Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Freebie: Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband and He Hanged Himself by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Congratulations to Michael Cooper, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey by Shannon Huffman Polson.

This week's book giveaway is a multi-book prize package.  One lucky reader will win copies of Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya.

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is Soffer's debut novel which was released earlier this week.  It's a book for foodies, like Like Water for Chocolate, designed to make mouths water while readers turn the pages.  Here's the publisher's plot synopsis:
This is a story about accepting the people we love—the people we have to love and the people we choose to love, the families we’re given and the families we make. It’s the story of two women adrift in New York, a widow and an almost-orphan, each searching for someone she’s lost. It’s the story of how, even in moments of grief and darkness, there are joys waiting nearby.  Lorca spends her life poring over cookbooks, making croissants and chocolat chaud, seeking out rare ingredients, all to earn the love of her distracted chef of a mother, who is now packing her off to boarding school. In one last effort to prove herself indispensable, Lorca resolves to track down the recipe for her mother’s ideal meal, an obscure Middle Eastern dish called masgouf.  Victoria, grappling with her husband’s death, has been dreaming of the daughter they gave up forty years ago. An Iraqi Jewish immigrant who used to run a restaurant, she starts teaching cooking lessons; Lorca signs up.  Together, they make cardamom pistachio cookies, baklava, kubba with squash. They also begin to suspect they are connected by more than their love of food. Soon, though, they must reckon with the past, the future, and the truth—whatever it might be. Bukra fil mish mish, the Arabic saying goes. Tomorrow, apricots may bloom.
For more about Soffer, read her contribution to the My First Time series here at The Quivering Pen: "My First Writing Award."

Since its publication at the beginning of this year, Me Before You has been gathering mountains of praise--and most of those mountains were built on the salt from the tears of readers caught up in the emotionally-ripe love story of two memorable characters.  Here's the jacket copy:
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.  Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.  A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Here's what the New York Times said in its review: “When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it: I wanted to reread it....Moyes’s story provokes tears that are redemptive, the opposite of gratuitous.  Some situations, she forces the reader to recognize, really are worth crying over....with Lou and Will she has created an affair to remember.”

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself is also billed as "love stories," but it's romance with a dark bite.  Petrushevskaya, who also wrote the collection of stories with a long-winded title There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, has a knack for turning our expectations on their heads.  The publisher's blurb goes likes this:
By turns sly and sweet, burlesque and heartbreaking, these realist fables of women looking for love are the stories that Ludmilla Petrushevskaya—who has been compared to Chekhov, Tolstoy, Beckett, Poe, Angela Carter, and even Stephen King—is best known for in Russia.  Here are attempts at human connection, both depraved and sublime, by people across the life span: one-night stands in communal apartments, poignantly awkward couplings, office trysts, schoolgirl crushes, elopements, tentative courtships, and rampant infidelity, shot through with lurid violence, romantic illusion, and surprising tenderness. With the satirical eye of Cindy Sherman, Petrushevskaya blends macabre spectacle with transformative moments of grace and shows just why she is Russia’s preeminent contemporary fiction writer.
Here's the praise from Kirkus Reviews: "Petrushevskaya’s short stories transform the mundane into the near surreal, pausing only to wink at the absurdity of it all."

If you'd like a chance at winning copies of Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots, Me Before You and There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband and He Hanged Himself, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on April 25 at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on April 26.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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