PRAGUE WINTER (06/01/2012)

Joann B, a loyal blog reader recommended PRAGUE WINTER by Madeleine K. Albright. Joann is a respected member of my book group and I believe everything she says! She's brilliant and creative and always knows a good read!

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PRAGUE WINTER: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 by Madeleine Korbel Albright 

Madeleine Albright was fifty nine when she learned from a reporter that her ancestral heritage was Jewish and she had lost more than two dozen relatives in the Holocaust. This revelation led her to seek answers by visiting small towns in Czechoslavakia where her parents had lived. She also found the ancient synogogue where the victims names were enscribed on the walls.

Madeleine K. Albright

PRAGUE WINTER is a story of history and personal trauma told in a moving and vivid style. The prose is taut and powerful and Albright recounts a harrowing tale.  Besides being a personal memoir, PRAGUE WINTER is a history lesson and a very inspiring one. 

 A reviewer stated "Albright has supplemented a deeply researched history of World War Two-era Czschoslavakia with a moving family narrative"

Madeleine Albright served as America's sixty fourth secretary of state from 1997 to 2001. Her distinguished career led to many Washington appointments. She resides in Washington, D. C. and Virginia.

 Rating for PRAGUE WINTER:
 !!!   A Good Read

LOVE ME...LOVE ME NOT (05/31/2012)

I can't believe May is over..I'm struggling through John Irving's new novel, IN ONE PIECE...slow moving... but I'm optimistic.
Reading IN ONE PIECE is getting to feel like work..When will it get better???

THE NEWLYWEDS by Nell Freudenberg was a rich and fascinating read and lived up to all the excellent reviews.

I will be introducing a book rating system in spite of the fact that everyone's taste is so different. It's not really that accurate or original for that matter, but should be fun...for me and I hope,  for you...not so much the authors.

Here goes:

!        Terrible...Wouldn't give this book to my worst enemy!
!!       Just O K...You'll never need a sleeping pill.
!!!      A good read
!!!!     Really, Really liked it and would read more by this author.
!!!!!    Buy it now! Amazing in every way.

This system will not be in place until mid June so watch for it!  


Once again National Public Radio has recommended a book that sounds like a riviting adventure story and a bit of a biography combined.  

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THE LOWER RIVER by Paul Theroux  has a theme...a naive westerner and a remote third world country.

The main character, Ellis Hock is sixty three. His marriage has ended, his business is failing and remembering youthful experiences in the Peace Corps, he makes plans to return to Malawi..He's in for a big surprise.

Without revealing the plot, reviewers have called this book a " gripping and haunting tale...lots of plot twists...a small masterpiece."

You won't nod off reading THE LOWER RIVER. It's been labeled "frightening fun" by the NYTimes.
Reading the NYTimes can be "frightening fun" so they know what they're talking about! 

Author Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux is a prizewinning novelist. He lives on Cape Cod and Hawaii. Aside from fiction and non-fiction, Theroux is also known for his travel books.

A REAL TREAT (05/24/2012)

I don't usually include cookbooks on my blog....but why not? This little collection of "easy does it" chocolate recipes is a joy.  
There's Mac 'n Choc Macaroons, Kickass Easy Chocolate   Souffles, Honeycrunch Mess O'Chocolate 
and lots more.  

CHOCOLAT-ASM by Paul Kearins is a kindle cookbook chuck full of wonderful chocolate recipes...all easy and delectible. Original photography by the author enhances the format and prepares you for the chocolate fix you sometimes crave.

To quote the author "You can make a brick taste good if you cover it with chocolate"
Chocolat-asm Volume one - Easy does it

Paul Kearins is a chocolatier by profession with lots of awards and accomplishments....many chocolate covered!!!
Don't pass this gem up!


Frank Nappi at Booksigning
Recently I was asked to review SOPHOMORE CAMPAIGN by Frank Nappi, an author and screenwriter. Frank Nappi, although relatively unknown has made his mark in the literary world.

His screenplay adaption of The Legend of Mickey Tussler, his popular and highly praised novel was aired nationwide. The title was A Mile in His Shoes and is now on DVD. 

 SOPHOMORE CAMPAIGN  was released during  Autism Awareness Month and is also slated for film.

GHS occasionally reviews books on this blog. Since he enjoys baseball, this was a natural.(Get it?)

See his comments below.

SOPHOMORE CAMPAIGN by Frank Nappi is the follow up novel to "The Legend of Mickey Tussler". The story takes place in 1949, a time when the world was much different than it is today.

In the first novel, Mickey was discovered by Arthur Murphy, the manager of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers. Due to his autism, Mikey was alienated from his surroundings and faced tremendous pressures within the boundaries of competitive baseball.

The second novel,  SOPHOMORE CAMPAIGN picks up right where the first one left off, with more challenges to overcome and inspiration to be had.

When a new player—an African American joins the team, the story introduces the reader to what it was like to deal with racism and violence within the confines of post war 1949. Mickey must now deal with new challenges and struggle to find that special inspiration from within.

SOPHOMORE CAMPAIGN, although a sequel stands on its own.

WHAT'S UP WITH THIS BLOG? (05/22/2012)

Many newcomers are visiting my blog and I happily welcome you. Please read my review policy above and use the Amazon Search Box whenever...

Check out the direct line to the Wall Street Journal Book and Lifestyle Section that can be accessed from the sidebar. (Lots of current book buzz)

Any book recommendations, comments or emails are welcome. Every book reviewed is listed alphabetically on the sidebar.

Although the comments are sometimes glib, I only include books I feel are  worth reading...and you'll know when they're not!

MISSION TO PARIS (05/22/2012)

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I am a fan of Alan Furst, a talented espionage novelist who always keeps me on the edge of my seat. Now he's written about Paris, alive with memorable characters, spies, and thrills.

MISSION TO PARIS takes the reader into the mind of a male protagonist working against the Nazis in a European setting.

The supporting cast includes collaborators and conniving opponents with viscious intentions. There's a love interest and all this combined with the boulevards, cafes and hotels in Paris make MISSION TO PARIS an enjoyable read.

No more details..lots of surprises!

MISSION IN PARIS will be released early June...Definetly worth the wait!


Richard Ford has won the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/ Faulkner Award so will this novel live up to his others?

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CANADA by Ford will be released May 22nd and is said to be a classic... that may be a stretch.

The premise focuses on a young man, Dell Parsons whose parents rob a bank and are incarcerated for life. Dell is taken in by a  family friend who spirts him across the Canadian border and leaves him to restablish his life in Saskatchewan.

An American befriends Dell and he is soon under the influence of a man whose cool reserve masks a dark and violent personna...and so it goes.

A classic? That remains to be seen..A good read? Yes and No...

Author Richard Ford
Richard Ford was awarded the Pulitzer and PEN/Faulkner for Independence Day, the first novel to win both prizes. He currently resides in  Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

JOY TO THE WORLD! (05/18/2012)

As of this week I have over 9,000 page views! Thankyou to everyone who has taken the time to read Joyce's Choices and hopefully discovered a great book.

I've tried to include something for everyone...thrillers, mysteries, history, dysfunction, love, travel, family, biography, business and of course sex.....

Thankyou blog readers, supporters and friends. Remember any comments or book recommendations are always welcome! 


May is the month of Horse Racing. Last week the Kentucky Derby was held and two more exciting races will follow in the coming weeks.

A blog reader recommended this Man Booker Prize nominee titled DERBY DAY by D. J. Taylor. He said it's a sprawling novel that takes place in 1870 and is a "fun read as well as an unputdownable (his word) Victorian romp."

DERBY DAY is a tale of romance and rivalry and focuses on Epsom Downs and a champion horse, Tiberius. There's lots of mystery, great characters and a finish that no one expects.

D. J. Taylor is a novelist, critic and acclaimed biographer residing in England.
DERBY DAY is a NewYork Times Editor's Choice.


I am halfway through THE NEWLYWEDS by Nell Freudenberger. This novel has received excellent reviews. It's a powerful and rich story...slow to start but worthy of all the accolades. It's a surprising, suspenseful tale and I recommend it.

 Scroll down for more details.
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Wiley Cash

This is an exciting first novel focusing on two brothers and the consequences of looking through a window. Definetly a literary thriller, the novel encompasses the bond between brothers, fathers, sons and neighbors as they face evil together in a small town in North Carolina.

A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and danger. The characters are masterfully portrayed and the well developed plot carries the reader on an unforgettable journey.

You can't go wrong with infertility,  murder, religion, guns, booze, and dysfunction...a recipe for a good read! 
Oops! I left out sex...that too...

Wiley Cash is a native of North Carolina and was inspired by a true story.
Critics have labeled it a "stunning debut novel."

To order, click on the Amazon Search Box in the sidebar.


Remember to celebrate all Mothers this weekend! A book is always a welcome gift (except to me.. I'm inundated).. Scroll down for lots of new fiction and non-fiction...and even a gardening book...Great gifts for mothers of any age.

BOOK DEBUTS (05/08/2012)

I am a fan of John Irving and have already downloaded his new book which debuts today. Scroll down to the review of this exciting novel titled IN ONE PERSON. Irving masterfully tells the story of the struggle that comes with being different and does it in his own inimitable style...Keep scrolling...

I AM FORBIDDEN by Anouk Markovits

A novel debuting May Ninth is I AM FORBIDDEN by Anouk Markovits. This new novel traces the lives of an extended and broken family. 

It's a drama that takes place in the world of Hassidic Jews in Eastern Europe in 1939, and spans four generations.

One reviewer said  " A family is torn apart by fierce belief and private longing in this unprecidented journey...poignant and heartwarming"

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Anouk Markovits was raised in an Hassidic home in France, breaking from the fold when she was nineteen to escape an arranged marriage. This is her first English-language debut. She resides in New York with her husband.


PRAGUE FATALE by Philip Kerr was released late April and a blog reader  questioned why it's not included on this blog.. Well, now it is, thanks to his high praise and relentless prodding.

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PRAGUE FATALE is part of a series featuring Bernie Gunther, a Nazi-era Berlin detective. He's a German Sam Spade, a tough-talking hardhead who doesn't give in to anybody. 

In PRAGUE FATALE a murder does occur and searching for the killer, Bernie Gunther must sift through the lives of the Reich's most horrifying killers. 

A complex mix of spies, terrorists, politics, and traitors are combined to create a tense political thriller, and author Philip Kerr has placed Gunther in the midst of real events making this story a great mix of fact and fiction.

Although this is the eighth book in the Bernie Gunther series, it can easily be read on its own.


Two books by  author, Jennifer Gilmore were the book choices of a Cape Cod Book group. My college friend Nancy B, a member of the group recommended two easy but excellent reads, GOLDEN COUNTRY and SOMETHING RED, both favorably reviewed.

SOMETHING RED was on the NY Times List of Notable Books for 2010.  Both are family sagas during the 50's and there's an interesting "twist" in each of the books.

Their other choice was HOMER and LANGLEY by E.L. Doctorow. Doctorow tells the story of the Collyer brothers who died as recluses in their Fifth Avenue brownstone.

Doctorow interprets their lives and in so doing said "I make them to be two brothers who opted out of civilization and pulled the world in after them"

This is a strange and fascinating story and Doctorow enhances the tale with his own speculative points of view.

The Interior of the Fifth Avenue Brownstone

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Last summer my book group read WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel. The facilitator, Carol C. inspired a great discussion and made the 600 page tome come to life...and the refreshments were good too!

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The group has already made their selections for this summer, but FYI Hilary Mantel, the winner of numerous  prestigious book prizes is debuting another huge historical follow-up, titled BRING UP THE BODIES.

I couldn't finish Wolf Hall and probably won't attempt this one right now...(maybe after the summer) and yes, you can read it without reading Wolf Hall first. 

Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell  have a love - hate relationship...minus the love, and Cromwell is more than ready to bring her down.
The rest is history.

Almost 500 pages, BRING UP THE BODIES is the second book of a trilogy and once again Cromwell is the man of the hour. Fabulous reviews, great writing, worthwhile in every way...if you have the time. 
Thomas Cromwell

Group Of Readers. Clip Art