Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I don't know what it is with these psychological suspense novels
lately but I am reading them like candy! Her, is the story of Emma and Nina's friendship. Except they are not really friends - only Emma doesn't know that. One day in a small London neighborhood, Nina returns Emma's lost wallet and establishes an unexpected relationship with her. Nina, married with a spoiled rebellious teenage daughter, is an accomplished artist, a painter. Emma, married, just had her second child as her toddler, Christopher runs wild and throws tantrums. Emma misses the significance of working and the cash flow it provided. She is struggling with exhaustion and although she loves her children dearly, the future seems grim and lonely at home while hubby goes off to his bubbling career each morning. With no end in sight Emma latches quickly on to the little bit of positive uplifting attention Nina provides. Nina assures her, it is normal, we have all been there. As Nina soothes Emma's borderline depression she mysteriously manipulates Emma and her family. In a little bit of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle way - the reader is left completely baffled. Like watching a train wreck, I could not look away from the heightening sense of energy building, while continuing to empathize with both women in very different ways. This book was another unputdownable read and I cannot wait to find more now that I have discovered the incredibly talented Harriet Lane.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Picnic in Provence

Having adored Elizabeth Bard's first memoir, Lunch in Paris,
I was excited to read this follow up as soon as it became available. And I am happy to report every word was delicious! Elizabeth and Gwendal, after much trepidation, leave Paris with their young son Alexandre, and move to a small village in Provence. A fairytale life is not exactly without its woes as their happy little family struggles to find their place of acceptance and "home sweet home" in this beautiful part of the world. Elizabeth finds difficulty being an exhausted new mom, Gwendal professionally has reached new heights and searches for the next step and this gorgeous little boy is bilingual from his very first words. So how does a Jewish, native New Yorker make her home in this far off, very small village? Not easily! But with the support of her wonderful family, new friends and talent for writing and recipes, Elizabeth slowly finds the balance of happiness and satisfaction. I love everything French, I love everything food related and thoroughly enjoyed this honest memoir that was an easy and most enjoyable read. Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your very personal journey! I will enjoy your delicious recipes for food and life for years to come.

Instructions For A Heatwave

The Riordan family, an Irish/English family falls apart during
the infamous London heatwave of 1976. Robert, recently retired walks out the door to get the morning paper and doesn't come back. Gretta, the quirky wife who pretty much goes through life with blinders on, finally calls on the grown children to return home and help her deal with this crisis. Michael, a schoolteacher experiencing his own family troubles at home, Monica, adrift in her second marriage with miserable step children and haunting memories and Aoife (pronounced like Eva but sounds like Efa) who has been living in NYC to avoid her demons and most likely her nutty family. With the background of this unprecedented heatwave, London is dry, unbearably hot and making everyone irritable. At first, the reader is really just considering what the heck has happened to this poor man but as the story builds it brings us back to the beginning, bit by bit. These siblings who slept side by side and have forgotten that is is the three of them and only them that know each other inside out like noone else on this planet can imagine. And it is with these brothers and sisters and sometimes outrageous mother that through thick and thin, in times of need, you can reach back and feel the love and strength in these memories. This story is filled with lovable characters and lessons of love, trust and family. Highly recommend this English author I have only just discovered. Happy Reading!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Light in the Riuns

Part war story, part love story and part suspenseful thriller,
The Light in the Ruins portrays the lives of the Rosati family. Outside Florence the noble family lives in a magnificent villa, a picturesque life filled with olives, wine and good fortune. When WWII invades their lives in 1943, the Germans take over the villa. The Rosati brothers are off to the Italian army, working alongside the Germans and Cristina is left with her parents and older brothers family to get through this horrible time in history.  But as young beautiful girls will often do at 18 years old, Cristina falls in love with the most unlikely partner, a young German lieutenant. Her family is appalled but feel they must remain cordial and helpful to these enemies or their lives and all their possessions will be at stake. The novel flashes forward to 1955 and two detectives are following a horrible trail of murders that lead them to believe someone is out to destroy what remains of the Rosati family. Serafina, a female detective, discovers there is a connection between the war and these tragic deaths and she is determined to uncover the truth even if it means revealing her buried painful past. Once again author Chris Bohjalian pulls the reader deep into the lives of the characters, into the rolling hills of Florence and bustling streets of Rome. A period in history some would rather forget brought to life through this simple story of family, loyalty and mystery. Highly recommend this novel and I can happily add it to my Bohjalian list of favorites.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Grace, who always felt unwanted and unloved by her very own parents seeks
comfort with the Graham family. Growing up in this small town with "the" Riley Graham as her best friend and later boyfriend seems only natural as the two fit together like peanut butter and jelly. But with dreams of the art world and growing pains Grace decides to study art at NYU and leave the little rat pack created by Riley and his best friends. Becoming who she thinks she is supposed to be proves harder than Grace imagined. Grace and Riley become caught up in a fantasy scheme which includes a robbery, running away forever in each others arms, stuff from the movies. When Riley and his buddies take it to the next level Grace cannot face them or herself and she leaves her summer study abroad program and disappears into the depths of Europe, landing in Paris and creating the new identity of "Julie from California." But she cannot hide forever. When the boys are paroled 3 years later, Grace/Julie doesn't know which way to run, because she loves them, because she will always be one of them and there is no escaping her own conscience. This suspenseful, intriguing novel had me on the edge of my seat. The young romance, art world and travel were captivating. The whole time deciding whether I liked Grace at all, I was in her shoes, running, nervous, waiting to see what would happen next. Highly recommend this FIRST (unbelievable) novel by this fabulous new author. Cannot begin to imagine what she will come up with next.