Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Immortalists

Four curious siblings growing up in NYC’s Lower East Side in the early 1970’s go to see a fortune teller they heard about in the neighborhood. Apparently she can tell you the date you are going to die. Thinking it a little scary and equally silly, the troop trudges up many flights of steps to the woman’s apartment where she is more than a little creepy. They never tell a word about it to anyone. They never discuss the dates whispered in their little ears. Each trajectory takes them in another direction. Simon drops out of high school to follow Klara to the west coast where she dreams of life as a professional magician. Varya throws herself into her passion for scientific gene studies and Daniel goes to medical school, as expected. But their lives and dreams (and happiness) follow a most complicated path.  When tragedy begins to strike the siblings one by one, they cannot deny that their date prophecies have followed them around their entire lives. This beautifully written, kind of weird, definitely unique - novel of complicated sibling relationships really boils down to one premise. Is fate a real thing or do we create our own destiny? And if you knew when you were going to die, would you live your life differently? I guess that’s two.

Say My Name

Eve is walking down the street in NYC, wiping dust from her knees and her dress after rummaging through junk shops in the Bronx for her friends antique shop. She unexpectedly bumps into Robert, an old friend of her brother’s, walking with his handsome 28 year old son, Micajah - a talented musician. The pair invite her to lunch. While Robert and Eve reminisce, she is penetrated by the most beautiful green eyes she has every seen. This serene, beautiful boy is irrationally interested in learning more about her life and this rare instrument she discovered in the junk shop. Lunch sparks the beginning of an affair Eve could have never imagined in her wildest dreams. She is currently separated from the miserable loveless marriage she was hanging onto for 26 years and allows herself to experience passion for the first time in her life, both physically and mentally. With her husband away indefinitely, her grown son living his own life, Micajah teaches Eve how to enjoy this frenzied rollercoaster of emotions. Eve learns about love and trust but most importantly, through this intense discovery, Eve explores the depth of her own strengths and talents she was always too afraid to reach for. I read this delicious new novel by author Allegra Huston in one sitting. At first, what began as a lovely erotic adventure turned into self discovery of a “woman at a certain age” who (believes) is pressured by society to live a predictable life that although feels mostly safe brings her no joy at all. Highly recommend this fabulous, unexpected, beautifully written new novel.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Tara Westover overcame obstacles that are hard to imagine. An abusive, brilliant, bi-polar father. A beautiful, submissive, brilliant mother. A large Morman family swarming with brothers and sisters that were not formally educated, fight to stay, fight to leave, and fight with each other on the side of a breathtaking mountain. Her father is a zealot, a freedom fighter, and a prepper, full of love, anger, patience, violence and enough jars of peaches to last ten years. As Tara grows up she is content working dangerously in their junkyard with the boys, reading her bible and helping mother with her holistic remedies. As she matures, her intelligence and curiosity cannot be suppressed any longer. She finds herself at a young age (no one knows for sure, because she has no birth certificate) at BYU formally learning for the first time in her life. How she manages with no experience or social skills, no money and no idea what to expect makes her the bravest, smartest and most independent woman imaginable. But even after success at Cambridge, Harvard and a PhD, it takes years and years to conform to mainstream living and Tara never shakes the longing for her father’s acceptance. Bizarre or not, she craves his approval and does not want to be estranged from her boisterous, often abusive clan. Tara Westover beautifully describes her very personal journey exploring family relationships and both parental and personal responsibilities to ones future. To analyze the nature and nature of yourself with honesty is not an easy task. Highly recommend this magnificent memoir, I could not put this one down.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Girls in the Picture

Mary Pickford, known as the queen of movies, and the actual first “movie star” and Frances Marion, the top and highest paid screen writer of her time. Together, best friends and business partners, these two women created and took this new town called Hollywood by storm. From vaudeville and silent movies, Charlie Chaplin and the first Western - incredible author Melanie Benjamin takes us through the lives of these beautiful, smart, talented and strong women. Amazing how nothing has changed! 100 years ago the casting couch was full of action and a handful of brilliant but brutal men ran the business and the studios. Mary and Frances become so famous and successful they were able to call the shots and direct their own movies and careers. A backstory of tough childhoods, difficult marriages, and two world wars this heartfelt story is brought to life. Loved learning about the beginning of movies that have shaped the entertainment world as we know it today and these wonderful women who paved the way. Another fabulous work of historical fiction that you do not want to miss! 

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Paris All Your Own

Edited by one of my favorite authors, Eleanor Brown, this collection of Paris themed essays is especially perfect for any francophile and Paris dreamer. Take a peek into the lives of eighteen bestselling authors that will whisk you away if only for a short while to the famed city of light. Filled with romance, break ups, high fashion, delicious delicacies and always topped off with a glass of champagne! Women who romanticize and long for the day they are swept away by the worlds most beautiful art, history and warm embraces on a city bench with a handsome French stranger - will thoroughly enjoy these stories by some of our favorite writers. It is so much fun to read and recognize the similarities with their very personal experiences and the novels they have published that were connected to Paris.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Glass Forest

Angie Glass is living a quiet simple life in her small Wisconsin town. She comes from a large family and has lived there her entire life. Just twenty one years old, Angie has a baby and is newly married to Paul, a stranger she met last summer with Hollywood good looks who arrived with little more than a bag and a charming smile. When the phone rings one day in their small house in the woods, their lives are changed forever. Paul’s niece Ruby has called to inform them that her father, Paul’s brother is dead and her mother, Silja, has disappeared. Angie insists she and the baby accompany Paul to upstate New York to help Ruby and find out what has really happened to Henry. From the moment they arrive in the house that is literally made of glass, every step Paul makes leaves Angie questioning who her husband really is. Ruby seems standoffish and Angie can’t discern whether she is shy or hiding something. With each passing days the clues become more sinister. It is hard to tell in this complicated family if anyone is ever telling the truth. Flashing back through Silja’s young life, Henry’s controlling ways had left her desperate and afraid. This twisted, creepy, literary thriller is filled with a cast of characters so quietly deceptive even they start to believe their own lies. Highly recommend this well written, suspenseful novel. You will not be able to put it down (or walk in the forest alone.)