Monday, May 16, 2016

Boswell Events This Week: Alvaro Saar Rios, Mary Kubica, Jennifer Armentrout plus Liza Wiemer, Book Club Night with Katarina Bivald, J.F. Riordan, Wade Rouse writing as Viola Shipman, Cari Taylor Carlson.

What's going on this week?

Monday, May 16, 7 pm, at Boswell
Alvaro Saar Rios, author of Lucadora!

Alvaro Saar Rios’ plays have been performed in New York City, Hawaii, Milwaukee, and all over Texas. His play Luchadora!, now in book format was named one of the 15 best plays of 2014-15 in Milwaukee when it was premiered by First Stage. We're excited to be hosting a talk and dramatic reading of this moving tale of fathers and daughters, secret identities, and the exciting world of lucha libre-Mexican wrestling.

Here's a little more about the story. The discovery of a worn pink wrestling mask prompts Nana Lupita, a Wisconsin grandmother, to share her tale about growing up in 1960s Texas. As her tale unfolds, Lupita’s life as a teen tomboy comes alive-bike riding with her friends Leopold and Liesl, working at her father’s flower stand and lucha libre. When a World Championship match is announced, Lupita anticipates seeing it until she discovers her ailing father is one of the wrestlers. With the help of a magical mask maker, Lupita secretly trains to take her father’s place. She soon finds it difficult keeping her secret from her friends and, most importantly, her father.

From Jim Higgins at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "If you're the parent or abuela of girls, this production is a must. Every female character is presented as either competent or determined or both, from tween Liesl (Miranda Cecsarini), who fixes bicycles, to Lopez-Rios' Mask Maker, a Latina cognate of "The Karate Kid's" Mr. Miyagi, but with better boots and special sopa. But the boys represent themselves well, too. Flores makes a warm, believable father, except that he sings more beautifully than most of our fathers do. He and Mercado have a seemingly natural rapport, especially in a scene where he reveals his secrets to her."

Tuesday, May 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Mary Kubica, author of The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, and Don't You Cry
This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine.

From the moment her novel The Good Girl was released, Mary Kubica has been hailed as a breakout star of psychological suspense. Her book was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, with Pretty Baby following in its footsteps. Now she's back for Don't You Cry, which Lisa Scottoline calls "Single White Female on steroids.

Booklist wrote "Kubica's latest will please fans of her first two similarly themed thrillers. The twists and turns will keep readers guessing right up to the conclusion." And Kimberly McCreight, author of Reconstructing Amelia called Don't You Cry "an artfully crafted, wickedly smart page-turner about the razor thin line between suspicion and obsession, will keep you glued to its pages–and guessing wrong about who to trust - until its breathless ending."

Mary Kubica's tales of obsession and deception are truly terrifying, but like many thriller writers, the author herself could not be more charming. Come meet her on Tuesday, May 17, 7 pm to celebrate the release (check the pub date, it's launch day) of Don't You Cry, at Boswell.

Wednesday, May 18, 6:30 pm, at the Frank L. Weyenberg Library of Mequon-Thiensville, 11345 N Cedarburg Rd:
Jennifer Armentrout, author of The Problem With Forever, and Liza Wiemer, author of Hello?

We've been behind the scenes working with Liza Weimer and her debut YA novel Hello? for close to the year. Wiemer not only had a wonderful launch here, but has been visiting schools all over Wisconsin and even other states in the Midwest.

And the response has been great. There are so many write ups like this one from Genesis in Latte Night Reviews: "I can’t believe Hello? is a YA debut. It is extraordinary! The way Liza portrays different lives, each one so unique and inspiring is so beautiful and astonishing. This book has a lyrical writing to it with amazing characters and an original story that many readers will relate to."

During the process, Wiemer spoke to me quite a bit, and one source of inspiration that she brought up several times was Jennifer Armentrout, who, like Wiemer, had her first novel published at Spencer Hill Contemporaries. So when Harlequin came to me and offered us an event with Jennifer Armentrout for her new novel, The Problem With Forever, I immediately thought to pair them up. And what's even better, Wiemer thought to ask Jamie and Erin Arkin of Fiction Fair if they could moderate the discussion. And they could!

Here's a little more about The Problem With Forever: Mallory “Mouse” Dodge has learned growing up that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime. Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn't seen since childhood, on her very first day. It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she's not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out - for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

In Hello?, Liza Wiemer weaves together five teen's stories into a compelling narrative. Tricia is a girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma’s death. Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical. Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry. Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past. Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both. Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? is, in the words of YA writer Huntley Fitzpatrick, "extraordinary."

The Weyenberg Library is just north of Mequon Road on Highway 57, north of Colectivo and south of Fiddleheads, to put it in coffee shop perspective.

Thursday, May 19, at ManpowerGroup, 10 Manpower Place in downtown Milwaukee.
Ryan Berg, author of No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions.
This event is cosponsored by Manpower Elevate, Pathfinders, Milwaukee Pride

In No House to Call My Home, Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging Writers Fellow Ryan Berg immerses readers in the gritty, dangerous, and shockingly underreported world of homeless LGBTQ teens in New York. As a caseworker in a group home for disowned LGBTQ teenagers, Berg witnessed the struggles, fears, and ambitions of these disconnected youth as they resisted the pull of the street, tottering between destruction and survival.

Focusing on the lives and loves of eight unforgettable youth, No House to Call My Home traces their efforts to break away from dangerous sex work and cycles of drug and alcohol abuse, and, in the process, to heal from years of trauma.

Manpower Place is located on Riverwalk Way between Vliet and Cherry, on the west bank of the Milwaukee River.

Thursday, May 19, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Book club night with Katarina Bivald, author of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.

Swedish week continues with a visit from Katarina Bivald. But before we get started, Jane Glaser and I will be previewing our newest collection of book club recommendations. I'm having someone proof it now! I'll have a separate blog post on that.

We'll also be serving some Swedish treats, such as Anna's cookies (you know, those yummy super crispy ones. Ginger is the best!) and crackers. Alas, I haven't had enough time in the kitchen to make blåbärssoppa.

More about The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. This has been one of our favorite books to hand-sell this season. Jane Glaser writes: "I love books about books and this beautiful story is about how a small dying Midwestern town is regenerated with the arrival of Swedish bookseller, Sara Lindqvist, who has come to meet her bookloving pen pal, Amy Harris, only to find out that she has died. The townspeople of Broken Wheel, Iowa, in mourning for their beloved Amy, invite Sara to live in Amy's house. Rewarding this hospitality and honoring Amy's memory, Sara opens a bookshop, inventoried with Amy's vast collection of books. As Sara is determined that everyone who lives in Broken Wheel will be matched with just the right book, this community of diverse and engaging characters come to know the transformative power of living between the pages of books...and beyond! This is an inspiringly perceptive and heartwarming ode to reading that booklovers and book clubs will want to add to their list of favorites."

And here's a recommendation from Jen Steele, the first member of Team Broken Wheel: "Coming to a small town in America may not seem like the ideal vacation for most European tourists. But for Sara, it's an ideal trip. The bookstore where Sara worked has gone out of business. It's the perfect time to leave her home in Sweden and visit her pen-pal and fellow bibliophile, Amy, in Broken Wheel, Iowa. Unfortunately, she arrives in Broken Wheel to find Amy has died and she just missed the funeral. Sara's arrival becomes the talk of the town and her new neighbors take it upon themselves to help her stay any way they can, whether she likes it or not. In return for their kindness, Sara is committed to finding just the right book for everyone in town. The best of intentions quickly lead to misunderstandings, shenanigans and self-discovery. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a book for everyone. It is a charming, light-hearted story. If you're not a booklover already, Sara and the town of Broken Wheel may just turn you into one!"

Friday, May 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
J.F. Riordan, author of North of the Tension Line and The Audacity of Goats.

Last year we cosponsored an event with J.F. (Jan) Riordan at the Milwaukee Public Library for her first novel, North of the Tension Line, a quirky story about a city dweller, Fiona Campbell, who moves to the Door County village of Ephraim, and quickly gets immersed in the complications of small-town life.

Now the first novel is out in paperback and the second, The Audacity of Goats, has just been released in cloth, and this time Riordan will be reading at Boswell. Here's a little more about the book. All is not well north of the tension line. A series of unsettling nighttime incidents have left the islanders uncertain whether to be nervous or annoyed. Are they victims of an elaborate teenage prank, or is there a malevolent stranger lurking on the island? Meanwhile, out-of-state owners of a new goat farm seem to consider themselves the self-proclaimed leaders of the island; Pali, the ferry captain, is troubled by his own unique version of writer s block; and Ben, the captain s ten year-old son, appears to be hiding something.But it is only when the imperturbable Lars Olafsen announces his retirement, and Stella declares her candidacy for office, that the islanders realize trouble is brewing. Fiona must decide whether it is time to leave the island for good, or to make another reckless gamble.

Saturday, May 21, 7 pm, at Boswell
Wade Rouse writing as Viola Shipman, author of The Charm Bracelet.

When a humorist with a track record that includes such comedic gems as Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler and I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship (that's a collection he edited about dogs and their human companions) comes to a publisher with a gentle series of novels based on family heirlooms, they are likely to make some tweaks to the author bio. And that's why the author on the jacket of his first novel is Viola Shipman.

It turns out that Shipman is an homage to his grandmother. The title is something of an homage to her as well, for it was her charm bracelets that inspired this story about three women linked by a treasured family heirloom. Rouse says: “It was while studying the charms of this woman I thought I knew so well that I came upon charms that made no sense to me…or came from places I never knew she had traveled. It made me consider how well I knew her, how well we know our elders, and how her life helped to make me (and all of us) who we are today. I had the theme of charms in my head for years, and wanted to write a story that focused on three generations of women who are reunited by them and reminded of what is most important in life.”

Adriana Trigiani has said of The Charm Bracelet: “Like a rare jewel that will be passed down one generation to the next, and from one book club member to the next until everyone has read this heartfelt story.”

In addition to writing nonfiction such as At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life, Rouse has written for Entertainment Weekly and Coastal Living. Rouse is currently at work on The Hope Chest, the second novel in the Heirloom Series. He lives in Michigan, except in winters, when he turned out to be living in Palm Springs, next to two Friends of Boswell.

Sunday, May 22, 3 pm, at Boswell:
Cari Taylor-Carlson, author of Life on the Loose: My Journey From Suburban Housewife to Outdoor Guide.

Life on the Loose explores Cari Taylor-Carlson’s 32-year adventure with Venture West as she and her customers traveled the world with backpacks, canoes, and kayaks. This was a risky business with an unexpected learning curve - from the first backpacking trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to the final hiking trip in Zion National Park. She experienced the highs and the pits of the outdoor travel world as she navigated the unknown with her trusting customers following behind. Taylor-Carlson holds nothing back in her story as she somehow survived her own occasional negligence. She learned the art of the fake smile when things fell apart as she stuffed her panic because it was her job to set the tone for the group.

A painful divorce led Taylor-Carlson to recognize her need for wilderness, her safe place. That’s what gave her courage to pursue her dream and start her business. Taylor-Carlson explores two journeys - the internal angst of the guide and the external beauty of the places she traveled. People who look for inspiration, or enjoy an unvarnished insider’s account of the outdoor adventure travel business, or simply like a good story told with complete honesty, will want to read Life on the Loose.

In addition to her adventure travel work, Cari Taylor-Carlson is well known in Milwaukee for her local walking and eating guides. It's hard not to be inspired by Taylor-Carlson's story. Please help us celebrate the book's release this Sunday at 3 pm.

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