W IS FOR WASTED (08/01/2013)

If your a Sue Grafton fan (the writer of the alphabet series featuring detective Kinsey Milhone), W is for Wasted will debut September 10th with the usual fanfare.. especially from her fans and publisher. 

I like her books...witty, decently written, and engaging characters. Each book stands on its own, but if you have a lot of time on your hands, start with the letter "A".. (A is for Alibi).

Dont be surprised if Grafton's books become your next "go-to series."

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I'm just finishing Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep) and found it to be a fun, intriguing novel of family...a study of two closely linked siblings and their psychic powers. I recommend it if you're looking for something light for the summer...or winter...

Lots of new books are debuting this week and I've selected three that look promising.
(Bookreporter.com contributed to these posts.)

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory - Fiction, Historical Fiction

Henry Tudor must marry the princess of the enemy house, Elizabeth of York, to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades. But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III --- and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. When a young man who would be king invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother.

Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz - Fiction, Thriller

Daniel Brasher finds an envelope in his department mailbox --- one intended for someone else that was placed in his slot by accident. Inside it is an unsigned piece of paper, a note that says only “admit what you’ve done or you will bleed for it. you have 'til november 15 at midnite.” The deadline has already passed and the person to whom the envelope was addressed was brutally murdered. But this first warning is only the beginning.

Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon - Fiction

In SNOW HUNTERS, Yoon proves that love can dissolve loneliness, that hope can wash away despair, and that a man who has lost a country can find a new home. This is a heartrending story of second chances, told with unerring elegance and tenderness....







Booker Prize Nominees Are Released!

The administrators of the Man Booker Prize released its longlist for this year’s award, a list of 13 novels that was notable for its diversity.

The Booker is Britain’s most prestigious literary award, given to an author in the former British Commonwealth and Ireland for what the judges consider the finest novel of the year.
Watch for the winner on October 15, 2013.

The Books On The Longlist Are:

“Five Star Billionaire” by Tash Aw (Fourth Estate)

“We Need New Names” by NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)

“The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton (Granta)

“Harvest” by Jim Crace (Picador)

“The Marrying of Chani Kaufman” by Eve Harris (Sandstone Press)

“The Kill” by Richard House (Picador)

“The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)

“Unexploded” by Alison MacLeod (Hamish Hamilton)

“TransAtlantic” by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)

“Almost English” by Charlotte Mendelson (Mantle)

“A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)

“The Spinning Heart” by Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)

“The Testament of Mary” by Colm Toibin (Viking).

What do you think of these nominees?  Some of them I'd never heard of...  Leave a comment below...
(Click on "comments" and express yourself!)

(For more information, a version of this article appeared in print on July 24, 2013, on page C3 of the New York edition of the New York Times with the headline: Booker Prize Nominees Are Named in Longlist.)


Guest reviewer Gary S. is a history buff and often reviews books on this blog. With REVOLUTIONARY SUMMER, prize-winning author, Dr Joseph Ellis presents a fresh look at the War for Independence.

Other reviewers have labeled REVOLUTIONARY SUMMER a "readable, fast paced account of both sides.."
See if you agree.....

To Order Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar

Revolutionary Summer – The Birth of American Independence
By Joseph Ellis


I started Revolutionary Summer after finishing Bunker Hill, the latest book from Nathaniel Philbrick. From a historical perspective, it was a perfect transition. However, Philbrick’s book seemed like it would never end, and Revolutionary Summer left me completely satisfied. Ellis writes with amazing clarity and the book offers a very unique perspective into a crucial time in our history.

It was the summer of 1776 and the British sent over the largest armada ever seen to destroy the Continental Army led by George Washington - located in New York. (At the time it was not yet called New York City).

The British plan was to squash the dream of independence while it was still in the crib. The Americans hoped to gain their freedom with one significant stand. Both were wrong.

In hindsight, had the British, led by Lord and Admiral Howe (the Howe brothers) had trapped Washington on Manhattan, it could have been a much different outcome. Instead, Washington was allowed to escape, because it was Lord Howe’s dream to reach a diplomatic solution and bring the ‘rebels’ back into the fold.

The American’s believed that if Washington’s army had been destroyed on Manhattan, that they could raise another army to fight another day (luckily, that theory was never tested).

Ellis explains in simple, reasonable terms how the delegates to the Continental Congress were able to basically ignore the issue of slavery, voting rights, and the rights of women when drafting the Declaration of Independence.

Ellis also points out that the revolution maintained public support, in part because the American newspapers were not always accurate in their portrayal of the war. Had there been a reliable dissemination of American military defeats, the public may have turned against ‘the cause’.

Ellis also emphacizes that the ministers in London had missed many opportunities to re-define the relationship with the colonies—that in hindsight, could have kept the colonies connected to the British Empire.

Overall, a very informative and enjoyable book. I highly recommend it!




 Revolutionary War Books/


Finally, a well written, easy to follow, informative, fresh look at the War for Independence...not overly detailed...to the point and not a bunch of superflous words!  (This history book sounds readable, even to me, a fiction lover)

REVOLUTIONARY SUMMER by Pulitzer Prize Winner, Joseph J. Ellis fills in the blanks that other books on the American Revolution cover briefly.

Check my blog for an upcoming review from Gary S, an American Revolution specialist. In the meantime, buy it from Amazon directly from this blog and settle in for an engrossing account of  history that any reader would enjoy.

To Order Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar

Gary S. is currently reading THIS TOWN by Mark Leibovitch.(Scroll down for blog review or use Search Box)


 I’ve only read very little, but if it remains at the current pace, I’m going to give it a thumbs down. Too much trash talk and it never lets up.
Trash talk can be fun, so I’ll stick with it for awhile. The book has gotten a lot of buzz, and I love the current events/politics story line......

......It’s entertaining but not satisfying. Maybe that’s what Washington DC is all about anyway. Will keep at it and keep you posted. I think the author is a still a journalist for the NY Times, so not sure why he would write such a tell all mockery of the people he needs access to. HHmmm.



  My book group consists of academics, college professors, an economist, a theatrical director, writers.... and me. The worst books can magically evolve into fabulous and meaningful stories because of their interpretations

  WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS by Terry Tempest Williams was our last book..about a woman that took custody of her late mother's journals and found them blank. So confusing, until the leader, Betsy S, who occasionally writes on this blog, led us to some understanding and enlightenment.

THE YELLOW BIRDS by Kevin Powers is the latest selection. I probably would not have chosen this book. Who wants to read about the effects of post-combat syndrome?

To Order Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar

  Powers' writing is rythmic and raw and I can literally feel the after effects of this war. He is an Iraq veteran so everything rings true. I just read that he's now a poet...not surprising. The prose is fluid and vivid.

  Do I like this book?....Why do both choices have birds in the title?.....To be continued....

LOVE IT OR HATE IT (06/18/2013)

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This week marks the release of Chris Bohjalian’s new novel, THE LIGHT IN THE RUINS, which opens in 1943 and introduces us to the Rosatis. This Italian family of noble lineage believes that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. But when two soldiers arrive at the villa, their bucolic tranquility is shattered. Twelve years later, Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, is assigned to a gruesome new case --- a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood. She finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

BOOKREPORTER.COM is responsible for the above remarks. Chris Bohjalian is not one of my favorite authors, although I liked MIDWIVES (2009). This new novel is part historical fiction and part thriller..a good combination. Readers and reviewers are "enthralled" with his writing and story telling. I hope they're right!



What's a "Power Mourner?"  Ask Mark Leibovich, the author of This Town: Two Parties a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America. This new book by the chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine presents a witty and stunning examination of the Washington ruling class.

Here's an excerpt from a recent review:

So when Mark Leibovich sketches a portrait of the nation’s capital — a phrase used only by people who don’t live there — and calls it “This Town,” you know he’s got a sharp ear, and a sharp eye to accompany it. You also know that he’s got the sharp knives out. Here it is, Washington in all its splendid, sordid glory: the pols, the pundits, the Porsches. Plus the hangers-on, the strivers, the image makers and the sellouts, all comprising what Mr. Leibovich calls “a political herd that never dies or gets older, only jowlier, richer and more heavily made-up.”

If you're looking for a hilarious, fascinating read...this may be it.

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WHAT AM I READING? (07/10/2013)

I am almost finished with AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED by Khaled Hosseini and it's a good read. Similar in feeling to THE KITERUNNER by Hosseini, although a bit contrived, it was ultimately an uplifting novel.

Here's what Bookreporter.com had to say:

"AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED is Khaled’s strongest book --- and I was happy to hear him agree; he feels it is his “most polished,” which is a good phrase to describe it. He spoke about the heart of the book being the relationship between a brother and a sister and how their separation is the beating heart of the story. He talked about how class comes into play in all of his books --- the difference between affluence and abject poverty. He also spoke about his desire to write about the world beyond Afghanistan in his upcoming work. "



My favorite reviewer at The New York Times is Janet Maslin. Her recent review of Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee caught my attention. I don't usually read short stories but this collection, one taking place over dinner sounded palatable (sorry....) or maybe because I'm still recovering from The Dinner by Herman Koch, it appeals to me.

Here's what Janet Maslin had to say:

"Rebecca Lee shows how far she can push the boundaries of so-called civilized behavior by opening “Bobcat,” her mesmerizingly strange new short-story collection, with an elaborate dinner party. The hostess and narrator has made a terrine, and even that showy culinary effort carries a whiff of violence. And it is mentioned on the first page of the title story, well before the night’s serious maiming has begun...."

Here's what two blog readers said:

"These seven short stories read like novellas....Lee covers lots of territory ...smart writing...not to be missed!"

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