Saturday, November 28, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2015

The Year of the "Tied for #X Place" Books


Despite the fact that there are two books published in 2015 that I haven't even begun to read (Patrick Gale's A Place Called Winter, and Therese Walsh's The Last Will of Moira Leahy), being dyslexic, and considering the length of my present reading list, I have my doubts I'll be able to finish either before the year finishes. Because of this, I've decided that I'm going to give you my top five fiction books of 2015 a little early.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Merchant Prince's Woman

What the Lady Wants: A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age by Renee Rosen


One of the first jobs I ever held was as a salesperson for Marshall Field & Co., in their Evanston branch (just north of Chicago). At the time, all new employees had to undergo three days of training in their flagship State Street branch. I was no stranger to that store. I spent many happy hours wandering around its luxurious interior, looking at things I couldn't afford to buy, and even standing outside in the cold to see their incredible Christmas window displays. Marshall Field's was part of my history, part of the history of Chicago, and a huge chunk of the retail store industry's history. Where I grew up, everyone knew that, respected it and it made us proud*. That's why I knew that a historical fiction novel about this particular woman behind this particular empire-building man was exactly my kind of story.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A well-punctuated road-trip

It's. Nice. Outside. by Jim Kokoris


John Nichols isn't doing very well. He's 50-something, divorced and unhappy with his job, so with his two daughters no longer at home, his whole life surrounds his 19-year-old autistic and mentally disabled son, Ethan. What's more, as much as John loves his son, it's getting harder to handle him. Aside from that, John's feeling like the life he dreamed of having may slip away forever, unless he does something about it soon. Now he's driving with Ethan from Illinois to his daughter Karen's wedding in South Carolina, with a secret plan that will change everything.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What is your superpower?

My Grandmother Sends her Regrets and Apologises (aka My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry), by Fredrik Backman


Anyone who has been reading my reviews will know that my favorite book of 2014 was Backman's, "A Man Called Ove." This Swedish author took the world by storm with his poignant story of a man who has given up, and the people who keep him going. I was lucky enough to get that novel as an ARC, but when this one showed up on NetGalley, the publishers rejected my request. Undaunted, we paid good money to buy this book, and it's an investment we will treasure for years to come. In fact, Backman's second novel immediately became heavy competition for Anne Tyler's "A Spool of Blue Thread" for the #1 spot on my 2015 list.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Business of Compassion

The Light of Hidden Flowers by Jennifer Handford


This is one of those books that, if you read it, you'll be glad you didn't overlook it because you judged it by its cover, its title or even its synopsis. Starting with the latter, the publisher's synopsis for this book is as follows:

Book-smart Melissa Fletcher lives a predictable life in her hometown, working behind the scenes for her charismatic father in a financial career that makes perfect sense. But when her dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Missy is forced to step up and take over as his primary caregiver and the principal of the firm.

After her father’s death, Missy finds a letter from him in which he praises her for being a dutiful daughter but admonishes her for not taking any risks in life.

Devastated, Missy packs her suitcase and heads for Italy. There she meets a new friend who proposes a radical idea. Soon, Missy finds herself in impoverished India, signing away her inheritance and betting on a risky plan while rekindling a lost love.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays (Nov. 3, 2015)


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teasers:
"Life can't be brought to a standstill all the same," he said. "You did the right thing, keeping the Library open." 
- page 98, from the short story "Carried Away" in the 2014 collection Vintage Munro by Alice Munro.