TAKING A BREAK (December 2017)

Yes, it's the holiday season, but for me it's a moving time of year...literally! After being in the same home for 50 years we're moving to smaller digs and a new community. I'm using this time to pack and purge, but I'll be back blogging in a few months. Have a wonderful holiday season and I'll see you next year!!

Remember, never stop reading!


New this week from The NY Times...

Otto Penzler (Vintage Crime, $25.) Penzler takes what is arguably 
the best part of crime and mystery novels — the villains — 
and packs them into an encyclopedic anthology that manages to cover both Dracula and Dr. Fu Manchu. To be read through a monocle and 
with a sinister sneer. THE SECRET LIVES OF COLOR By Kassia 
St. Clair (Penguin, $20.) Chrome Yellow, Dragon’s Blood and Pitch Black. These are just three of the 75 shades, dyes and hues St. Clair explores as she tells the backstory of the colors that make up our 
world. WHY WE DON’T SUCK By Dr. Denis Leary (Crown Archetype, $27.) Leary, the actor and co-creator of the FX series “Rescue Me” (and doctor by honorary degree), takes “equal 
opportunity aim” at the most partisan issues of our political moment with a mission to #MakeAmericaLaughAgain. PIE & WHISKEY (Sasquatch Books, $19.95.) This project began as a reading series organized by Lebo and Ligon, in which they sent 12 writers a pie and whiskey prompt to inspire new work. Six years later, they have created an anthology that’s just as eclectic, drunk and delicious. THE UNQUOTABLE TRUMP By R. Sikoryak (Drawn and Quarterly, $19.95.) Sikoryak, an artist known for his arch comic 
adaptations of literary classics, casts President Trump, along 
with his outlandish claims and alternative facts, as some of the
 most notable villains in comic book history. Wonder Woman is 
now “Nasty Woman” and the Black Panther series is reimagined 
as “The Black Voter.”


I've read every book that Alice Hoffman has written. They always hold my interest and even though I hate fantasy in novels, she seems to make it relatable. THE RULES OF MAGIC is her latest and is a prequel to her bestseller PRACTICAL MAGIC.

The following review is from Goodreads.com

The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic 0)

Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the
sixties, when the whole world is about to change,
 Susanna Owens knows that her three children are
dangerously unique.

Difficult Franny, with skin as pale
as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read
other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent,
who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children:
 No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black,
no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children
visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town
where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that
has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City
each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try,
just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart.
The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered,
and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while
 Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

WHAT AM I READING? (September 2017)

 Celeste Ng is an American author whose first novel, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, was the 2014 winner of the Amazon Book of the Year Award and one of my all time favorites. Her newest book looks like it's another prize winner.. I just started it and am already hooked..Now if I only knew how to pronounce her name!!
Thank you Bookreporter.com for the review.

Scroll down to September Choices.....

Audiobook available, read by Jennifer Lim
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, 

everything is planned. And no one embodies this spirit more 
Elena Richardson. Enter Mia Warren, who arrives in this idyllic 
bubble with her teenage daughter and rents a house from 
the Richardsons. 

But Mia carries a mysterious past and a disregard for the status 
quo that threatens to upend this community. When family friends 
of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a 
custody battle erupts that divides the town --- and puts Mia and 
Elena on opposing sides.

 Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover
 the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected 
and devastating costs.
 Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.


Claire Messud is an outstanding author. I loved
and am anticipatingreading her latest book
Below find a review
from Bookrepoter.com. It says it all!

THE BURNING GIRL by Claire Messud (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Morgan Hallett
Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school.

They have shared everything, including their desire to escape 
the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of 
Royston, Massachusetts.
 But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie 
sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter 
her oldest friendship. 
THE BURNING GIRL is a complex examination of the stories we tell 
ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles 
childhood’s imaginary worlds and painful adult reality. 

Reviewed by Bianca Ambrosio.


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This is a poignantly written descent into marital hell, 
spurred, in no small part, by the pressure of tribal 
mores–even amongst the educated class in Nigeria.
 If you ever thought that yours was the mother/in-law
 from hell,
 Think again.

Barbara S wrote these comments...yes I am going
 to read this! It could be about me!!!


Finally lots of new releases! Check out Bookish.com

The Golden House

The girl next door
Readers, I don’t have to tell you who
Salman Rushdie is. This autumn, he’s back with 
a new novel about a real estate mogul. 
Nero Golden comes to the United States with 
his family, and they quickly install themselves 
in a large home in a glamorous part of Manhattan.
There, they begin new lives. All the while, their 
neighbor, René, is watching them. What 
does René see when watching theGolden clan?

Beneath the veneer of 
glitz and money, René also glimpses 
something.  Rushdie’s latest 
doesn’t disappoint. 
On shelves: September 5

Sing, Unburied, Sing

On the road 
National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward’s
Sing, Unburied, Sing is undoubtedly one of 
the most highly-anticipated books of the 
Mam, Pop, Jojo, Kayla, and Leonie are family.
Leonie is the mother of Jojo and Kayla, but 
the children live with their grandparents, Mam 
and Pop, as Leonie is struggling with 
They reside in rural Mississippi, where Mam 
is losing a battle with cancer. When Jojo and 
Kayla’s father is released from prison, Leonie decides to take the children and go to the Mississippi State Penitentiary to see him. 
Their journey will take readers deep into 
the inner workings of a family that they won’t soon forget. 
On shelves: September 5

Little Fires Everywhere

Won’t you be my neighbor
Settle into Shaker Heights, Ohio in this
new novel from Celeste Ng. Mia Warren and her daughter, Pearl, are just settling into their rental home in Shaker Heights, which they are leasing from Elena Richardson and her family. 
The families grow close, but they 
have real differences: Elena is highly 
motivated by order and boundaries, 
whereas Mia is more of a free, artistic soul. 
When conflict over an adoption forces the 
entire town to choose sides, Elena and Mia find themselves in vehement disagreement 
with one another. 
Soon, Elena decides to investigate Mia’s 
background, and she finds far more than she bargained for.
On shelves: September 12


Yes, I am a Sue Grafton fan. I've read every one of her books and can't wait for her latest. It's always a fast read, fun, great characters and un-putdownable. Give it a try....

Y IS FOR YESTERDAY by Sue Grafton (Mystery)

Y IS FOR YESTERDAY begins in 1979, when four teenage
 boys from an elite private school sexually assault a 14-year-old
 classmate --- and film the attack. 

Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a 
fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows,
 one boy turns state’s evidence, and two of his peers are convicted. 
But the ringleader escapes without a trace. Now, it’s 1989 and one 
of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. 

Moody, unrepentant and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-
watchful parents --- until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a 
ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for 

Reviewed by Roz Shea.

Thankyou www.bookreporter.com


I'm currently reading Mrs Fletcher by Tom Perrotta, a quirky and hilarious new novel about sex, love and identity. It's penetrating and provocative with a mother/son story in the mix. I'm half way through and not sure if I really like it...but Tom Perrotta's uneven and mesmerizing prose holds my interest...Stay Tuned...

And according to The New York Times....

MRS. FLETCHER, by Tom Perrotta. (Scribner, $26.) Perrotta’s seventh novel — his first since 2011’s “The Leftovers” — succeeds in ways that will be pleasingly familiar to his admirers. The story of a divorced mother and her college-age son, both navigating the pursuit and pitfalls of sexual pleasure, it is the sweetest and most charming novel about pornography addiction and the harrowing issues of sexual consent that you will ever read.


Keep an eye out for this release by Pulitzer nominee, Jonathan Dee. Bookreporter.com earmarked this book as an August favorite.

Its focus is small town America after 9/11. Complex characters round out this community in the Berkshires on an economic skid. Add a combination of frustrations (sexual and otherwise), bewildered citizens, a vivid plot and you have a recipe for an excellent read.

THE LOCALS by Jonathan Dee (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by George Newbern and Ray Porter

Mark Firth is a contractor and home restorer in Howland, 
Massachusetts, who feels opportunity passing his family by. 

After being swindled by a financial advisor, what future can Mark 
promise his wife and their young daughter? 
He finds himself envying the wealthy 
weekenders in his community whose houses sit empty all winter. 

Philip Hadi used to be one of these people. But in the nervous days 
after 9/11, he flees New York and hires Mark to turn his Howland home 
into a year-round “secure location” from which he can manage billions 
of dollars of other people’s money. The collision of these two men’s
 very different worlds --- rural vs. urban, middle class vs. wealthy --- 
is the engine of Jonathan Dee’s new novel. 
Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.


Discover some great books on Bookpage.com.  Bookpage is another 'go to' site that I check for the best new books.   Each issue highlights current releases, author interviews, book reviews and more. Tailored to the true book lover (Like me and you) Bookpage will enhance your TBR list.
Below find two books their editors recommended this August...

Reading with Patrick review
The life-changing magic of reading
When she learns that a favorite student has been charged with murder, Teach for America educator Michelle Kuo returns to the Arkansas Delta to offer study sessions on poetry and literature that prove transformative for both.

Home Fire review
A heart-rending tragedy of two families 
Kamila Shamsie's seventh work of fiction is a twist on Sophocles' classic Greek tragedy, Antigone. Set in present-day London, the story follows two British Muslim families as they wrestle with complex issues centered on faith, bigotry and loyalty.


 if you're not familiar with Goodreads.com you're missing out! It's a great way to share books, keep track of books you've read, and is the world's  largest site for book recommendations.

The following two books caught my eye. Recipients of excellent reviews, they're on the top of my TBR list.

Home Fire by Kamila ShamsieHome Fire
In this modern-day take on the classic tragedy Antigone, two Pakistani Muslim families in London find their lives entangled in love, politics, and conflict.
Amirah says, “I tore through this, literally could not tear my eyes away from this brave, searing novel.”
Nominated for the Man Booker Prize

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John BoyneThe Heart's Invisible Furies
This sweeping novel by the author of The Boy in Striped Pajamasbegins in 1940s Ireland, when Cyril Avery is born to an unwed teen mother, and follows his journey of self-discovery.
Caroline says, “There’s little about this deeply moving and immersive story that isn’t perfect. Boyne realized an ambitious premise, and he did so with a thoughtful touch.”



Let award season begin!  If you are looking for a list of the brightest stars in the 2017 firmament (or bookshelf), this is a pretty great one.   On July 17, the Man Booker Prize Longlist was announced, featuring 13 novels including THE MINSITRY OF UTMOST HAPPINESS, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO and THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. Have you read any of these? If not, get started.. you won't be disappointed.


  • The Shortlist will be announced Sept. 13th
  • Winner announced October 17th
The following book descriptions are from the Man Booker Prize Group.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness



In a city graveyard, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet between two graves. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby appears quite suddenly, a little after midnight, in a crib of litter. In a snowy valley, a father writes to his five-year-old daughter about the number of people who attended her funeral. And in the Jannat Guest House, two people who’ve known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around one another as though they have only just met.
Here is a cast of unforgettable characters caught up in the tide of history. Told with a whisper, with a shout, with tears and with laughter, it is a love story and a provocation. Its heroes, present and departed, human and animal, have been broken by the world we live in and then mended by love – and for this reason, they will never surrender.
$14.99 Amazon

Lincoln in the Bardo



On 22 February 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln is laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, his father Abraham arrives at the cemetery, alone, under cover of darkness.
Over the course of that evening, Abraham Lincoln paces the graveyard unsettled by the death of his beloved boy, and by the grim shadow of a war that feels as though it is without end. Meanwhile Willie is trapped in a state of limbo between the dead and the living – drawn to his father with whom he can no longer communicate, existing in a ghostly world populated by the recently passed and the long dead.
Unfolding in the graveyard over a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief and the deeper meaning and possibilities of life.
$13.99 Amazon

Swingtime by Zadie Smith



Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them. Moving from north-west London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.
Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early 20s, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…
$13.99 Amazon



Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.
In Whitehead’s razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.
$13.99 Amazon

Booker Prize Longlisted Exit West



In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, Saeed and Nadia lock eyes across their classroom. After a while, they talk, he makes her smile and they start to fall in love. They try not to notice the sound of bombs getting closer every night, the radio announcing new laws, the curfews and the public executions.
Eventually the problem is too big to ignore: it’s not safe for Nadia to live alone and she must move in with Saeed, even though they are not married, and that too is a problem. Meanwhile, rumours are spreading of strange black doors in secret places across the city, doors that lead to London or San Francisco, Greece or Dubai. One day soon the time will come for Nadia and Saeed to seek out one such door, joining the great outpouring of those fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world.
$12.99 Amazon

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

4 3 2 1


On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths.
Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plots of the four Fergusons’ stories rush on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid-20th century America. A boy grows up – again and again and again.
$12.99  Amazon

Days without end by Sebastian Barry



After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely 17, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Having fled terrible hardships themselves, they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both witness and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and endangered when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.
$12.99 Amazon

Booker Prize Longlisted History of Wolves



Linda, age 14, lives on a dying commune on the edge of a lake in the Midwest of America. She and her parents are the last remaining inhabitants, the others having long since left amid bitter acrimony. She has grown up isolated both by geography and her understanding of the world, and is an outsider at school, regarded as a freak.
One day she notices the arrival of a young family in a cabin on the opposite side of the lake. She starts to befriend them, first their four-year-old son Paul, and then his young mother Patra, who is also lonely and isolated. For the first time she feels a sense of belonging that has been missing from her life.
Leo, the father, is a university professor and an enigmatic figure, perpetually absent. When he returns home, Linda is shunned by the family unit. Desperate to be accepted again, she struggles to resume her place in their home and fails to see the terrible warning signals, which have such devastating consequences.
$9.00 Amazon

Booker Longlisted Solar Bones



Marcus Conway has come a long way to stand in the kitchen of his home and remember the rhythms and routines of his life. Considering with his engineer’s mind how things – bridges, banking systems, marriages – are constructed – and how they may come apart.
$14.99 Amazon

Booker Prize Longlisted Reservoir 13RESERVOIR 13


Midwinter in the early years of this century a teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. As it must. As the seasons unfold there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together or break apart. There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost; small kindnesses and unanticipated betrayals. Bats hang in the eaves of the church and herons stand sentry in the river; fieldfares flock in the hawthorn trees and badgers and foxes prowl deep in the woods – mating and fighting, hunting and dying.
$10.81 Amazon

Elmet Fiona Mozley-ElmetELMET


Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned sour and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted. When they were younger, Daniel and Cathy had gone to school. But they were not like the other children then, and they were even less like them now. Sometimes Daddy disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn’t true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. All the while, the terrible violence in Daddy grew.
Elmet is a lyrical commentary on contemporary English society and one family’s precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go.
Currently unavailable in the U.S.



Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London – or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew.
Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. The son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birth right to live up to – or defy. Two families’ fates are devastatingly entwined in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love?
$12.99 Amazon

Autumn by Ali Smith



How about Autumn 2016? Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer.
Autumn is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. This first in a seasonal quartet casts an eye over our own time.  Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearian jeu d’esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s Pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history-making.
From the imagination of Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, and a story about aging and time and love and stories themselves.
$12.99 Amazon