Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is debuting a new book January 12th...hopefully as good as her others. I loved Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, both illuminating and extraordinary reads...(See, I'm not always negative) 
Hopefully MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON will be a cause for celebration.

REMINDER: Get a copy directly from this blog. Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.

Here's what said.....

My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton

by Elizabeth Strout
A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. 
Praise for Elizabeth Strout
“Strout has a magnificent gift for humanizing characters.” —San Francisco Chronicle 
“What truly makes Strout exceptional . . . is the perfect balance she achieves between the tides of story and depths of feeling.”—Chicago Tribune 
“[Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion.” —USA Today 
“Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force.” —The New Yorker 
“[Strout’s] themes are how incompletely we know one another, how ‘desperately hard every person in the world [is] working to get what they need,’ and the redemptive power in little things—a shared memory, a shock of tulips.”People
Hardcover208 pages
Expected publication: January 12th 2016 by Random House (first published January 6th 2016)
Get a copy:



What happened? I could barely endure three chapters of Grisham's newest book....tedious, predictable, and just plain uninteresting....Maybe it's me....but maybe it's him!!! The verdict is in...this book is guilty of blandness and sentenced to ho-humsville.

ROGUE LAWYER By John Grisham

“There are plenty of people who’d like to kill me right now,” grumbles Sebastian Rudd, the rogue lawyer in question. He carries a gun, works out of his car, and sleeps in a different hotel room every week, precisely because he runs up against so many bad guys who mean him harm. Some of them are cops. Why? Because Sebastian, though jaded and cynical, as literary lawyers are required to be, apparently still believes in justice, for which reason, accompanied by a bodyguard named Partner (“a hulking, heavily armed guy who wears black suits and takes me everywhere”), he finds himself in a podunk burg where a client is fighting for his life against the charge that he’s brutally murdered two little girls in a spectacularly gruesome crime. 

Natch, spectacular gruesomeness being another sine qua non for the bestselling crime novel. Indirection and misdirection abound, with lots of talky exposition, the requisite maverick-y norm-flouting (“At this precise moment, I am violating the rules of ethics and perhaps a criminal statute as well”), and the usual sarcastic world-weariness (“The jurors don’t believe any of this because they have known for some time that Gardy was a member of a satanic cult with a history of sexual perversion”). 

All this is to be expected in a genre bound by convention as tightly as our perp bound the ankles of his victims, but the reader can see most of the mystery coming from a long way off, making the yarn less effective than most. And the clichés pile on a bit too thickly, from the large-breasted moll to the bored judge who dozes at the bench.

One wonders if Grisham weren’t sleeping through some of this as well. Whatever the case, one of his lesser cases.


I just returned from fourteen days basking in the warmth of the Caribbean. I planned to do a lot of reading but was mostly distracted by fabulous surroundings, family, food, cocktails and lots of  memorable moments! 

When I finally focused (Thankyou Xanax), I finished Sue Grafton's X which was okay...Started The Turner House, a National Book Award nominee which was fair...and finished Mayoumi and the Sea of Happiness, a sensual, depressing, beautifully written romp...which did hold my interest! (New author Jennifer Tseng is one to watch....)

So here's what's coming out January 5th according to
You can pre-order now directly from this blog. Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.

AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi (Psychological Thriller/Mystery)
A night flight from Istanbul bound for Paris, filled with 169 holiday travelers, plummets into the Swiss Alps. The sole survivor is a three-month-old girl who is thrown from the plane onto the snowy mountainside before fire rages through the aircraft. But two infants were on board. Is the miracle baby Lyse-Rose or Emilie? Both families step forward to claim the poor, one wealthy and dangerous...

THE GUEST ROOM by Chris Bohjalian (Fiction)
When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard’s life rapidly spirals into nightmare.

THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley by Eric Weiner (Travel/Memoir)
In THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS, acclaimed travel writer Eric Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places --- like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou and Silicon Valley --- to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. And he walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo and Leonardo remains.


Two books recommended by Goodreads are part of the many books that are going on vacation with me. I may not be posting as much as I'll be busy sipping tropical drinks by the pool for a few weeks. So if I can stay "focused"... I plan to do a lot of reading and will return with an profusion of good book info.

If you're going on a stay-cation or a vacation, here's two new releases to read over the holidays.

The Age of Reinvention

Identity, prejudice, and deception are at the heart of this bestselling French novel about an impoverished Tunisian immigrant in Paris who steals his Jewish friend's identity and reinvents himself as a top New York lawyer.

The Short Drop

by Matthew Fitzsimmons (Goodreads Author)

A decade ago Suzanne Lombard, the teenage daughter of a powerful U.S. politician now campaigning for the presidency, disappeared. Enter hacker Gibson Vaughn, Suzanne's childhood friend, who embarks on a dangerous new quest to find her.

Have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, food, joy and peace...and of course lots of good books!


If you're looking for a great non-fiction book, DEAD WAKE by award winning author Erik Larson is an exciting story of the sinking of the Lusitania. It's a tale that many of us are familiar with and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly. It brings to life a cast of unforgettable characters, sheer drama and a riveting account of one of the most tragic events of WW1....a perfect gift for the non-fiction reader in your life.

Kirkus Reviews selected DEAD WAKE as one of the best non-fiction books of 2015. 

DEAD WAKE by Erik Larson
Kirkus Star
by Erik Larson

"An intriguing, entirely engrossing investigation into a legendary disaster. Compared to Greg King and Penny Wilson's Lusitania (2014), also publishing to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking, Larson's is the superior account."
 Read full book review >


Buzzfeed Books is an online site for all things books including what, when, and who to read. It's geared to any kind of reader and is continuously updated with the latest in literature.
Today they released their take on best fiction of 2015. Most of them you've heard of but here's two that quietly slipped under the radar. For the complete list go to

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Riverhead Books


Infinite Home follows the residents of a Brooklyn brownstone as they come together and fall apart: a depressed comedian, an artist recovering from a stroke, a beautiful young recluse, a man with Williams syndrome cared for by his sister, and the landlady. The home that these tenants create is as fragile as it is beautiful; when the landlady’s encroaching dementia and her shark of a son threaten that community, they must band together to keep what stability they have.

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

LaToya T. Duncan


The Turner House is the story of the Turners, a family who has lived in their house on Detroit’s East Side for half a century, weathering immense changes along the way. Flournoy’s National Book Award–nominated debut does an incredible job of bringing both a family and a city to vibrant, poignant life. 

GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS 2015 (DECEMBER) just announced the winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2015. This is the only reading site where winners are decided by readers...which can go either way! 

GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee was their number one fiction choice. Personally it wouldn't have been mine, but that's what I get for not voting....

I was very disheartened that THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins won Best Mystery. The real mystery is why it was even mentioned.

Where was FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff, one of the best of 2015? I heard it was a nominee but didn't make the final cut...too bad...I recommend it..

For more (disappointing, in some cases) results check out for winners in all categories.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman

From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the Sou


This is the season that focuses on family, food, friendship and celebration. Speaking of food, If you can compare a book to comfort food, my "go to" author is Sue Grafton. I know some will turn their noses up, but I'm not ashamed to say I love her books. I've read them all and am currently in the middle of  "X" which is her latest and her most chilling mystery. By the way, for you doubters, this best selling author is no slouch... She's the recipient of many awards worldwide and probably one of the most successful authors of detective novels today.

So if you're looking for an engaging read, a homespun feel good mystery, pick up any of her books...from A to her newest X...( Known as the alphabet series)
She bends the rules of her genre and you reap the benefits.....(and these books make great gifts!!)

ORDER NOW ...Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.



Read this one before it hits theaters. Bradley Cooper will be starring and producing it, so you know this will be big, and you can say you knew about it from the start. 

The plot centers around a cop pulled back into the line of duty to find a missing woman. Former NYPD officer Marshall Grade wasn’t retired like you’d expect, though: He was in the witness protection program after an undercover job with a mob went bad.

Marshall wants to use his talents to save a local woman who has gone missing, but coming out of hiding means attracting the Dallas Man, the contract killer who is out to murder him.  Sounds like a made for movie film..let's hope it's a good read before Hollywood taints it!! Although I have to admit, Bradley Cooper is a definite positive in my book.....

Order directly from on the Amazon Search Box in the sidebar....


The holiday season has arrived but I don’t think chaos has to come with it, at least when it comes to books.  Choosing a book for someone based on his or her interests is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give. Here's a few suggestions...

THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS: Stories by Stephen King(Thriller/Short Stories)
Audiobook available, narrated by Stephen King and 14 others
Since his first collection, NIGHTSHIFT, published 35 years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection, he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it. There are thrilling connections between stories: themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past.

Audiobook available, performed by Mitch Albom and a full cast
At nine years old, Frankie Presto --- a war orphan raised by a blind music teacher in a small Spanish town --- is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. But Frankie’s talent is touched by the gods, and his amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 20th century. Frankie becomes a pop star himself but soon realizes that, through his music, he can actually affect people’s futures. At the height of his popularity, Frankie vanishes. Only decades later does he reappear --- just before his spectacular death --- to change one last life. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

AVENUE OF MYSTERIES by John Irving (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Armando Duran
Fourteen-year-old Juan Diego, who was born and grew up in Mexico, has a 13-year-old sister. Her name is Lupe, and she is a mind reader. Regarding what has happened as opposed to what will, Lupe is usually right about the past; without your telling her, she knows all the worst things that have happened to you. What might a teen girl be driven to do if she thought she could change the future? As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories.....all this and more for the John Irving fan.

DEAR MR. YOU by Mary-Louise Parker (Memoir/Letters)
Audiobook available, narrated by Mary-Louise Parker
DEAR MR. YOU renders the singular arc of a woman’s life through letters Mary-Louise Parker composes to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today. Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers to an homage to a firefighter she encountered to a heartfelt communication with the uncle of the infant daughter she adopted. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

Thankyou Bookreporter. Com. All books can be ordered from AMAZON directly from this blog.
Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.

Happy reading and gifting!


Good question.....because I can't seem to sink my teeth into anything... Yes, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB is my latest and although it's barely holding my interest, I'm still in search of the new and unpredictable...something that's "unputdownable" and will hold my interest for more than fifteen minutes.

I was disappointed in MY BRILLANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante:Neapolitan Novels, Book One.  I can't understand the hype. It was a slow moving, uneventful, angst filled adolescent yawn!

My fave was FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff, a solid, honest, beautifully written, dazzling tale....The National Book Award peeps agree and selected it as a  2015 finalist.

Here's some comments from

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB: A Lisbeth Salander Novel by David Lagercrantz (Thriller)
Late one night, Mikael Blomkvist receives a phone call from a source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female superhacker --- a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering. Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Lisbeth Salander for help. The secret they are both chasing is at the center of a tangled web of spies, cybercriminals and governments around the world, and someone is prepared to kill to protect it.
Same old...same old...........

Let me know if you have any book suggestions or if you agree or disagree with my opinions...leave a comment or shoot me an email.


If you were a fan of THE ART FORGER  by B. A. Shapiro, her latest book, THE MURALIST is an exciting historical novel overflowing with history, love, politics and of course, art. Oh, and by the way, she dropped me a note telling me all the details.....

Dear Joyce,

When I research a new novel, I become engrossed in the art and the politics of the times. Join me now in New York City on the cusp of the abstract expressionism movement and World War II.


The Muralist

My new novel traces the life and disappearance of a brilliant young artist, the fictitious Alizée Benoit, on the eve of World War II. She paints murals for the U.S. government’s WPA, alongside Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner–and her lover Mark Rothko.

When her paintings catch Eleanor Roosevelt’s eye, Alizée enlists the First Lady in her desperate attempt to get her Jewish family out of occupied France. Then Alizée vanishes. Seventy years later, her great-niece discovers hidden scraps of paintings and begins to unravel the mystery.

I loved entwining real and imaginary characters while moving between the past and present–just as I did in The Art Forger. I hope you enjoy reading The Muralist as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Artfully yours, 
B.A. Shapiro


So I heard that Grisham has a new book out...Yawn....Another lawyer saga...But NO, they say this one is different...has an unusual premise ..Yes, there are still lawyers, but maybe, just maybe I'll give it a chance...After all, a good legal thriller is hard to here goes....downloading....

ROGUE LAWYER by John Grisham (Legal Thriller)
Sebastian Rudd defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult, who is accused of molesting and murdering two little girls; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house. Sebastian believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he has to cheat to secure one. He hates injustice, doesn’t like insurance companies, banks or big corporations; he distrusts all levels of government and laughs at the justice system’s notions of ethical behavior. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

And Bill O'Reilly/Martin Dugard team up again. Many critics say this book restates old claims and rumors that have been discredited by the historical record. It sounds like a good read, although not that accurate...but lots of juicy stuff about Nancy! 

KILLING REAGAN: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (History/Politics)
Just two months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan lay near death after a gunman's bullet came within inches of his heart. His recovery was nothing short of remarkable --- or so it seemed. But Reagan was grievously injured, forcing him to encounter a challenge that few men ever face. Could he silently overcome his traumatic experience while at the same time carrying out the duties of the most powerful man in the world? Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

Order these books now directly from this blog. Click on the Amazon Searchbox in the Sidebar.


So many fabulous reviews...such accolades...Do I believe the hype? It can't be all that perfect, but I'll let you know. It's my number one "travel companion" this holiday season.....oops, sorry hubby!

City on Fire weaves a web through 1970s New York City, flashing forward and back, and uptown and downtown, with cinematic flair . . . It’s Clue meets legendary music club CBGB, but Hallberg elevates his whodunit with poignancy." —Sarah Begley, TIME 

CITY ON FIRE by Garth Risk Hallberg (Historical Fiction)

New York City, 1976. Meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown’s punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor --- and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year’s Eve. When the blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges this world into darkness, each of these lives will be changed forever. ( )

Order now on directly from this blog. Click on the Amazon Searchbox in the sidebar.


Remember Room by Emma Donoghue?...How could you forget this powerful and extremely intense novel? I have a feeling the movie will do it justice, mainly because Emma Donoghue was in on its development. Watch the trailer and read the author's comments below.


A Message from Author Emma Donoghue: 
When I first stepped into the set of the locked shed in which Ma and Jack live in ROOM (the movie), I was shaken to the core. (Even though I'd written the novel, and the screenplay too.) It was so small; how could two people live there for five years without going mad? It was so worn, so shabby, so grungy; how had I never pictured it that way? At that moment I realized that ROOM–the film–was going to bring a whole new level of naturalism to this story, because the camera pulls off the double trick of showing us Jack's world as he sees it, and as it really is. Whereas in the book we can only glimpse Ma through Jack's eyes, in the film we meet her face-to-face. I do hope you enjoy the movie this Fall as much as I’ve enjoyed helping to make it.


Two well known authors make a come back. Elizabeth Gilbert is creative in essay form, and although I'm a bit tired of her rhetoric, BIG MAGIC has been well received by her many fans.

GOLD FAME CITRUS by Claire Vaye Watkins is a debut novel with a catchy title and a dystopian premise. One reader said "this book may cause an anxiety attack even though it's bleak story is gorgeously written."  Since I'm not a fan of Dystopian themes or anxiety attacks, I may pass....

Below find comments from

Big Magic
Big Magic
By Elizabeth Gilbert
In her inspiring new book, the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love teaches readers how to nurture their creative side without quitting their day jobs. Gilbert’s honest, humorous essays put a different spin on the artist’s way, cutting to the heart of what it means to express yourself. Your creative jewels don’t have to be great works of art or prize-winning poetry—according to Gilbert, creative living can simply mean being open to new pursuits and following your curiosity wherever it leads. Big Magic is a must-read for anyone with a dream.

Gold Fame Citrus
Gold Fame Citrus
By Claire Vaye Watkins
Watkins established herself as a writer to watch with her eerie 2012 short story collection, Battlebornand she confirms those expectations with a powerful first novel set in a near-future California ravaged by drought. Luz and Ray, an ex-model and an AWOL soldier, hang out in an abandoned LA mansion until they see a chance to escape. In gorgeous prose—already drawing comparisons to such acclaimed writers of the West as Annie Proulx and Joan Didion—Watkins creates a hauntingly believable world and an unforgettable love story.


24612118. uy113
This novel is a staggering achievement that belies the youth of its clearly brilliant author. It demonstrates a competency and self-assuredness that give credibility to (1) the importance of a liberal arts education and (2) undeniable intelligence and talent. It is, for sure, and not just for today, a masterpiece of the sort that gives the deepest intellectual and emotional pleasure. Fates and Furies. A Little Life. What a year! friend Barbara A. expressed the sentiments above and I agree with her wholeheartedly! Cannot put this book down.
It tells the story of a marriage, first from the husband's point of view and then changes midway to reveal a wife more vengeful than expected. It's a fascinating read and although I am halfway done with this dark, explicit tome I don't want it to end...I am afraid of the ending...
I recommend this for the adventuress reader who's open to domestic crisis on a very high level. By the way, the writing is exquisite.



Kirkus Reviews is usually right on target. I've already started FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff and it had my attention immediately. Here's their take on the latest best sellers.


by Lauren Groff

by Mary Karr

by Brian Selznick, illustrated by Brian Selznick