Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, December 27, 2013

Rev up your reading for a literary ride into January & February 2014

Happy mid-holiday time,folks, and I hope your celebrations are going well. No doubt many of you received a few book shaped bundles under your tree or candle display and feel as if your literary needs are quite well met at the moment.

However,we are only a few short days away from a whole new year of pop culture delights and that includes a slew of fresh new books to devour. So,if you have a gift card or two burning a hole in your pocket(or even if you don't),keep an eye out for some of these tempting titles awaiting you in early 2014:


Completing her trilogy of novels featuring American Civil War heroines,Jennifer Chiaverini introduces us to Mrs. Lincoln's Rival who also goes by the name of Kate Chase.

Kate,as the daughter of a widowed ambitious lawyer,was a prominent figure in the Washington realm of society ladies. Her sweet social skills made her a beloved hostess at many a gathering but such attention also brought her some enemies,namely Mary Todd Lincoln who resented any comparisons made between them.

When Kate married William Sprague,the governor of Rhode Island, her social star rises even higher and yet,the First Lady can not overcome her desire to banish this potential contender for her White House throne. Chiaverini's knack for bringing these not as well known yet deserving of the spotlight real life ladies,such as Elizabeth Keckley and Lizzie Van Lew,to fictional life makes this upcoming book more engaging than any diva battle has before(January):

In Philip Margolin's historical thriller,Worthy Brown's Daughter, lawyer Matthew Perry hopes to recover from the tragic death of his wife and begin again in 1860 as a new member of a law practice in the rough territory of Portland, Oregon.

When a client,a freed slave named Worthy Brown, comes to him for help in releasing his daughter Roxanne from his former master,Matthew finds that the case is more complex than he imagined. Before they can even get to court,Brown is up on murder charges and despite knowing the truth of the matter, Matthew's chances of getting him a fair trial are slim to none.

In addition,Matthew is in the midst of a legal intrigue with Heather Gillette,the daughter of a powerful business man and Sharon Hill, a sexy schemer with her own agenda at hand. With such dizzying distractions,can Matthew truly find the justice that his client deserves? Margolin is best known for his courtroom dramas and this mix of history into his usual formula should be an interesting upgrade(February).


The leading lady of Isabel Allende's Ripper is Amanda Jackson, who is a bit of a teen sleuth as she and her friends speculate online about the identity of a serial killer currently stalking their local San Francisco area.

Amanda's interest in the case becomes personal as her flighty mother Indiana vanishes without a trace. Is she the latest victim of the killer or is her disappearance due to the one of the new boyfriends in her life; rich man Alan or battle fatigued Ryan?

With her police chief father reluctantly overseeing,Amanda launches her own investigation into both the serial killer hunt and searching for Indiana. Where these two dark paths converge can lead to serious deadly trouble for her,not to mention opening a few doors best left closed. This is Allende's debut into the crime genre and if her heroine is as smart and sassy as a certain Ms. Mars, we could be in for quite a ride(Feb):

Following up her look at comic book heroes in After the Golden Age, Carrie Vaughn takes the next step with Dreams of the Golden Age, starring the teen daughter of that book's heroine Celia West.

Unlike her mom, Anna was born with a superhuman ability(which she most likely inherited from her superhero father Dr. Mentis) and is using her power of psychic location as part of a new gang of upcoming heroes. Leading a double life is hard enough without having to hide your true self from your family as well.

Carrie Vaughn's savvy and sophisticated take on this genre,along with her engaging characters, proves that comic books are far from kid stuff(Jan):


Author Rebecca Mead talks about her personal relationship with a major classic of English literature in My Life in Middlemarch,a book she first read when she was seventeen. Upon that initial reading,Mead strongly identified with Dorothea Brooke,whose yearning for a more scholarly existence matched her own.

Over the years,Mead dove into the novel and found new meanings beyond the pages as her life and relationships with others took new twists and turns. Many diehard readers have a very special book that they feel speaks just to them and Mead's open book approach to that  particular aspect of a bibliophile's life is warmly appreciated(Jan).


Writer Sue Monk Kidd goes back in time with her soon to be released novel,The Invention of Wings, that focuses on the friendship between Sarah Grimke,an abolitionist in the pre-Civil War era and  Hetty, aka Handful,the girl given to her as a servant in childhood.

Their bond forms from the secret education that Sarah provides for Hetty,which causes their separation when it is discovered. As the two women mature and travel different roads in life, the connection they share with one another still holds strong. Even when tested for what may be the last time, Hetty and Sarah do their best to honor each other.

 Already chosen as an Oprah Book Club pick, this novel is destined to fly up the charts and onto to the shelves of readers who will enjoy this tale of timeless friendship in a time of intolerance(Jan):

Once again, I get to start the new year off with a lovely Library Thing Early Reviewers prize and The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch looks like a prize indeed.

Spunky southerner Sugar Wallace decides to take herself and her hive of specially cared for bees to the Upper West side of Manhattan,partly due to the direction that the queen bee of the bunch wishes to go.

As soon as Sugar settles down into her new home, she casts a web of helpfulness towards her new neighbors,some of whom resist any form of change from any corner. However, with a bit of patience and some unexpected romance of her own, Sugar's true sweetness is proven to be deeper than a glaze on a honey cake.

This sounds like a sweet relief(yes,pun intended) from the dreary days of winter to come and should warm up any chilly heart at any time of the year(Jan):


The Good Luck of Right Now has it's leading man Bartholomew Neil try to sort out his life by writing to another leading man, Richard Gere. Bart finds a letter from Gere in his mother's things upon her death and since he's lived with her all of his life, penning his thoughts to the actor seems like the right thing to do.

Wendy,his grief counselor, wants him to find his own way in the world but Bart is unsure of how to proceed in that direction. Between his one sided correspondence and a set of unlikely friendships, he begins to get an idea about which way to go. Yet, will Bart be alone on his emotional journey or have some hoped for company to walk by his side?

With the successful adaptation of his previous adult novel,The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick's new book will have a high bar set for it with many audiences. However, I think that those who loved his last work will be rather pleased with this recent love letter to experiencing all the joys and quirks that life has to offer(Feb):

Have a Happy New Year of reading,folks and tune in next week for some LRG resolutions of a bookish nature in 2014. In the mean time, use this down time to catch up on your To Be Read piles and don't be afraid to carry as many books as possible with you on your holiday travels:

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