Looking for some good summer reading?

Here are a few books I’ve got my eye on. They come recommended by friends, book clubs I’ve visited with or from Amazon reader reviews, and they’re all pulling four and five star ratings. I’ve grouped them by genre (in no particular order) and also included links (the blue book titles) where you can purchase copies or read more about each selection.

If you have a recommendation you’d like to add to this list, either something you’ve read or are dying to read, please reply in the space below, and happy reading!

Crime/Thriller

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins is a 4 star psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator, which tends to add a few goose bumps for an extra chill. My book club friends call it a page turner. The story begins after a passenger, looking out from a busy London train, sees something shocking that she reports to police. From there on out, she’s entwined in the suspense.

 

Every Man Dies Alone.

Every Man Dies Alone: A Novel, by Hans Fallada. This one truly breaks the mold: a novel written in 24 days by a German who had just been released (in 1947) from a Nazi insane asylum. Both the author’s life history and the novel are harrowing. In real life, Fallada refused to join the Nazi party, was arrested and suffered later from alcohol and drug addiction. The novel he wrote is based on the true story of a couple who chose the simple act of writing postcards to stir rebellion, and the terrifying consequences that followed.

The Devil in the White City.The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson. Not the stuff of pleasant dreams, this is the true story of a serial killer who used Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair to lure his victims. It just so happens that my husband read it and has been talking it up for months. He’s in good company among Amazon readers whose ratings average 4 & 1/2 stars.

Literary

All the Light We Cannot See.

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Another post WW II story, this one is both a best-seller and a Pulitzer Prize winner. The novel follows a blind French girl whose life converges with a member of the Hitler Youth. The story and writing are described as beautiful and stunning.

 

 

Go Set a Watchman.Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee. While I’ve fallen in love with many books, my all-time favorite and the one I’ve read most (without tiring of the story) is To Kill a Mockingbird. Now comes the surprise prequel-sequel with the publishing of Lee’s long-misplaced manuscript. Is there any chance it could be as good as the classic? Very soon we’ll find out. The book is in preorder until its publishing date July 14.

Sci-Fi/Action Adventure

The Martian.The Martian, by Andy Weir. Imagine you’re an astronaut in the near future. You and your crew are sent to Mars, but end up getting caught in a horrific dust storm. Your crew escapes, assumes you are dead, and leaves you behind! The story is raw and told first person. Scanning the reviews, I’d say it’s best suited for readers who love science and engineering and don’t mind profane language.

Romance

Written in My Own Heart's Blood.Written in My Own Heart’s Blood: A Novel, by Diana Gabaldon. The story picks up where the Outlander series left off. The golden and gorgeous Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed death to find his beloved wife, Claire, married to his best friend. Of course, if you haven’t read the Outlander series–a time-traveling love story–you may want to start there. Either way, you’ll get a satisfying dose of history along with a passionate–and often raw–love affair.

Nonfiction

The Information-A History, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, by James Gleick. If you’re interested in learning the history of communication and information theory, then you may want to dive into this hefty book. Written by a science and technology journalist, it begins with a look at African drums and proceeds to cover everything from the telegraph and telephone to modern computers. It’s also chock-full of biographical information on a multitude of inventors.

Killing Patton.Killing Patton: The Strange Death of WW II’s Most Audacious General, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Part of the bestselling “killing” series, this book looks at the final six months of the war, Patton’s crusade against communism, his contentious relationship with General Eisenhower, and the seemingly low impact car accident that killed a tougher-than-nails general, asking the question: Was Patton assassinated?

Young Adult

Paper Towns.Paper Towns, by John Green. I enjoyed this author’s The Fault in Our Stars so much, I’d try anything he writes. Green is smart, witty and so honest in his prose, that his YA books end up with huge cross-over to adult readers. This story centers on a teenage boy and his childhood best friend, Margo, whom he’s been in love with all his life. Margo, who’s been distant for years, suddenly reappears, begging him to go on an all-night spree, after which she disappears again. The question thereafter: What has happened to Margo?

Golden.Golden, by Jessi Kirby. Another young adult choice, this one chalking up a 4 & 1/2 star rating a year out of publishing. This is the story of a high achieving high schooler who’s never been kissed or broken any rules. But her life takes a turn with one final school assignment that has her unravelling her town’s biggest mystery.

And one final category: I’ve read it, of course, but…

The God of Sno Cone Blue.I’m listing my own novel, The God of Sno Cone Blue, to extend the offer for an author visit or Skype with any book clubs interested. A little more than a year after publishing, I’m thrilled to report the book has 84 reviews on Amazon and is pushing a 5 star rating. So far, I’ve visited with nearly 40 book clubs and groups, and we always have great fun. I’m scheduling through the summer and fall, so drop me a line on my contact page if you’d like to get on the calendar. Then again, you don’t have to be in a book club to read it. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and, again, if you’d like to recommend a book, simply click on reply below.

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A reason to BRAG

The God of Sno Cone Blue with BRAG Medallion.The God of Sno Cone Blue has won its first award! It’s called the B.R.A.G. Medallion and comes with a shiny gold icon for the cover and a 5-star endorsement backed by a whole team of reviewers.

As a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, my novel is now on the indieBRAG home page (see the link below) which I’m naturally thrilled about. What’s more, I got a personal note from IndieBRAG’s president explaining how she was so intrigued by my book, that while her reviewer still had it, she started reading another copy. She loved it so much she began chatting about it to others at indieBRAG before she could reveal the title! Continue reading

Incredible 5-star review of The God of Sno Cone Blue–please share!

Best book I’ve read in years, it says, then:
Cover of the novel The God of Sno Cone Blue.I have not been this impressed with a first novel since Michael Chabon’s Mysteries of Pittsburgh. The characters, the plot, the pacing…all spectacularly well done. The writing is mature, confident, lyrical…it reminds me of Mark Helprin, an author whom I think writes like an angel. But the thing that impresses me most is how the narrator, who is only a child for most of the book, comes across as a child in her understanding of the adults around her and in her friends, while also conveying the angst of her mother, who is dying and writing of her own life to serve as guidance to her daughter. Marcia Coffey Turnquist juggles these counterpoints so successfully she makes it look easy, and natural, which lets the universal themes of family, life and death, friendship, and growing up shine through. This is an astonishing, beautiful book. Everyone should read it.

Wow

No, I’m not sounding much like a writer at the moment, but that’s my honest response: Wow. To be compared to a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize winner? To have my writing Continue reading

What happens after we die?

Heavenly cloud with sun in sky.The question fascinates me. For some, the answer is “nothing.” They dismiss afterlife experiences as unscientific, tricks of the brain or hallucinations. But does that really explain it? One account I’ll never forget is that of a woman who Continue reading

The God of Sno Cone Blue is in Two Book Stores and Another Newspaper

Cover of the novel The God of Sno Cone Blue.

A newly-published review of my novel calls it “A deeply engaging and satisfying read” with “well-paced suspense, interesting and well-developed characters and a vivid re-creation of time and place.”

The writeup in The Valley Times newspaper describes how the story unfolds and how it’s, ultimately, about “the pivotal moments in life that can define all that follows.” If you’d like to read the entire review, find it here in The Valley Times. Continue reading

New Post: Big Fish and Small… and Book Signings

What kind of response am I getting from my book? First, I’m amazed some people have finished reading it, and second, deeply grateful when they love the characters as much as I do.

Grandmother and Granddaughter Reading Together. One reader sent this snapshot as she turned pages with her young granddaughter: diving into the first chapter of The God of Sno Cone Blue. Probably not the right demographic, but darling all the same! Continue reading

The God of Sno Cone Blue is Now Available

It’s been in the works for years and now I’m thrilled to announce: My debut novel, The God of Sno Cone Blue, is published! For more about the story and links to reviews, read on. To buy the book in paperback or e-book format, see these retailers. Continue reading

Eyes of a Different Color

by Marcia Coffey Turnquist

A new font/typeface for the cover and the novel is ready for sale! New typeface aside, what do you notice on first glance at the cover, that her eyes aren’t the same color?

The book cover, beautifully designed by Pete Stone, presents an image of my main character, Grace, who describes herself as having mismatched eyes, or, more derisively, being “lop-eyed.” In the medical world, the condition is known as heterochromia iridis or heterochromia iridum, both fancy names for irises with more than one color.

Continue reading

Nostalgia for Letters

carol's letter less copyIn the back of an upstairs closet, under a layer of dust and some old clothes, I uncovered a box I hadn’t seen in years. Inside were some stray photographs from my college days and a few outdated documents. What caught my eye, though, were some letters a dear friend had sent to me. Holding them in my hands brought a flood of memories. I’d been away at school when I got them, on the precipice of the big unknown that was my future.

All these years later, I opened one to a date in the right hand corner: 10-3-79. My friend and I, born in 1960, would have been sophomores in college and 19—19! Continue reading

Letters from Mother

Baby crawling at the end of a dark hallway.

When I was a young mother, chopping vegetables for dinner, I had this vision of the knife slipping, then suddenly ricocheting into my son as he crawled across the floor.

What was that? And how could I have pictured such a thing?

Sometime later, I learned that it Continue reading