Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kindle Daily Deals (July 31, 2014): A novel of lies and ghosts, a romantic thriller, the "Bro Code," time travel and a coming-of-age novel for teens.



Here's today's Kindle Daily Deal, available for $1.99!

The Last Life: A Novel, by Claire Messud.

Narrated by a fifteen-year-old girl with a ruthless regard for truth, The Last Life is a beautifully told novel of lies and ghosts, love and honor. Set in colonial Algeria, and in the south of France and New England, it is the tale of the LaBasse family, whose quiet integrity is shattered by the shots from a grandfather's rifle. As their world suddenly begins to crumble, long-hidden shame emerges: a son abandoned by the family before he was even born, a mother whose identity is not what she has claimed, a father whose act of defiance brings Hotel Bellevue-the family business-to its knees. Messud skillfully and inexorably describes how the stories we tell ourselves, and the lies to which we cling, can turn on us in a moment. It is a work of stunning power from a writer to watch.

Claire Messud's piercing second novel asks questions most are too fearful to face. Moving between the South of France, the East Coast of the U.S., and Algeria, The Last Life explores the weight of isolation and exile in one French family. Of course, the adjective French is already inadequate, as at least some of the LaBasses still long for the paradise lost of Algeria. And Alex LaBasse's wife, Carol, try as she might with her Continental impersonations, will always be an American sporting a metaphorical twin set. The narrator, Sagesse, too, soon finds herself equally stranded. Only her autocratic grandfather, Jacques, is ostensibly comfortable with the identity he has wrought: successful owner of the Bellevue Hotel and head of his dynasty. It is thanks to this man that 14-year-old Sagesse comes to crave invisibility. Having lost of all of her friends, she sees herself as "a member of the Witness Protection Program, surrounded by an odd human assortment chosen only for the efficiency of disguise; but somehow, nevertheless, inescapable."

The cause of this loss? Jacques, fed up with Sagesse and her pals' late-night noise at the hotel pool--or perhaps with their failure to take him seriously--shoots at one girl. This incident ruptures life for each LaBasse, the Bellevue no longer "their bulwark against absurdity." Looking back on the crucial two years following the patriarch's "target practice," Sagesse possesses both a teenager's slant self-interest and an older, acute eye for the mechanisms of shame. The Last Life is that rare thing, a fast-moving philosophical novel masquerading as a bildungsroman. In her efforts at identity and affection, its heroine is increasingly alive to the subterfuges of narrative, forcing herself to sort through versions of reality. Her grandmother, for instance, relates one myth about her husband, only to have Carol undercut it entirely. And Sagesse herself can't figure out whether Jacques is "sentimental or heartless." What if both, she realizes, are possible?

As Messud's narrator navigates her way through the past--and the Algerian sections are among the book's most extraordinary--there is everything to savor in her wavelike sentences, many of which possess a dangerously witty undertow. And the scenes of familial tedium are the opposite of tedious. The dialogue snaps with subverted emotion, anxiety, and irony. At one of the LaBasses' bleaker fests, much is made of the mouna, a special (if dry) Algerian cake. Nonetheless, the grandmother does her best to fob it off at evening's end. "I've never cared for it myself, although it's a lovely memory." Retrospect, as Sagesse realizes, is "a light in which we may not see more clearly, but at least have the illusion of doing so."

E.M. Forster called another Mediterranean novel, The Leopard, "one of the great lonely books," and it is into this category that The Last Life instantly falls. --Kerry Fried


417 pages, with a 3.9-star rating from 65 reviews



Here's today's Daily Romance Deal, available for $1.99!

Going Twice (Forces of Nature), by Sharon Sala.

New York Times
bestselling author Sharon Sala enters the eye of the maelstrom as death and disaster stalk Tornado Alley—aided by an obsessive madman. 

As bodies pile up in the wake of a storm—stripped, tortured and grimly posed—authorities must admit the unthinkable. The serial killer dubbed the Stormchaser has returned following a tornado and taken it upon himself to bring the death toll up to where he believes it belongs.

FBI investigator Wade Luckett is back on the case, assisted by an agent Wade knows professionally and personally: his ex-wife, Jo. Neither time nor the tragedy that tore them apart have blunted the ache Wade feels for brave, beautiful Jo. And though she tries to deny it, she feels the same. But the stirrings of renewed romance will have to wait until they catch a killer.

The Stormchaser has no intention of getting caught. He's set his sights on a new victim. Jo can forget about the lifetime she dreams of spending with Wade. She'll be lucky to see another day.

380 pages, with a 4.8-star rating from 81 reviews

This is the second book in the series. The first book in the series, not on sale, is shown below.





Here's today's Daily Non-Fiction Deal, available for $1.99!

The Bro Code, by Barney Stinson.

From the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother comes Barney Stinson’s words of wit, wisdom, and awesomeness, The Bro Code—the New York Times bestseller (really!) with more than a million copies in print all around the world.

Everyone’s life is governed by an internal code of conduct. Some call it morality. Others call it religion. But Bros in the know call this Holy Grail The Bro Code.

The Bro Code is a living document, much like the Constitution. Except instead of outlining a government, or the Bill of Rights, or anything even resembling laws, The Bro Code provides men with all the rules they need to know in order to become a “bro” and behave properly among other bros. Historically a spoken tradition passed from one generation to the next and dating back to the American Revolution, the official code of conduct for Bros appears here in its published form for the first time ever. By upholding the tenets of this sacred and legendary document, any dude can learn to achieve Bro-dom.

Containing approximately 150 “unspoken” rules, this code of conduct for bros can range from the simple (bros before hos) to the complex (the hot-to-crazy ratio, complete with bar graphs and charts). With helpful sidebros The Bro Code will help any ordinary guy become the best bro he can be. Let ultimate bro and co-author Barney Stinson and his book, The Bro Code share their wisdom, lest you be caught making eye contact in a devil’s three-way (two dudes, duh).

209 pages, with a 4.6-star rating from 364 reviews



Here's today's Daily Science Fiction/Fantasy Deal, available for $1.99!

The Eighth Guardian (Annum Guard), by Meredith McCardle.

Amanda Obermann. Code name Iris.

It’s Testing Day. The day that comes without warning, the day when all juniors and seniors at The Peel Academy undergo a series of intense physical and psychological tests to see if they’re ready to graduate and become government operatives. Amanda and her boyfriend Abe are top students, and they’ve just endured thirty-six hours of testing. But they’re juniors and don’t expect to graduate. That’ll happen next year, when they plan to join the CIA—together.

But when the graduates are announced, the results are shocking. Amanda has been chosen—the first junior in decades. And she receives the opportunity of a lifetime: to join a secret government organization called the Annum Guard and travel through time to change the course of history. But in order to become the Eighth Guardian in this exclusive group, Amanda must say good-bye to everything—her name, her family, and even Abe—forever.

Who is really behind the Annum Guard? And can she trust them with her life?


386 pages, with a 4.6-star rating from 57 reviews



Here's today's Daily Youth Deal, available for $1.99!

Lost, by Jacqueline Davies.

Essie can tell from the moment she lays eyes on Harriet Abbott: this is a woman who has taken a wrong turn in life. Why else would an educated, well-dressed, clearly upper-crust girl end up in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory setting sleeves for six dollars a day? But Harriet isn’t the only one who is lost. Essie wanders between the opposing emotions of her love for the young would-be lawyer who lives next door and her hatred for her mother who seems determined to take away every bit of happiness that Essie hopes to find. As the unlikely friendship between Essie and Harriet grows, so does the weight of the question hanging between them: Who is lost? And who will be found?

This is a powerful novel about friendship, loss, and the resiliency of the human spirit, set against the backdrop of the teeming crowds and scrappy landscape of the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s.

249 pages, with a 4.3-star rating from 137 reviews



Happy Reading!

Betsy

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