Friday, July 31, 2015

Currently Reading:

Traveling the Two-Lane: A Memoir and Travelogue
by Marilyn Berman
BookLogix
Trade Paperback

From the book website:

Inching through rush-hour traffic at the age of sixty-three, it dawned on Marilyn that she was also inching through life. At that moment, she decided to make the journey of her dreams—a long vacation, a year or more alone in a van. She spent months preparing to escape her settled home and habits, and, in June of 2004, she got on the road. Destination: Alaska.
A lifetime of memories accompanied her. As she drove, explored, and hiked, she pondered her past. Marilyn grew up gay at a time when homosexuality was not only illegal, but also considered a mental illness.  For decades, she led a dual existence, trying to be "normal" while fantasizing about women. Driving the two-lane back roads of North America, Marilyn grappled with her ever-present past and an uncertain future.

Traveling the Two-Lane is the story of these two journeys—a solo sojourn across North America and a lifetime navigating as a closeted and conflicted lesbian in a world with changing opinions about same-sex love. Witnessing the riches of nature and genius of humankind while recognizing the evils of both, Marilyn confronts her past to better live her present.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On My Radar:

Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals
by John Lefevre
Atlantic Monthly Press
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

Over the past three years, the notorious @GSElevator Twitter feed has offered a hilarious, shamelessly voyeuristic look into the real world of international finance. Hundreds of thousands followed the account, Goldman Sachs launched an internal investigation, and when the true identity of the man behind it all was revealed, it created a national media sensation—but that’s only part of the story.


Where @GSElevator captured the essence of the banking elite with curated jokes and submissions overheard by readers, Straight to Hell adds John LeFevre’s own story—an unapologetic and darkly funny account of a career as a globe-conquering investment banker spanning New York, London, and Hong Kong. Straight to Hell pulls back the curtain on a world that is both hated and envied, taking readers from the trading floors and roadshows to private planes and after-hours overindulgence. Full of shocking lawlessness, boyish antics, and win-at-all-costs schemes, this is the definitive take on the deviant, dysfunctional, and absolutely excessive world of finance.

Monday, July 27, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Karma Deception and a Pair of Red Ferraris
by Elaine Taylor
Warm2wardU Publishing
Hardcover

From the book's website:

What if a psychic told you that you were destined to have the kind of love about which stories are written … “But not until you’re ready.”
What if she was right?
As a teen mom, already ass-branded by one husband both domineering and dumb as meat locker beef, Elaine stutter-stepped to independence via jobs typing letters and dialing phones for a series of mouth-breathers who believed a woman’s place was under the desk, spit-shining their assets. A couple of decades later she had, by god, scratched out a role in the corporate testicle festival where she earned fat, man-sized paychecks. Bought herself some respect and vindication. But her personal life was a dispiriting trail of relationship road kill. Her one faithful love walked on four legs and woofed for her breakfast.
Desperate for a peek at her future Elaine consulted astrologer-psychic Allie B, who whipped out her Tarot cards, did her California woo-woo thing and sprang the good news: … storybook love … when you’re ready.
Enter Jake Kingston. Internationally acclaimed surgeon with a 100-acre ranch in the wine country, two Ferraris in his several garages, and enough love-life failures to make them as compatible as a can of whip cream and a Brazilian wax.
Was Jake the key to the love she sought? Yes. But in a way no one—except the psychic— could have imagined.

Karma, Deception, and a Pair of Red Ferraris is a transformational journey of healing. The story of Elaine achieving the self-esteem she had always faked. Of finding the courage to open her heart and give the kind of love she so yearned to receive.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, The New York Yankees, and Baseball's Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy
by Filip Bondy
Scribner Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

An award-winning veteran sportswriter who personally covered the Pine Tar Game looks back and explores one of the wackiest events in baseball history.

On July 24, 1983, during the finale of a heated four-game series between the dynastic New York Yankees and small-town Kansas City Royals, umpires nullified a go-ahead home run based on an obscure rule, when Yankees manager Billy Martin pointed out an illegal amount of pine tar—the sticky substance used for a better grip—on Royals third baseman George Brett’s bat. Brett wildly charged out of the dugout and chaos ensued. The call temporarily cost the Royals the game, but the decision was eventually overturned, resulting in a resumption of the game several weeks later that created its own hysteria.


The Pine Tar Game chronicles this watershed moment, marking a pivot in the sport, when benign cheating tactics, like spitballs, Superball bats, and a couple extra inches of tar on an ash bat, gave way to era of soaring salaries, labor struggles, and rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs. Filip Bondy paints a portrait of the Yankees and Royals of that era, featuring two diametrically opposed owners, in George Steinbrenner and Ewing Kauffman; a host of bad actors and phenomenal athletes; and lots of yelling. Players and club officials like Brett, Goose Gossage, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, David Cone, and John Schuerholz offer fresh commentary on the events along with their take on a rivalry that culminated in one of the most iconic baseball tantrums of all time. Rush Limbaugh, employed by the Royals at the time as a promotions director, offers his own insider’s perspective. Through this one fateful game, the ensuing protest, and ultimate fallout, The Pine Tar Game examines a more innocent time in professional sports, as well as the shifting tide that gave us today’s modern iteration of baseball.

Friday, July 17, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics
by Barton Swaim
Simon & Schuster
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

An intimate and hilarious look inside the spin room of the modern politician: a place where ideals are crushed, English is mangled, people are humiliated, and the opportunity for humor is everywhere.

Everyone knows this kind of politician: a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn’t have to live by the rules. Through his own experience as the speechwriter for a controversial governor, Barton Swaim tells the story of a band of believers who attach themselves to this sort of ambitious narcissist—and what happens when it all comes crashing down.


The Speechwriter is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words. Swaim paints a portrait of a man so principled he’d rather sweat than use state money to pay for air conditioning, so oblivious he’d wear the same stained shirt for two weeks, so egotistical he’d belittle his staffers to make himself feel better, and so self-absorbed he never once apologized to his staff for making his administration the laughing stock of the country. On the surface, this is the story of one politician’s rise and fall. But in the end, it’s a story about us—the very real people who want to believe in our leaders and must learn to survive with broken hearts.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On My Radar:

The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers' Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse
by Molly Knight
Simon & Schuster
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

News-making, inside revelations about the tumultuous years when the Los Angeles Dodgers were remade from top to bottom—from the ownership of the team to management to the players on the field—becoming the most talked-about and most colorful team in baseball.

In 2012 the Los Angeles Dodgers were bought out of bankruptcy in the most expensive sale in sports history. Los Angeles icon Magic Johnson and his partners hoped to put together a team worthy of Hollywood: consistently entertaining. By most accounts they have succeeded, if not always in the way they might have imagined.

Now Molly Knight tells the story of the Dodgers’ 2013 and 2014 seasons with detailed, previously unreported revelations. She shares a behind-the-scenes account of the astonishing sale of the Dodgers, and why the team was not overpriced, as well as what the Dodgers actually knew in advance about rookie phenom and Cuban defector Yasiel Puig and how they and teammates handled him during his first two roller-coaster seasons. We learn how close manager Don Mattingly was to losing his job during the 2013 season—and how the team turned around the season in the most remarkable fifty-game stretch (42-8) of any team since World War II, before losing in the NLCS. Knight also provides a rare glimpse into the infighting and mistrust that derailed the team in 2014, and resulted in ridding the roster of difficult personalities and the hiring of a new front office.

Knight also reveals new facts behind the blockbuster trade with the Red Sox. She paints an intimate portrait of star pitcher Clayton Kershaw, probably the best pitcher in the game today, including details about the record contract offer he turned down before accepting the richest contract any pitcher ever signed.


Exciting, surprising, and filled with juicy details, Molly Knight’s account is a must-read for baseball fans and anyone who wants the inside story of today’s Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New Fiction:

Hostile Takeover: A John Lago Thriller
by Shane Kuhn
Simon & Schuster
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

Professional assassin John Lago faces off against his deadliest adversary yet—his wife—in Hostile Takeover, the exciting sequel to Shane Kuhn’s bestselling debut The Intern’s Handbook, which the New York Post called “a sexy, darkly comic thriller.”

At the end of The Intern’s Handbook, John tracks down his nemesis Alice but instead of putting a bullet in her head, he puts a ring on her finger and marries her. Together, they execute a hostile takeover of Human Resources, Inc., the “placement agency” that trains young assassins to infiltrate corporations disguised as interns and knock off high profile targets. As HR’s former top operatives, they are successful until conflicting management styles cause an ugly breakup that locks John out of the bedroom and the boardroom.


But when Alice takes on a new HR target, John is forced to return to the office battlefield in a role he swore he would never play again: the intern. What starts out as a deadly showdown turns into the two of them fighting side by side to save HR, Inc.—and their marriage.