Book picks similar to
Help! I'm a Classroom Gambler by Pete Johnson


Lights of Liverpool

Ruth Hamilton - 2012
    Hardworking and good-hearted, they cling together and help each other, and a whole community.Meanwhile, Rosh Allen mourns the loss of Phil, her dearly-beloved husband. Aided and impeded by her mother, Anna, she struggles to raise three fatherless children. With the help of a kind-hearted neighbour, her wounds begin to heal, and she begins to take the first faltering steps into 'normality'.Tess and Don Compton are on the verge of separation. An apparently greedy and selfish woman, Tess wants a semi-detached house, and all her own way. But what really lies behind her desire to live on the posh side of the street.Behind the three families, two men are at work. One will do serious damage; the other will reunite a clan that goes all the way back to Ireland and to ancestors thrown ashore from the ships of the Spanish Armada.Brilliant storytelling that is perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries' The Four Streets or Maureen Lee.


James Stewart Thayer - 1986
    . . Brutal, brisk, and believable . . . . The finale sings." -- New York Daily News.A strategy born of desperation: an assassination to end the war. Only one event can turn the tide. Hitler believes that the death of one man—Franklin Delano Roosevelt—will save Nazi Germany. From a prisoner of war camp near Fort Lewis, Washington, where 50,000 German soldiers are interned, Wehrmacht Captain Kurt Monck—a man of frightening resources with ruthless intelligence whose devious determination is sparked by Berlin’s orders via secret channels to escape the camp and head east. Monck’s trail is picked up by U.S. Secret Service agent John Wren, who hunts Monck as the German nears Franklin Roosevelt’s armored train en route to the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Monck’s only aid comes from his reluctant accomplice Margaret Bayerlein, a widow who provokes a haunting triangular relationship. Pursuit evokes the American home front during the war, as well as historic figures such as J. Edgar Hoover and President Roosevelt. The manhunt crosses the country, and Monck, Wren, and Roosevelt finally meet in an electrifying conclusion.Heart-pounding suspense for readers who love the taut thrillers of Jeffrey Deaver and Frederick Forsyth.“I simply could not put it down.” -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

She Needed Me

Walter Kirn - 1992
    The Christian Science-Monitor praised his "engaging blend of deadpan humor and genuine empathy"; "Thankfully," said The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Kirn never abandons his theme of uncertainty when observing modern angst." Now Walter Kirn has fashioned She Needed Me, a moving, surprising, and darkly comic novel whose sympathetic portrait of a disillusioned generation is mercifully uncynical. Weaver Walquist and Kim Lindgren first meet outside a St. Paul, Minnesota, abortion clinic. Kim - twenty-three, pregnant, with no money to finish junior college - is about to walk inside. Weaver is lying in front of the door. At twenty-six, he is a Bible-carrying member of the Conscience Squad, a fanatical right-wing protest group...yet readers of all minds will be drawn to this gentle, questing soul as he struggles with his feelings for Kim and his subsequent sexual desire for her; his crumbling devotion to the church; and his waning loyalty to his employer, Sanipure, a Christian soap and cosmetics company that calls sales "fellowship moments." But Weaver was not always devout. The only child of a widowed, highly successful Wisconsin liquor store owner, he tried to ward off teenage isolation with a mixture of pot and pills, vodka, sex and heavy metal music, until born-again Christian Lucas Boone found him half dead on the floor of a Greyhound station men's room. As Weaver tries to persuade Kim to have her baby, they embark upon a journey that brings them into contact with a cast of keenly drawn characters: Chuck and Dixie Lindgren, Kim's parents, who made more money in one hot Las Vegas weekend than they ever earned from their North Dakota farm; charismatic, paranoid Lucas Boone, popping anti-depressant pills like candy; Kim's disaffected brother, Ricky, who makes a modest living burglarizing his relatives' homes; and fin

Archy's Life of Mehitabel

Don Marquis - 1938
    Don Marquis' creations have been constantly in print since 1934.

The Exit Man

Greg Levin - 2014
    After reluctantly taking over his family’s party supply store following his father’s death, he is approached by a terminally ill family friend who’s had enough. The friend, a retired policeman, has an intricate plan involving something Eli has ready access to – helium. Eli is initially shocked and repulsed by the proposal, but soon begins to soften his stance and, after much deliberation, eventually agrees to lend a hand.It was supposed to be a one-time thing. How could Eli have known euthanasia was his true calling? And how long can he keep his daring underground "exit" operation going before the police or his volatile new girlfriend get wise?

The Alchemist's Apprentice

Jeremy Dronfield - 2001
    And yet you've never heard of him. Or his book. The whole thing is a little hard to explain. To unravel the tangled threads of reality you have to go back to the beginning. To a New Year's Eve party in Cambridgeshire in 1996. Or earlier, when an unsuccessful novelist called Roderick Bent embarked on a train journey that turned into a nightmare. Actually, it doesn't matter where you start from. The point is that you'll soon understand why there's never been another book like it. And, more importantly, why you can't remember that you've already read it.

Climbing a Monkey Puzzle Tree

Karen Wallace - 2002
    She's rolled up from the backwoods of Canada, eager for a new life brimming with adventure. But boarding school isn't the fantasy that Nancy had imagined. It is an austere, loveless world where budding relationships are soon put to the test. Nancy wins friends and finds solace by telling stories, but still feels horribly alone inside. And when she leads her dorm in a special fund-raising event that goes tragically wrong, things go from bad to worse. Nancy longs to meet the glamorous brother of her friend, Caroline, and as her troubles build it's an encounter that can't come soon enough—until a shocking revelation comes to light.

The Ripple Effect

Dominic Holland - 2004
    . . One batch of doughnuts . . . One ripple of resentment.Profit-hungry developers are swarming over Middleton, determined to see the local football ground turned into luxury flats. But they haven't counted on the spirited resistance of local baker, Bill Baxter, who vents his frustration at the developers' plans by neglecting to put jam into a batch of doughnuts. Unbeknown to Bill, a rogue jamless doughnut sets in train a ripple of irrational anger that grows, wave upon wave, until finally it threatens to swamp the entire nation, leaving careers ruined, fortunes won and Parliament in turmoil. But where will it end? And what will become of Bill and his beloved Middleton?Stand up comedian Dominic Holland delivers another slick slice of comedy that will have you roaring with laughter, rooting for the good guys and relegating the villains to the bottom of the table.

Fighting with Shadows

Beryl Matthews - 2005
    In the aftermath of the war, Angie Westwood thinks the hard times are behind her. But when her cousin, Jane, dies of heart failure at the tender age of twenty, leaving a three-year-old son and an unresolved mystery over his father's identity, her life changes beyond all expectations. Angie immediately adopts Danny and decides to bring him up as her own, but she is torn between a desire to trace his father - for the boy's sake - and her fear of losing him to this unknown man. Concerned about Danny's well-being, Angie takes him to visit John and Hettie Sawyer, whose farm she and Jane were evacuated to during the war. The moment they lay eyes on him it is immediately apparent to the Sawyers who Danny's father is. But should they share this news with Angie? For his identity will be the most enormous shock to her...

Honor Flight

P.A. Piatt - 2018
    Now, Fleet Transport 'Astral Plane' is transporting survivors of this battle when a garbled warning is received, followed by orders from the President of the United Nations of Terra. Her orders are simple: Unconditional surrender, or die. Abner Fortis and the other Space Marines on 'Astral Plane' aren't about to surrender, but what can two hundred aged ISMC veterans on an unarmed Fleet transport do against overwhelming hostile forces? It's no coincidence their motto is DINLI. Do It, Not Like It. They just have to figure out how.

A Legacy of Secrets (An Irish Family Saga, #4)

Jean Reinhardt - 2015
    To make life even more stressful for her, the young woman finds herself torn between two of the people she loves most in the world. As her husband, Patrick, does his best to provide for his young family Catherine fears he is keeping secrets from her, possibly even more hurtful than the one she has concealed in her heart. While Patrick yearns for social change and a better future for his children, his wife is more concerned about the past and what damage it might cause.

What's Never Said

Susan Shapiro - 2015
    What if you find him—and he doesn’t remember you? In her captivating new novel, Susan Shapiro explores the perils of revisiting past passion. Lila Penn leaves Wisconsin for graduate school in the big city, where she falls for her professor Daniel Wildman. Decades after their tangled link, she arranges a tête-à-tête in downtown Manhattan. But the shocking encounter blindsides Lila, causing her to question her memory—and sanity. Switching between Greenwich Village and Tel Aviv, the saga unravels the sexual secret that’s haunted Daniel and Lila for thirty years.“Frank, darkly funny, entertaining...”—New York Times Book Review“A promiscuously readable guilty pleasure...”—Elle Magazine“Funny and original, with a soulfulness beneath the humor.”—Ian Frazier“Sly, candid, disarming...”—Pam Houston“Shapiro’s voice is so passionate and honest,it’s bewitching.”—Erica Jong“Irresistible energy, winning humor... breathtakingly frank honesty.”—Philip Lopate“Unputdownable.”—Gael GreenePublisher’s Weekly, October 2015:In raw and elegant prose, Shapiro (Five Men Who Broke My Heart) sensitively examines the subject of the one who got away—and what happens when you try to revisit an old romance. When brash, naive graduate student Lila Lerner arrives in New York City from Baraboo, Wisc., she immediately falls for her poetry professor, Daniel Wildman, who is 20 years her senior. As the tale opens, a now-happily married Lila attends the book signing of her former love, and is appalled when he doesn't seem to recognize her. But is his forgetfulness real, or simply a defense mechanism? Shapiro then leads the reader into the past, skillfully illustrating why Daniel's reaction is so upsetting to Lila and even leads her to think that her own memory is faulty. The author deftly toggles through decades, opening in 2010 and often moving to the early '80s, and from New York City to Israel, telling the story from Daniel's point of view as well as Lila's—lending empathy to a character who could have been the stereotypical older man taking advantage of a younger woman. Shapiro's witty, flawed characters leap off the page, showing the before, during, and after of a love affair. Library Journal, October 15, 2015: Lila Penn came to New York City from Wisconsin in 1980 as an idealistic young student in a graduate writing program. She fell in love with the city and with her professor and mentor, Daniel Wildman, but their relationship ended abruptly when he left for Tel Aviv. Professor Wildman turned out to be more indecisive than wild, and Lila was very young. Now, 30 years later, both are happily married to other people. But is there still a spark between the former student and her much older professor? Forward to 2010: Wildman has just won a Pulitzer Prize for his writing. Lila nervously decides to go to his reading and book signing, but it doesn't go well. Could it be that her former love doesn't even remember her? This wistful story of love and poetry is told from the viewpoints of both characters, then and now. Shapiro (Overexposed) is especially clever in her portrayal of the petty dramas and rivalries of creative writing programs. VERDICT This wry look back at a complicated and doomed romance is a sophisticated and witty novel about academia and New York publishing.—Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA

Violation (Adam Black #2)

Karl Hill - 2020
    Why would a man Black has never met or heard of leave him everything he owns? And as Black looks deeper, he discovers that the legacy is shrouded in mystery. To uncover the truth, Black will travel a violent and treacherous path. A path which leads to devastating consequences.This is Adam Black's biggest challenge yet. And, to endure it, he must once again resort to the skill he is an expert in. Killing for survival.

Depth Charge

Jason Heaton - 2021
    The tragedy sets in motion a dangerous quest for truth that pulls Tusker into a sinister plot spanning 75 years, from World War II Ceylon to modern day Sri Lanka. Along the way, he matches wits with a psychopathic mercenary, discovers a long lost ship with an explosive secret, and falls for a beautiful marine biologist who is at least as strong as he is. In the end, Tusker finds that the truth may lie at the bottom of the sea, with only one way back to the surface. Depth Charge is an old school thriller in the tradition of Fleming, Maclean, and Cussler, with an eye for detail, cunning villains, and narrow escapes. The story is full of wartime secrets, the intersection of religion and politics, and the arcane world of deep technical diving. It takes readers from the smoky halls of 1940s London to the volatile, seductive heat of Sri Lanka and sixty fathoms under the Indian Ocean.

Exclusive Chapter Sampler: A Year of Marvellous Ways

Sarah Winman - 2015
     From the author of the bestselling WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT comes this spellbinding new novel. Marvellous Ways is eighty-nine years old and has lived alone in a remote Cornish creek for nearly all her life. Lately she's taken to spending her days sitting by the river with a telescope. She's waiting for something - she's not sure what, but she'll know it when she sees it. Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the Second World War. When his promise to fulfil a dying man's last wish sees him wash up in Marvellous' creek, broken in body and spirit, the old woman comes to his aid. A Year of Marvellous Ways is a glorious, life-affirming story about the magic in everyday life and the pull of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, love and death and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.