has the protagonist, Natalie Miller, facing a far more terrifying challenge: stage III breast cancer. Now that really helps to put things in perspective.
The Department of Lost & Found by Allison Winn Scotch. Amazon for $1.99. “Allison Winn Scotch is the real deal and The Department of Lost and Found is one you absolutely won’t want to miss.”
—Johanna Edwards, author of The Next Big Thing
“Funny, touching, tender, true….I loved it.”
—Pamela Redmond Satran, author of Suburbanistas
A Redbook Magazine Editor’s Choice, Allison Winn Scotch’s sparkling debut novel, The Department of Lost and Found, is a story that makes you laugh and cry in equal measure. This funny and uplifting tale of a young woman overcoming bad odds and changing her life, as she discovers unexpected truths about her friends, her family, and herself, is one that Julie Buxbaum and Jennifer Weiner fans will not soon forget.
I enjoy Jane Green, and I don’t care who knows it. Are her books likely to change the world? Probably not. But they will take you out of your world for a bit, and that is, in essence, the power of a book.
Tempting Fate by Jane Green. Amazon for $10.99. From Jane Green, the New York Times bestselling author of such beloved novels as Jemima J, The Beach House, Another Piece of My Heart, comes an enthralling and emotional story about how much we really understand the temptations that can threaten even the most idyllic of relationships….
Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two teenaged daughters. They have built a life together. Forty-three year old Gabby is the last person to have an affair. She can’t relate to the way her friends desperately try to cling to the beauty and allure of their younger years…And yet, she too knows her youth is quickly slipping away. She could never imagine how good it would feel to have a handsome younger man show interest in her—until the night it happens. Matt makes Gabby feel sparkling, fascinating, alive—something she hasn’t felt in years. What begins as a long-distance friendship soon develops into an emotional affair as Gabby discovers her limits and boundaries are not where she expects them to be. Intoxicated, Gabby has no choice but to step ever deeper into the allure of attraction and attention, never foreseeing the life-changing consequences that lie ahead. If she makes one wrong move she could lose everything—and find out what really matters most.
A heartfelt and complex story, Tempting Fate will have readers gripped until they reach the very last page, and thinking about the characters long after they put the book down.
Ah, parks. Does anyone remember parks, you know, the places with trees that actually have little green things on them? What are those called again? It starts with an “L.”
Well, until we finally pry winter’s cold, bony hands from us, we’ll have to find our springtime in the covers of a book. What better place than in a late-in-life romance?
Thursdays in the Park by Hillary Boyd. Amazon for $0.99. Called “a warm and well-written case for love affairs in later life” (Daily Telegraph), Thursdays in the Park was a runaway best-seller in the united Kingdom. Boyd’s debut novel is a touching, romantic tale of new attraction and old loyalties.
Jeanie is on the brink of turning sixty, and the man she’s been married to for more than half of her life has suddenly abandoned the marital bed. When Jeanie’s husband George retreats from his conjugal duties, she is deeply hurt and very confused: Has she done something wrong? Is he in love with someone else? Her pained bewilderment turns to anger as he remains unable, or unwilling, to provide answers. The bright spot of Jeanie’s week is Thursday, the day she takes her granddaughter to the park. There, one day, she meets Ray — age-appropriate, kind-hearted, easygoing, and downright sexy. In short, he is everything that George is not. As her relationship with Ray begins to blossom and she begins to think that her life might hold in store a bold second act, she begins to wonder if she has the courage to take a step off the precipice of routine and duty and into the swirling winds of romance.
A fantasy starts this week’s Free Book Friday, and this one’s full of mermaids. Who doesn’t like a mermaid? Well, anyone likely to be killed by one, I guess. Happy Free Book Friday.
Rising by Holly Kelly. Free from Smashwords.com
In a war between the humans and the inhabitants of the sea—humans will lose. Xanthus Dimitriou—the most lethal Dagonian to rise from the ocean—is on a mission to save mankind from annihilation. But first there’s one small thing he needs to do… kill a beautiful young woman in a wheelchair.
With the weekend nearly here, a little romance is in order with the first book in Kathleen Brooks’ Bluegrass series. This week’s Free Book Friday starts with some Southern comfort and Kentucky horses, and it should warm you up, even if you haven’t hit springy temps where you are.
Bluegrass State of Mind by Kathleen Brooks. FREE from Smashwords.com
McKenna Mason is on the run, leaving her luxurious NYC lifestyle behind. She finds a home in beautiful Keeneston, KY where she starts her new job as an Assistant DA. She finds more than she bargains for when reuniting with a teenage crush, Will Ashton. Will’s horse farm has seen its share of trouble leading up to the Derby. Can Will and McKenna work together to cross the finish line in time?
OK, that’s not entirely accurate. Or remotely accurate, but I couldn’t resist the joke.
Normally, about now I’d be telling you about a book you can buy from Amazon, but today I figured I’d flip that. I don’t know if you know, but Amazon will buy your books as well. It’s like a big, natural circle of reading. Amazon pays for shipping, so it won’t cost you anything. Current best-sellers are probably your best bet, but at least that takes some of the guilt out of buying a full-priced new book.
And it’s not just for books, either. You can trade in movies, video games and other things, and get an Amazon gift card in exchange. When I logged in, it even told me what some things I’d bought from Amazon were worth, which is nice to know, not that I’m parting with my Zumba World Party, which is the most fun game ever, but I digress.
So you can use books to feed your reading habit. It’s beautiful, in a way.
Anyway, thus concludes this public service announcement.