When It Happens To You (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $3.99, Whispersync for Voice enabled) is winning over critics and Amazon reviewers alike. From Amazon:
When it happens to you, you will be surprised. That thing they say about how you knew all the time, but just weren’t facing it? That might be the case, but nevertheless, there you will be.
Molly Ringwald mines the complexities of modern relationships in this gripping and nuanced collection of interlinked stories. Writing with a deep compassion for human imperfection, Ringwald follows a Los Angeles family and their friends and neighbors while they negotiate the hazardous terrain of everyday life—revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all.
In “The Harvest Moon,” a stay-at-home mom grapples with age, infertility, and an increasingly distant husband. In “Ursa Minor,” a former children’s television star tries to rebuild his life after being hospitalized for “exhaustion.” An elderly woman mourns the loss of her husband and her estranged relationship with her daughter in “The Little One.” In “My Olivia,” a single mother finds untapped reserves of strength to protect her flamboyant six-year-old son who wishes only to wear dresses and be addressed as Olivia. And in the devastating title story, a betrayed wife chronicles her pain and alienation, leading to an eviscerating denouement.
As the lives of these characters converge and diverge in unexpected ways, Ringwald reveals a startling eye for the universality of loss, love, and the search for connection. An unflinching yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart, When It Happens to You is an auspicious literary debut.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: Any lingering Brat Pack associations you may bring to When It Happens to You, Molly Ringwald’s first novel, will rapidly evaporate. Ringwald renders the families and lovers in her intertwined stories with a compassionate eye for the kind of heartbreak that upends reality, as well as a keen sense of the more subtle ways in which trust breaks and mends. Each of her eight stories explores the dynamics of fidelity and betrayal, from “The Harvest Moon”–which illuminates the night a mother realizes the fickle nature of her daughter, her husband, and her own body–to “Mea Culpa,” where we see the erosion of her husband’s desire, to the gut punch of a title story. –Mari Malcolm
“[A] graceful and deft debut.”—-Booklist
Here are some of the other noteworthy novels included in this month’s sale list:
The Hurricane (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at 99 cents) – From Amazon:
Daniel Stillman has 42 Facebook friends. His cell phone contains 18 contacts, two of them for pizza delivery. Six people follow him on Twitter. Four readers subscribe to his blog; he’s pretty sure one of them followed him on accident.
And now a category 5 storm is about to wipe all this away.
In its wake will be left a single girl, a neighbor he never knew, and a new reprieve from the digital maelstrom of his life, a great silence like the eye of some terrific storm.
I just finished reading The Hurricane and I cannot believe I was that enthralled by a story that did not involve space ships, zombies or subterranean societies. I was captivated by Daniel’s journey from his connected solitude to discovering that first and deepest human connection in the silence after the storm. I love the way you immersed me in the scene and made me feel the wind and hear the incidental background noises. Yet, somehow, the sentences never feel drawn out or too wordy. That is a rare talent and I’m glad you let us share in it. – Amazon reviewer Richard Pearce
Ferris Beach (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $1.99) – From Amazon:
Ferris Beach is a place where excitement and magic coexist. Or so Mary Katherine “Katie” Burns, the only child of middle-aged Fred and Cleva Burns, believes. Shy and self-conscious, she daydreams about Ferris Beach, where her beautiful cousin, Angela, leads a romantic, mysterious life.
It is the early 1970s, and when the land across the road from the Burns’s historic house is sold to developers, Misty Rhodes—also from Ferris Beach—and her flamboyant parents move into the nearest newly built split-level. In contrast to Katie’s composed, reserved, practical mother, Misty and her mother are everything Katie wants to be: daring, outrageous, fun. The two girls become inseparable, sharing every secret, every dream—until one fateful Fourth of July, when their lives change in a way they could never have imagined.
In this classic McCorkle novel, the author’s shrewd grasp of human nature creates characters that resonate with truth and emotion, and a story perfect for mothers and daughters to share and cherish.
The Sisters Brothers (4/5 stars, currently priced at $$2.99, Whispersync for Voice enabled) – From Amazon:
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn’t share his brother’s appetite for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. But their prey isn’t an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living–and whom he does it for.
With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters–losers, cheaters, and ne’er-do-wells from all stripes of life–and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.
Hairstyles of the Damned (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99) – From Amazon:
A selection of Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program.
Hairstyles of the Damned is an honest, true-life depiction of growing up punk on Chicago’s south side: a study in the demons of racial intolerance, Catholic school conformism, and class repression. It is the story of the riotous exploits of Brian, a high school burnout, and his best friend, Gretchen, a punk rock girl fond of brawling. Based on the actual events surrounding a Chicago high school’s segregated prom, this work of fiction unflinchingly pursues the truth in discovering what it means to be your own person.
“Joe Meno writes with the energy, honesty, and emotional impact of the best punk rock. From the opening sentence to the very last word, Hairstyles of the Damned held me in his grip.” –Jim DeRogatis, pop music critic, Chicago Sun-Times
Early Bright (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99) – From Amazon:
Debut novelist Silber delivers a captivating downhill ride through the alleys and clubs of LA’s 1948 bebop scene, crafting a fascinating antihero who will do just about anything to keep his fingers on the ivories. At first, Jewish musician Louis Greenberg seems downright courageous, using his charm and piano skills to earn a place in the black jazz clubs of Watts; he’s even pursuing an impossible love affair with a beautiful black regular, Beatrice. But soon it becomes apparent that his outsider status is deserved: his day job is swindling war widows out of their money, using the memories of their departed husbands as bait. So certain are Greenberg’s future heartaches—especially with Beatrice—and so profound is his love for jazz, it’s hard not to root for him, even as he draws an especially vulnerable widow into his web. – Publisher’s Weekly, (c) Reed Business Information