Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

Book: Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

Author: William Kuhn. This is his first novel. He is the author of several previous works of nonfiction, including most recently Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books on Jackie Kennedy Onassis. (See our exclusive Q&A with him.)

Genre: Commercial Fiction

Reviewers: Accountant Gina aka Slappy, literature professor Amanda Patchin, librarian Mary Liz, lawyer Cait and retiree Sulyn.

Publisher Summary: 

After decades of service and years of watching her family’s troubles splashed across the tabloids, Britain’s Queen is beginning to feel her age. She needs some proper cheering up. An unexpected opportunity offers her relief: an impromptu visit to a place that holds happy memories—the former royal yacht, Britannia, now moored near Edinburgh. Hidden beneath a skull-emblazoned hoodie, the limber Elizabeth (thank goodness for yoga) walks out of Buckingham Palace into the freedom of a rainy London day and heads for King’s Cross to catch a train to Scotland. But a characterful cast of royal attendants has discovered her missing. In uneasy alliance a lady-in-waiting, a butler, an equerry, a girl from the stables, a dresser, and a clerk from the shop that supplies Her Majesty’s cheese set out to find her and bring her back before her absence becomes a national scandal.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train is a clever novel, offering a fresh look at a woman who wonders if she, like Britannia herself, has, too, become a relic of the past. William Kuhn paints a charming yet biting portrait of British social, political, and generational rivalries—between upstairs and downstairs, the monarchy and the government, the old and the young. Comic and poignant, fast paced and clever, this delightful debut tweaks the pomp of the monarchy, going beneath its rigid formality to reveal the human heart of the woman at its center.

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The Hollow Man

Book: The Hollow Man

Author: Oliver Harris

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Reviewers: Librarian Zoë, research tech Rosie T., victim advocate MJ, University administrator Stacie and event coordinator Kathy.

Publisher Summary:  Waking up on Hampstead Heath not far from a crashed squad car, Detective Nick Belsey wants out—out of London and out of the endless complications of his life. When Alexei Devereux, a wealthy hermit, vanishes, leaving behind a suicide note and his Porsche, Belsey discovers an opportunity—a new identity and a fortune—waiting for the taking.

Unfortunately, there are others who share the detective’s interest in Devereux, including Scotland Yard. A dead rich man with suspicious financial holdings is bound to have some dangerous ties and a few ruthless enemies. Now, Belsey and his clever plan are about to be overshadowed by far more ambitious players with their own brilliant—and deadly—scheme.

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ARC Giveaway: Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang

Another sneak peek available for one lucky reader!


Eddie Huang is “bigger than food” according to chef extraordinaire Anthony Bourdain. He’s also been called “the new Anthony Bourdain” by the New York Post. With his brother, he’s one of the chefs behind Baohaus and has a new series on Vice.com.

His memoir Fresh Off the Boat, coming in January 2013, is the classic immigrant story moved to a modern era. Huang is always a provocateur and always a chef, even as he inverts the typical Asian-American story, pulling himself out of suburbia and moving downward to find his identity. Be prepared for shock and awe.

I have a copy to give to one lucky reader. Enter using the widget below!

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If you don’t want to wait, you can pre-order right now!

The End of Your Life Book Club

Book: The End of Your Life Book Club

Author: Will Schwalbe. This is his first memoir. He has worked in journalism and publishing and is the founder of cookstr.com

Genre: Memoir

Reviewers: Non-Profit Director Kimberly, stay-at-home Mom Krysta, blogger From Grind to Whine Stacey and production coordinator Joanna.

Publisher Summary:

“What are you reading?”

That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.

This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying.

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The Other

BookThe Other  (This is a re-release of the novel, originally written in 1971.)

Author: Thomas Tryon, former actor. Author of other novels including Lady and Night Magic, mostly out-of-print. New Afterword by Dan Chaon.

Genre: Horror, Literary Fiction.

Reviewers: Administrator Cyn, bookseller Pam, writer & editor Kristina, stay-at-home mom Shawna  and prosecutor Rochelle.

Publisher Summary: Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each other’s thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. Holland is bold and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the sort of boy who makes parents proud. The Perrys live in the bucolic New England town their family settled centuries ago, and as it happens, the extended clan has gathered at its ancestral farm this summer to mourn the death of the twins’ father in a most unfortunate accident. Mrs. Perry still hasn’t recovered from the shock of her husband’s gruesome end and stays sequestered in her room, leaving her sons to roam free. As the summer goes on, though, and Holland’s pranks become increasingly sinister, Niles finds he can no longer make excuses for his brother’s actions.

Thomas Tryon’s best-selling novel about a homegrown monster is an eerie examination of the darkness that dwells within everyone. It is a landmark of psychological horror that is a worthy descendent of the books of James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shirley Jackson, and Patricia Highsmith.

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