Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 Book Picks with Amy S. Foster

Every Wednesday this month, we've been running book recommendations selected by some of our favorite up and coming authors. Today we have Amy S. Foster, who's not only a novelist but also a celebrated songwriter, best known as Michael BublĂ©’s writing partner. You might recognize her work in his four hit singles, including "Home" and "Haven't Met You Yet.”  

She has also collaborated with Destiny’s Child, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and a host of other artists. She is also the author of the novel When Autumn Leaves. Amy is the daughter of singer B.J. Cook and the legendary music producer, David Foster. Fun fact about Amy: Her extended family tree includes Bella and Gigi Hadid, Sara and Erin Foster and Brody and Brandon Jenner, and Clay Aiken! The Rift Uprising, her YA debut, was released this October. 

And now for Amy's favorite novels of 2016...   

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

There was just something so wonderfully cute and clever about this book. It’s a retelling of the tragic historical figure Lady Jane Grey (remember the movie?! With Helena Bonham Carter?!) I’m a sucker for historical fiction anyhow, but I love the way they turned the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants into a conflict between people who can turn into animals and people who can’t. I mean the fact that Henry VIII alone turned into a lion and ate people…come on! It was incredibly well written with compelling and really well rounded and devised characters. A totally fun read. My thirteen year old loved it and so did I.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben Winters

A few years ago a very smart editor at Quirk Publishing got the brilliant idea to take works in the public domain and rewrite them with the current fads that had taken popular culture by storm. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was released and immediately became a hit. I am a huge Austen fan but not enough of one to be bothered with Zombies. I don’t get Zombies… so I didn’t read it. This year I came across the retelling of Sense and Sensibility and I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did. I really enjoyed the new take with the ocean as the big bad. In this version, something has happened, a curse maybe? Where no one is safe from the creatures that rise from the seas and attack unsuspecting humans. Poor Elinor and Marianne, trying to navigate their unjust lowering of economic station AND all manner of weird, massive and aggressive sea monsters that plague their shanty/cottage (despite the many wires and alarms they have rigged up to protect them.) This book is a whole bunch of fun plus the writing is pure Austen. I think Jane herself would have been amused.

Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well by Nancy Atherton

The Aunt Dimity series is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. As far as I’m concerned, it’s got it all- a smart no no-nonsense female protagonist (who is also mother and a wife) a ghost (in the form of Aunt Dimity who converses with Lori, the aforementioned protagonist via a journal where they ‘write’ their conversations back and forth) and a cute little English village. I am also a person who likes a mystery that isn’t necessarily a murder because I’m a wimp. I think Nancy Atherton does a fantastic job in each book creating an interesting narrative that isn’t violent or traumatic. The books are very well written and paced perfectly. I love this particular one in the series because Lori finds a Wishing Well and naturally people’s wishes start coming true. Other authors might have taken this to a really dark place but Atherton keeps it light and funny and suspenseful.

Here's a little bit about Amy's YA novel, Rift Uprising...

Normal seventeen-year-old girls go to high school, binge watch TV shows all weekend, and flirt with everyone on the face of the Earth. But Ryn Whitaker is trying to save it.

Ryn is a Citadel. A soldier. A liar. Ryn and her fellow Citadels were specially chosen and trained to guard a Rift—one of fourteen unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths. Unbeknownst to her family, Ryn leaves for school each day and then reports for duty as an elite, cybernetically-altered soldier who can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which comes in handy when she’s not sure if axe-wielding Vikings or any number of other terrified and often dangerous beings come through the Rift. A fine-tuned weapon, Ryn is a picture-perfect Citadel. But that’s all about to change.

When a young man named Ezra is pulled through the Rift, Ryn finds herself immediately drawn to him, despite her training. What starts as a physical attraction quickly grows deeper, and Ezra’s curiosity throws Ryn off balance when he starts questioning the Rifts, the mysterious organization that oversees them, and the Citadels themselves—questions that lead Ryn to wonder if the lies she’s been telling her family are just the surface of a much bigger lie told to her. As Ryn and Ezra desperately try to get to that truth, they discover that each revelation blurs the line between the villains and the heroes even more. 

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