Austin and Emily by Frank Turner Hollon
The last thing that canned ham salesman Austin MacAdoo expected to find when he took a seat in a strip joint in Tampa, Florida was love. The last thing that 23-year-old stripper Emily Dooley predicted on an average night was to walk away from her job and run off with a 347 pound stranger who was drinking milk punch at the bar. And yet, that’s exactly what happens. Armed with a trunk full of ham, two odd cats, and a stowaway whose most precious possession is a coat of human hair, they set off on a trip with the destination of a wedding on Julia Robert’s star on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California.
From the moment they meet, fate collides with reality and sets the couple on a course across the country to explore more than they ever imagined could exist in this world, leading us to conclude that perhaps the greatest misconception is the belief we must understand anything of true importance in this life, especially love. Funny and surprisingly tender, Austin and Emily is an old fashioned story about contemporary love, from the author The God File and Life is a Strange Place.
The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir by Holly Robinson
Robinson’s traditional military-brat upbringing is upended by her father’s sudden and inexplicable fascination with gerbils. As she details the family’s dedication to this new project, her mother’s grudging tolerance, and the machinations required to keep the gerbils secret from the navy (which would frown upon such kitschy weirdness), Robinson makes her family seem ordinary in spite of this one bit of strangeness. And her father was no rodent dilettante, as evident in her chronicling of his years of research into using gerbils in lab experiments and his careful business plan. What keeps this surprising memoir from becoming a Lucille Ball/Henry Fonda parody is, sadly, the sudden death of Robinson’s younger sister from cystic fibrosis, a disease her father hopes can be cured through scientific inquiry. Suddenly gerbil farming isn’t so silly after all. Robinson writes with humor and honesty, creating a charming story, a reminder of how all the love and care in the world may not be enough, and a moving tribute to a father who, nonetheless, never stopped trying. --Colleen Mondor
Poisoned Heart: I married Dee Dee Ramone by Vera Ramone King
Often regarded as the first punk-rock group ever, named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 50 Bands of All Time, with all members having been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, The Ramones are nothing if not legendary. “Waking up the neighbors” and setting the U.S. music scene on fire in the 1970s and through the ’80s, The Ramones’ story is tragic and raw, sentiments that could also describe the band’s songwriter, bass player, and unsung genius, Dee Dee. A wild ride into the heart and soul of New York City, Poisoned Heart is Vera Ramones King’s last testament to her former husband, who shocked the world when he died in 2002 of a drug overdose despite having been clean for years.
Dee Dee defined the punk-rock lifestyle. He was a rash, often violent, heroin addict, and no one better understood his twisted mentality, or insanity, than faithful wife Vera. But Vera, herself a less destructive “Nancy” to Dee Dee’s “Sid,” also came to know the Dee Dee that music fans worldwide held near and dear: a generous, loving man who had a soft-spot for bums, who grew up in the tough streets of Queens, who never stopped working, writing, and performing, who often treated his wife like a Punk Rock Princess, and whose greatest joy was the look on his fans’ faces as he played them a song.
For true fans of The Ramones, those who remember the 1970s as a time of music innovation and inspired creativity, groupies, wannabes, and true music-lovers everywhere, Poisoned Heart is destined to become a literary—and rock—classic.
Identical by Ellen Hopkins
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family -- on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that's where their differences begin.
For Kaeleigh, she's the misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites -- and she is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and sex.Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept -- from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is -- who?
All of the above books have been added to my Wish List on Amazon.com.
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