Saturday, November 22, 2014

Just Jennifer

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (St. Martin’s Press, January 2015)

Readers who fell in love with the Waverleys and their magical and mysterious ways will be delighted to be back with them in Bascom, North Carolina.  Claire has been mass producing her herbal candy and is beginning to become worn out and is afraid she may be losing her touch; her sister Sydney is still creating hairstyles that can change your life while Sydney’s teenage daughter Bay has a knack of knowing where and with whom things and people belong, though her hear is breaking because she knows she belongs with Josh Matteson who doesn’t seem to notice her at all.  In the background of the Waverley women is an apple tree that loses its petals at the first frost, only to come back to life and right everything that is topsy-turvy.  A stranger appears in town and threatens to change the Waverley’s family histories, and perhaps their futures, with the secrets he claims to hold.   Beautifully told, full of wistfulness, hope and happiness, Bascom feels like home to all who visit it and the Waverley women like long lost friends. 

Just Jennife

Death with All the Trimmings by Lucy Burdette (Prime Crime, December 2, 2014)

Key West Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is fairly certain she will not be having a white Christmas this year, but she is hoping to have a murder-free Christmas so she can spend time with her friends and her family, since her mother Janet has just moved down to Key West with her new boyfriend Sam and has taken Key West by storm working for a catering company, already getting assignments to plan holiday parties.  Hayley loves her mother but is focused on keeping her job and hopes her current assignment, interviewing Key West’s newest chef, transplanted from Manhattan, Edel Waugh, will not only secure her job, but maybe even win her some more notice in the journalism community.  Hayley is a little taken aback when Edel tells her, off the record, that she thinks someone is sabotaging the kitchen at Bistro on the Bight, including changing recipes in Edel’s recipe bible, and wants Hayley to look into it.  It becomes clear when a fire during the annual Key West Christmas parade (complete with Hayley on Key Zest’s float dressed as an elf) burns down Bistro on the Bight that someone has ratcheted up the ante, but when Hayley learns that Edel’s ex-husband and business partner was killed in the fire, determined to be arson, Hayley must gather all her wits and smoke out a killer, a killer that may be closer to Hayley than she guessed, to ensure a good night to all.
In her fifth mystery, Hayley stays as fresh and engaging as ever.  She has adapted to life in Key West, taking care of Miss Gloria on her houseboat and taking Key Zest by storm, ferretting out all the latest food trends and unsung restaurants.  Hayley, proud as she is of her mother, is a little uncertain how Janet’s permanent arrival and residence in Key West will affect her, but helps her mother in her new career as much as possible.  After ending a bad relationship, which landed her in Key West to begin with, Hayley is skittish on the romance front, especially with her boss Wally with whom she is pretty sure she shares a mutual attraction, but doesn’t want to move to quickly and jeopardize their friendship and working relationship.  Hayley’s doggedness and search for the truth serves her well in both her career and her sideline of amateur sleuth.  There may not be a nip in the air this December for Jersey-girl Hayley, but when there’s a murderer on the loose, or a new restaurant in town, Hayley is on the case.   A cameo by Burdette’s first mystery character, Cassie Burdette (from the Golf Lover’s Mysteries written as Roberta Isleib) will be a welcome return for longtime fans and will send others in search of this first series.

Just Jennifer

Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography by Fred Schruers (Crown Publishers)

Since the release of his first album Cold Spring Harbor in 1971, Billy Joel has delighted, fascinated and grown up with legions of loyal fans who feel that he “gets” them with his heartfelt lyrics and haunting melodies.  Music journalist Fred Schruers has been chronicling Joel for many years, interviewing Joel, his friends, family and music colleagues, all culminating in this in depth biography that begins with Joel’s German Jewish roots and a family history that begins with his grandparents leaving Germany to escape Nazi persecution, continues through Billy’s non-traditional family growing up (his father moved back to Europe and had a second family, his mother took in Billy’s cousin after the death of his aunt), his first marriage when he was a young man, his very public marriage and divorce to Christie Brinkley, and his most recent marriage (and divorce) to Katie Lee.  Joel, whose mother was a pianist, took to the instrument at an early age and grew up influenced by the great pop and cult idols of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Joel did most of his own writing into the 1990’s; Joel’s most recognizable single Piano Man was released in 1973 was not his highest ranking single, many of which came from albums released in the early 1980’s.  Joel’s fabled trip to the USSR in 1987, a trip that cost Joel over one million dollars, made Joel one of the first Americans to play in the Soviet Union since the Berlin Wall was erected.  Using the lyrics from many of Joel’s songs, Schruers details not only Joel’s epic career, but the ups and downs of his life from the failed marriages to financial problems, health issues and alcohol problems.  Written in a breezy, journalistic style, this biography is a fast-read with details so vivid you will hear your favorite Billy Joel song (mine is Big Man on Mulberry Street) playing in your head.  Joel has sold over 150 million albums so far, his fans are loyal and his popularity continues as does his unprecedented residency in Madison Square Garden with concerts scheduled thus far through June 2015; an intimate a look at The Piano Man as any one of his songs.
 

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Just Jennifer

The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag (Ballantine Books, January 2015)


Etta Spark’s dress shop is on a quiet side street in Cambridge, but women who need Etta’s magic find their way into her shop.  Etta’s dresses have a way of finding the owner who needs them the most, and Etta stitches a little extra magic into each dress, helping the wearer’s dreams come true.  The only people she seems not to be able to help are her twenty-five year old granddaughter Cora and herself.  Etta’s daughter Maggie and her husband were scientists on the verge of a breakthrough that they felt would put an end to world hunger when they were killed in a fire twenty years earlier.  Cora has followed in their scientific footsteps but fancies herself too logical for things such as love and magic.  The young bookstore owner, Walt, a shop or two away has had his cap set for Cora since he was five and she was eight, but has never had the courage to tell Cora.  Etta, who was happily married for many years, still pines for her first love, her true love and decides that Cora’s, and Walt’s, life will not be filled with regrets and what-ifs and takes matters into her own hands, tilting things on an axis where nothing is what it seems nor as it should be as Cora sets off to prove her parents’ deaths were not an accident, but murder.  Filled with sparkle and magic, but most of all heart and love, Van Praag (The House at the End of Hope Street) has once again written an enchanting tale that will provide several hours of enjoyable escape and hopefulness. 

Just Jennifer

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (And Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life by Andy Miller (Harper Perennial, December 2014)

In the tradition of Henry Miller’s (no relation) The Books in My Life, editor and writer Andy Miller writes homage to his love of reading by reading classic novels, and some not so classic.  He sets his sights high, fifty pages each day and begins with Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.  Some books he is rereading (Of Human Bondage) as he didn’t finish them the first time he tried them; others are books he has said over the years he read (but didn’t really) and some find their way on to his “List of Betterment”.  Miller had planned to start with a dozen or so books, but to his chagrin, he had missed many more classics along his way to forty than he thought (Jane Eyre, War and Peace, Don Quixote) and his list soon numbered around fifty titles.  With a fair amount of self-depiction along the way, Miller talks about his successes (he was surprised to learn he enjoyed Middlemarch) and his less than favorite books (The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart) honestly.  While not meant as a literary criticism, this book offers some unusual insights into the classics and not so classics: who else could successfully compare Moby Dick to Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code.  Anyone who has ever wanted to embark on a reading project will find much in here to enjoy.


Just Jennifer

Five by Ursula Archer (Minotaur Books, December 2014)


Fans of Scandinavian crime fiction can now look toward to Austria and Detective Beatrice Kaspary for their next obsession.  A young woman is found murdered in a cow pasture; on her feet are fresh tattoos, an odd, but vaguely familiar, combination of letters, numbers and symbols  Beatrice recognizes the alpha numeric sequence as map coordinates and enters the world of geocaching with her partner Florin Wenninger.  In place of the usual trinkets found by geocachers, Beatrice and Florin find severed body parts, all belonging to the same corpse; with each cache they find a twisted clue that leads them to someone who unknowingly has information that provides the next set of coordinates bringing the pair ever closer to a malicious and diabolical killer who knows everyone’s secrets, including Beatrice's.  The graphic nature of the crimes may not be for everyone but the clever plot and interesting characters with all their flaws and foibles make this a page turner from beginning to end leaving readers breathless and eager for more cases for Beatrice and Florin.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Just Jennifer

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (Harper Perennial,reprinted October 2014)


There is probably not a book group today who has not read &discussed one of Ann Patchett’s lyrical novels, most likely Bel Canto or State of Wonder, but anyone who has not read her essays is missing out on something special, especially when they are personal essays as they are in this collection.  Patchett, co-owner of the independent bookstore Parnassus in Tennessee, freely admits that for any writer, non-fiction, including essays, can often be the bread and butter of their existence, allowing them money to pay the bills but still time for writing what is their true passion.  But Patchett’s essays, mostly published in other places, do not feel as if they were written “to pay to bills” but rather to pay homage to the people, places and events in Patchett’s life that are so dear to her, whether or not she recognized them at the time.  In “The Best Seat in the House” Patchett describes her introduction to the Metropolitan Opera in 2007 when performances began being simulcast in movie theatres throughout the country, including Patchett’s hometown of Nashville.  Not only, as Patchett describes, was the performance on a larger scale (screen) than it would have been had she been at the Met, allowing her to see minute details, but during intermission there were interviews and behind the scenes features rather than the usually long lines for the rest rooms or jockeying for a glass of champagne.  After finally getting a chance to view an opera live at the Met, Patchett realized that while the details were lost, and admittedly some of the scene to an ill-placed tree on stage, she felt the magic in the proximity and intimacy of the experience, but deemed the experience equal to, though different, to watching the production on a big screen.  Patchett also includes her address to the Clemson Freshman class in 2006, challenging them to consider the reasons they chose college, remembering that they are no longer here because it is required by the law nor are they surrounded by people who are demographically similar to them, being drawn from a geographic area such as a school district.  She reminds the incoming class that they are adults and have made adult decisions, but now have the responsibility to act as adults if they expect to be treated as such.  Whether reminiscing or challenging, Patchett’s essays never lose sight of her passion for the written word and what her final words of benediction to the Clemson class are “…keep reading.”

Just Jennifer

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt (Harper Perennial, reprinted October 2014)


Eleanor Roosevelt (born Anna---Theodore’s niece) was born in New York City on October 11, 1884, married her cousin (to the dismay of her mother-in-law) in 1905, bore six children, was first lady for twelve years beginning in 1933 and served on many councils, presidential commissions and was a delegate to the United Nations before her death in 1962.  Roosevelt watched as the United States went from the Gilded Age into the First World War and into a deep depression, events that couldn’t help but shape her philosophies and sensibilities.  During her husband’s presidency, Roosevelt faced America coming out of the Great Depression, the world at war once again and the United States’ entry into what would become World War II.  She stood by her husband’s side, and alone, as she travelled throughout the country she loved, fighting for civil rights, women’s rights and welfare for all.  She toured war torn countries with Franklin Roosevelt meeting world leaders, staying active in the Democratic Party after his death in 1945.  Roosevelt quickly became a role model for women with her staunch commitment to high ideals and her ability to humanize people and problems without minimizing them.  Her role as a humanitarian and wise woman became her legacy after her death in 1962.  Widely recognized as Franklin Roosevelt’s wife, companion and partner, a great deal of her achievements happened in the eighteen years after his death.  Her autobiography is frank and practical, much as the woman herself, and needs to be read by a new generation of not only women, but men as well, her life one to be emulated.  

Just Jennifer

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography (Crown Archetype, October 2014)

There are certain actors who will forever be a particular character they portrayed: Bob Denver will always be Gilligan, Henry Winkler, the Fonz, Barbara Eden Jeannie and Neil Patrick Harris will be forever in the hearts and minds of his fans Doogie Howser.  And he’s okay with that (pretty much).  Harris’s love of theatre and acting began when he played Toto in his older brother’s middle school production of The Wizard of Oz, disturbed by the fact that at times Toto ran on all fours but other times paraded around on his hind legs.  Encouraged by his middle school teachers, Harris was off and running and so was his career.  At sixteen he was cast by Steven Bochco as a medical genius who was still in high school.  And because he was still actually in high school, Harris’s first year on the set was punctuated by classes and chaperoned by his parents; once he was seventeen and no longer had restrictions, he was able to rent his own apartment and live the life of a young television star.  Doogie Howser ended when Harris was twenty and he made several movies, but was still enraptured by live theatre; he spent as much time going to Broadway shows as possible and even convinced his brother that $70 was better spent on a show than on a new sweater.  Harris also has a talent for magic and is able to play a broad range of characters from Tobias Ragg in Sweeney Todd to the Emcee in Cabaret.  He has hosted the Tony Awards four times and was brash enough to tell Nathan Lane that Harris thought a big finale COULD be done…and he did.  Unique in format, this biography may take a little getting used to.  Using the Choose Your Own Adventure format so popular in the 1980’s Harris allows the readers to choose the path his life will take.  It is worth going back and choosing the other path or even finally reading straight through.  Harris does not apologize (perhaps even exaggerates a bit) for his wilder life during his early twenties, and talks freely and with a fierce amount of love of his husband David Burtka and their two children twins, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace.  Don't pass up the instructions on the back cover of the book: a nifty trick continues Harris's playfulness and sly wit.  A bit tongue-in-cheek at times, Harris’s chosen format echoes the way he has chosen to live his life…one adventure at a time, willing to take a chance to see where that path will take him.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just Jennifer

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood (Penguin Books, October 28, 2014)


23 Beulah Grove, a run-down, cash only apartment building in South London is most decidedly not a place where everyone knows your name.  In fact, it is just the opposite: if you know what someone calls themselves, you can be pretty sure that isn’t what their real name is.  Body parts and smelly drains backed up with who knows what are par for the course for this flop house.  Many feel as if they are being watched, and they probably are, be the closed circuit cameras the smarmy, grossly obese landlord, but worse of all, Collette, who is on the run from her former boss who she saw kill someone, finds evidence that the previous tenant of her apartment was murdered…or at least dismembered…and becomes fearful she may be next, fairly certain the murderer is a fellow border.  One summer evening, a terrible incident leaves the residents with no choice but to form a most unholy alliance: if one of their secrets is revealed, they will all be revealed, unraveled.  Tight plotting, constant action and well-dawn, real characters, even with all their odd proclivities, propel Edgar Award winning Marwood’s sophomore offering to a chilling climax that very few will have seen coming.  A perfect read to stay up late at night with, especially during the seasons of goblins and ghostly things.

Just Jennifer

Flings: Stories by Justin Taylor (Harper, August 2014)


In this collection of short stories that are fleeting, or rather the characters and their relationships are fleeting, Taylor examines the familial bonds, friendships and acquaintances that make up our human experience but that are often just out of our grasp, the effects not felt for perhaps years later.  At the same time, the collection feels as if Taylor is having a private joke with himself, perhaps at the characters’ expense, maybe even at ours, yet with each story there is something hidden, something that makes us want to stand up and redeem ourselves. Taylor has an uncanny knack of inserting sentences or phrases that seem innocent (in “Carol, Alone” the narrator talks about drinking real coffee versus decaf, musing that people chalk up their need to drink decaf to “Bad hearts…”) but at the same time, leaving the reader wondering if the phrase might have a deeper meaning and have been carefully chosen and placed rather than being as innocuous as they did at first blush.  Taylor’s writing has agelessness about it and is easy and genuine whether he is writing about high school students, college students, children or retirees.  Read individually, these stories and characters give the reader pause, but when collected and read as a whole, they linger long past the covers of the book.

Just Jennifer

Crooked River by Valerie Geary (William Morrow, October 2014)


After the death of their mother, fifteen year old Sam McAlister and her ten year old sister Ollie move from Eugene, Oregon to a rural farm where their father, known as Bear, lives in a teepee in the meadow where he raises bees and sleeps under the stars.  Sam is used to spending summers with her father, but Ollie never did.  Ollie has not spoken since the death of their mother, something that happened after their aunt died several years earlier; unknown to Sam, Ollie sees what she calls Shimmering, the spirits of those who have died, and not understanding what she sees often frightens the young girl.  Shortly after the two arrive in Bear’s meadow, the body of a young woman washes up on the shore.  Bear becomes an immediate suspect, but Sam knows in her heart he wouldn’t hurt anyone intentionally, and Ollie knows from the Shimmering that something evil is out there, closer than the sisters know, an evil that has been lurking and festering for many years, an evil that can destroy the McAlisters if left unchecked.  Told in distinctive alternating voices, Sam and Ollie tell their stories, the story of their past, the story of their present and hint at the possibility of their futures as Sam is on the verge of being a young woman and Ollie on the verge of being a teenager and all the changes that comes with that.  The Shimmering that follows Ollie is used effectively and takes the “ghost story” to a new level as the psychological tension stays high in this fast paced narrative that will also allow readers hearts’ to ache for these two young girls who are, at the same time, more lost than they realize and not nearly as lost as others see them.  Crooked River is a strong debut that combines strong characters coming of age, a murder and a touch of other worldliness with a natural setting into a taut thriller. 

Just Jennifer

Sunday Suppers: Recipes + Gatherings by Karen Mordechai (Clarkson Potter, October 2014)

In the spring of 2009, a group of friends and neighbors began gathering in a loft in Brooklyn to create and share a meal communally, a tradition that evolved into a communal cooking center and food website encouraging the sharing of cooking and dining together as a community: Sunday Suppers was created.  With an emphasis on farm-fresh, local ingredients, the recipes are often tried and true with a little bit of a surprise, watermelon salad with lemon and coriander seed dressing, for example, but all are accessible. The recipes are gathered by the time of day (Morning, Noon, Afternoon and Evening) and then subdivided into special events, [Morning] In Bed, a noontime Spring Forager’s Lunch, and Afternoon Taqueria and an Autumn Dinner for Evening.  Easy to read and follow recipes, with relatively easy to locate ingredients make these meals as easy to create as they are special.  Karen Mordechai, a photography rand stylist has help to create a beautiful book that is as beautiful, with plenty of white area on the pages and lovely photos of not only the finished dishes, but the preparation make the book a pleasure to look at as well, as it is useful and inspirational.  Cook’s notes help with sourcing some of the harder to find ingredients and explain the trickier techniques; each occasion begins with a testimonial as to why each meal should be created and shared and what made it special for the person.  Even though Sunday Suppers is Brooklyn based, the book and the recipes have a laid back, relaxed feel to them, much like a lazy Sunday morning, afternoon or evening.   

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Just Jennifer

Elsa Schiaparelli by Meryle Secrest (Knopf, 2014)

Growing up in a Roman household with an academic father, a distant mother and a prettier, older sister, no one could have guessed that Elsa Schiaparelli would become a taste maker as one of the most innovative fashion designers of the early twentieth century and that her styles would be embraced especially by American women, forever changing the way they dress.  Biographer Meryle Secrest has taken the life of this woman, whose name admittedly is not as commonly known today as Chanel, and has examined and explored the many facets that inspired and drove Schiaparelli.  After making a bad marriage to a cad and a fraud, Schiaparelli found herself deported from Britain and living in Greenwich Village essentially as a single mother with a seriously ill young daughter (Gogo contracted polio at a young age).  With a lot of moxy and daring (“Dare to be different” became one of the quips she was known for) Schiaparelli began accessorizing---hats (that looked like shoes or were inspired by lamp chops), purses and gloves, and then turned to the practicalities of the time and women: dresses that wrapped on rather than went over an elaborate hairdo, and unexpected fabrics and textiles in unexpected places (otters are good swimmers so why wouldn’t their fur make an exceptional bathing suit?) and practicality, split skirts turned into wide-legged long trousers.  She was inspired to be as daring as Dali who painted a dress design for her, a dress that was instantly snapped up by the Duchess of Windsor as a honeymoon gown.  Schiaparelli’s personal life was not nearly as elegant or glamorous as her public life, rarely seeing her daughter, though all the time attending to Gogo’s corporal needs.  Schiaparelli was also under suspicion as a spy as the United States neared and entered World War II; her returned to Paris was marred by this dark cloud, but Schiaparelli was not kept down and continued to forge ahead.  This well researched, well documented biography is a must read for anyone with an interest in the popular culture or haute couture of the early twentieth century.  Elsa Schiaparelli is a fascinating woman about whom many more should know much more.
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Just Jennifer

The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline (William Morrow, September 2014)


Who among us has not at one time or another looked around and wondered where we were, how we got here and where we are going?  Angela, a single woman living in New York City, working as an event planner finds herself in just that situation (jobless now) after a circus spectacular goes up in flames.  A keen interest in cooking Italian food learned from her grandmother, a picture of a cozy beach cottage in Maine and the possibility of a love interest met through an online dating site give Angela the courage to head north and start again.  Things in Maine are not how she hoped---even expected---them to be, but instead of turning around and running home, Angela decides to give Maine---and herself---a chance and finds a place to live, begins working in a coffeehouse and makes new friends, starting first and foremost with herself.  Kline’s stories are deceptively simple, but she has an uncanny knack of finding what characters find most frightening and guides them through to the life where things really are the way they should be.

Just Jennifer


Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel (Harper Perennial, September 2014)


The Pen/Bingham prize winner for her novel Stiltsville revisits this unusual neighborhood off the coast of Southern Florida as she chronicles what it means to be a wife, a mother and a woman, each one individually and all three together and how you decide what you must give up so you don’t entirely lose yourself and when do you stop being one or the other if ever.  Georgia Quillian has relocated herself, her husband Graham and their three-year-old son Frankie to her hometown of Coral Gables.  Graham’s battle with parasomnia has alienated the family’s neighbors in Illinois and most likely caused him not to be awarded tenure.  Most mystifying, at least to Georgia is that something about Graham and his condition has caused Frankie to stop speaking.  Purchasing an old houseboat and docking it in Georgia’s father’s canal, Georgia and Graham hope to give their family some stability and semblance of normalcy, hard to do while floating on water, but they remain tentatively a family, connected only by a mooring line.  Graham has a new job studying extreme weather which keeps him away from his family even more and Georgia begins working for reclusive artist Charlie Hicks who lives in Stiltsville and has his own regrets as a husband, father and man.  As Georgia and Frankie spend less time with Graham and more time with Charlie, Georgia is able to get better perspective on her marriage, family and life.  As Hurricane Andrew approaches, the events in Georgia’s life converge in the calm after the storm, nothing is every the same again.  Daniel’s characters are wonderfully rich, though not all are likable, and many of them undergo a change, and some no matter how hard we root for their redemption us in the end.  Daniel uses the sea to full advantage as place, time and character as it provides safety and enjoyment but can as easily be dangerous and deadly if not given proper respect and care.  A very satisfying novel that often shifts as though looking at these lives through the lens of a kaleidoscope. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Just Jennifer

Some Luck by Jane Smiley (Knopf, October 7, 2014)


In the first book of a trilogy, Jane Smiley takes the Langdon family from their Iowa farm in 1920 through the mid-1950s, following the lives of Walter and Rosanna's children and extended family.  Each chapter in the book is a year in the life of the Langdons and takes on the rhythm of the seasons, echoed in the farming and later the school years of the children.  While Walter worries about the choice he has made to be a farmer, worries about drought and the stock market crash, Rosanna runs the household, raising their children, worrying that the children will grow up to be good people who can care for themselves and others.  Each of their children is different, strong-willed, fearless Frankie, animal-lover Joe, dreamy Lillian, book smart Henry and finally Claire, who is just Claire and never any trouble at all.  Together the family faces the stock market crash, the death of a child, the death of older family members, neighbors losing their farms, World War II, the Cold War and the romances and lives of the children as they venture out into the world and start their own families and their own futures.  Pulitzer prize winner Smiley writes with grace and assurance, giving each character, even as a toddler, a distinctive voice and leaving the reader with a picture of the whole rather than individual characters, and anxious for the second installment to the trilogy.  

Just Jennifer

Reunion by Hannah Pittard (Grand Central, October 7, 2014)


Kate is aboard a plane on a runway waiting to take off when she gets the news her father has died.  Kate and her two siblings, Nell and Elliot are from their father’s first marriage; after the death of his wife, he became a serial husband with four more marriages, much adultery and added several more children to the family.  Kate keeps in touch with Nell and Elliot, though keeps a certain part of her closed off to them: the part about which she had an affair, the part about which her husband has changed his mind about having children, and the part about which she spent all the money she earned as a screenwriter early in her career, and career that has more than just stalled.  As the original siblings converge in Atlanta for their father’s funeral, they must confront each other, their step-mothers and myriad of step-siblings, including their father’s current family, and themselves.  It is during this time that Kate realizes she is more like her father than she would admit to anyone, and it is the time spent with his youngest child Mindy that makes her more self-aware, more ready to come clean with her family, and herself.  Lovely sentences  and unique voices will draw the reader in, though Kate’s story doesn't feel quite finished, nor is the reader left with enough to feel one way or the other about her future.

Just Jennifer

Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge, October 7, 2014)


In her third outing, journalist Jane Ryan is trying to get her career back on track, hoping that the next story will be the BIG ONE; doing a story on a family being evicted from their home after foreclosure, Jane is on hand when a body is discovered in the house.  At the same time, Jane is following a lead on mortgages and banks and is a little more than surprised when both stories get tangled together.  As Jane follows her lead, she learns of a modern day Robin Hood and a scheme that can mean big money for someone---or life and death.  At the same time, Detective Jake Brogan, with whom Jane is fighting an incredible mutual attraction, is handed the solution to a decades old cold case…only problem is, he doesn't believe the confession.  In Ryan’s skilled hands (she is an Emmy winning journalist and a multi-winning mystery author) these three plots get twisted and turned every which way and end up each connecting to the other in unusual and unforeseen, but believable ways.   Jane and Jake continue their collaboration on the job and clandestinely off the job, trying to figure out how a police detective can have a relationship with a member of the fifth estate while both keep their credibility with their colleagues, all of which leads to a cliff hanging moment.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Just Jennifer

Insurrections of the Mind: 100 Years of Politics and Culture in America edited by Franklin Foer (Harper Perennial, September 2014)


What do Virginia Woolf, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Vladimir Nabokov and James Wood have in common? During the last hundred years, each one wrote an essay for The New Republic, a magazine credited with helping shape the idea of liberalism in the United States during the twentieth-century.  Organized by decade, beginning just as the Great War begins, ideas, some of which now seem commonplace (birth control or gay marriage) as the continue to spur great debates, are introduced.  Richard Rovere’s 1957 essay frames its message around Arthur Miller’s refusing to name names to the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Margaret Talbot’s musing on the empire Martha Stewart built from the domestic arts, a lifestyle, stereotype women fought to get away from in the past, while Irving Howe’s 1991 piece debates the importance and necessity of “the canon” being taught as part of humanity and social science curricula and posits that it may be [past] time to revisit and even expand this body of work.  More than a socio-political history, these essays bring up issues, many of which are still relevant today.  A short biography of each author prefaces their essay. 

Just Jennifer

Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen by Francine Bryson (Clarkson Potter, September 2014)


At the age of four, South Carolina born Francine Bryson pulled up a stool to her Granny’s & Nana’s counters learned how to make pie crusts and never looked back.  Several decades and countless blue ribbons later, Francine may not have won first place in CBS’s The American Baking Competition, but she won the hearts of American bakers and got to do the thing for which she was most hoping---a cookbook contract.  Francine may have earned her initial fame as a pie baker---who else could combine chocolate and peanut butter with bacon, but includes recipes for cookies, cakes, tea breads and biscuits, both classic and a little more inventive then Granny or Nana would have imagined.  The only recipe Francine, by her own admission, never mastered, was traditional Southern biscuits; imagine Francine’s terror when during tryouts for The American Baking Competition she turned over the recipe card she was to make and found it was for Southern style biscuits, which everyone assumed she’d be a ringer to create.  Knowing these biscuits were going to make or break the deal, Francine turned out fluffier biscuits than in her wildest dreams and realized the secret to the perfect biscuit is “…not to mess with them too much.” Francine’s sass and grit and blue ribbon tips make piecrusts see less daunting (who other than Francine would have thought to use crushed Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies as a crust) make bakers and non-bakers alike eager to try these recipes.  No low-fat, lo-cal or gluten free here, just prettily edge pages echoing gingham, calico and homespun.  The only thing that might have made this book even prettier would have been more color photos of the scrumptious recipes.  FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Just Jennifer

Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming (Dey Street Books, October 7, 2014)


In this unflinchingly honest memoir, the Scottish award-winning actor frames his time on a BBC show Who Do You Think You Are?, a show that goes the genealogy of famous actors, especially those with unknowns in their past; Cumming knows very little about his maternal grandfather who died in Malaysia at the age of 35 and is hoping this process will help him learn more of his mother’s family.  He frames this quest with his own upbringing by an emotionally & physically abusive father who, although he has not seen for almost two decades, continues the emotional abuse from a far, even from his grave once he dies.  Cumming spares no details as he chronicles the abuse, from brutal beatings to the time he thought he would surely die after mis-sorting saplings on the estate where his father was the forester, a job he was given to do with very little instructions.  Cumming and his older brother Tom tried to protect each other, at least mentally, by shutting out their father as best they could.  As Cumming becomes an adult and embarks on his brilliant career, he keeps the relationship with his father in a box until a time when he is misquoted by several newspapers, rousing his father, rather like poking a hornets’ nest.  Cumming is ultimately able to confront his feelings toward his father, helping him heal; learning the truth about his grandfather and the subsequent trip he makes with his family to Malaysia helps offer closure for everyone.  Brutally honest and tenderly funny, this candid memoir will endear Cumming to fans even more than he already is.  

A BIG Thank You...

... to the Friends of the Library, who sponsored the prizes and refreshments for the Adult Summer Reading Club.  Thank you, also, to 16 Handles of Flemington, who donated extra gift cards.

Friday, September 5, 2014

2014 Club Stats

Our 189 members read exactly 1,700 books this summer!

Click on image to enlarge.

Congratulations to...

... our Grand Prize winners, who won the beautiful summer gift baskets that were on display at the main libraries:

  • TLW won the South County / Member Libraries basket.
  • Kerstin won the Headquarters basket
  • Cyndie W won the North County basket


And a special thanks to the Friends of the Library for putting together such lovely gift baskets, and for sponsoring the Adult Summer Reading Club!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Top Secret Twenty One

Author: Janet Evanovich
Stars: 3
Review by: Ginger

I've read all 21 Stephanie Plum novels. 21 has a better plot, Stephanie is a better bounty hunter, Lulu and Grandma are smarter, Joe and Ranger are hotter than other recent Plum novels.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Author: Jonas Jonasson
Stars: 5
Review by: KM

Laugh-out-loud funny, and as one reviewer said, "quirky and utterly unique." It  weaves a veil of history with humor into a most entertaining story. 

The Night Bookmobile

Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Stars: 1
Review by: BookDancer

This book had so many great elements - an eerie bookmobile traveling at night, an obsessed reader, a mysterious curator and overall nightmarish quality.  I thought it was going to be the Polar Express of reading and libraries. I didn't expect to be sucker-punched by a very strange and random plot twist which made no sense and which completely spoiled the story for me.  This book could have been a 5! My biggest disappointment of the summer!
 
 

Marie Antoinette

Author: Antonia Fraser
Stars: 4
Review by: JL

Very in depth biography covering the life of Marie Antoinette.  Book goes into great detail about her character and effect that the expectations of her family had on her.  Only fault is that the book mentions some of the politics, but doesn't really go into the politics that led to the royal family's downfall. 

Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

Author: Sarah Gristwood
Stars: 4
Review by: JL

Covers a very turbulent time in English history, the reigns of Henry VI to Henry VII focusing on how the events affected the women involved.
 

 

The Collector

Author: Nora Roberts
Stars: 4
Review by: MidnightReader

Good story line, interesting characters.
 
 

Hummingbird Lake

Author: Emily March
Stars: 3
Review by: MidnightReader

Relaxing. Second in a series.
 
 

Our Lady of Immaculate Deception

Author: Nancy Martin
Stars: 3
Review by: MidnightReader

Fun and easy book to read.
 

A Long Time Gone

Author: Karen White
Stars: 5
Review by: MidnightReader

I love all of Karen White's books. I love her character development, story lines, and location.
 

The Martian

Author: Andy Weir
Stars: 5
Review by: Miss Lucy

WOW! This is a nail-biting survival tale about an astronaut who is left for dead when his crew mates leave Mars without him. Once I got a bit of a ways into the book, I absolutely could not put it down, and it's the rare book I say that about. At first, I was getting tripped up trying to understand all the science, but once I let go and trusted that the main character knew what he was talking about, I let him do all the thinking, and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat!
 
Best book I read this summer!!!
 
 
 
 

NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette

Author: Nathan W. Pyle
Stars: 4
Review by: Miss Lucy

Having spent my entire life within driving distance of New York City, I've learned how to get by when I'm there. But New York is like no other city I've been to, and for people visiting for the first few times, it can be VERY intimidating and scary! For example, would a first-time New York City visitor know to "Beware the empty train car. It's empty for a reason" (#30)  Or that the most beautiful person they'll ever see "...will be across the platform on an express train whose doors have just closed" (#108)?
 
Most of the tips offered in this little graphic novel format etiquette book are ones I know, but I still learned a few things I could be doing better. For example, Tip #117: "When fixing your coffee, move to the side as quickly as possible."  Oops - I'm guilty of being a coffee fixins table hog!
 

Life After Life

Author: Kate Atkinson
Stars: 2
Review by: Barb

I found this book hard to follow and confusing. It didn't help that it had to be returned to the library when I was about 85% done and I had to wait several weeks to get it again.
 

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Author: Richard C. Morais
Stars: 4
Review by: mystery lover

A book about cooking and appreciating food no matter what kind of restaurant it is.  The Michelin star is important, but appreciating the simple, yet good food is more important.
 
 

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire

Author: Jack Weatherford
Stars: 4
Review by: Smudge

The Secret History refers to the Mongolian book that details the laws, administrative organization, and the words of Genghis Khan.  This book is a historical account of the various Mongolian queens who ruled his empire for the next 150 years.
 
 

A Fall of Marigolds

Author: Susan Meissner
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Barb

This is a story of love and loss told through two similar stories a century apart in time. Both involve the burning of a tall building and those who had to jump to their deaths to escape. This could have been a really good book, but I began to dislike the protagonists behavior after a while, and so, the second half became more cumbersome to read.
 
 

Best Lowly Worm Book Ever

Author: Richard Scarry
Stars: 4.5
Review by: Barb

I recently read an article about the release of a newly discovered, never published book by Richard Scarry and pre-ordered it from Amazon because it brought many good memories from when my son was young. We actually sat and read it together when he was home for the holiday weekend. Best Ever book as always. Thank you, Mr. Scarry.
 
 

Missing You

Author: Harlan Coben
Stars: 4
Review by: Bob E

Fast paced mystery with many clever pop culture references.
 
 

Tail Spin

Author: Catherine Coulter
Stars: 3
Review by: Bobbi

FBI Mystery.   Entertaining.   Not the best writing.
 
 

Don't Tempt Me

Author: Sylvia Day
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

This book was filled with intrigue and suspense along with romance. The book has some modern thoughts even though it is set in the late 1700s. The story is about a family torn apart by revenge.  The ending is a little abrupt after all the twists and turns, but overall a nice read.
 
 
 

The Dive from Clausen's Pier

Author: Ann Packer
Stars: 5
Review by: Julie

Opening scene sets up the rest of the novel for the protagonist to come to terms with loss, separation, love, self-interests....a good read!
 
 

Flowers on Main

Author: Sherryl Woods
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Miss Lucy

Reading (or listening to) Sherryl Woods's books is like eating a box of chocolates (but kinder to the hips).
 
 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1914

Author: Jean Echenoz
Stars: 4
Review by: Smudge

Without dialogue, this slim novel condenses the Great War into a story of five civilians, conscripted into the military.  Told without passion, the story resembles a poem in its brevity and insight.
 

Just Jennifer

Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips and Tricks to Blow [and Grow] Your Mind (Three Rivers Press, August 2014)

Put together by the team at Marbles® the Brain Store, this book is an amalgamation of five types of puzzles, each designed to unlock a different area of your brain: visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination and memory.  Each section of puzzles is further divided into five categories: mind warming, mind stretching, mind growing, mind busting and finally mind blowing.  Each section begins with a short introduction that includes where in the brain the particular skill is based (word skills, for example are based in the partial lobe), what the skill is (helps with an understanding of language, structure and how to express yourself) what it does (improves vocabulary and stimulates your creativity) and how it works (it’s an association skill that uses multiple types of input from all your lobes).  The puzzles that follow include finding a series of interlocking four-letter words, word finds taken a step further by turning the words into phrases, word scrambles in which all the words once unscrambled relate to an unnamed theme, a trivia word find that will test your knowledge of certain things (seven-letter elements, for example), another chain game, a compass crossword in which the answers not only go south (down) and east (across) but southwest or north, and finally linked word puzzles which require words to be entered using only the letters provided in between like symbols.  If word games aren’t your thing, try coordination, the brain-body connection.  Some puzzles require some recall of knowledge gleaned from everyday life, the media or back to our school years, while others require some thought or clever thinking.  Whichever your strength (or weakness) there is something here for everyone.  This is a book that can be picked up and worked on at random and then set aside, picked up years later.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

The Alchemyst

Author: Michael Scott
Stars: 2
Review by: Saraswati

I read this with my child for the Summer Reading requirements.  I was not impressed, but I can see the appeal to those "slightly" younger than me.   The best part was the added assignment regarding learning about alchemy.  This book just read like a a story hanging on to a lucrative theme (Harry Potter vs. Twilight vs. etc.)  The Alchemy in this case is magic not an attempt at science (but abused by sales...sorry) story.  It was a basic good vs. bad story with lots of fighting.  I was sad it was a required reading assignment, but then I do not teach Freshmen HS English. 

Making It Last: A Camelot Novella

Author: Ruthie Knox
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This was a depressing book to get through, but there was hope at the end.  I kept rechecking the publication date and it was recent so some things haven't changed and it made me sad. It reminded me of when the big revelation came out when women lost who they were behind the man and family & they were depressed.  No one understood it then, since it appeared women had it all...but themselves.  This book is more recent, but shows women still face the same problem.  These concepts are in the broad general terms of mostly first world women.  There is also the view of complacency in a relationship and taking thing for granted as time goes on.  Do we just go through the motions to get through the day? (A little heavy for summer reading!)  This couple does make a plan to get out of the never ending spiral down.  It will take sacrifice and many changes, but the book ended with hope.
 
 

Ride With Me

Author: Ruthie Knox
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati

This was a nice end of summer read.  The book is about to people who bike across the country via the TransAmerica Trail.  They didn't intend to be partners during this trip, but they did.  Each had a reason to escape being who they were and do this great adventure.  On a side note, being on the ground, not always in a car, does put things in perspective.  For a romance novel, it does pose the question of what do we really think is important?  Then there is the relationship stuff, but still a nice summer read!
 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Author: Leslye Walton
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee

This is a recently published Young Adult book.  It was magical, sweet, and heartbreaking.  I was so sad to reach the end because I loved it so much! If you like Alice Hoffman you will also like this book.
 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

For One More Day

Author: Mitch Albom
Stars: 5
Review by: BusyMom

I have decided I love anything by Mitch Albom.  This story dealt with a man, down on his luck who attempts to end it all, only to spend one last day with his mother (who died years ago).
 

 

Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn
Stars: 2
Review by: BookDancer

This was my second time reading this fast-paced page turner for a book club and admit that I couldn't put it down because of ingenious plotting more complicated than a Chinese puzzle.  But the main characters were absolutely horrible and utterly unbelievable, even as the psychopaths they were portrayed to be. Was so glad when it was over!
 
 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Author: Jamie Ford
Stars: 4
Review by: BookDancer

While it is primarily a very touching and poignant love story, it also brought to life on a very personal level a sad chapter in American history - the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.
 

Brave New World

Author: Aldous Huxley
Stars: 4
Review by: BookWorm2

A fascinating classic. 

Just Jennifer

You by Caroline Kepnes (Atria Books/Emily Bestler, September 2014)


When M.F.A. student Guinevere Beck walks into the East Village bookstore where Joe Golberg works, he is instantly obsessed with her, that they are soul mates, even if she doesn’t realize it yet.  Joe stalks Guinevere, intervening when she is in trouble like an ill-intentioned guardian angel.  A drunken incident on a subway platform late one night finally reveals Joe to Guinevere and he is able to convince himself, if not Guinevere, that they are in a relationship that nothing or no one can stand in the way of.  Joe doesn’t realize that Beck (as she calls herself) is a bit like a psychotic Holly Golightly and has created a fa├žade of who she thinks she should be if not who she wants to be and spends more time on real life performance art drama than on her writing.  Beck senses Joe is a little off, but is too wrapped up in herself to realize just how much until it is too late.  Told in alternating voices, Joe refers to Beck as “You” in his narrative, a sound that has the pulsing throb of a Cole Porter song, but the lunacy and obsession of a dangerous stalker.  Creepy without being gruesome, tension comes from Joe and Beck’s thoughts and obsessions rather than violence and the idea that this is very plausible.  A well-constructed novel that does not resort to the tropes so often found in first novels.

Just Jennifer

Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs (Bantam Dell, September 2014)


In Kathy Reichs’s seventeenth Temperance Brennan novel of psychological suspense, the forensic anthropologist has been asked to join forces with Vermont detective Umparo Rodas when he arrives in North Carolina with DNA evidence that suggests that the murder of an 11-year-old Charlotte girl is linked to an older Vermont case and both point to Canadian serial killer Anique Pomerleau who escaped capture in 2004 when Temperance and star detective Andrew Ryan first hunted her.  Ten years have gone by, Temperance and Ryan’s romance was cast aside when Ryan’s daughter died and Ryan has all but disappeared off the face of the earth.  In order to catch the killer, who authorities believe has kidnapped another young girl, Temperance must first track down Ryan and convince him to return to Charlotte to catch Pomerleau.  With the help of an unlikely source, her mother Daisy from an assisted living facility, and the rude and annoying detective Skinny Slidell, Temperance interprets the evidence past and present and is surprised to see where it leads the team.  Unfinished business between Temperance and Ryan add extra suspense and leads to one surprising cliff-hanger that is definitely a game changer.   

Just Jennifer

Rooms by Lauren Oliver (Ecco Press, September 2014)


YA novelist Lauren Oliver turns her talents to adult novels in this creepy tale an estranged family, the house their father left behind and the ghosts that inhabit it.  Richard Walker has died and left his country house full of detritus and mementos of a life not so well lived, along with two former residents, Alice and Sandra, who have been long dead.  Caroline, Walker’s ex-wife, is embittered and more than a little bit of a lush, feels that someone owes her something in life; his daughter Minna has some anger issues and isn’t anxious to let any of it go any time soon.  Only his young son Trenton is sensitive to the life, or afterlife, still within the walls, but this already troubled young man can barely help himself never mind two trapped spirits.  Engagingly told, each chapter focuses on a room in the house, each room revealing the secrets it has to give up, the rest filled in by Alice and Sandy.  A third ghost arrives and begins to communicate with Trenton causing a convergence of events that will ultimately and curiously heal the house and the people within.  This creepy tale will keep you turning pages late in the nights as you listen to the creaks and groans of your house and wonder who lives within your rooms.  A LibraryReads (http://libraryreads.org/) pick for September.  

Just Jennifer

Early Decision by Lucy Crawford (William Morrow, August 2014)

Anne, a Princeton and University of Chicago graduate, has found a niche for herself as an admissions coach for rich, privileged children whose parents can afford to offer them an edge over their peers.  Anne’s specialty is guiding the students through their personal essay---no, as she tells Gideon Blanchard, she does not write the essay, but will help Sadie frame what she wants to say and help her showcase her own voice to its best advantage.  As Anne begins working with her students who include a young man whose father isn’t ready to deal with the boy’s sexuality, a boy who might be happier in the wilds of Montana than in a classroom and a young woman who is very eager to attend Duke and has all the right stuff, but not the money nor the clout to even get her foot in the door.  As Anne works with these students and helps them to find not only their voice for their essay but maybe even a place in the world where they might be comfortable for a while, she realizes she has some unsettled things in her life, a nasty upstairs neighbor who hates Anne’s dog for seemingly no reason and Martin, her Hollywood boyfriend who is more wrapped up in his West Coast life than he is with Anne.  As Anne navigates another admission season and another round of parents, she works through her own issues (some of which she wasn’t even aware) and along with her students, sets herself on a new and exciting path.


Just Jennifer

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo (William Morrow, August 2014)


Three cousins, Lizzie, Elyse and Isobel, known the Triplins since they were children, converge on the house owned by Lizzie’s grandmother, now her mother, in Memphis overlooking the Mississippi, which has been condemned and is scheduled for demolition.  As battered and worn as the house is, so are the Triplins, but something about the house takes a hold of them and as they fight to be allowed to keep the house and begin to renovate and remodel it, a change begins in each of them, reshaping their lives, revealing a long held secret from which one of them may never fully recover.  Lizzie’s career as a professional soccer player is all but over due to injuries and the memories she is uncovering in her grandmother’s house are unsettling and leading her on a journey from which she can never return.  Elyse is obsessed with the boy from high school, the one that got away, the one that is about to marry her sister; will her obsession ruin her sister’s wedding or sabotage her own future?  Isobel is hoping for stardom and fame, but how far is she willing to go and what will she give up to achieve it? The story is told effectively told from each of the young women’s points of view, the house looming in the background, a metaphor for all that was and all that could be for this group of twenty-somethings who recognize the most important things in life: family, friends and being true to yourself.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Just Jennifer

So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures by Maureen Corrigan (Little, Brown and Company, September 2014)


A must read for any Gatsby fan, the NPR Fresh Air book critic demonstrates the staying power and continuous appeal of a book many of us read in high school and offers a compelling argument as to why Gatsby should be read over and over at different stages of our life especially as most people read Gatsby for the first time as a high school student.  Corrigan submits that many first time readers of Gatsby view it as a tragic lover story when it is so much more than that: social and political commentary, a nostalgic longing for the past, coupled with a dash of hard-boiled crime.  Corrigan delves into Gatsby’s reception in 1925 (slow to catch on) and traces its trail to part of the modern American cannon in the 1960’s.  Corrigan’s enthusiasm for the book is palpable; as she makes each new point, you can almost see her excitedly teaching this in a classroom or talking with a friend over coffee.  Corrigan not only reignites a reader’s enthusiasm for Gatsby but may spark something to go back and take a look at another fondly or not so fondly, remembered classic from our school days.  With bright, fresh prose that is never pedantic, Maureen Corrigan shares her love for a book about which many of us say “oh yeah, I read that in high school” but about which we may remember, or know, so little.

Just Jennifer

Born to be a Yankee compiled from The New York Post (Harper Paperbacks, August 2014)


Some things, Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper,  Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson and the House that Ruth built, are quintessentially Yankee…now add Derek Jeter to that list.  In fourth grade, Jeter told his teacher in Michigan that he was going to play shortstop for the Yankees and play it he has. Passed up by the Astros during the draft, Jeter has spent the last two decades in Yankee pinstripes wearing #2, one of only a handful of players who have played their entire career with one team.  Fourteen of those years he played on the American League team in the All-Star game; he won the American League Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award each five times and has been honored with countless more accolades.  This heavily illustrated commemorative edition, compiled from the archives of The New York Post, chronicles Jeter’s career as a superstar baseball player, a team player and a fan favorite as he prepares to bid farewell to a career that has served him, and his teammates and fans, well.

Big Little Lies

Author: Liane Moriarty
Stars: 3
Review by: Bookworm momma

It took me awhile to get into this book, but it had a good ending. I don't think I liked it as well as her other books.
 
 

Conquering the Sky

Author: Larry E. Tise
Stars: 1
Review by: Book Worm 1

Very dull exploration of the Wright Brothers flights from 1905-1908. Turned what could have been an exciting read into something of a sleep generator.
 

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

That Summer

Author: Laura Willig
Stars: 5
Review by: Julie

Historical fiction with art history and Pre-Raphaelites thrown in. Set in London, told from multiple perspectives.
 
 

Congratulations to...

... our Week # 14 Prize Winners:

  • BKF
  • PK

Sand Castle Bay

Author: Sherryl Woods
Stars: 5
Review by: PK

This was a new author/series for me...looking forward to reading more.
 

Braving the Fire

Author: Jessica Handler
Stars: 5
Review by: PK

I've begun working on my next book about grief/loss and hope/healing and this was just what I needed.
 

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.