Thursday, May 29, 2014

Invisible City

Rebekah Roberts is a twenty something "stringer" working
for the New York Tribune. She is struggling to find her way through the fast paced newspaper world while making a name for herself professionally as a journalist. Rebekah desperately wants to create her own identity away from Florida and her loving Dad so she can finally overcome the lifelong anxiety created by her mother's abandonment when she was an infant. Rebekah is feisty, smart and talented and as she immerses herself into a story of murder and intrigue buried deep in the Hasidic section of Borough Park, Brooklyn, she begins to finally understand how troubled her own mother must have been and why she could not ultimately break with the only community she knew. A lively bunch of characters surround this spunky young woman; Iris her roommate and longtime friend, Tony, the bartender she is currently dating and Saul who appears from the past and pushes her deeper into this mystery with his own heartbreak and his own agenda at hand. This fascinating glimpse into a world within our world which is often closed to outsiders, is filled with intrigue and suspense as Rebekah bravely discovers her own gauge for right and wrong both personally and professionally. Easy to read, unique, enjoyable novel! I can only hope this terrific author continues to share her incredible talent and creativity with more to come! Highly recommend this great summer read, pick up today!!! Invisible City (Rebekah Roberts)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Delicious!

Nothing could be more Delicious! than another great read
by Ruth Reichl! Having started with Tender at the Bone in 1998 she may be the one responsible for my obsession with reading and eating!! This fabulous novel (completely fiction!) follows Billie Breslin a young woman from California who has dropped out of her last year of college to pursue a writing career in NYC. She finds herself at a magazine called Delicious! and so begins the fantastic journey, quirky characters, romance and even mysteries that surround this old company situated in an historical federal mansion uptown. Billie learns to make her way in the world, find out what her strengths and weaknesses are and allow herself the pleasure of falling in love. Her boss Jake, his mean assistant Maggie, world traveling Sammy, they are just a few of the incredible characters baked into this Delicious! pursuit for satisfying life's many cravings! This book is a WINNER and a fun light PERFECT summer read! So throw it in your beach bag but remember a snack too because it will make you very hungry!!  Delicious!: A Novel

The Snow Queen

It is 2004 and Barrett Meeks lives with his brother Tyler and
Tyler's girlfriend Beth in a small apartment in Brooklyn. Barrett, recently left by his boyfriend is heartbroken. Finding himself alone and blue, not only for the love he thought he possessed but the life that seems to have no ground and is taking him nowhere. Tyler, a struggling musician spends his time caring for beautiful sweet Beth who is hanging on but barely, as chemotherapy destroys the good and the bad.  One day as Barrett is walking through Central Park he sees a vision. A turquoise light, and as he searches for meaning the snowflakes keep falling and days keep spinning all too fast for the man that just wants something dear to hold on to. These characters, along with a few other friends create the small group in the small sad world they all live in. It is not fame and money and success that they are missing - but hope. The Hours By Michael Cunningham is one of the best books I have ever read so I was drawn to read his newest novel. The writing is beyond superb and its a rather quick read that flows well but its sad - and the significance is deeply buried. Most certainly it will leave you thinking and wondering about these characters and the choices they make for a long time to come.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

In Paradise

The year is 1996 and more than 100 people of diverse backgrounds,
religions and nationalities have joined together for a retreat at what was once a WWII concentration camp in Poland. For a variety of personal reasons they want to reflect, say prayer and remember the millions that perished during the Holocaust. They need to do this in memory of the past and for the sake of their future. Some live with guilt passed on through generations. Others lost their entire family. Through the eyes of Clements Olin, a Polish born, American raised academic researching Polish poets and writers, we find that digging up the past is not as simple as it appears. Even when you think you know who you are, the whole truth can set you free to live the life and be the person you were meant to and want to be. But does the past define us or can we create our own destiny regardless of who we were borne to? The writing of Peter Matthiessen will live on forever and as he has recently passed away, I was interested in reading his last and final work. This sophisticated heartfelt writing brings up questions you may never have pondered and most likely do not know the answers to. In Paradise is not what I expected, the characters were tough and the story hard to follow - but I could not put it down and I will be thinking about its insinuations for a long time to come.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

You Are One of Them

Best friends at ten years old, Sarah and Jenny are inseparable
friends and neighbors in Washington, D.C. It is the 1980's and the Berlin Wall is soon to come down. Sarah's English father has abandoned them and her mother is obsessed with nuclear disarmament and the Cold War. She is agoraphobic and although she is the adult in the household, Sarah is often the caretaker. Jenny's home is wholesome as apple pie. Her perfect parents welcome Sarah into their lives as she spends most of her time there. The girls decide to write letters to Yuri Andropov in the Soviet Union asking for peace. Jenny's letter gets printed in the newspaper and it launches her into a crazy 5 minutes of fame that turns into two years of trips, reporters and interviews with Jenny as the poster child for peace. Flash forward ten years later and Sarah has graduated college. She is in search of Jenny, of her own identity and does everything in her power to lead a life different from her housebound mother's. Sarah journeys to Russia as her past and present collide teaching her the truth about the world and herself. Incredibly unique storyline from this novelist. The author shows the reader how to delve deep into the imagination but also back to a time of great change in the world. It is about friendship, family, truth and like all juicy stories, betrayal. Highly recommend.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Astonish Me

From the time she was a little girl all Joan ever wanted in the
entire world was to be a ballerina. Her young life was spent striving to reach this goal and she succeeded, albeit not as a soloist but in the corps. And to Joan this was good enough because at least she was dancing professionally. Until she met Arslan Rusakov, a Soviet dancer, in the early 1970's. Joan's lifelong love, obsession and future is attached to his very being forevermore. She eventually marries a "nondancer" and has a beautiful son Harry. Mostly, Joan's life becomes rather normal and she finds small ways to be happy or at least content in the real world, until Harry starts to dance. After reading her debut novel, Seating Arrangements, which I adored, Maggie Shipstead brings another world to life for the reader. As I do not dance, have never danced and know absolutely nothing about ballet, this author brought me deep into the hearts and minds of the ballet world. The triumphs and tragedies, the love and hate along with obsession of ones own body and what it is capable of. Astonish Me is a mesmerizing journey into the world of dance and the creativity, brilliance and devastation it can bring as only so very few can ever live up to the standards of being the best in this profession. The connections of love and family and devotion and dedication thread through the entire story with these amazing characters weaving an undeniable costume for the stage of life. Highly recommend this well written novel I could not put down. We can only hope Maggie continues to bring us more! Great summer read!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bread and Butter


Leo, Britt and Harry are three brothers in the restaurant business.
Leo and Britt run Winesap, a successful business they have built from the ground up. Harry, the youngest, who has spent years wandering, studying, and never really settling down decides to open his own restaurant near the small town they have all grown up in. Will the brothers help each other or let their ego’s get in the way of their success and happiness? This inside (fictional) look at the restaurant business, from creation and d├ęcor to selecting menus and employees is perfect for any foodie who enjoys a look behind the scenes. Sprinkled with romance, family emotions and a lot of cooking, Bread and Butter is a delicious read and a lot more complicated than bread and butter! Reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain’s “Kicthen Confidential” (reminding me how hard the restaurant business is!)I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend this easy, interesting novel. (Warning: Don’t read on an empty stomach! Reading about food will make you very hungry!)