HE'S BAAACK.....(07/01/2013)

John Grisham never sleeps! His new book Sycamore Row will debut in October. Reliable reviews are not out yet, but no doubt it will be a best seller...so, what else is new?

Here's a Summary:

"Jake Brigance, the hero of John Grisham's A Time to Kill, returns to the courtroom in a dramatic showdown as Ford County confronts its tortured history. Sycamore Row is the story of the elusive search for justice in a small Southern town." (Amazon)

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If your idea of the perfect summer accessory is a great new read  you've come to the right place. Here are more of the season's un-put-down-able titles recommended by authors Gillian Flynn, Jeanette Winterson and Karen Russell. (As per O magazine)

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
DiSclafani's transporting prose recalls that uneasy time at the brink of adulthood, and reminds us that even the most protective parents can't keep the world at bay.

The Celestials by Karen Shepard
Morally, this is a challenging book. It takes you back in time to 19th-century North Adams, Massachusetts, where a group of Chinese laborers have been brought in to become unwitting strikebreakers. It's based on a true event I'd never heard of—

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Gillian Flynn said this author's got an intriguing style of dealing with slightly surreal things in very real ways.

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
Lionel Shriver's new book takes an intimate look at what's gained and what's lost when people make sacrifices for the ones they love.

All the Decent Animals by Oonya Kempadoo
A novel about relationships, examined through the rhythms of the Port of Spain..complex characters, culture and how they intertwine.



Author Jennifer Graham is a friend of a friend and I love the title of her new book. It's called Honey, Do You Need a Ride? Confessions of a Fat Runner. (Are you smiling yet?)

Jennifer is a South Carolina native but lives and jogs in the Boston suburbs where she resides with her four children, two donkeys, two cats and a border collie. To quote Jennifer, "I was a newspaper reporter before excessive procreation forced a freelance career"

Honey, Do You Need a Ride? Confessions of a Fat Runner has gotten rave reviews. Her sense of humor and writing style is so engaging one can't help but relate.  One reviewer said "It's just plain laugh-out loud comedy. You'll love it!"

Here's how Jennifer Graham describes Honey, Do You Need a Ride?:

Basically, it's a story of a woman (that would be me) who started running 25 years ago to lose weight, but finally realized that running alone wouldn't do it. I figure I have run across the U.S. two or three times now in equivalent miles, but my thighs still rub together like a couple of lovesick Honeybaked hams.

But along the way I became addicted to endorphins, which was a good thing because I needed running to get me through a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad divorce. Also, I acquired a coach.... albeit a dead one ... the spirit of the late great Steve Prefontaine. Yeah, it's a minor metaphysical challenge. But I am a newly single, perpetually broke single mother of four, marooned a thousand miles from my family and friends, with four children and two donkeys depending on me. Intermittently sane is the best I can do.


The following review is dedicated to history buffs but has an even wider appeal, according to Gary S, a history enthusiast and blog reviewer. 

Philbrick focuses on the personalities of those involved as well as the events taking place. It's a refreshing take on the history of the Battle of Boston and Gary's review tells it all...well not quite... 


Bunker Hill – A City, A Siege, A Revolution.
By Nathaniel Philbrick.

As a resident of Boston for all of my adult life, I truly appreciated how the geography of Boston was relevant to the events of the day. Some of the streets are still in place, but most have given way to modernization.

Boston was a much different city in 1775—in many ways. The Back Bay was actually a bay, Castle Island was actually an island and the city was basically an island – except for the small neck of land that attached it to Dorchester (now called the South End).

Basically, we all know the events from our school studies – the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battles of Lexington and Concord—and the Battle of Bunker Hill.

What I learned from the book was how a ‘revolt’ eventually became a ‘revolution’. In all struggles, there comes a time when a revolt takes hold, and most of the population, who for the most part are noncommittal, decide they need to choose a side. That is what the book is all about.

I loved learning about the importance of Dr. Joseph Warren, one of the early leaders and organizers of the cause. Dr. Warren had his office on Hanover St, in today’s Italian section called the North End. For me, however, the book did not truly grab my attention until the British decided to march from Boston to Lexington/Concord to capture the rebel stores of gun powder.
Prior to this, I was not sure I would I would finish the book (or I would at least skip through). After Lexington and Concord I was hooked.

To put the battle in geographic perspective, most people today dread the drive from Boston to Lexington, and yet the British had to walk. At one point, due to the fighting, it was doubtful they would even make it back to Boston. Once in Boston, the city was occupied, similar to martial law in today’s terms. The rebellion became somewhat of a chess game, until the rebels (Philbrick calls them Patriots) built a fort at Bunker Hill.

Actually, we learn that the fort was on Breed’s Hill, but the battle is still called Bunker Hill because that is where the fort was supposed to be built. The battle was brutal with most of the Patriot deaths occurring after the battle by vengeful British executing wounded Patriots who had already fallen to the ground. Had it not been for limited gun powder and ammunition, the Patriots could have fought longer. To top it off, the British, through their command of the harbor, destroyed the town of Charlestown with a naval bombardment.

Upon the conclusion of the Battle of Bunker Hill, it seemed like the right time to end the book. Instead, Philbrick takes us through a longer than needed journey about George Washington, his rise to power and his leadership of what was now a patriot army. Washington was able drive the British out of Boston (now called Evacuation Day) by secretly placing cannons atop of Dorchester Hights (now called Thomas Park in South Boston). I think this chapter could have been greatly condensed and woven into a summary at the end of the book.

Despite being too long and too detailed in certain sections, I came away with a better understanding of my city and learned a lot about the events that sparked revolt into a revolution




OLD BUT STILL GOOD? (06/20/2013)

The Trilogy
According to a friend who is a voracious reader she can't wait to get her hands on The Bronze Horseman...I mean the book. It's in paperback as of 2009 and the author is  Paullina Simons. This is the first of a trilogy already in print.

The Bronze Horseman has been labeled a Russian Thorn Birds and is an 800 page "sweeping saga of love and war." (Probably a great summer read...)

Here's a description from Goodreads.com:

"The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler's armies attack..."

Looking for a Romance/History combo? Do you like a tumultuous love story?
Buy The Bronze Horseman on Amazon...
Click on the Search Box in the Sidebar to Order Now!

For More Information:  www.paullinasimons.com



Would you trust syndicated gossip columnist, Liz Smith when it comes to book recommendations? Her recommendation for Freud's Mistress, a new book by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman was way over the top.

However, after doing some research (like talking to friends)...maybe there's some basis.

"An intriguing, illuminating, and wholly engrossing account of the affair between Sigmund Freud and his headstrong, intelligent sister-in-law, Minna Bernays. Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman render fin-de-siècle Vienna and the Freud household so vividly one can almost smell the coal fires and cigar smoke.”

More Reviews:



Hallie Ephron is an author and an award winning book reviewer for the Boston Globe. Her new novel There Was an Old Woman is a story of trust, betrayal, deception and madness...something for everyone.

K. E. posted this review on Goodreads:

While the cover leads you to believe it will be scarier than it is, the novel is actually a thoughtful piece about two daughters dealing with their mother's illness and death. All the while the sub-plot is about the mystery of why their mother's neighborhood has become so decrepit so quickly.

The story also focuses on the historical preservation of artifacts from fires in NYC, so the plot has a lot going on at once. The neighbor of the ill woman, Mina, is a wonderful representation of the feisty old lady. You like her and feel so badly for her as you realize she is being seriously manipulated long before she does.

 I am always amazed at how life spins you in circles so that you have to come in contact with the past you cannot evade, no matter how much you try. This story has the same message for both the young and old.  

While this is not high art, it was a delightful read - I polished it off in three days. The style is comfortable, the pacing good, and the messages strong.

My Thoughts:
I've read several of Hallie Ephron's books and have found them to be well written, fast paced and always engaging. If you're looking for a summer read, try There Was an Old Woman. You'll be caught up immediately.
For More Information:


Did you read American Rust by Philipp Meyer? If not, you should. A debut novel in 2009, it was a comprelling read, well drawn characters and a story about a murder fallout that you won't forget. 

Reviewers claim The Son, a new book by Philipp Meyer is a saga as harrowing and exciting as his first book. A blog reader commented "It's a real sink your teeth into novel."


Here's a Kirkus Review quote:
"The acclaimed author of "American Rust," returns with an epic, multigenerational saga of power, blood, and land that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s, to the border raids of the early 1900s. to the oil booms of the 20th century.

Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim."
Kirkus Reviews

For More Information:
To Order Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.



I can't decide what to read next. My book group selected When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams... or should I succumb to two intriguing reads reviewed in the New York Times this week?

The  SundayTimes reviewed The Slippage by Ben Greenman and it really appealed to me.

Here's a blurb:
William's slippage begins when he sleeps with a married woman and punches his boss in the nose.

The reviewer calls the prose "fluid and commanding" and "The Slippage lands in John Cheever territory." Very enticing, indeed!

Read the New York Times Review:

A second review that caught my attention was A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon. I loved Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and reviewers are drawing a comparison.

A Duel Inheritance is a huge sweeping novel with the characters followed through decades starting at Harvard and moving towards Wall Street and lots in between.

Joanna Hershon is the author of several well received novels including the best seller A German Bride.

It sounds like an engrossing summer read..If you love size and substance this is a good choice.

Here's more information:

Reality has kicked in and I'll start the book group selection before I get into anything else. I'll try to sound reasonably intelligent at the meeting and not just focus on the food! 

When Women Were Birds is a kind of memoir, unusual format and beautifully told. The author Terry Tempest Williams wrote this book at age 54, the age her mother was when she died. It was prompted by a single statement: "I'm leaving you my journals- but don't read them until after I'm gone"

Enter the title in the Search Box at the top of the blog and you'll be directed to more info about When Women Were Birds.

Or click on the link below:



There’s something about June. After Memorial Day you can’t help thinking about long days at the beach or sitting by a pool. And what is the most necessary of summer accessories besides a Martini? Without question, it's a good book.

Here's a few book suggestions for summer reads from some trustworthy bloggers. And be sure to check out their blogs..but only after you read mine!


There is much to love about this book, with its focus on the French Resistance and the tough women of the SEO; the depth of its characters and its Gothic elements; its old château and its library. Do you like historical novels set in France during World War II? This book is a must. 
Emma Cazabonne, Words and Peace


After Gretta Riordan realizes that her husband of forty years has disappeared, wiping out their bank account in the process, her three grown children return home for the first time in years. This reunion awakens a history of bitterness and betrayal, revealing a family rich with issues. In examining the situations that forced this family apart, O’Farrell portrays an insightful examination of the bonds of family, flaws and all.
Jenn Lawrence, Jenn's Bookshelves


Levinson's writing is a dream—lush, cunning, and full of finely crafted characters and carefully placed plot twists that go off like bombs. Whom to root for, who you think is crazy, and what really happened are elusive ideas that shift by the moment in this gripping thriller focused on the literary life.
Nicole Bonía, Linus’s Blanket