Saturday, December 31, 2016

Here, there and maybe nowhere


This must be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell


Daniel Sullivan is a bit of a mess; with more than his fair share of screwed up relationships, when he meets Claudette, it seems like things might take a different turn for once. That isn't to say that Claudette, the woman who ran away from a successful film career, has any better of a track record, but certainly love can overcome any difficulties. However, since some people never seem to learn from their mistakes, when do you know if you should give them a second chance?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Scale of a Family

Moonglow by Michael Chabon


Readers of Michael Chabon's novels know that he has a wonderful way of mixing reality and fiction, to the extent that the lines can feel very blurred. I noticed this in his "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," which won him the Pulitzer. Although that novel, (which I really should review someday) focuses on the rise of superhero comic books, with an aside into the realm of magical realism, this book takes on a much more personal form. Here, Chabon takes the last 10 days of his grandfather's life (well, step-grandfather, to be precise) and uses the recounting of the events of this man's life in order to create a fictional biography, or memoir. In this way, Chabon not only makes protagonists out of real-life relatives, but he also places himself and other family members into the cast of characters.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Five (or seven) GOOD things to come out of 2016



Since 2016 has been such a rotten year in general, it is always nice to find something positive to focus on. One bright light I can give you is my "Top 5 Favorite Books of 2016." As in past years, it seems that once again, I need to squeeze in more than just five. This year, I have two books tied for second place, which is a bit of a surprise - but you'll understand that better when you read below. I'm also going to put two books in my fifth place spot, since I cannot decide which of these I liked better, so I can't relegate either one to the honorable mention slot (for which I have nothing this year). That said, this is quite an eclectic collection of books, and I can assure you that the pleasure I got out of each of these books also differed one from the other. Let the countdown begin… (links in the titles are to my full reviews of these books).


Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Buzzfeed Blunder on Children's Books

Recently a friend of mine posted on Facebook a link to a Buzzfeed article "13 Children’s Books That Encourage Kindness Towards Others." Admittedly, I am familiar with only two of the books on that list. One is the Dr. Seuss book "Horton Hears a Who," which certainly fits the bill. The other, however, is Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree," and I must object to their including this book on their list.

My biggest problem with "The Giving Tree" is that for me, the boy does not really love the tree at all. While it seems that way to being with, as he grows older, he becomes more and more selfish, and instead of just enjoying the company of the tree, he starts taking bits of it away, until all that is left is a stump. Then, the biggest insult is that when there's nothing left for the tree to give him, the boy continues to use the tree for his own comfort - as a seat to rest upon. Now, if this had been my book, I would have had the boy plant a sapling every time he took something from the tree. That way, as the years went by, the tree would have younger trees to keep it company. Then, when the boy finally returns as an old man, they can enjoy each other's company once again, while also surrounded by all the new trees that the boy gave back as well. In this way, they would know that eventually, other boys would have the benefits of being friends with the trees and the joys of communing with nature.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Elizabethian Fury in a Modern Female

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler


In Anne Tyler's latest book, she takes on the task of modernizing Shakespeare's play "The Taming of the Shrew." To remind you, the original story is a simple one: Baptista has two beautiful daughters, the younger one is the sweet Bianca, and the older one is the hotheaded Katherine. Bianca is in love with Lucentio, but her father will not allow her to marry before her older sister Katherine. The problem is who would want to take on such a difficult woman as Katherine to be their wife? Enter Petruchio, who decides to take on the task of taming and wedding her, and so the comedy begins. (As an aside, I have to admit that the idea that someone would have to tame a woman to make her marriageable is hardly a feminist theme. However, the more you study the ending of his original play, you may find the Bard was actually suggesting that the "taming" wasn't wholly one-sided - but that's for another discussion altogether.)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Guest Author Post: Shoshanah Shear on "Healing Your Life Through Activity"

Since I don't often read/review non-fiction, I am pleased to have the privilege to present you with this guest author post about a book that sounds both helpful and fascinating.

The Story behind Healing Your Life Through Activity - An Occupational Therapist's Story

by Shoshanah Shear


Shortly after high school, I went to a career guidance counselor. After discussing my high school subjects and activities, she recommended that I study occupational therapy. She offered no explanation of what occupational therapy is, only that in her opinion, she believed I should study occupational therapy. Personally, I loved art. Yes I did study science too, but my main love was art. I really wanted to become an artist of some kind. I often thought I would love to study photography in-depth, or I could become a jeweler, an illustrator, designer or even a landscape gardener or horticulturalist. I love beauty and I love creating in all kinds of mediums. For me, any of these careers combine, art, beauty, science and giving to others.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Structures of Love


To Capture what we Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin


From a hot-air balloon above the future site of the 1889 Paris fair grounds, Émile Nouguier one of the architects and engineers working with Gustav Eiffel, looks down at the place where their tower will soon be built. With him in the basket is Catriona (Cait) Wallace, the chaperone to two young siblings from Scotland, Alice and Jamie Arrol, whose uncle William is a renowned engineer in their home country. This chance meeting is what sparks the chain of events in this captivating historical fiction novel, where Beatrice Colin carefully mingles facts with fictional romances.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An Elmwood Springs Retrospective


The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg


Flagg's latest novel returns once again to Elmwood Springs and this time, she tells us everything, starting with its humble beginnings, when young Lordor Nordstrom finds this beautiful spot in Missouri, and decides to make his home there. From there Flagg takes us on a journey of joys and tears, from the late 19th century, through into the year 2020. This includes a nod to Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" with narratives from the dearly departed of the town from their graves, and then some.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Perfecting your Good-bye


And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman


Stock up on tissues folks, because Fredrik Backman is BACK! This time, Backman gives us a perfectly formed, exquisitely developed novella (whose title is almost longer than the book itself) about a man slowly succumbing to dementia and his relationship to his grandson Noah. Together, these two go on a journey of remembering and forgetting, of fantasy and reality, where Noah's father, Ted (Grandpa's son) and Grandpa's wife drift in and out of the story.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Gathering of Stories

November Storm: A Collection of Short Stories by Robert Oldshue.


The Iowa University Press describes this Iowa Short Fiction award winner of 2016, as follows:

In each of the stories in Robert Oldshue’s debut collection, the characters want to be decent but find that hard to define. In the first story, an elderly couple is told that delivery of their Thanksgiving dinner has been canceled due to an impending blizzard. Unwilling to have guests but nothing to serve them, they make a run to the grocery, hoping to get there and back before the snow, but crash their car into the last of their neighbors. In “The Receiving Line,” a male prostitute tricks a closeted suburban schoolteacher only to learn that the trick is on him. In “The Woman on the Road,” a twelve-year-old girl negotiates the competing demands of her faith and her family as she is bat mitzvahed in the feminist ferment of the 1980s. The lessons she learns are the lessons learned by a ten-year-old boy in “Fergus B. Fergus,” after which, in “Summer Friend,” two women and one man renegotiate their sixty-year intimacy when sadly, but inevitably, one of them gets ill. “The Home of the Holy Assumption” offers a benediction. A quadriplegic goes missing at a nursing home. Was she assumed? In the process of finding out, all are reminded that caring for others, however imperfectly—even laughably—is the only shot at assumption we have.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Women witnessing WWII


The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton


Near the end of When World War II, journalists and photojournalists from allied countries had only one thing on their minds - to be the first ones to document the victory of retaking Paris. Among them were women who braved life and limb to "make their careers" by achieving this feat. Meg Waite Clayton's latest novel follows two fictional women attempting to be the first journalists to chronicle this allied victory.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Not a blueprint!

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood


(Note: This is my 200th book review! To celebrate this, I thought it only right it should be about a classic novel. This also gives me the opportunity to throw in a bit of politics, which my readers know I've completely avoided using this blog for until now.)

Most people have heard of, if not read, this speculative fiction book by Margaret Atwood. For those who don't know, this is a dystopian story of what Atwood imagined could happen if men took total dominance over women, and relegated them to being only wives, servants and baby-making machines. Originally published in 1985, this novel was a way for Atwood to fictionalize her own social commentary after observing increasing Christian fundamentalism that included no small amount of anti-women rhetoric.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Different? Yes, but…

Today Will be Different by Maria Semple


Eleanor is having a very difficult time right now. Her budding cross-dressing son is once again pretending to be sick to get out of school, and she really should be working on her book - her graphic memoir - but one thing leads to another and, well, yes, this day really is turning out to be different; or is it?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Teaser Tuesday for September 13, 2016



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 (or the next book on your reading list)
  • 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 Teaser:
 "It should have come as no surprise to Eleanor that Lester's party, her baby sister Ivy, Ivy the willowy, translucent one with the fluttery aura (she was the air and Eleanor was the earth), Ivy six-foot-one in ninth grade, who, a week before high school graduation went to model in Paris and then Japan but had no luck in New York where it mattered, who followed an acting coach to the Berkshires which ended up being a cult and had to be rescued by Eleanor and her then-boyfriend Joe, Ivy who miraculously booked a Dior campaign so her face was all over the subways one summer but lost all that money and her modeling connections in an ironically named Ponzi scheme, "Friends Helping Friends," Ivy who hitchhiked to Telluride for an ayahuasca ceremony and stayed three years shacking up with the shaman, Mestre Mike, next finding religion in Fat is a Feminist Issue, Toxic Parents and Healing the Shame that Binds You, this Ivy who became a certified masseuse but quit because the constant transfer of bad energy was making her weak, she was allergic to wheat and cut out sugar before anyone was allergic to wheat and cut out sugar, she also refused to eat meat because it was biting into animal screams and she avoided nuts because viruses clung to nuts, the Ivy whose skin had become dry and eye sockets saggy, who couldn't shake her angry dry cough, who Eleanor's by-then-husband, Joe, a surgeon who knew a dying bulimic when he saw one, checked into an Eating Disorder Unit on Second Avenue where Ivy was forced on arrival to eat a Sloppy Joe on a white bun, despite sobbing and gagging and collapsing on the linoleum floor, Ivy who was now answering phones for David Parry, rock-and-roll manager and husband of Violet, the heat writer of Looper Wash, as a personal favor to Eleanor, Ivy who was now thirty-three and healthy if getting a little old for her act, it was this Ivy who came to Lester's party, it was this Ivy who met Bucky, captivated Bucky, went back to St. Regis with Bucky, and now to New Orleans the next day.

"A year later they were married."

 
--  Today Will be Different by Maria Semple. (Pages 133-4 of the print version.)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Eling for Healing

The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh


Almost a decade after a tragic accident, Maeve Leahy is still trying to come to terms with what happened between her and her identical twin sister, Moira. When a Javanese knife, called a Kris, comes into Maeve's life, its mystery and magic bring these past events to the fore.

After reading Walsh's novel, "Moon Sisters," I noticed that it was her second book. Not long afterwards, this debut novel went on special sale on Amazon, and I decided to buy it. Now that I've read both books, it seems that Walsh likes the theme of sisters and their relationships. Whereas in Moon Sisters, the two girls were of different ages, here we have twins, but the connections between them are equally as strong, with equal amounts of highlights and conflicts between them. The most striking difference between these books is the vehicles that Walsh uses to further these stories. In Moon Sisters, Olivia's Synesthesia plays a large part in the story. Here, however, we have the magical realism (or perhaps I should call it mystical realism) of the power behind the Kris. Mind you, the mixing up of the senses that Synesthesia causes is somewhat similar to the unexplained effects that the Kris has on Maeve. On the other hand, the Synesthesia allowed for far more poetry in Walsh's prose than this book included.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Should Regions for ARCs still be a thing?

So far and yet so near…



As most of my readers know, I live in Israel. Because of this, sometimes when I request advance reader copies (or ARCs) of books from sites like NetGalley, publishers sometimes decline my requests. No, this isn't antisemitism or some nasty BDS "gotcha." The reason they give is that they don't have the rights to give out ARCs to locations outside their domain. Lately, however, I've been thinking this is a bit strange, and if you think about it, effectively outmoded, especially when it comes to people who review books for the Internet (remember, it is call the World Wide Web, because it connects all corners of the globe).

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Nine Times November 11, 1918

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War


It isn't often that a group of authors come together to make a collection of short stories. From what I can see, most collections with various authors are ones that a publisher collected, often from a slew of single-author collections. In this case, the publishers seem to have enlisted nine of their most talented historical fiction writers with a challenge - write a short story that includes both of these two elements: love and November 11, 1918.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Fantastical Fable

Little Nothing by Marisa Silver


In one of the more beautifully written books I've ever read, Silver brings us a story that blends fantasy with reality into a hybrid fable of the weird and the wonderful, of loss and of love and so much more.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Maine Women Stories

Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes


This is a collection of short stories all surrounding women living near the coast of New England. Debut author Noyes brings us such varied stories as a woman watching her husband go crazy before disappearing, the life-long guilt of one girl's childhood lie, disastrous affairs and a troubled mother trying to escape her loving boyfriend with her daughter.

On the publisher's website, it says, "With novelistic breadth and a quicksilver emotional intelligence, Noyes explores the ruptures and vicissitudes of growing up and growing old, and shines a light on our most uncomfortable impulses while masterfully charting the depths of our murky desires." I can certainly agree with much of this statement, particularly about Noyes showing us uncomfortable impulses and murky desires. The publisher also called it, "Dark and brilliant, rhythmic and lucid…" and I must agree with the dark, rhythmic and lucid parts, and while I found this book to be very interesting, I'm not sure if I would call it brilliant.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday for July 26, 2016



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 (or the next book on your reading list)
  • 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 Teaser:
 "I think prayers, determination, and crossed arms beneath a moon, well, all three just triple my chances. Don't you? I'd tell you what I wished for, but then it wouldn't come true. Let's just say it involves airplanes not plummeting through the clouds.

" What do you desire above everything else?"
--  From the short story Something Worth Landing For by Jessica Brockmole, in the collection Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Devotion en masse

The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth Church


Meridian is very smart, and she wants to become an ornithologist, something very unusual for a girl growing up in post-WWI in America. With the support of her mother, and knowing she has the blessing of her late father she begins that journey. However, when she meets the brilliant lecturer Alden Whetstone and realizes she found her intellectual equal. After finishing her bachelor's degree, he convinces her to put off her graduate studies to follow him to his new top-secret job in Los Alamos, working to end the Second World War, through physics. With her life on hold, Meridian looks for meaning in her new surroundings.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Travels for the Mind or for the Body?

On Trying to Keep Still by Jenny Diski


I was saddened to hear that Jenny Diski was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and even more saddened when she passed away. Interestingly enough, the first thought that went through my head was "why haven't I read more of her works?" I knew that I loved her writing, and frankly, I felt ashamed that I'd only read two of her books. While Diski wrote many works of fiction, I've only read her non-fiction "travel" books. (I put the word 'travel' in quotation marks because these are more memoirs through the places she visits, than books about the travel itself.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

21st Century Fairy Tales?

Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams


Some book reviews are harder to write than others are, and this is going to be one of those. As I noted in another review I wrote for the website Book Browse (review coming soon), I'm not a fan of religious fiction, including Jewish religious fiction books. Furthermore, I've never believed in an anthropomorphic god or even a force somewhere out there in the universe with extraordinary powers. If there is something godly in this world, I believe it is the power within us to be good people. That internal goodness is what motivates us to help others and make the world a better place. Yes, I do believe that most of the prophets and characters in the Bible might have existed in real life; but I can't be sure of that. Even so, I do believe that the stories in the Bible (or at least those in the Old Testament) hold lessons that can teach us how to live our lives (including some that seem negative or invalid for today's world).

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Progress per traditionem.

Different Class by Joanne Harris


Much to the chagrin and worry of the aging Latin Master, Mr. Straightly, John Harrington is back at St. Oswald's, but this time he's not a student; he's the new Head. Harrington has some ideas of how he wants to bring St. Oswald's into the 21st century, but modernizing this old institution isn't going to be easy. Computers, renovations, marketing, re-branding and even uniting St. Oswald's sister school to finally introduce mixed classes are great ideas, but even they can't lay the past to rest. 
In Harris' latest novel we find out how sinister forces from the past could jeopardize this old school's future. 
 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Naughty, but nice!

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg


Imagine if you will that you are one of group of elderly people stuck living in a facility that is bleeding you dry while providing less and less in return (except for the medication to keep you quiet). Imagine you've just discovered that your conditions are worse than what prisoners in jail have. What would you do, if you found yourself in this situation? Well, some people would try to figure out how to make yourself and your friends into criminals to improve your living situation. That's exactly what Martha does when she dreams up the perfect crime for her "League of Pensioners."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Capturing the Fear

The Fox was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller


Every so often, you come across a reviewer who pans a novel by saying, "nothing happens" in the book. This is exactly one of those types of novels, and I'm sure we'll see many reviews to this effect. The problem is, this is deeply unfortunate because fewer people will be encouraged read it. In advance of these disparaging opinions, I would like to put forward my opposing side of this argument.

The first reason why people should read this book is the particularly stunning prose that Müller uses here. Müller shifts smoothly between simple language and lyrical imagery that brings to mind Ondaatje, when he was just beginning to combine poetry with writing fiction. I should admit that some of the credit due here is to the translator (Phillip Boehm) who did a fantastic job of conveying what I'm sure was the atmosphere that Müller infused into the original Romanian text.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Books on the Waters

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George


Jean Perdu has a bookshop in Paris, but it isn't on one of their charming streets. No, his bookshop is on a barge on the Seine. That isn't the only thing about it that's extraordinary; Jean has a penchant for finding just the right book for each of his customers, and he won't sell them a book that he thinks isn't right for them. In fact, Jean Perdu named his bookshop the Literary Apothecary, prescribing books to heal peoples' souls. However, Jean only realizes that he hasn't known how to give himself the same advice, after a new tenant moves into the flat across from him. That's when he lifts anchor to navigate the rivers (and some roads) of France from Paris to Provence, to follow his own plot-line, to see if there's an ending to it that's different from the one he's been resigned to reaching for over 20 years.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Baking Soda and Soccer

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman


Every so often, a writer comes along who can write a story with characters that touch you to your very core. Fredrik Backman is one of those writers - he did it with his first novel A Man Called Ove, repeated this with his second novel My Grandmother Sends Her Regrets and Apologizes, and he's done it again with Britt-Marie Was Here. Backman finds his way into your heart by giving us an ordinary, sometimes an annoying person, who has something very special, deep inside them that they don't know exists. Britt-Marie is one of these people. In his latest novel, Backman slowly peels away at all the things Britt-Marie has built around her to hide behind, in order to find something precious.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Guest Blog Post: "Rarity from the Hollow" author Robert Eggleton



The Beginning, Middle, and End


Emotional Closures in Fiction and in Reality




A Great Ending! Many readers demand one in fiction. But, in real life emotional closures may be much more elusive. Have you every been “done wrong” in some way – somebody hurt your feelings, told a lie about you, cheated in a relationship, stolen from you, fired you from a job with inadequate justification...?  Sadly, offenders do not always apologize and try to make amends to aid us in achieving emotional closures of our sufferings big and small, symbolic or factual. Life goes on.

Further, especially in YA literature, the lines between good and evil are expected to be clearly drawn. Many instructors of creative writing have asserted that conflict should be introduced in the first chapter so as to use it to hook readers on the story. In real life, truth may be blurred, relative, and within perspectives influenced by a host of factors, especially culture, access to information, and religion.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

My Liebster Award Nominations


Chronicles of a Cold Texan's Liebster Award Information

Last October, Annette Steinmetz of Reading in the Garden, nominated me for a Liebster Award

Well, it has taken some time, but I'm finally complying!


For those who don't know what a Liebster Award is, you can find out all the details here. The short version of the rules is as follows:
  • Acknowledge the blog who nominated you
  • Answers the questions the blogger asked you to answer
  • Nominate 5-11 other new bloggers for this award (typically ones with less than 200 followers)
  • Ask your nominees your questions own set of questions (again 5-11 is a good number)
  • Share the LOVE (and don't forget to inform your nominees)!  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Landscapes of Deception

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith


In reality, none of Sarah van Baalbergen's works survived, but Dominic Smith decided to turn the few known facts about her into fiction by renaming her as Sara de Vos and resurrecting her work. Starting out in 17th Century Holland, Smith shows us a woman who lives in the shadow of her husband, whose own talent is surprisingly recognized. Smith then brings us to Brooklyn, New York in the 1950s, to introduce us to Ellie, an Australian woman, desperately trying to finish her PhD in art history on the subject of female painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Ellie returned to her studies after finding out how male dominated the art restoration world was. To keep from starving, she restored a few paintings as a freelancer, but her biggest challenge comes when a suspicious art dealer asks her to replicate a rare painting - the last known surviving painting by Sara de Vos. In this way, Smith begins to construct a composition that sweeps across centuries and continents, eventually bringing all the shadows and light into focus.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The lost and what they find

Bottomland by Michelle Hoover

In a story that’s part mystery, part coming of age and part family saga, Michelle Hoover tells the story of Esther and Myrle Hess, two sisters living on their family farm who suddenly disappear. Set America's rural Midwest just after the First World War, the family's German origins not only isolates them, but at times, also works against them.

Hoover tells this story through slightly overlapping, mostly chronological, first person accounts from each of the family members. In this way, Hoover weaves the narratives so that the full story of what really happened eventually comes through as we slowly get to know each of these people and their parts in what happened. This paints an incredibly full picture, allowing us to both empathize with the sympathetic characters and for those that are less likable, are we able to understand our negative feelings for them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Sound of Reading

Listening to Audio Books

I recently underwent a procedure on my eyelids, which meant I had to have cold or warm compresses over my eyes for hours at a time. In anticipation of this debilitating circumstance, I realized that I needed something to occupy my mind while waiting to heal. The obvious answer was audio books. With them, I could concentrate on something other than my discomfort while prone and under the compresses.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Guest Blog Post: Ten Most Delicious Desserts Inspired by Novels

Ten Most Delicious Desserts Inspired by Novels

Guest blog post by author Andrea Lochen


As an avid reader with a major sweet tooth, I love when authors include the recipes for the yummy desserts they’ve made me drool over throughout their book. It’s a marriage of two of my favorite activities—reading and baking! And if you’re a book club member, what better treat to bring to your meeting than a dessert straight out of the novel? Here are ten of my favorite book-inspired desserts!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Finds (March 18, 2016): This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by Jenn of Books And A Beat, and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).


Friday Finds | Books And a Beat


So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

My Friday Finds:


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Titanic Flight


Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon


The Hindenburg was the famous Nazi zeppelin that blew up just as it was about to land in New Jersey in 1937. Built to be a modern aviation miracle, and the last word in luxury travel, this incident was not only tragic, but like the 1936 Olympics, it was quickly a black spot on Germany's national pride, at the exact time when they were trying to show their superiority in every way, shape or form possible. More importantly, why it blew up remains a mystery to this day. However, through the vivid imagination of Ariel Lawhon, we get a theory that until now, no one ever hypothesized, and thereby she turns history into a stunning mystery action novel!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen eBook price promotion!


Special eBook Price Promotion

Beginning March 7 and through March 21, you can buy the eBook of

Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen

for only $1.99 from:

Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and 

Kobo (USA, Canada & Australia)

 



Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen


Summary: Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents' rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she's lost her mind or she can actually see her son's active imagination. Frightened for David's safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon and how best to protect him. But what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son's imaginary friends truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood imaginary friend.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Feature & Follow Friday March 4, 2016


The Feature and Follow is the premium BLOG HOP of Book Bloggers. Running for over five years, the Feature and Follow’s goal is to promote the book blogging and author community to join together and support each other – even if it is just through a simple follow. The FF also promotes creative post options by offering interesting topics we can all talk about and comment on! Come join us.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Włodawa's Wars


In the Land of Armadillos by Helen Maryles Shankman


If you think that yet another book about the Holocaust is just too much, when it comes to this collection of eight short stories, I'll have to disagree - both emphatically and respectfully. No, this book doesn't take place in any concentration camp or even in the depths of some resistance stronghold. Instead, Shankman tells us about the area of Włodawa, Poland - located on the Bug River, which is near today's Belarus and the Ukraine. While the Jews and those who helped them there didn't suffer any less because of their being in such a strategically located area, these stories of those allowed to stay there are no less poignant.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tell me who you love


A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale


After Harry's father died, leaving him and his brother Jack orphans, Harry finds his inheritance will keep them both far from poverty. With their good education and status, they are good catches to settle down with any moderately well off Edwardian women, so that's exactly what they do, with two of the Wells sisters. However, when his brother-in-law discovers Harry's homosexual affair, he insists Harry leave, or risk ruining all their lives and landing Harry in jail for buggery. Harry soon discovers that the government is helping colonize Canada with the offer of land to anyone willing to work there long enough and can not only survive but also make their homestead succeed.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Through a Darkened Lens


The Photographers Wife by Suzanne Joinson


In one of the most beautifully written works of historical fiction, Joinson goes from Jerusalem in 1920 to Shoreham, England in 1937 through Prudence (or Prue). Prue at 11 in Jerusalem is with her architect father and his plans to chart and change the city, with the help of Eleanora Rasul's aerial photographs. When William Harrington, the pilot hired to fly Eleanora, comes to see Prue in 1937 in Shoreham, her past comes with him.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Chocolate Lady's First Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop 



Welcome to the new Book Blogger Hop!
If you want schedule an upcoming post, click here to find the appropriate prompt question. To submit a question for a Book Blogger Hop, fill out this form.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Reading of Maggie O'Farrell's Novels

One of my favorite authors: Maggie O'Farrell


There are very few authors I find compelling enough to want to read every one of their books. One of those few is Maggie O'Farrell. I first discovered O'Farrell's work with her fourth novel, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. This intriguing book about an elderly ex-mental patient released to the care of her niece is somewhat of a mystery novel that includes elements of a coming-of-age story.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Paths of love and sorrow

An Undisturbed Peace by Mary Glickman


In 19th century America, as the government worked to disenfranchise the country's native tribes and push them off their lands, waves of immigrants came in their wake, hoping to make their dreams of freedom and prosperity into a reality. Mary Glickman's latest novel follows one such immigrant, a Jew, Abrahan Bento Sassaporta Naggar who leaves London, for the new world to work for his uncle as a traveling peddler. Through his travels, Abe encounters Marian, the beautiful Cherokee woman also known as Dark Water. While Abe falls for the mysterious Marian, she is still in love with the black man who was her parent's slave. This trio of personalities comes together on the backdrop of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which lead to the infamously shameful "Trail of Tears."

Saturday, January 9, 2016

READERS, RECOMMEND YOUR BOOKSTORE!

READERS, RECOMMEND YOUR BOOKSTORE!


Sourcebooks Launches Reader Voting Campaign to Grant Money to Community Bookstores

NAPERVILLE IL (January 8, 2016) — Independent publisher Sourcebooks announces the “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore” campaign, which will give grant money to three nominated bookstores. The “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore Campaign” is inspired by the phenomenal support booksellers have given The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, which was selected as the #1 Indie Next Great Read for January 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nothing Lost in Translation

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katrina Bivald


Long ago, there were people like Selma Lagerlöf and Astrid Lindgren. More recently, we have the likes of Stieg Larsson, Fredrik Backman, Jonas Jonasson, and Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, among many others. All of these people are Swedish authors whose works are increasingly popular, not only in their original Swedish, but perhaps even more so in their English translations. While this is hardly an exhaustive list, I think we should now add Katrina Bivald.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Nobel Introduction?


Vintage Munro - a collection of short stories by Alice Munro


In 2013, Alice Munro received the Nobel Prize for Literature. What made this award unique was that it was the first time they gave it to an author who exclusively writes short stories. To honor this, Vintage books put out a revised collection of short stories, which includes the presentation speech by Professor Peter Englund. In that speech, he notes "… Alice Munro is often able to say more in thirty pages than an ordinary novelist is capable of in three hundred," calling her "the master of the contemporary short story." That's high praise indeed, which isn't surprising for a Nobel Prize.