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 clich├ęs 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