Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Springing into March and April with a bouquet of books

While winter is still dragging it's feet as spring is about to turn the corner,the best way to keep your spirits warm is by looking forward to all of the delights of the new season to come.

For many of us, those anticipated joys include books and there are plenty to go around. Whether you prefer something on the magical side or would rather embrace a more down to earth read, the handful of upcoming titles here should offer you a little of each and then some:


Author Helen Oyeyemi blends the classic fairy tale of Snow White into her latest novel,Boy,Snow Bird,which is set in Massachusetts during the 1950s.

When Boy Novak moves into town, she's hoping for a better and more beautiful life that she once had in New York and by marrying Arturo Whitman,her dreams promise to come true.

Becoming the stepmother to his daughter Snow,however,brings it's own challenges and upon the birth of her own child Bird,a dreaded secret threatens to be revealed that can and will transform all of their lives. This tale of how fragile a family becomes due to perceptions and prejudices from the outer world is more haunting than any fairy tale foe could be(March):

In Stephen Leigh's Immortal Muse, a married couple become immortal due to creating the perfect potion but their love proves to be less than eternal.

Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle wind up spending their extra long lives as adversaries due to her desire to thrive as artistic inspiration for others and his dark need to bring death and suffering along for the ride.

The two of them chase each other throughout the centuries,assuming different lives and personae during their travels, until a fateful encounter in modern day New York has the potential to bring their private war to an end. Yet,the price for that peace may be dear,not to mention deadly. This flight of fancy could be a real boost for your imagination to take flight(March).


Comedienne Carol Leifer offers her take on the business of show in her memoir How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying,where she chronicles her life and times in entertainment.

As one of the women who came up in the comedy clubs during the late  eighties, Carol has had her share of the boys' club mentality amongst her peers but refused to simply give in to any of the pressures from that front. This collection of essays recounts many of those troublesome times with her bit of sage advice for others following in her funny footsteps.

Her writing skills have been on display for such shows as SNL,Seinfeld and Modern Family but in this book, the real Carol gets to stand up and show us what she's got and it's definitely worth taking a seat for(April):


Laura Kasischke's Mind of Winter has mother Holly judge spending Christmas day being suspicious of Tatiana,the daughter she and her husband Eric adopted thirteen years ago from Siberia.

Trapped indoors with Tatiana during a violent snowstorm,where Eric and his parents are unable to come home from the airport, tensions rise between Holly and her moody child,who she is convinced is the source of some sort of evil.

Are Holly's fears due to a real threat or a delusion to explain away her current emotional malaise? Either way, this chilling suspense ride has quite a few surprises in store for any literary traveler (March).

Emma Donoghue returns to her historical fiction roots with her follow-up from the amazing Room in Frog Music,which takes place in 1870s San Francisco.

Burlesque dancer Blanche decides to look into the murder of Jenny Bonnet, a friend of her who died before her eyes. Jenny's independent ways may have been a motive for her death and a few of the suspects include Blanche's lovers.

There are plenty of other folks who had reason to kill Jenny,who didn't take to her interfering with the baby farms that poor offspring were packed into or her helping abandoned children. Donoghue's past performance in the historical fiction genre  with such works as Slammerkin and Life Mask is given a larger stage with this crime drama that exposes more than one dank area of life in those times that still resonates today(April):


While Maeve Binchy is no longer with us, her enduring tales are still on the shelf ready to be read and Chestnut Street is one last gift to be shared.

This set of previously unpublished interconnected stories is set on familiar ground, in the neighborhood of St. Jarlath's Crescent where the lives of it's average folk are not as simple or unrelated as they seem to be.

I've been catching up to a lot of Maeve's later books since her passing and while her take on intimate dramas may appear to be standard fictional fare at first glance,she put plenty of hard work into keeping the world of her characters as fresh and relatable as possible,something that I think a good number of so-called "serious writers" would do well to emulate. In any case, Chestnut Street promises to be a friendly place to call home this season(April):

Past and present collide in Yvette Manessis Corporan's debut novel When the Cypress Whispers, as restaurant owner Daphne tries to revive her spirits by going to visit her grandmother(called "Yia-yia") in Greece.

With the death of her husband and the struggles to raise her young daughter alone,Daphne hopes to recapture the security of her youth with her beloved Yia-yia,the woman that inspired her to become a chef.

However,her grandmother has more to give her than a few reassurances as an incident from that good lady's past is brought into the light as an example of what security really means. A heartfelt story that many people of all nationalities can and will relate well to.(April)


Francine Prose weaves historical fact and fiction into her latest novel,Lovers at the Chameleon Club,Paris 1932,in which leading lady Louisianne "Lou" Villars is at the heart of more than one complicated relationship.

Working at the Chameleon Club introduces Lou to a number of offbeat characters, such as the Baroness Lilly de Rossignol,a patroness of the arts and Lionel Maine,a snarky American writer. Those friendships,as well as romances,evolve over time and are retold for a biography being written by Natahlie ,her great niece.

 Lou's life tends to take many different turns as her career changes from cross dressing nightclub entertainer to race car driver to a spy for the Nazis leads her to very unexpected ends. This intriguing look into a world both far away and yet so near to our times should be a very moveable feast for readers to partake in(April):

I hope that spring will arrive soon,making it easier for all of us to go out and about,especially if your local book club is back in session. Just don't have any spoiler fights with your fellow readers because no one is a winner when it comes to those:

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