Look What’s Coming Soon!

Susan Wiggs

Map of The Heart

Coming in August which is just around the corner, MAP OF THE HEART, by Susan Wiggs. One of my first readers slapped this one in my hand and told me to read it. She knows I love WW11. We usually think of Susan Wiggs in the same sentence with more of a romance read. But I hear this is above and beyond. Will keep you posted.

Lawrence Osborne

Beautiful Animals

And along comes BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS.  A little bird told me how good this is. I’m just starting it now. But I can already tell you that the writing is superb. And you know what a sucker I am for islands and summertime. Greek Islands in this case. A literary read.

Meg Mitchell Moore

The Captain’s Daughter

Just received this one. Seaside Maine. Just look at this cover. Makes me want to slam everything else aside and read…. THE CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER is another summer read that screams SUMMER. Can’t wait to start this one.

Cuba history


Everyone’s talking about Cuba.  Well, here’s a nonfiction book about Cuba’s best known city. It’s crammed with great stuff about the people, the culture, and the food. Loved it. HAVANA by Mark Kurlansky. And boy can this guy write.

Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young

The month of August brings us ,YOUNG JANE YOUNG, by Gabrielle Zevin. I read it in two sittings. Didn’t know what to expect. Absolutely loved it. You will remember her from the wildly popular THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY. And, yes, she’s much more than a flash in the pan. Review to run closer to pub date.

Ken Follett

Column of Fire

And then comes September! And that means Ken Follett’s A COLUMN OF FIRE will be available to purchase. It’s only another 900 plus pages historical novel. It’s the third in the Kingsbridge series that brought you THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH and WORLD WITHOUT END. OMG! Look what you have to look forward to.

I have to tell you that this is but a smattering of the books to come in the next two months. I have stacks for both months. Am wading through them to bring you only the best. But you are in for such a treat. Stay tuned. I will be posting  another summer reading list for your reading pleasure soon.

Winner Announced With Review. What She Ate

six women and what they ate

What She Ate

“A beloved culinary historian’s short take on six famous women through the lens of food.”

Okay, you foodies, and you know who you are, this book is for you. But it’s also for anyone interested in the lives of famous women. After all,  food is personal, so you will learn a lot about someone by paying attention to how they relate to food.

The six women are: Dorothy Wordsworth; Rosa Lewis; Eleanor Roosevelt; Eva Braun; Barbara Pym; and Helen Gurley Brown.  Most of you know of Helen Gurley Brown, Eva Braun, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  And this book will catch you up on the women you are least familiar with.

I was immediately intrigued to find Eva Braun on this list.  Her chapter is a bit chilling and certainly enlightening. I was not surprised to find champagne to be one of her favorite foods.

Eleanor Roosevelt is not known for her culinary acumen.  And it sure shows in this book. Ugh. Laura Shapiro  discovered that Eleanor had a hidden history of enthusiastic eating.  And she loved to bake, even though she was a failure at it.  Everyone in Washington knew enough to eat before you go when invited to the White House for a meal.

But my favorite chapter was on Helen Gurley Brown. She and her husband never even dined together.  Her big splurge was eating diet jello.  She did love brownies and sweets, but rarely ate them. No wonder she stayed so painfully thin.

Barbara Pym was a famous English novelist who loved English food. This long before Jamie Oliver came along.


Laura Shapiro has written on every food topic from champagne to Jell-O for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, Gourmet, and many other publications. She is the author of three classic books of culinary history.  Her awards include a James Beard Journalism Award and one from the National Women’s Political Caucus.

My finished hardcover was provided by Viking Publishers, a division of PenuinRandomHouse in exchange for an honest review and a giveaway.  Great book!

And the winner is: Pat Olsen. Congratulations Pat!  And thanks to those of you who took the time to enter the giveaway.




All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan


All We Shall Know

“All We Shall Know” by Donal Ryan is a dark, deep, and highly controversial  contemporary novel set in a small rural town in Ireland.

Kirkus says: ” Self-Sacrifice, penance, and circumscribed possibility for happiness, narrated with great compassion and written with elegant lyricism.”

Melody Shee is 33 years-old and pregnant with her 17 year-old student’s child. He’s not her husband. Surprise. He’s the son of a famous Traveller. Melody has been his teacher for a year now. What is a Traveller you may ask? A Traveller is a member of an ethnic group similar to though distinct from the Roma, and the Traveller subculture plays a major and fascinating role in the novel.  Really, a Traveller is what is commonly known as a gypsy; a tinker, or even an itinerant.

This news is especially disturbing to Melody’s husband of ten years since she has not been able to carry his child to term.  And he’s no innocent in this story. He’s got plenty of baggage, too.  He decides quickly that this is more than he can bear and off he goes.

Martin, the unborn child’s father, also leaves the area. So Melody soon finds herself alone and somewhat of a pariah  in the small town where she lives.  Being an outcast causes suicidal thoughts and she probably would have gone through with it if she were not such a coward.  When she befriends a young Traveller woman named Mary she begins to come to terms with her situation and a turnaround of sorts begins.

There are things from Melody’s past that we learn that cause her to behave in such an unorthodox way.  Something occurred when she was a girl with a friend that has stayed with her all these years. It’s all a bit of a mystery that finally unwinds and comes to the surface.

Not even two hundred pages, Ryan’s novel is harsh, raw, and sad beyond belief as a novel of adultery, loneliness and betrayal would be. It’s not a happy book.  But a well-written one.

My review copy came from Penguin in exchange for an honest review.  This book will appeal to a very literary group of readers.

The Cafe By The Sea by Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan

The Cafe By The Sea

I quickly devoured this sumptuous novel in a day. THE CAFE BY THE SEA by Jenny Colgan is just delightful and perfect for you midsummer.  I deserved a good, light, read filled with lovable characters and a gorgeous and somewhat unique locale. Boom! Here it is.

Flora left her tiny island home of Mure at the farthest northern tip, hoping to make a better and more exciting life for herself in bustling London. It was her mom’s final and dearest wish.  But be careful what you hope for. Flora lands a job in a legal office and falls for her handsome boss.  But this guy is surely not right for her. They are odds and ends, to be sure. When Flora is asked to return to her island home on Mure by a wealthy client of the law firm, she finds herself back where she started from…  Her brothers and her still grieving father are not doing so well. The farm is a filthy mess. God only knows what they’ve been eating.  But Flora’s there to do a job. She’s helping this billionaire get his business going on Mure.  He’s fallen for the island and is building a sprawling hotel for the very well-to-do. But he’s doing it all wrong, you see. He is making enemies all around. And this is one small island.  Flora’s job is to make nice with the islanders she knows and help this guy settle in. But, these islanders are not big fans of Flora, not since she ran off to join the city..

Filled with lush scenery, unusual flora and fauna, and all the makings of a great romance, THE CAFE BY THE SEA is a wonderful summertime read.  I loved it. I tried to slow my reading down but, could not. There’s something for us all in this novel. Whales, seals, dogs, birds. Food galore. And not just any food, mind you. We find that Flora truly is a really good cook. She’s come by it naturally as she is following in her mom’s footsteps. That’s a part of the story I loved so much: finding her mom’s recipe journal. All written in her mom’s handwriting.  And a few great recipes at the end of the novel.

This is a romance novel. But it’s so much more. Reminds me of the writing of JoJo Moyes. And I do not say that lightly.  Did I tell you how much I enjoyed the actual read? I did.

There are two love interests. And you absolutely can not figure out who will be the one. Then there is another unlikely love story going on at the same time.

If you are looking for that book to sweep you away to somewhere special this summer, well, this is the one.  I borrowed my copy from the library. Loved it! Now want to read more of Jenny Colgan’s books.

Jenny Colgan

New Giveaway! What She Ate by Laura Shapiro

six women and what they ate

What She Ate

I love food stories.  They’re often intimate and revealing. Here, in WHAT SHE ATE, Shapiro brings us six remarkable women , famous women,  and  how they related to food.

Viking, a division of PenguinRandomHouse, is providing my giveaway copy.  Please leave a comment below to enter the contest. I will choose one winner on Wednesday, July 19. Only U.S. addresses, please, and no P.O. boxes. Good luck!!

I will post a full review with short interview next week when the winner is announced.


Hunger by Roxane Gay



The inside flap of Roxane Gay’s new memoir tells us right out of the gate that this is a searing and intimate memoir. They have that right. It’s quite possibly the most frank and outspoken work of non fiction I’ve come across to date.

I discovered Gay a few years ago while reading a review of her novel ” An Untamed State.” Ron Charles was that reviewer, and he loved her disturbing book. I couldn’t take my eyes from the pages; it was like watching a train wreck. As I read the novel that takes place in Haiti, I began wondering how Gay was able to bring this story so realistically to the page. And then I guessed that something awful had also happened to her…

In recent years Roxane Gay

body image

Roxane Gay

is garnering the attention she well deserves. She’s a damned fine writer; of fiction and non fiction. I devour her work. It is disturbing and honest. It is up front and in your face. This new work is about how and why she became the person she is.  Why is she overweight?  And she will tell you honestly. And you will be horrified. It will be hard to read. But it’s her real story.  It was incredibly difficult for her to write this book. It’s harsh. What she endured is beyond belief for many of us.  Has she overcome it? Not really. But it’s a work in progress.

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows what a trial it can be.  I grew up a thin young woman. But over the years I’ve put on pounds that I struggle to rid myself of. I know I am not alone.  Food is not like other things that can be given up. After all, we do have to eat.  Gay’s weight is a problem because of trauma.  I think many people have issues with food for various personal reasons that they will not speak of. I get that.  I think this is an important book.  My issues are not Roxane’s issues. But reading about how she has suffered and how she’s dealt with the pain is enlightening.  She’s a wonderful writer. Memorizing.  This is an important book.

This book is not for everyone. I know this. But you might want to take a good look at it. Roxane Gay is a voice to be reckoned with in the book world. And rightly so.

Roxane Gay is the New York Times bestselling author of “Bad Feminist.” She’s published by Harper Collins.

The House of Spies by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva

The House of Spies

OMG! It’s finally July and time for a new Daniel Silva thriller featuring Gabriel Allon and his inimitable cast of amazing characters. Daniel Silva has never disappointed me. Ever!

“House of Spies” follows in the footsteps of last year’s wildly popular “The Black Widow.” It begins only four months after a horrific and staggering terrorist attack on American soil.  This time we’re in London’s glitzy West End.  With restaurants filled with hungry patrons right at the height of the dinner hour, this unbelievable attack begins and continues like no other. What a way to begin a thriller!

Many of our beloved characters are back.  Gabriel is now the head of the Office; chief of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence.  And he’s not working alone. Uzi Navot has agreed to stay on as Gabriel’s closest aid.  And you’ll love seeing Christopher Keller return, as well. Keller is now working with M16 as an agent. He’s a former British Special Ops guy now living on the island of Corsica.

From London to the glamour of Saint-Tropez. From the lushness of Corsica to the nomadic sands of exotic Casablanca.  Excitement abounds. This novel is fierce. It’s also filled with happenings that could come straight from the nightly news. It’s as if Silva is one step ahead of today’s world. Today’s news was already in print in a Silva novel, yesterday.  He’s truly the greatest thriller writer living today.

Silva spent time in Casablanca with his family while doing research on this novel. He was actually writing the  end of the novel while on the ground in Morocco. He takes you behind the scenes like never before. You can tell he was there. And the scenes outside the city are eerie and page-turning. Silva mentions reading a book called “The Caliph’s House” by Tahir Shah  while doing his research. I own that book and love it. It’s not a novel. It’s a memoir about a year spent in Casablanca. It features  a house with jinns. For those of you who do not know of jinns, they are invisible spirits unique to the Islamic world.  And a house Gabriel spends time in includes visits from jinns.

The scenes along the South of France are breathtaking and filled with suspense and intrigue. The characters of Jean-Luc Martel and his gorgeous former British fashion model girlfriend will blow you away.  The exotic cars, homes, jewelry, riches. Good God.

The tension mounts like a wire around your neck, twisting and cutting into your consciousness. You HAVE to know what’s going to happen. You have a lot invested here.  But a part of you knows that once the last page is turned you will have to wait another YEAR for more Daniel Silva. So I forced myself to slow down. Still, it went too quickly.


Daniel Silva

I will say that with Gabriel now working as the head of the Office things are changing. There was no art restoration in this book. I ended up being okay with that but, I do enjoy that aspect of the stories.  Nothing has been said about the future. I hope no one is disappointed because there is so much going on here, honestly, what’s to miss!

My wonderful finished hardcopy of “House of Spies” by Daniel Silva came directly from the great publishing house of Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. OMG! My highest rating, guys.  Run, run, run, as fast as you can on Tuesday, July 11, to purchase your copy of this amazing novel. Salute.

P.S. Just watched an interview on the Today show where Silva tells us some exciting news. The books have been sold to MGM to make a tv series; all 17. Thrilling.