Donna Tartt is one of my favorite authors. It's been twenty years since she wrote her first book, THE SECRET HISTORY. Her second novel, THE LITTLE FRIEND was tougher to get into but critically acclaimed and won the Orange Prize for Fiction.

And now I'm anxiously awaiting her third novel, THE GOLDFINCH debuting October 22nd.

Here's a review:

The novel is about a young boy, Theo, who survives an explosion that takes his mother's life. He becomes obsessed with a painting that reminds him of his mother, which ends up drawing him into the art underworld.

With the same flair for suspense that made The Secret History (1992) such a masterpiece, The Goldfinch features the pulp of a typical bildungsroman—Theo's dissolution into teenage delinquency and climb back out, his passionate friendship with the very funny Boris, his obsession with Pippa (a girl he first encounters minutes before the explosion)—but the painting is the novel's secret heart.

Theo's fate hinges on the painting, and both take on depth as it steers Theo's life. Some sentences are clunky (suddenly and meanwhile abound), metaphors are repetitive (Theo's mother is compared to birds three times in 10 pages), and plot points are overly coincidental (as if inspired by TV), but there's a bewitching urgency to the narration that's impossible to resist.

Theo is magnetic, perhaps because of his well-meaning criminality. The Goldfinch is a pleasure to read; with more economy to the brushstrokes, it might have been great.

Amanda Urben, Book Agent, ICM

FEELING REMORSE... (09/03/2013))

Maybe I was a little harsh in my recent review of THE SILENT WIFE,(See Must Read Thrillers) but all the hype led me to believe I was in for an engaging summer much for that...Maybe its time to check out some short stories to accompany my short fuse!

The following collection was reviewed recently in the New York Times. The title immediately attracted me. I travel the Sagamore Bridge occasionally but I'm unsure how the short stories relate. Haunting, memorable and well crafted describe this collection....

 See what you think....

To Order Click on the Amazon Search Box in Sidebar


By Peter Orner

The opening sentences of Peter Orner’s lapidary stories are irresistible invitations to read further: “Gary died before the divorce was finalized, before he’d even moved out.” “Henry’s enemy lived in the room next door.” “My brother used to terrorize me with a small rubber hippopotamus named Longfellow.”

These very short tales — 52, in less than 200 pages — range without straining over a great expanse of time and experience: an affair at a hotel in 1912; a woman preparing to bury her troubled son in 1986; in 1999, a weary Communist in Prague reflecting on his life. The very briefest of them, less than a page long, can feel unnecessary; others that cover just five or six pages are more forcefully imagined than many novels.



A blog reader from emailed me with an update on the latest lineup of mystery and thrillers for Fall 2013.

Here's what she had to say:

"Stephen King and John Grisham both return to early classics; Lee Child, Sue Grafton
and Michael Connelly all introduce new installments in iconic thriller series; legal thriller pro Scott Turow has a new stand-alone novel and two new books could be the next film vehicles for Matthew McConaughey."

It's easy to order these new debut thrillers. Click on the cover and you'll be directed to Amazon....or click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.



THE OCTOBER LIST by Jeffery Deaver

"Perhaps the cleverest of all Deaver's exceptionally clever thrillers. If you've ever
wished you could take the film Memento to the beach, here's your chance.
Remember Merrily We Roll Along, the Sondheim musical out of Kaufman and Hart that began with its climactic scene and worked backward to the beginning? Deaver's borrowed the same concept and juiced it with assorted felonies, nonstop suspense and his trademark braininess." 




"It's 1969, and, having just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday, James Bond—British special agent 007—is summoned to headquarters to receive an unusual assignment. Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation, is being ravaged by a bitter civil war, and directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime.

Bond's arrival in Africa marks the start of a feverish mission to discover the forces behind this brutal war—and he soon realizes the situation is far from straightforward. Piece by piece, Bond uncovers the real cause of the violence in Zanzarim, revealing a twisting conspiracy that extends further than he ever imagined.

Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, this novel is at once a gripping thriller, a tensely plotted story full of memorable characters and breathtaking twists, and a masterful study of power and how it is wielded—a brilliant addition to the James Bond canon."

Review provided by



Here's another so-callled mystery which has been the sleeper of the summer...Reviewers have labeled it a "better and more exciting version of Gone Girl"...

I'm reading THE SILENT WIFE by A.S.A. Harrison, the recipient of these rave reviews. It's been labeled a "captivating cerebral psychological thriller" by some readers...

I don't get it!! I hate the characters and the plotline is bizarre...things are left many loose ends!

I recently broke my ankle...I'm kind of incapaciated, maybe its affected my point of view!

However, I think not....

If you want a mindless, simple, pointless read, THE SILENT WIFE
fits that description....

Not much of a thrill...not much of a mystery...not much......


Here's more news on what's trending this Fall.. Some of my
favorite and not so favorite authors are making the scene.  You'll recognize the names.

I'm reserving judgement on the new Valerie Plame's (former CIA seductress) book, also Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Love, Pray fame. I can't wait for the debut of Wally Lamb's new one, Alice Hoffman's release and my all time fave, Julien Barnes.

So here's what you can look forward to...or not....

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve - Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published November 12, 2013

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in. This gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse's aide near the front, but she can't remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

The Explanation for Everything by Lauren Grodstein - Fiction
Published September 3, 2013

At Exton Reed college, biologist Andy Waite is nearing the moment when his life might settle down a bit: tenure is in sight, his daughters are starting to grow up, and he’s slowly but surely healing from the loss of his wife. His life is starting to make sense again. That is, until the entrance of a young student who wants him to direct her independent study. She is the catalyst for the collapsing house of cards surrounding Andy as he gradually loses sight of his personal and professional boundaries as well as his moral grounding.

Evil Eye: Four Novellas of Love Gone Wrong by Joyce Carol Oates - Fiction
Published September 3, 2013

In EVIL EYE, Oates offers four chilling tales of love gone horribly wrong. In “Evil Eye”, we meet Mariana, the young fourth wife of a prominent intellectual. In "So Near, Anytime, Always," shy teenager Lizbeth meets Desmond, a charming boy who offers this introverted girl the first sparks of young romance. In "The Execution," spoiled college student Bart Hansen has planned the perfect, brutal crime to get back at his parents for their years of condescension. And in "The Flat-Bed," childhood trauma has prevented Cecelia from enjoying the pleasures of physical intimacy with a man, but when she finally meets the love of her life, Cecelia realizes that finding intimacy will mean coming face-to-face with the despicable man from her past who robbed her of her innocence years ago.

The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin - American, Biography, History, Memoir
 Published October 1, 2013

After Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin wields her magic on another larger-than-life president, and another momentous and raucous American time period as she brings Theodore Roosevelt, the muckraking journalists, and the Progressive Era to life.

Thankyou to

BRAVO COLUM McCANN (08/22/2013)

Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. Imagine it as a large library that you can wander through and see everyone's bookshelves, their reviews, and their book choices.(

Recently Barbara A, a friend on Goodreads submitted a review about TRANSATLANTIC, Colum McCann's first novel following the breakout success of LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN, and now long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

Its subject is the the complex relationship between the US and Ireland. Through an ambitious structure, McCann shows how history binds the two countries tighter than any politically forced "special relationship", and the power of the past over the present.

Here are Barbara A's comments:

Perhaps not the great masterwork that is "Let the Great World Spin", but I adored it. The language, so pure and so plangent. The history, both headline-making and back story. The great and the everyday. The device of an undelivered, unmarked letter may be a bit clunky, but the section on George Mitchell's statesmanship and grace is so brilliant that, at the end of the day, I simply must say, "Bravo, Mr. McCann. Bravo."

QUICK PICKS (08/21/2013)

Here's some titles worth considering....One well known author, two unknown..Something for everyone.... 

THE ENGLISH GIRL by Daniel Silva
Spies, art restorers, Secret Service, government irresistable mix....

A female narrator's relationship with the widow and the best friend of a murdered man.

THE VIRGINS by Pamela Erens
A lonely voyeur at a boarding school becomes obsessed with star-crossed lovers.


So JK Rowling has been outed. Yes, it's old news but the author of the Harry Potter books using the pen name, Robert Galbraith has written a "winner" acording to Betsy S, a blog reader and
member of my book group.

Here's what David Kuder of the Huffington Post had to say about
THE CUCKOO'S CALLING by "Robert Galbraith":

If I had been reading the book in the absence of the knowledge of just who wrote it, a review would have been easy and very pleasant to write: it’s a taut, well-written mystery that does a wonderful job of reviving an all-but-dead genre, the gumshoe detective style mastered by Hammett, Chandler and (on the other side of the pond, and in a very different mode) Sayers. The characters are strikingly, efficiently drawn, the pacing neither too fast nor too slow, the leavening of real humor a pleasant surprise, and the mystery properly mysterious............

I personally commend JK Rowling. She's been wearing a disguise, pretending to be a man named Robert Galbraith. He was created so Rowling could see what people think of her without the boy wizard...with no literary expectations.... until she was outed. Reviewers and readers loved this book..

Betsy S labeled it a "very captivating mystery" and many agree. Download it, buy or borrow it before Hollywood takes possession!


Here's a sneak preview of two exciting Fall releases. You'll recognize the authors...Be sure to pre-order on Amazon directly from the blog using the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.

THE LOWLAND by Jhumpa Lahiri

Lahiri follows up he THE NAMESAKE with a generations-spanning novel of revolution, family secrets, and arranged marriage. The author's talent for layered stories comes out in her deft handling of chronology and memory, as Subhash learns of his missing brother through his love-match wife Udayana.

SOMEONE by Alice McDermott

The latest novel from National Book Award winner McDermott (CHARMING BILLY) takes us on a seemingly ordinary woman's journey of self-discovery. We first see Marie Commeford as a seven-year-old squinting through glasses, and as her life takes its course we share her insight into what she had so often failed to see.

For More Information:

MISTRESS (08/12/2013)

I'm not a James Patterson fan, but several blog readers have enjoyed his newest book titled, MISTRESS. The reviews have been mixed, but if you are into Patterson, this new thriller may be right up your alley. Personally, the cover art appeals to me more than the book.
(Sorry Patterson fans....)

MISTRESS by James Patterson and David Ellis

Unable to control his racing thoughts, Ben is consumed by his obsessions --- especially Diana Hotchkiss, who Ben knows he can never have. When Diana is found dead outside her apartment, his infatuation drives him on a hunt to find out what happened to the love of his life. Ben soon discovers that the woman he pined for was hiding a shocking double life. And now someone is out to stop Ben from uncovering the truth about Diana's illicit affairs. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

For More Information:


To Order Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar

Recently Ruth Gordon, a friend and blog reader messaged me on Facebook
concerning a book she absolutely could not put down. THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013. Reviewers and readers labeled it part fantasy and part historical fiction. This is a first novel by Wecker..... it sounds very intriguing......

Here's Ruth Gordon's  review of  THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI:

The GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker is one of the most unusual books.. Two mythical characters, the Golem and the Jinni, travel from old world to the new, adapting as they go, to social norms that are foreign to them. The story has multiple plot lines and many characters.

While this is a compelling read, it is not a book you will finish in one night. If you do, you’ve probably missed a lot.The author’s narrative is so precise that you will find that you can picture the inhabitants of this complex world and their environs quite clearly as you follow their stories. If you take pleasure in a book that holds surprises at many turns and can entertain a merging of the supernatural and mundane, you will find this to be an intelligent and enjoyable read.

Ruth Gordon is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a private practice.
 She has written a monthly newsletter for 9 years. An archives can be found at



Why are people talking about this book? WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES by Karen Joy Fowler is a book that I was totally unfamiliar. Two  members of a book group on Martha's Vineyard gave it high praise. It's getting mixed reviews on some readers stated that it is best read with as little pre-knowledge as this is all you're getting...