When Harry Met Minnie by Martha Teichner

Interview with Martha Teichner

My Valentine book. This is for those of us like Martha who have special relationships with very special animals. This is a story that was begging for telling.

Just look at these two faces. The look of love definitely shows on the cover of this wonderful new memoir by Martha Teichner who is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning News.

Anyone who reads my blog already knows I’m a big cat lover. But, really, I am a huge animal lover. Once in a while a book about a relationship with dogs comes down the pike that I simply go gaga about. This is that book!

For those of you who love New York City, you will love rediscovering Martha’s NYC. This is the city as we knew it just a few years ago. I found myself smiling as Martha walked the dogs to the Union Square market on Saturday mornings. I wanted to wave to the vendors and see the dogs get treats. And sometimes, one of the dogs would filth an apple. I loved the strolls by the river. And I enjoyed learning about a place called The Barking Zoo. Who knew.

So the story begins one summer Saturday when Martha is walking her bull terrier Minnie. Of course they are at the Market. An old friend who she’s never seen at this market appears walking his dog. He asks her where Goose is. Goose was Martha’s male bull terrier who recently passed away. When he heard she was actively looking for an older male bull terrier he immediately told her about a friend of his named Carol who was unfortunately, dying from cancer. She was seeking the right person to take her bull terrier, Harry. And so the story begins. This is most definitely a love story albeit not the usual kind. ,

I knew almost nothing of bull terriers. But now I’m hooked. Although, you won’t find me out looking for one anytime soon. The cats are enough for us. The shenanigans of Harry and Minnie will make you laugh. And if you have a pet you’ll immediately bond with Martha.

Martha Teichner has been a foreign correspondent for years covering wars and events all over the globe. You may know her from Sunday Morning. Once you hear her speak you will be reading the book in her glorious voice and it’s super. She’s a very talented writer and a wonderfully kind and gentle person. I loved the story and I loved the writing. And, of course, I fell head over heels for all the dogs; past and present.

Martha Teichner

Martha and Carol become close friends as Martha begins taking over more and more of Harry’s life. And, believe you me, it’s no small feat. Harry’s medicine and food regimen alone would boggle your mind and wear you out. So the story is also about great friendship. And it’s never too late to make a new friend.

We will have copies of WHEN HARRY MET MINNIE at Copperfish Books very soon. It’s a real keeper.

And how will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day? We plan on keeping it simple. Dinner at home. Lobster tails stuffed with crab. We do it better than any restaurant and since we don’t like going out on holidays like this anyhow, this suits us fine. And, of course, we’ll be enjoying the company of our four loving cats.

Today Is Pub Day For Erika Robuck’s New Book: The Invisible Woman

Erika Robuck

Erika Robuck is an amazing historical fiction writer. She digs deep in her research to bring little known stuff to the surface. She is tenacious, she is smart, and she is a force in her field.

The Invisible Woman

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN is a novel that showcases Erika’s talent. She brings to life a WW2 spy named Virginia Hall. And when I say she brings Virginia to life, I’m serious. Virginia Hall is a name I knew nothing of until reading Erika’s book. I am now a huge fan. I loved reading about her missions and the intricate disguises she used. She totally became different women and infiltrated the war zones saving so many lives along the way.

I hope you’ll purchase the book from us at Copperfish Books. It’s on sale today. Your purchase admits you to my bookclub interview with Erika Robuck on March 2 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. It will be a virtual bookclub event through zoom as all our events are now. You will receive your link to the event on the day of through email. It’s a win/win to purchase the book from us thus supporting an Indy store, getting to attend the event, and meeting a wonderful historical fiction author who is delightful. You can purchase from Copperfish Books by clicking on the purchase link above.

Erika Robuck is the bestselling author of HEMINGWAY’S GIRL, CALL ME ZELDA, FALLEN BEAUTY, THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE and RECEIVE ME FALLING. You do not want to miss this event.

Meet Me In Bombay by Jenny Ashcroft

Meet Me In Bombay

The cover is even exotic! Love it already. It’s 1913, Maddie Bright has left her home in England after attending school, to join her mother and father in India where her father is stationed. It’s sultry and miserably hot and she is not settling in well. Until New Year’s Eve when she meets a handsome young military officer across the crowded room. Luke Devereaux is that handsome man. He is immediately as smitten as she is. Their love affair is a sweltering ordeal that quickly heads for marriage. But when Luke is called on to serve in the war right after their vows are taken, this story quickly becomes a heart-pounding page-turner.

This novel is so much more than just a romance. Ashcroft has done a bang-up job describing the sensory delights of Bombay. Colonial India. She’s so brought it to life. When Luke leaves a travel guide with Maddie she finally begins poking her nose into the parts of the city that tourists normally shy away from. She becomes enchanted and shares her destinations with us. I felt such a sense of place. You can almost close your eyes and smell the spices in the market.

The story actually begins with a scene where a man does not know who he is. You quickly find that Luke is that person and he has suffered so during the war. Back and forth in time goes the story giving us a sense of foreboding.

The love story is very strong. I was reminded of several movies. I’ll let you make that decision.

The food, the characters, the city, and the fierceness of Maddie. I will never forget. Loved the story.

It’s February: What Am I Doing?

January came and went in a blink. What was that about? I’ve been keeping busy preparing for upcoming zoom events with book clubs and writing book lists with commentary for clubs that choose lists in lieu of zoom.

Two short stacks! There are many more.

The books in the stacks in the picture above are just a few of the books waiting for consideration. So you can see that when I say I’m busy I really mean it. All in a great way. And I remind myself that there are dozens of digital review copies on my ipad as well. It truly can feel overwhelming some days.

Go Bucs!

This coming Sunday is a big day at our house. My husband is an avid football fan. Super Bowl has long been his favorite sports day of the entire year. He loves everything about it. The food and the excitement of the game permeate his very being. This year I’m excited because my favorite team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are playing and in their home stadium at that. Go Bucs!

Valentines Day Fortune Cookies

What better way to say I love you than with a unique gift from Cafe You. Ana is baking her heart out making these amazing fortune cookies. They can even be personalized! Not only are they just gorgeous, they’re delicious as well. You can call Cafe You today to order yours. 239-600-0966

The kitties are not fond of cold or wind. This week has brought both. There’s been lots of cuddling on blankets and jostling for position on laps. Lots of neediness. So I was really happy to find some wheat grass at the Farmer’s market a couple weeks ago.

Wyatt enjoying the cat grass.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about the plethora of great new books coming out this winter, spring, summer, and even through fall. That’s how far ahead we’re reading. Summer reading is going to be dynamite this year!! Don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated.

I’m looking forward to our bookclub with Erika Robuck on March 2 where I’ll be in conversation about her fabulous new book THE INVISIBLE WOMAN. I have so many questions for Erika and we are going to learn so much from this amazing author at the top of her game. Don’t forget. You can purchase your copy from Copperfish and this will save your spot on the zoom bookclub.

The Invisible Woman

For those of you who will be receiving one of my specialized lists with commentary, you are in for such a treat! And for those of you who I will be seeing via zoom, I look forward to seeing all of you. So many books, so little time.

Cheers from Cape Coral and Punta Gorda!

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

The Nature of Fragile Things

This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. A novel that’s unique and compelling as all get-out. Characters so darn real. A villain. A mystery. Murder. Yum!

THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS takes place in San Francisco. Sophie Whalen has just arrived on a train from New York City. The year is 1906. An Irish immigrant, she’s been staying in a tenement that she was desperate to escape. And when she answers an ad for a wife to a widower she suddenly becomes a mail-order bride complete with a child. Wow. Martin Hocking hustles Sophie over to the courthouse as soon as her feet hit the dirt. They are married lickedy split and Boom, she’s his wife. Hm. He’s handsome beyond reason. And seems financially secure. So why the big hurry? She fears something is fishy but needs the position and when she sees the big house he’s bought, well, she’s all in.

The tension rises every time Martin leaves for extended business trips. Sophie is busy caring for Kat, the five-year-old daughter, and so she misses some of the clues. But when a strangle young pregnant woman shows up on her doorstep she can no longer look away. And the story plunges into Hell.

So many questions. You will have so many of them as you read with your heart pounding. Once the earthquake drops the city into darkness and rubble, everything changes on a dime. Meissner has certainly done her homework. The earthquake rises around you as you read and you find yourself in the middle of the great tragedy and its aftermath. I have long been fascinated with this earthquake. As harsh as the telling is it does not disappoint. You will never think of San Francisco in the same light.

What a great time for crooks and thieves to expand their crimes. And anyone looking to hide, well, you can only imagine.

Susan Meissner

Put this amazing novel on your to-read list right now. It’s great for clubs. There is so darn much to talk about. I am a huge fan of Susan Meissner as it is. But this is her best novel yet! You can pick up your copy of this wonderful novel at Copperfish Books where we have them on our shelf today at 20% off. I’m so grateful to Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for allowing me to read a digital review copy of this amazing novel way ahead of pub date in exchange for an honest review. Well, readers, you are in for an amazing reading experience. It’s simply wonderful! I loved it.

The Four Winds By Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds

May be THE most anticipated novel of 2021, here it is: THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah.

I received a review copy of THE FOUR WINDS in the middle of the summer. Here we were in the midst of a global pandemic and to tell you the truth I was feeling a bit down and somewhat sorry for myself. Boo hoo. Just tired of the whole business of social distancing and not traveling etc. Well, I can tell you one thing: I quickly stopped feeling sorry for myself. This novel is so full of hardship and pain…..

The story begins in a town in the panhandle of Texas where a young woman is trying to break free of a suffocating family environment.  Elsa just wanted to feel love. Told by her mother that she was unattractive and kept under strict surveilance, she really just wants to feel normal.  Since she was fourteen and contracted an illness she was said to be sickly. But she’s an adult now and feels stifled. 

It’s 1934  and we watch as Elsa is thrust into an unlikely relationship that will only cause her pain. Her parents are glad to have a reason to dump her. Her new husband is quite miserable and honestly not fit for fatherhood.  When the Great Depression dries up all the work and the Dust Bowl comes along and dries up all the crops Elsa’s life becomes even more horrific. There comes a time when she has to make a decision. She can stay in Texas and very possibly starve to death, or, she can head out to California where it seems every other Tom, Dick, and Harry are going. Throughout this entire decision-making period we struggle along with Elsa. Should she go? Go where?Will it be for the better? And then we realize there really isn’t any choice. She must go. 

In California, Elsa soon sees that it’s not the land of good and plenty. It’s just a different type of Hell.  Here migrants are living in poverty. The squalor they live in will break your heart. Camps easily flood. Dirt floors. No one ever has enough  to eat. I can’t even imagine the trek to work let alone the actual backbreaking labor. 

THE GRAPES OF WRATH immediately comes to mind as you read. That time period is one we never want to see happen again in this country. But, here we are with thousands of people out of work through no fault of their own. And we’re living in unthinkable conditions.

There are so many scenes that are just incredibly hard to read. This young woman goes through many hells. She is one of those strong characters that I love. But even I have to wonder how much more she can take. 

The story rounds a curve when she meets Jack who’s working for an organization that’s trying to form a union for migrant workers. A lot of research went into this part of the novel and it pays off. I found myself pulling  not only for Elsa but for every migrant worker.  Is this going to make Elsa’s life easier? You’ll find out. 

Kristin Hannah is the NYT bestselling author of thirty novels.  Her last three novels have placed her at the top of the commercial fiction ladder. She’s an amazing story teller. I don’t know what she’s going to pull out of her book hat next, but what I do know is that I can’t wait!

Author
Kristin Hannah

THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah will be available for purchase at Copperfish Books on Tuesday, Feb. 2. We are offering a 20% discount since it’s a new hardcover book. This is one of the most anticipated books of the year and you are going to want to read it! Every bookclub will be reading it and it will be on the lips of every book person in the world. Do not miss it.

I have to send a big shout out to St. Martin’s publishing for sending me an early copy in exchange for an honest review. What can I say? It’s a blockbuster.

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

The Invisible Woman

This powerful novel about Virginia Hall is THE book Ericka Robuck was born to write. With gorgeous prose and amazing insight as well as remarkable research, Erika has managed to bring vividly to life one of the most courageous and tenacious women ever recorded.

Many of you will ask who Virginia Hall was. I know I did. Virginia Hall was not the type of young woman who sat around the house eating bon bons and  dreaming of the next debutante ball. She was restless and even uncomfortable living a life of privilege in Baltimore, Maryland in the twenties. So off she goes to attend classes in Paris at École Libre des Sciences Politiques.  Virginia is enamored with The City of Light and falls deeply in love with it. So much so that she decides to stay….. And then all Hell breaks lose.

The novel forwards to March, 1944 on the coast of Brittany, France.  We find Virginia has become a totally different young woman. She’s already been through Hell. Now she’s bound and determined to return to the war to complete her mission. Her mission is? Saving Jews by working undercover as an allied spy. She’s already been on her first operation. She fled at a critical period and even though it really was the only way out at the time, it is a constant reminder of what she considers to be failure.  Virginia lost more than just comrades, she has also  lost a big portion of her lower leg. She now wears a prothetic leg where once a healthy one existed. This is not going to deter her.  If anything, it is making her even more determined.

We follow Virginia through her second operation which is also in France. As she makes her way though the countryside and meets new contacts we begin to feel the fear oozing from her pores.  Every time she  enters a new area filled with enemies we feel her trepidation. We fall for these people she’s helping, and we soften for the children and their plight.

Sneaking into Nazi-infested France was a daunting thing to do; harrowing, actually.  In fact, Virginia underwent extensive preparation in changing her identity. She went from being a lovely young woman to becoming an older almost hag-like creature that people would never suspect of spying. Even her American fillings were exchanged for gold, in the French way.  She’s been warned by her superior Vera that her first mission was a tea party  compared to this new one.

Off Virginia goes, equipped to take on the Nazis and find the Maquis groups she’s determined to help. She’s carrying a wireless in addition to a small suitcase of clothes. My heart was pounding like crazy for fear of her cover being blown. 

Virginia’s been told she’s been given six weeks to live.  That’s how dire her situation is. No one can imagine her coming out on the other side alive. She has much to accomplish.

The scenes of the French countryside are  breathtaking. I found myself completely emerged in the time period and the compelling danger. Everywhere, danger. 

When I finished reading THE INVISIBLE WOMAN I found myself deep in reflection; I wanted to know more about this amazing spy, Virginia Hall. Why hadn’t we heard more of her before? She was such a force. I believe this novel is so very important. It’s important because it tells a story that needs to be told. It’s important because we are ripe for more stories of courageous, strong women. And it’s important because this novel is perfect for book clubs. It’s also important because with knowledge we can go forward armed with the tools to live up to our true potentials.

In the Acknowledgments, Erika Robuck tells us that this book was the most difficult one she’s ever written. She  writes about strong women in history. She has always done it well. However, with THE INVISIBLE WOMAN Erika Robuck now is on par with the best historical novelists. She’s outdone herself.  All her hard work brings you one of the best historical novels you will ever read. Period.

I was forced to read THE INVISIBLE WOMAN digitally because there were no physical review copies because of the pandemic. It’s not my preferred way of reading as most of you already know. But it was worth it this time. Erika’s beautiful and powerful book will be published by Berkley Publishing Group on February 9, 2021. It is so worth the wait.  It’s am amazing story and beautifully told.

Now for more exciting news! I’ll be conducting a zoom book club with Erika on Tuesday, March 2.  You are not going to want to miss this. You can sign up for this event by purchasing a copy of THE INVISIBLE WOMAN through Copperfish Books.  You can click on the title here to arrive at the page for purchase and sign up. The book will be available in our favorite format; trade paper and is reasonably priced. The book store will then send you a link to the event. I purposely scheduled this meeting almost a month from pub date on purpose. It gives everyone almost a month to read the book and prepare any questions you might have for Erika. We are so honored to have this beautiful and talented author in our book club. 

I will be posting more about Erika in the coming weeks. Her accomplishments are many.  And you’re going to want to read all her former books as well!

Erika Robuck

OUTLAWED by Anna North




This amazing novel crackles with the spirit and tenacity of the characters. Imagine a Hole In The Wall Gang where all the members are women. Alrighty. I am all in. Anna North kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I read OUTLAWED. It’s so unique. A modern day telling of an old western that will blow your mind. There is nothing out there like it!

Outlawed

The next five paragraphs are from Goodreads because this is so darn good!

The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West.

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.

                                                       =============================

I gobbled this unique and edgy novel up like a cat laps a bowl of cream.  I do have to say I’m not a fan of the cover. I think it could be way better. But the story more than makes up for it. Copperfish has copies of

 by Anna North in stock right this minute. They are discounted 20% because this is a brand new novel. If I were you I would run to get my copy. It’s quite simply a stunning novel. 

OUTLAWED is published by Bloomsbury Publishing. I read my review copy digitally through Edelweiss. I was grateful to be able to read so far ahead, as always. 

2021 Let’s Begin Anew

A new day, a new dawn, a new beginning. We get the chance to start again. Fresh. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity. We are safe and somewhat sane here in SW Florida. We live in Lee County which was in the national news this week and not in a good way. The county decided suddenly to begin distributing the Covid-19 vaccine without a viable plan. Really disappointing. Last Sunday evening it trickled out that there would be vaccines available in limited doses at several spots in Lee County. Beginning two hours after the announcement people 65 and older began lining up at the first site. Older people waited all night dragging chairs and blankets in the cold. Cars kept arriving with people expecting the vaccine. Of course before dawn they were being turned away. What a mess. I am so disappointed in our local government. The county I live in is the only one that I know of that rolled out the vaccine in a come and wait free-for-all. I hear this coming week will be better, more organized, even a possibility of a reservation system…. This would be good.

Watermelon Radish

I just had to post a picture of this watermelon radish my son and his wife grew in their amazing garden. And then Mike made a special salad to go with Christmas dinner and utilized this gorgeous vegetable. And it was delicious, too!

Christmas salad

I am surrounded with stacks and stacks of upcoming books; both physical review books and digital. I can’t tell you how excited I am about so many of them. And I’m really looking forward to the book club event at Copperfish with best-selling author of historical fiction, Erika Robuck. I will be posting more about this event soon. But it is up on the Copperfish website now. Erika’s novel THE INVISIBLE WOMAN will be available for purchase in a very attractive trade paperback form on February 9th. Our virtual bookclub event with Erika will be on March 2 at two in the afternoon. Erika and I will be in conversation about this remarkable book. You are not going to want to miss this.

The Invisible Woman

I am very happy to announce that the fireworks in our neighborhood were early. Our kitties were not amused but did not run and hide like usual. By midnight the entire world around us was silent. It’s quiet this morning and peaceful. A great way to begin a New Year.

I’m thinking of all you readers today and hoping I get to see all of you one way or the other this coming year. Might be in person but will more likely be virtual or maybe at the store, carefully. What I do know is that I have so many truly great books to present this coming winter and spring. I can’t wait to show them all to you.

January is here. Let the reading begin. Cheers!

My Favorite Books Of 2020

These are the books I enjoyed the most throughout this horrendous year. Not in any order.

28 Summers

Was the perfect read during the pandemic. Totally took me away to Nantucket Island.

ON OCEAN BOULEVARD by Mary Alice Monroe is her best novel to date.

On Ocean Boulevard

The Girl With The Louding Voice

This debut novel, THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE,  knocked my socks off!

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Neighborhoof

Therese Ann Fowler blew me away early in the year with A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD. 

And along came Rick Bragg with his new book of outrageously funny stories of life as he knows it. I was in a low place during the pandemic and this book totally got me out of my own way. LOL.

Hamnet

Hamnet is up for several big awards as well it should be. O’Farrell has hit the jackpot once again. Bound for glory. 

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

We finally get to read THE STAR-CROSSED SISTERS OF TUSCANY after Berkley pushed it back one year because of the pandemic. Absolutely worth the wait. You simply must read this book!

Fifty Words For Rain

 

 

 

What a unique and edgy novel that took my breath away. Don’t miss FIFTY WORDS FOR RAIN. 

Pale Morning Light With Violet Swan

 

 

PALE MORNING LIGHT WITH VIOLET SWAN is an amazing story of one artist and her violent past that she secrets away even from her family. 

The Book of Lost Names

Kristin Harmel wows us with a novel of family and strength during the Holocaust. 

The Key Lime Crime

 

THE KEY LIME CRIME will have you in stitches and will also have you in Key West, Florida over the holidays. A welcome retreat during challenging times.

Call Your Daughter Home

 CALL YOUR DAUGHTER HOME crept up on me. It was simply wonderful.

Squeeze Me

And for your comic relief I bring you Carl Hiaasen’s newest caper: SQUEEZE ME.

I must say that for such a challenging year there sure were a lot of great books. My hat goes out to the authors and publishers who had to deal with publishing books in the middle of this mess. But now we have added yet another way to connect with readers: zoom and virtual events; ways to meet people you may never have had the opportunity to do before. It’s far from perfect. But it’s a means to an end and will forever change the normal.  And good news: I’m reading far into the New Year and encountering many, many wonderful new books. You are in for such a treat.