Summary: The dreads are back. As a child, Meers Logan was haunted by memories of another time and place, always accompanied by the faint strains of elusive music. Now the hand of the past has reached out again. An envelope addressed to her and delivered to the Phoenix Foundation—an institute dedicated to the recovery of past life memories—contains a childhood drawing of an elaborate box that Meers recognizes…and a sheet from an auction catalog identifying the object—which she spent years imagining— as an eighteenth-century gaming box.
Determined to unlock the mystery of who she once was, she travels to Vienna to find the box. With each step, she comes closer to remembering the connections between a clandestine reincarnationist society, the lost Memory Flute linked to Ludwig van Beethoven and rumored to open the door to the past, and to David Yalom, a journalist who knows all too well how the past affects the future. -- Mira Books
Over the summer, I read THE REINCARNATIONIST by M.J. Rose for my book club. I thoroughly enjoyed the book (see my review) as did my entire book club. We were also extremely fortunate that Ms. Rose agreed to join us via speakerphone for our discussion -- you can read a summary of our meeting here. When we were talking to here, she told us about her next novel in THE REINCARNATIONIST series entitled THE MEMORIST. My entire book club was excited to hear that she was writing more books about reincarnation, and we have been anxiously awaiting the publication of this novel ever since. You can imagine how excited I was when I was selected to be a part of the TLC Book Tour for THE MEMORIST.
While I really enjoyed THE REINCARNATIONIST, I liked THE MEMORIST even more. It was an exciting, suspense-filled novel that was also filled with lots of terrific historical information. As I read through the reviews for this book, I see that I'm not alone with my praise. People Magazine selected THE MEMORIST as its Pick of the Week; and the book also received Starred Reviews in both Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.
This book and its characters captured me from the very beginning. I liked how Ms. Rose had Meer actually question and even doubt the reasons behind her memories, and I enjoyed being "along" with her as she discovered things about her past. It was nice to see the return of a few characters from the first novel, Malachai (the head of the Phoenix Foundation) and Lucien (the cop who is trying to prove his involvement in a crime.) While the books were very different and had different main characters, I liked how there was some continuity between them. I can't wait to read the next novels in this series as new characters try to find various memory tools -- I think it's a great concept.
One thing I really enjoyed about this novel (and THE REINCARNATIONIST) is that Ms. Rose isn't afraid to "kill off" major characters for the purpose of moving the plot. I have to admit that I did get upset over the loss of a character or two in the novels, but it was absolutely the right thing to do. In addition, I loved how the chapters were all very short, but very intense. I think the style of the brief chapters made it difficult for me to put the book down because I kept telling myself that I would read just a few more pages. Ms. Rose knows how to tell a story and take the reader along on a wonderful ride!
Another thing I really appreciated in THE MEMORIST was the historical facts that Ms. Rose wove into the story. I could totally visualize Vienna and felt like I was almost there with her vivid and detailed descriptions. I thought her choice of quotations by famous people like Tolstoy, Balzac, and Julius Caesar on the possibility of reincarnation were very interesting and added a great deal to the story. I also loved how she wove Beethoven and his beliefs about reincarnation into the story. I found the idea of binaural beats just fascinating -- that notes played a certain way could stimulate past memories. It is so clear that Ms. Rose did an incredible amount of research while writing this novel; and I think many readers will begin to examine his or her own beliefs about reincarnation.
Not only do I think Ms. Rose is a very gifted writer, but I am also amazed with her ability to "multi-task." She is just a fascinating (and very sharp) woman; and I was fortunate enough to ask her a few questions back in June -- you can read my interview here. In addition to her writing, she also continues to use her skills as a marketing professional. She realized how difficult it is for authors to "market" their own books and has created the following to assist them:
+ AuthorBuzz.com (Including AuthorBuzz & BookClubbing)
Reaches 330,000 readers, 10,000 librarians, 7000 bookclubs & 2500 booksellers.
+ Great American Book Giveaway
Pre-publication buzz to readers
+ Buzz, Balls & Hype
A blog about marketing and the business of publishing.
A blog for authors to post what inspired their current novel.
+Buzz Your Book – The Class
Where authors learn the basics of buzz. 6 weeks online. http://www.writersweekly.com/wwu/courses/marketing.html
+Buzz Your Book – The book - co-authored with Douglas Clegg
A work book for authors to learn the basics of buzz.
I do think THE MEMORIST would make a wonderful book for your next book club. There are so many themes to discuss, especially everyone's thoughts about the possibility of reincarnation. If the members of your book club are big readers, it would be really fun to read both THE REINCARNATIONIST AND THE MEMORIST and talk about both books. Check out the discussion guide for THE MEMORIST to get an idea of the types of things you could discuss.
A big thanks goes out to TLC Book Tours for providing me with the opportunity to read and review THE MEMORIST. You can catch the other stops of the THE MEMORIST Blog Tour:
Monday, October 27th: Fantasy Book Critic
Tuesday, October 28th: The Compulsive Reader
Wednesday, October 29th: The Book Bitch
Tuesday, November 4th: Bloody Hell!
Friday, November 7th: Fizzy Thoughts
Monday, November 10th: Devourer of Books
Wednesday, November 12th: Bookstack
Thursday, November 13th: The Inside Cover
Monday, November 17th: Booking Mama
Tuesday, November 18th: Books I Done Read
Wednesday, November 19th: Diary of an Eccentric
Thursday, November 20th: MommyPie
Monday, November 24th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Friday, November 31st: Frequency of Silence
I just happen to have two sets of M.J. Rose's THE REINCARNATIONIST (paperback) and THE MEMORIST (hardcover) to share with two lucky readers! To enter the contest, please leave a comment, with your e-mail address, telling me whether you believe in reincarnation or not. If you'd like to double your chances, please blog about this contest with a link back to this post. The contest will be open until Friday, November 28th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will announce the winners the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. or Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck!