Cover Image: Penguin Random House Excerpt Sampler Spring 2015

Penguin Random House Excerpt Sampler Spring 2015

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Penguin Random House Excerpt Sampler Spring 2015 includes extracts from The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi, Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen, Liar's Bench by Kim Michele Richardson and Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy. This sampler was a great way to find stories by authors I might never have discovered otherwise.

The Water Knife is a science fiction novel which explores the effects of climate change. Usually science fiction isn't my thing but the premise of this sounded interesting so I was curious going into the extract. However I found the writing style a bit too heavy for me so wouldn't want to carry on reading this.

Seeker is a fantasy novel about Quin who becomes a seeker. As someone who doesn't read much fantasy, I found this extract quite confusing and looking up the synopsis didn't clear it up at all so I won't be reading this book or the rest of the series.

The Little Paris Bookshop is a contemporary fiction novel about the power of stories to change peoples' lives. I adored this premise of this book and was also excited by the setting. I found the pacing of the extract to be a bit slow however I would still give this book a chance.

At the Water's Edge is a historical fiction novel set during World War 2. In this extract the characters we are introduced to are extremely unlikeable and after looking up a synopsis online I have no interest in continuing this book.

Liar's Bench is a historical fiction novel set during the 1970s in southern America. I wasn't particularly excited by the premise of this story and I found the extract to be very slow paced. Therefore I probably won't read the rest of this book.

Let Me Die in His Footsteps is a mystery/thriller novel set in a small Kentucky town. I love the title of this novel and thought the premise sounded intriguing. However I found the extract quite slow to get started and there was nothing holding my attention so I am unlikely to read this book.

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I’m so addicted to these I’ve even been hunting down the old ones to see if there’s any interesting books I’ve missed!

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I love these samplers because I always find new-to-me authors. In this one, I found many and I think it is because it was published in 2015 before I was reading as many books as I do today. Thank you for making me add to my ever-growing TBR!!

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Even though this sampler was put out in 2015, I had never read or even heard of most of these books. I love these samplers because I can read little bits of a lot of books and decide which ones I want to add to my TBR list.

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Fantastic opportunity of reading excerpts of upcoming books that will soon be available.

Not every book is going to appeal but it's great to have a look.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the chance to read these excerpts!

THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi has a really interesting premise about extreme water shortage that reminds me of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. I just looked it and they both came out in May 2015, that's some fun synergy. Anyway, while the concept is both thrilling and relevant, the excerpt indicates that things are going to be very survival-of-the-richest and depressing and more than I can handle.

The copyright page of SEEKER by Arwen Elys Dayton cracked me up because the cover copy is so mysterious, what could it be, and the Library of Congress summary is just straight out "it's assassins." The teenage trials and the overdramatic romance at the end just underlined that most YA isn't my thing, and I am definitely not the target audience.

THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP by Nina George sounded cute, but then M. Perdu refused to sell someone a book and I got very angry, that was way too high-handed a move. I don't care if you think I'm reading something for the wrong reasons, I read what I want to read (as a lifelong romance reader I may be a little sensitive on this subject).

AT THE WATER'S EDGE by Sara Gruen had a prologue that was honestly kind of impressive in how depressing it was. We then had a brief flash-forward that was very "woe is me" about how terrible the New Year's Eve party was, so I was tensed for something a lot more disastrous than getting drunk and having a snowball fight. In fact, when the servants were having trouble with the tower of champagne glasses I could just imagine it all crashing down thanks to some drunken attempts to help, a very cinematic disaster, and I was surprised and confused when everything was righted and the party went outside.

LIAR'S BENCH by Kim Michele Richardson is heavy, just as the cover copy promises.

LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS by Lori Roy has a gorgeous cover but I'm not really sure what's happening.

Most of the books were much too depressing for me, or had certain elements that really don't work for me. So I haven't found anything to add to my TBR this time but I still appreciate the opportunity to read.

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I can’t review this listing on GR as it’s a sampler, but I really enjoyed all the excerpts I read! Super stoked to read the full length versions.

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I received a complimentary review copy of the Penguin Random House Excerpt Sampler (Spring 2015) from NetGalley.

This sampler includes extended previews of 6 novels. I really enjoyed being able to preview enough of the book to know whether I'd be interested enough to read the whole thing. Each excerpt starts with a page showing the book cover, publication date, plot description, titles of some similar-interest books to give readers some tips on whether they'd enjoy this book, and a quote from a professional review.

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I love the opportunity to read excerpts from new books! I am always on the lookout for a good read and appreciate the opportunity to preview new authors or catch up with my favorites.

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I love these samplers of past books; it's such a great to catch up with books you might has missed the first time around. From this selection, I was already familiar with Little Paris Bookshop and Sarah Gruen's selection, but the others are brand new to me.

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I love these samplers and how great they are for readers looking for new authors and some good underrated books. I didn't find anything that I wanted to continue reading but I love the idea of these and will continue to request.

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Not my cup of tea, so didn't finish it and did read enough to review it! So I won't be reviewing this... so trying to get 100 characters in this so I can go to something I will review! Jesus not enough characters yet... Will it end urgh! This is what happens to me when I'm trying to get enough to send it!

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I love samplers and the Penguin Random House Excerpt Sampler Spring 2015 is no exception. What a fun way to check out the publisher’s hottest titles for the spring!

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for this extremely helpful sampler.

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Samplers are so helpful to prioritize what new books to read next. This way I can spend time with books I already know I can really dive into!

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I love samplers so I know what I need to add to my TBR pile

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It's always nice to get a little sample of the book so you know if you want to purchase it.

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I really enjoyed the excerpts from this sampler, so I am excited for the featured titles to hit the shelves! :)

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Revisiting Spring 2015’s Publications!
Table of Contents

The Water Knife: A Novel
by Paolo Bacigalupi………………………………………………………………………………………..7
by Arwen Elys Dayton…………………………………………………………………………………..27
The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel
by Nina George ……………………………………………………………………………………………53
At the Water’s Edge: A Novel
by Sara Gruen……………………………………………………………………………………………….75
Liar’s Bench
by Kim Michele Richardson…………………………………………………………………………..97
Let Me Die in His Footsteps
by Lori Roy …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 135
So, you’re all probably wondering whaaaaat? Come on, 2015 Books are so… over. Not exactly I say with a swagger, a wink as I point quickly at you. They’re over when I say they are. Okay, enough of that.
I think it is a fantastic idea for book publishers to revisit books from past years. Sometimes, during a year of hype and excitement over certain, shall we say, more famous books published that year, other books of equal substance are often overlooked. Their moment in sun is missed as they are placed on the shelf among bestsellers, series’ extravaganzas, or featured debut authors’ new books. Although missed, they are not forgotten.

I would love to re-feature former published novels from lists like this as I think no book ever becomes outdated. After all, we all are guilty of going to thrift stores to find books, some are very old, or old sensations. So let’s take a look at this list:

The Water Knife: A Novel
by Paolo Bacigalupi

“In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, leg-breaker, assassin, and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel “cuts” water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her luxurious developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet while the poor get dust. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, it seems California is making a play to monopolize the life-giving flow of the river, and Angel is sent to investigate. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a drought-hardened journalist, and Maria Villarosa, a young refugee who survives by her wits in a city that despises everything she represents. For Angel, Lucy, and Maria, time is running out and their only hope for survival rests in each other’s hands. But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.”

From Goodreads


This novel is strongly written. It came out when dystopian novels were big and popular. This book gives a glimpse into a possible future for humans if they don’t smarten up real soon. The author twists environmental disasters, water shortage and typical human behavior involving power, money, and stupidity.  The author has a knack for descriptive narrative with a very realistic feel. He is able to draw his readers into his worlds quickly and effectively bringing his settings around the reader to almost alarming and possible proportions. In depth emotional conflicts, character struggles, plot twists with a true science fiction flavor. If you love this genre, this book is worth a revisit!
More Paolo here
by Arwen Elys Dayton

The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.
As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.
And she’ll be with the boy she loves–who’s also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.
Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it’s too late to walk away.
From Goodreads


While being compared to books like “Game of Thrones,” “Hunger Games,” and “Throne of Glass,” this book suffered from the horrific disorder ‘Invisible Sibling Disorder.’  An unique fantasy book with all the fantastical thrill rides such a genre is known for, Seeker never quite got out of the starting gate like its fellow fantasy success novels had. The whole problem with fantasy books is that they are all compared to one another, are written because of an idea formulated from another and done to death with the same plot, same setting concept and yup, same types of character developments. The truth to be told is, there is only one true fantasy writer, Tolkien. From him came all the rest. The next epic fantasy creator was Stephen R. Donaldson, who ignited the 1970s with his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Series, his ten-novel fantasy series. His work is characterized by psychological complexity, conceptual abstractness, moral bleakness, and the use of an arcane vocabulary. His work has attracted critical praise for its “imagination, vivid characterizations, and fast pace. Although his work is said to mirror J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, his writings were affected by the influence of many others.  Donaldson was the first to bring about the next epic, successful series following Tolkien.
From there, all the rest came. So while many were critical of Seeker when it first came out. And many reviewer claimed that Seeker was the same as some of the others, the truth is, they all are somewhat influenced by the best, by myths, by legends and folklore that all came before them.

Now, that all the hype is over, well, quieted down a bit about the other prominent fantasy writers, maybe now is the time to give “Seeker” another try!
More Arwen here
The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel
by Nina George

Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own?
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.


I always wondered what it would be like to work in a library, to be surrounded by books all day and people who like me, loved to read… then I realized, I wanted to write those books that everyone was infatuated with.
This story, in many ways, reminds me of the book, “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend”,  by Katarina Bivald. If you want to read about heartfelt, down to earth human beings, books, emotional distresses, and resolution to those distresses, then I would say give this book a whirl. The characters are whole, realistic and have real pain that they get relief from through great advice. Books are true treasures, as is this one from Nina George. Check out her other books here

pssst! Beware the giant photo, it might startle you!
At the Water’s Edge: A Novel
by Sara Gruen

This is a Summary & Analysis of At the Water’s Edge. Sara Gruen astounds the historical fiction market once again with her latest novel, At the Water’s Edge. A captivating tale centered against the tumultuous backdrop of World War II, Gruen beautifully builds a story around contradicting ideals as they battle for the win in a world that is turned upside down. Bravery vs. cowardice. The privileged class vs. the working class. The truth vs. the lie.

While the rest of the world is suffering through the devastations of a world war, Philadelphia society rings in the New Year with extravagant parties and expensive champagne. As 1945 rolls in, Madeline Hyde, her husband Ellis, and their friend Hank Boyd create quite a stir at a high society event with their drunken antics. When word gets back to Ellis’s parents, he and Maddie are thrown out onto the streets forced to leave the comforts of their privileged lifestyles behind. This novel is sure to become a quick favorite with fans and newcomers alike.
From Goodreads


UGH! Romance, lol, okay, okay… However, it’s a historical romance, so that’s something. It’s also about spoiled rich kids during the height of World War II, who flaunt their status and exploit their wealth with parties and bad behavior. Okay, getting more interesting.

They are punished for this badness, ooo, and thrown out on the streets to fend for themselves. Well now! Then romance… UGH! Romance! Is it gripping? No, I don’t think it is. Is it an easy read? I think the reader will enjoy it as a light read. If you like socialites, art deco, and war-time era stories, then this one is for you. Also, can I say I really didn’t like this cover?

If you like historical fiction with some romance… then this book is worth another consideration. The voice in this novel is steady and moving, both in pace and emotions. So give it a try! Let me know what you think!

More Sara here
Liar’s Bench
by Kim Michele Richardson

In 1972, on Mudas Summers’ seventeenth birthday, her beloved Mama, Ella, is found hanging from the rafters of their home. Most people in Peckinpaw, Kentucky, assume that Ella’s no-good husband did the deed. Others think Ella grew tired of his abuse and did it herself. Muddy is determined to find out for sure either way, especially once she finds strange papers hidden amongst her mama’s possessions.

But Peckinpaw keeps its secrets buried deep. Muddy’s almost-more-than-friend, Bobby Marshall, knows that better than most. Though he passes for white, one of his ancestors was Frannie Crow, a slave hanged a century ago on nearby Hark Hill Plantation. Adorning the town square is a seat built from Frannie’s gallows. A tribute, a relic–and a caution–it’s known as Liar’s Bench. Now, the answers Muddy seeks soon lead back to Hark Hill, to hatred and corruption that have echoed through the years–and lies she must be brave enough to confront at last.

Kim Michele Richardson’s lush, beautifully written debut is set against a Southern backdrop passing uneasily from bigotry and brutality to hope. With its compelling mystery and complex yet relatable heroine, Liar’s Bench is a story of first love, raw courage, and truths that won’t be denied.


Fried Green Tomatoes!

Ya, I know. Huh?

But this is what jumped into my mind after researching this book. Not that the two are the same or even similar much. Sure, both are written as historical fiction that spans generations, both have avenues that focus on abuse, murder, slavery, but it isn’t that. I think, it’s the voices of the authors that’s similar.

There is a strong plot, excellent character developments, wonderfully written settings and smooth transitions throughout the plot. If you like strong women characters, emotional rollercoasters, and mysteries needing to be solved, then this book is for you.

The author uses a multi-generational pov, fast-paced plot twists, and surprising outcomes to keep the reader fastened to the pages. I believe this book is one that needs to be picked up and read.
More from Kim here

Let Me Die in His Footsteps
by Lori Roy

In the spellbinding and suspenseful Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Edgar Award–winner Lori Roy wrests from a Southern town the secrets of two families touched by an evil that has passed between generations.

On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.

It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served—or did she?

As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago


Two years ring of importance in this book–1936 and 1952. Each year is represented by a ‘daughter’s story.’
This book is richly dark and filled with a southern conflict. The conflict between families reminds me of a southern family feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. Add a whole lot of superstition, a lot of mumble jumble and characters that are so good, they’re bad. Two stories are told, one from the near past and one from the present by separate women. There’s bad things that result in a hanging, lots of blame and mystery and secrets abound.  I am looking forward to getting to know this author’s work better. Why don’t you give this novel a try?

More from Lorie here
So, there you have a BLAST FROM THE PAST, R E V I S I T E D.

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I downloaded and read this long after it was released mainly because it contained an excerpt of The Little Paris Bookshop but I actually liked the fact that the others I hadn't heard of. In the end I discovered more than just TLPB that I wanted to read.

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Once again, an interesting selection of books to look at. Enjoyed looking at what was on offer. Will be looking to lay my hands on the Nina George book. Many thanks for this.

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