Monday, June 18, 2018

A library is a small town.

Back when Andrew Carnegie was building public libraries in every city across America, the town of Riverton, NH, had its own mogul, whose name was Robers, which morphed into "Robbers" through probably equal parts humor and resentment. In Sue Halpern's latest, Summer Hours at the Robbers Library,the town barely hangs on, but the library is now its best-maintained building. Halpern brings together three oddball characters in this setting and follows them through their encounters with multiple points of view. There is librarian Kit, fresh from therapy following marriage to a controlling monster, Solstice (Sunny), a teenager whose parents live off the grid and hide a secret past, and Rusty, a fugitive from Wall Street. When Sunny is assigned community service at the library after being arrested for shoplifting, she soon connects with Kit and Rusty. Readers will be taken with this beautifully written novel with appealing characters
.Halpern subtly tests our assumptions about self, love, marriage, family, vocation, and ethics, both personal and communal. Along the way, she offers a realistic view of the struggles and triumphs of a small public library, while framing it as a safe place in which to search for answers and solace. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Witness to Murder

What would you do if you saw a murder through your window and were unable to leave your house to get help? This is exactly what happens to Anna Fox. She’s a child psychologist suffering from agoraphobia. A new family has moved in across the park from her New York home and when she is caught looking at them through her window the woman and her son come over to visit. When Anna looks over another time she sees a stabbing. She alerts authorities but the family claims innocence and make her look like mental case.The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn is a thrilling, informative book about the strangers next door. DB

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My mom, the best cook!

Here is a beautifully written memoir, The Best Cook In The World  by Rick Bragg, a man who can't cook very well-at least according to his mother. And that mother, Margaret Bragg, is the central figure in this culinary history from author Bragg, who is known for family stories.  This story begins with his great-grandfather Jimmy Jim teaching Bragg's grandmother Ava to cook when she was a newlywed. Other legendary family cooks make appearances, along with family legends of all kinds. For Bragg, food and stories go hand in hand, and Margaret is not only the chief cook, she is also the chief storyteller. These accounts are more than entertainment; they are a way for people to survive hard times. We should all be so lucky to sit at the elbow of a great cook as they work and pass along family knowledge.

Moving On

Joanna Cantor's novel, Alternative Remedies For Loss, follows 22-year-old New Yorker Olivia Harris as she contends with her close-knit family and decides to make a film to honor her mother, Eleanor, after she dies of cancer. Olivia uses her brother Alec's connections to get an entry-level job at a Manhattan production company. There, she meets and get involved with Michel Zahavi, a client 16 years her senior. While Olivia treats the relationship as a temporary situation to help her cope with her loss, Michel appears to be more attached. Meanwhile, Olivia and her brothers are aghast that their father brings his new girlfriend on a family trip to India a few months after Eleanor's death. After the trip, while sorting through Eleanor's things, Olivia discovers some curious notes signed by "F" that lead her on a journey back to India to find out the truth about who F is.

Thursday, May 3, 2018


Ah, romance. Quite a few serious readers scorn the romance genre as poorly written. But in the novel Frenchman's Creek, Daphne Du Maurier gives us great writing as well as romance. Dona, a noblewoman of the 18th century is feeling confined and weary by the relentless social life she has in London. On a whim she escapes to her family's country house along with her two children. Here, in beautiful countryside she feels peace and contentment. She also meets a Frenchman, a pirate who has been terrorizing the countryside. Both feel an immediate connection. There is love, adventure and a killing...  Du Maurier explores the themes of escape and women's lives when they don't live up to social conventions. The ending is bittersweet, both characters being deeply changed by their encounter. The descriptions of the Cornwall coast are wonderfully evocative. ML

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mostly Healthy

Maybe just me, but if I am reading a cookbook and there are too many ingredients I either don't know or have to shop at a special store for, I won't cook the dish. Healthyish, the new cookbook by Lindsay Maitland Hunt, is not that book. Filled with simple and appealing foods, this book is tailored for cooks seeking a more balanced diet. In chapters for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and more, Hunt employs an impressive range of time-saving techniques that minimize prep and cleanup. Dishes such as cozy bean and egg skillet for two, kimchi-fried faro, and one-pan crispy chicken with herbed potatoes make smart use of staples such as precooked grains, canned beans, and rotisserie chicken. Recipes for "go-to" components such as compound butters and quick pickles make it easy to jazz up everyday meals like salads and toast. Whether you like to leave cooking till the last minute or enjoy whipping up a big batch of something to eat throughout the week, this book will serve you well!  ML

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Marry in Scandal

Anne Gracie books are quite enjoyable. Her writings are exquisite, and the secondary characters are usually as delightful as the lead couple. Marry in Scandal is the second book in the Marriage of Convenience series, and it is fine as a stand-alone. The story of Lily and Edward is strong enough to carry the book without knowing all the back story.

I absolutely loved the way the author brought Edward around to recognizing his love for Lily. Even when he is determined to protect her tender heart from his callous one, he is vulnerable to her charms and can't keep himself away. Lily was a fantastic heroine and I found myself rooting for her every step of the way. *JK*

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Working from home

Growing numbers of us work not only from home, but from anywhere; job flexibility has become key for employers and workers alike. This, in turn, has created new challenges for architects and designers--many of whom are themselves working from home--who are creating innovative solutions that allow clients to transform their spaces for a wide range of needs, from multifunctional studios to homes that seamlessly combine work and family life.Divided into five thematic sections, Home Work by Anna Yudina explores the exciting variety of ways that the workplace can be integrated into the domestic environment without overwhelming it. From stand- alone furniture to mobile room dividers and dynamic solutions that fold out or pop up to create new work areas, each design addresses the unique needs of the space and client, and tackles the challenges of the rapidly evolving relationship between work and domestic life in the twenty-first century.This essential and timely resource both for telecommuters and designers redefining "workspace" offers fresh ideas for how to strike the perfect balance between living and working at home.

The Human Condition

 In Happiness, the new novel from Aminetta Forna, the human condition is indeed explored. This elegant novel from Forna (The Memory of Love) opens with a chance encounter: Ghanaian psychiatrist Attila Asare and American urban wildlife biologist Jean Turane collide while walking across London's Waterloo Bridge. Normally dispatched to war zones for his expertise in post-traumatic stress disorder, Attila is in town to speak at a conference. Jean lives there and researches the city's foxes. After a second encounter on the bridge, Attila offers to buy Jean a drink at his hotel bar and reveals that he had a secondary reason to come to London: to locate the teenage son of a friend who might have been swept up by immigration officials. Jean volunteers to help and eventually organizes a search to find the young runaway. A diverse cast of supporting characters (many of whom are West African immigrants) and Forna's rich descriptions of London give the novel a strong sense of place. . With their professional expertise and contemplative personalities, the main characters offer wisdom on the nature of cruelty, the fear of the untamable, and the challenge of defining normality. ML

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Rogue of Her Own

A Rogue of Her Own is the fourth book in the Windham Brides series by Grace Burrowes. Although part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone, but it is nice to catch up with characters from the previous stories.

Charlotte is the last of the unmarried Windham women. But you know that won't last long. Sherbourne, who was a bit of a villain in the previous book, "No Other Duke Will Do" turns out to have fascinating depth, intelligence and a handful of insecurities that attract the prickly Miss Windham. Very outspoken and not suffering fools lightly, she is very attracted to this self-made, wealthy commoner. As Charlotte's past is revealed, a sad reason for her bitterness becomes turning point in their relationship. *JK*

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mini Murders

If you enjoy thrilling short stories, pick up Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales by the late P.D. James. She lives up to her title as the English “Queen of Crime” in these deceptively crafty short sagas. They will leave you wondering about the killers, the victims and much more. Cheers! D.B.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Life & Love

When Louisa Clark takes a job as the daytime caregiver to a paralyzed man, she has no idea what to expect. Will Traynor lead a BIG life before he became a quadriplegic. He was at the helm of a global company. He enjoyed extreme adventures like sky diving and rock-climbing. Now he can barely move and depends on others for everything. In a huge last minute effort to prevent assisted suicide, his family hires Louisa for a six-month contract. Once she finds out about Will’s ultimate plan, she plots out ways to show him that his current life is worth living. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes deals with a real controversy in a straightforward manner. It is an interesting and thought-provoking novel. DB

Friday, March 2, 2018

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Surrender to the Highlander

Lynsay Sands' historical and paranormal romance series are a great mix of humor and hot romance. Surrender to the Highlander is the fifth book in Lynsay Sands' Scottish Highlander Series, but each book is a standalone and you do not need to read the previous before picking up this one. Surrender to the Highlander is Neil Buchanan and Edith's story. Neil is one of Siadh's many brothers and Edith is one of her close friends. Their story had a mystery, some humor and some steamy romance. I highly recommend this series for historical romance lovers looking for hot Scottish romances. They're addicting! *JK*

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Color of Love

The Color of Love will capture your interest from the very first page and you won't be able to put it down. Set in a small town call Blessings, in Georgia, Ruby is confronted by her abusive ex-husband at the very beginning and the story never slows down at any point.This story keeps you on the edge of your seat with Ruby and Peanut's romance, the secondary characters' involvement, and the absolute suspense that only Sharon Sala can create. Out of all of Sharon Sala's books, this is the one of her best. *JK*

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Inspector Huss is on the job.

 Helen Tursten, author of the Swedish series featuring Inspetor Irene Huss, was a nurse and a dentist before she turned to writing. This series has been translated into 21 languages and made into a television series. The latest mystery novel in the series is titled Protected by the Shadows
 With gang violence escalating in Goteborg, Sweden, the Organized Crimes Unit pairs with the Violent Crimes Unit to help defuse the situation. But could there be a mole on the force? In this  installment  the gang warfare that has been brewing in Goteborg is about to explode. And that's not the only thing going up in flames. Someone has planted a bomb under Irene's husband's car. Fearing for her family's safety, Irene sends her husband and daughters into hiding and takes up residence at a colleague's apartment. Still, she can't shake the feeling that she is being stalked. Somehow, the gangs are always one step ahead of the police. Someone is leaking information. But who? Irene's life depends on discovering the answer. Moody and atmospheric. ML

Saturday, January 13, 2018

I Ever I Should Love You

Cathy Maxwell has a talent for breaking a heart in the sweetest of ways. Leonie is stuck in the past, reliving her mistakes and punishing herself for them. It's hard to like her, but in time you will understand her. Roman was never meant to be a hero, but he ended up being a twofold one. He had the courage to listen to his heart and pursue the one woman he had to work the hardest for and the foresight to empathize and help mend at time callous, but brutally broken heart. If Ever I Should Love You may run hot and cold, but it appeals to what makes us human.

If you're looking for something a little different, with real-life issues, flawed yet resilient characters, deep emotion, and a happy ending, give this a try. *JK*