Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wherever There is Light is a globe spanning historical novel that will keep you riveted right until the end

Whenever an author is scheduled to come to do a library fundraiser set up by our Friends of the Punta Gorda Library, I feel that I should familiarize myself with their work in order to tell our patrons about it.  I have done this for Stephen King, Lisa See, and Gregg Hurwitz.  With Peter Golden coming in the Spring, I knew I had to get to work. 

Wherever There is Light by Peter Golden was released on November 3, 2015.  It tells the intertwining stories of two families, the Roses: Theodor, Elana, and Julien -  Jewish immigrants who came to the United States in 1938 and the Wakefields: Garland and Kendall Anne,  an African American family who are the descendants of a runaway slave who became one of the wealthiest men in Philadelphia. 

Garland Wakefield is the founder and president of Lovewood College, an African American school in Florida. During  the 1930s, many African American colleges in the United States helped save Jewish professors that were driven out of the education system in Germany.  Professor Theodor Rose is one of those who were saved.  At the dinner welcoming Professor Rose to the college, his son, Julien, meets Garland’s daughter, Kendall.  This meeting begins a love affair that spans from 1938 to 1966.
Julien and Kendall have to deal with the constraints placed on their interracial relationship, both from society and their own families.  While Julien wants to marry Kendall, all she wants is to be free to pursue her art – painting and photography. 


From Germany to New York to Miami and Paris, this book really had me from page one.  I was interested to see the comparisons that were made between the treatment of the Jewish people in Germany during WWII and the treatment of African Americans in the South.  Even with the serious subject matter covered in the book, I have to say that I really enjoyed it.

For more information, go to Peter Golden's website.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A love story spanning decades.

I received an advanced reader copy of The Japanese Lover from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Japanese Lover tells the decades long love story of Alma, a young Jewish girl who escaped Nazi Germany, and Ichi, the son of her aunt and uncle's Japanese gardener.  Told through flashbacks and letters between Alma and Ichi as well as through fact finding done by her grandson, Seth, and Irina, her care worker, I was drawn into the story right from page one.

This is the first Isabel Allende novel that I have read and I really enjoyed it, up to a point.  Allende's writing is warm and inviting. The main characters were well developed and relatable. I really wanted to love this book, but the ending just left me disappointed.  I liked the author's writing style enough that I will try another of her books to see if it is just this story that left me flat.

The expected release date for The Japanese Lover is November 3, 2015.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Books I am looking forward to

There are several books that are coming out in the near future that I am really excited about.  One of them I actually have had the pleasure of reading because I received an advanced reader copy from NetGalley.  Here is a short list of books I am dying to get my hands on.

1.  All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani - I have read and LOVED all of Adriana Trigiani's books.  When I find out that she has a new title coming out, it goes onto my calendar and most of the time, I pre-order the book to arrive on the day that it comes out. I don't want to wait on a list at the library. I don't want to wait for it to come out in paperback.  I want to read it NOW.  All the Stars in the Heavens delves into the golden age of Hollywood when Loretta Young met Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. The book is set to be released on October 13, 2015.  As a side note, the movie version of Big Stone Gap,  is set to be released in theaters on October 9, 2015.

2.  Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Pendergast Series Book 15) - I have been a fan of Preston and Child's Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast from the beginning of this series - Relic. No one does "weird and creepy crime" like Preston and Child.  This book sticks with the characters Pendergast and his niece Constance. I can't wait to see how Pendergast figures out "who done it and why". The book is set to be released November 10, 2015.

3. Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County by Amy Hill Hearth - I received an advanced reader copy of the latest Miss Dreamsville book by Amy Hill Hearth. You may recognize the author's name from the beloved book "Having Our Say - The Delany Sisters First 100 Years".  The author has a knack for telling a story, whether truth or fiction, in such a way that draws you in and makes you feel like you are a part of it.  Before I read Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County, I had to quickly read the first book Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society. I quickly fell in love with all of the quirky characters.  I have reviewed the book here:  Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society.  The new book is set to be released on September 8, 2015.  Read these books. You won't be sorry.

4. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson - The Bloggess is back.  I have followed The Bloggess (aka Jenny Lawson) ever since I was forwarded a link the the story of the giant metal chicken. From her collection of stuffed "varmints" to her totally human stories of life with her family, Jenny Lawson never ceases to make me laugh.  I read her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, in between bouts of hysterical laughter.  I am really looking forward to more laughter and insight in the new book.  Furiously Happy is set to be released on September 22, 2015.

Let me know what books you are looking forward to.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train pulled me in hooked me from page one.


When reviewers said that this was the next Gone Girl I was almost reluctant to read The Girl on the Train. In a previous review, I commented that I didn't love Gone Girl because the characters in the book were such horrible people. I was afraid that this book would be the same but I was pleasantly surprised.

Rachel is struggling to bounce back from her divorce and not doing a very good job. She is drinking heavily, which had caused her to lose her job. While pretending to go to work each morning, Rachel fantasizes about the lives of "Jess" and "Jason", a couple who live down the road from where she used to live with her ex-husband.Tom. He still lives there with his new wife and their daughter.

Very quickly, the lives of Rachel, Tom, his wife Anna, and the neighbors down the road, who are really named Megan and Scott, become mysteriously intertwined. When the dust settles, the surprise ending with leave you shocked. The ending had me so rattled that I actually had to step away and think about the book before writing my review. Very good writing, well written characters, and a surprise ending kept me interested and entertained.

Run to your local library or bookstore and check out this book

Thanks for reading.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society : a novel by Hearth, Amy Hill


If you are a fan of Fannie Flagg and enjoy quirky characters, you will love Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society.

Set in 1962 Naples, Florida, the book tells the tale of a group of misfit citizens who decide to start a book club.  The misfits include: Jackie, a Boston transplant who doesn’t understand Southern ways and has a hard time fitting due to her Northern temperament. Dora, also known as Turtle Lady because she saved a large snapping turtle from the middle of Highway 41, is divorced. Robbie-Lee, known for being “different”, is the son of a stripper. Mrs. Bailey White, an 80-year old ex-con, who was in prison for killing her husband and hides the truth about what happened. Plain Jane, an unremarkable woman who has a shocking secret identity. Priscilla, a young black woman trying to improve herself in 1960’s segregated Florida. The group is guided by Miss Lansberry, the town Librarian, who also has her own secret she is hiding.

While selecting, reading, and discussing books, the group slowly becomes more than a book club. They become friends.  When Jackie and the group get involved in a scary racial incident, things start to get a little sticky. 

I really enjoyed how these characters developed such strong connections to the point that they all were comfortable enough to reveal their secrets.  So, I suggest that you take a trip to the past, down the Tamiami Trail, and enjoy meeting The Collier County Women’s Literary Society.  You won’t be sorry.

Thanks for reading.

You can find the book on Amazon or at your local bookseller or library

I am really looking forward to the upcoming sequel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County. It is scheduled for publication in September 2015.



Paying it forward

At the library where I work, the Summer Reading theme is Build a Better World.  Our adult programs are build around Pay It Forward, the book...