Review: The Day the Falls Stood Still

February Omaha Bookworm’s selection

I look forward to discussing The Day the Falls Stood Still with Cathy Buchanan in February and will post a recap of our discussion late February.

From the authors website: Born and bred in Niagara Falls, Ontario, I grew up awash in the lore of William “Red” Hill, Niagara’s most famous riverman.  I’d see the rusted-out hull of the old scow still lodged in the upper rapids of the river and be reminded of him rescuing the men marooned there in 1918.  I’d see the plaque commemorating the ice bridge tragedy of 1912 and know he’d risked his life to save a teenage boy named Ignatius Roth.  I’d open the newspaper and read a story about his son Wes carrying on the Hill tradition and rescuing a stranded stunter.

Synopsis: Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this epic love story is as rich, spellbinding, and majestic as the falls themselves.

1915. The dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath has led a sheltered existence as the youngest daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company. After graduation day at her boarding school, she is impatient to return to her picturesque family home near Niagara Falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she had left it. Her father has lost his job at the power company, her mother is reduced to taking in sewing from the society ladies she once entertained, and Isabel, her vivacious older sister, is a shadow of her former self. She has shut herself in her bedroom, barely eating-and harboring a secret.

The night of her return, Bess meets Tom Cole by chance on a trolley platform. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to him-against her family's strong objections. He is not from their world. Rough-hewn and fearless, he lives off what the river provides and has an uncanny ability to predict the whims of the falls. His daring river rescues render him a local hero and cast him as a threat to the power companies that seek to harness the power of the falls for themselves. As their lives become more fully entwined, Bess is forced to make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family and her future.

Type: Historical fiction, 320 pages, Hardcover

Quick Take: I had not heard of this book until a member of the Omaha Bookworm’s selected it for us to read.  I enjoy historical fiction so I was excited to reach out to Cathy, asking her if she would be interested in discussing the book with us.  I did listen to a few interviews with the author that I believe enhanced my reading experience (I had no idea there was so much controversy over the falls in the early 1900’s, although this makes so much sense). 

Buchanan paints a vibrant picture of the Falls - it's grandeur, beauty, and danger. There are photos throughout the book which are helpful and I have to say they help the reader become emotionally attached to the story.  The story surrounding the falls is a love story, yet filled with politics and historical events.  You get a sense of how difficult it was to live just one day at the turn of the century. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will love this one.

You can spend hours learning on Cathy's website!  It's filled with author Q&A's, maps and so much history to explore.  Be sure to check out the site before and after reading this book.

Review: April & Oliver

Manic Mommies Book Club Selection: January 2010

We will be discussing this book with the author on Jan 20.  Watch for details as we get closer to the date. 

From the author’s website: With a hunger for travel, I spent six months after graduation backpacking through Europe, India, and China. I watched a lunar eclipse from a storm-tossed boat on the East China Sea, and saw a gentle old leper quietly die on a street in Calcutta. From Beijing, I took the Trans-Siberian railroad through the Soviet Union and out through snow-laden Helsinki. Later, I spent two years in China and another in Argentina. Throughout this time, I kept journals and scribbled an occasional story. Several of my articles were published in New York Newsday and elsewhere through syndication. I wrote to explore things I didn’t understand. My questions drove me. 

Synopsis:The story of April and Oliver, two inseparable childhood friends whose existences again collide with the sudden death of April's younger brother

Type: Fiction, 336 pages, Hardcover

Quick Take: As I read this book I couldn’t wait to read the ending – I kept thinking, I’m not sure if the author means for us to hope April and Oliver get together or if their lives collide but continue separately.  I do not want to share the details but I can tell you that when I had about 30 pages left I put the book down and told my husband “I’m not ready for this one to be over”.  You will feel like you are reading someone’s story, it's quite sad and desperate in the beginning but the second half of the book is filled with hope and a future.  Read it, there is a lot to discuss.

Click here to listen to an interview with BlogTalkRadio

Author Q&A:

Tell us a little about yourself: The Nuts and Bolts Answer: I grew up on Long Island, but have lived many places within the United States and abroad. I am married with two children, and teach writing to middle school students. My work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Boston College Magazine, Cottonwood, Stylus Anthology, Newsday, and elsewhere through syndication. An excerpt of April & Oliver was published in Agni and subsequently nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I have a Masters in Education from SUNY Buffalo and an MFA in Fiction from Bennington College.

The Amorphous Answer: I enjoy noticing the way light from a window patiently traverses a room over the course of a day. Clouds capture my attention, as well as bird songs, swaying branches, and gusts of wind. My propensity to stop and notice makes me an oddball. At the same time, I live a life teeming with deadlines, appointments, and responsibilities. How do I manage? Not very well! Every day, life gives me ample opportunity to laugh at myself.

Do you write daily? When I am in the momentum of a project, I write daily.  I like being swept up by a story and surrendering to it. When I have that kind of relationship with a piece, hours pass like minutes. As a mother and teacher, however, I don’t often have hours at a time. Sometimes schoolwork and other responsibilities take over, in which case I write in snatches.

What was it like getting your first book published? It took time for me to hone my skills as a writer. At some point, I gave up on the idea of publishing and decided to focus on teaching. Nevertheless, I kept writing because it is what I do. I worked on April & Oliver on and off for years, periodically stuffing it in a drawer for long stretches. It was my good friend, novelist Sasha Troyan, who encouraged me to haul the manuscript out one more time. Having been away from it for so long, I reread the manuscript with a blend of satisfaction and horror. Because so much time had passed, and because I myself had changed, (the stretching effect of parenthood), I could clearly see what rang true and what did not. It was as if I was reading someone else’s manuscript, and knew precisely what to fix. When I was satisfied, I sent it to an agent, and promptly forgot about it. Six months later, the agent called, asking to represent it. Two days later, the book was sold. I feel very grateful for my good fortune.

What do you think of kindle? Electronic publishing makes particular sense for subject areas where content is constantly being updated, such as science textbooks. It can also help spare our kids’ spines, not to mention a tree or two. Personally, I do not enjoy reading novels electronically. I like the tactile experience of reading, dog-earing, underlining, and hearing the whisk of each page as I turn it. However, I think people should enjoy books in whatever format is easiest for them. Currently, I spend hours in the car driving my kids to school, travel soccer, etcetera, and have taken to listening to books on tape. Given the demands of my life at the moment, if I were not listening to audio books, I would not be doing much reading at all. Therefore, I think people should enjoy books in whatever format is most accessible to them, whether kindle, audio, or old fashioned paper.

What is one tip you can share with aspiring writers? At the Squaw Valley Writer’s Conference some years ago, I had the privilege of working with the late Ted Solotaroff. He said in a lecture that during his tenure as founder and editor of The New American Review, he saw many gifted writers come and go. The ones who went on to become accomplished authors were not necessarily those who showed the greatest natural talent, but those who simply did not give up. My main advice is to keep at it, and always trust your own deepest instincts.

What are you reading now? I recently finished Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. Presently, I am in the middle of a reread of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Next in the queue is Herzog by Saul Bellow. The last paragraph of The Road left me so astonished that I am still having dreams about it.

Name some of your all time favorite novels, excluding classics: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez; Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro; The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje; The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

Review: Rooftops of Tehran

December Selection: Omaha Bookworm’s

A few of the gals in our book club read this book late summer/early fall and asked if we could discuss this novel with Mahbod Seraji.  I’m pleased to announce that we will be talking with the author on December 15.  I will include a follow up post of our discussion to share with everyone later this month.   

From the author’s website: Mahbod Seraji came to America in May of 1976, with the intent of obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, and then returning to Iran to work in its booming construction industry.  But it wasn’t long after his arrival that upheaval and turmoil swept his country -- the Shah was overthrown in 1979, the American diplomats in Tehran were taken hostage by a group of radical university students, and Saddam Hussein’s army attacked Iran, starting a war that lasted over eight years and claimed over one million lives – and Mahbod was forced to change his plans by staying at the University of Iowa until 1989 and securing his Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees. 

Quick Take: This is a beautifully crafted story.  A coming of age story, during the instability of Iran's political climate. Filled with culture, values, and affection.  Reading reviews on, I saw a few comparisons to The Kite Runner (I can see how this comparison is made).

Click here to listen to an author interview with Carrie from Words to Mouth.  I highly recommend listening to this - it's a wonderful interview

Author Q&A:
Tell us a little about yourself: I was born in Iran.  Came to the US in 1976 before the Iranian revolution.  I received all my degrees (BS, MA, and Ph. D.) from the University of Iowa.  I always wanted to write, but never had the chance because of my corporate career.  Eventually I was laid off at a job and started to write.  I lived most of my life in the Midwest but moved to CA at the end of 99.  

Do you write daily? ....I try.  I find myself doing some sort of writing everyday - it feels inescapable... while writing Rooftops, I felt most creative during the evenings.  I would start around 7:00 PM and go to bed early in the morning. Sometimes not realizing how much time had passed.  It is amazing how you find more energy for things you love to do! 

What was it like getting your first novel published? I was going through some stressful experiences at the time with some, let’s say, not very nice people.  One evening the phone rang, but by the time I got to it, the call had gone into the voicemail.  I looked at the caller ID and recognized my wonderful agent’s phone number (Danielle Egan – Miller).  She had never called that late in the evening – so I figured something must be up.  When we got the good news, my wife started to cry - with everything that had been going on in my life, she had been praying for something positive to happen - anything to get me out of the funk  -  She had no idea that her prayers were being answered by having a lifelong dream of mine come to fruition. 

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? I know the trend is irreversible just like any other technology – for example, we can't go back to not having emails, and I remember people who thought emailing was destroying our social lives at work – Instead of walking over to talk to people, we were sending each other emails two cubes down the hallway.  But we lived through it and our social lives have enhanced because of on-line social networking, forums, blogs, etc.  Of course in Kindle’s case there are environmental advantages in going electronic and I welcome it from that perspective...  but for me there is something very special in the experience of holding a book in my hand, seeing it on my bookshelf, falling asleep with it on my chest….  I don’t think the book, as we know it, would go away in my life time, and I'm happy about that.   

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? Don’t give up whether you hit a bump when writing a story, or when attempting to publish it, don’t give up. But also listen to advice.  It takes a lot to publish a book and many people have to feel right about it.  So sometimes you need to be flexible in the way you think about your craft. 

What are you reading now? I recently finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and enjoyed it very much.  But right now I'm reading a non-fiction book by Stephen Kinzer called Overthrow.  I think his All the Shah's Men was fantastic. I love intelligent writers.  Next fiction on my list is Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. 

Lastly, share one or two of your all time favorite novels read, excluding classics:  Wow, excluding classics?  Angela's Ashes, The Road, Life of Pi, all of these books will be on the classic list someday, if they're not already.

Just for fun:
Favorite Season: Spring - always - this is when the days start to get longer - more light - more playing time - more life - but I wish I could forego the damn allergies 

Morning or night: Oh, night for sure 

Favorite ice cream flavor: Simple - Vanilla 

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: I've been traveling throughout my life for work -- so I’ve been to most places already but would go back to China any day - great country, so much history and so very much left to learn.  

Type: Fiction, 368 pages, Trade paperback

In this poignant, eye-opening and emotionally vivid novel, Mahbod Seraji lays bare the beauty and brutality of the centuries-old Persian culture, while reaffirming the human experiences we all share.

In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the next. He also hides a secret love for his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. But the bliss of Pasha and Zari's stolen time together is shattered when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences awaken him to the reality of living under a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice...

Review: Oxygen

December Manic Mommies Book Selection

About two weeks after I finished reading this book someone in my family needed surgery. It was interesting to observe how the doctors interacted with the patient. The anesthesiologist spent as much time with my family member as Dr Heaton does with the patient in this book. 

From author’s website: Carol Wiley Cassella majored in English Literature at Duke University and graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in 1986. She currently practices anesthesia in Seattle and is a freelance medical writer specializing in global public health advocacy for the developing world. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington with her husband and their two sets of twins, and is working on her next novel.

Quick Take: It’s been a while since a book has stayed with me like Oxygen. I read this book in two sittings, I had to know how the story would end. I can’t wait to discuss this book with the MMBC and the author on December 16.

A little girl dies while in surgery, and the anesthesiologist might be to blame. As the investigation continues we follow Dr Heaton as she tries to make sense of what has happened. Marie keeps thinking and rethinking the events leading up to surgery and what happened on the operating table. Asking herself, how could this have happened? Who thinks about the anesthesiologist, we don’t see them on TV, nor do they impact our decisions to have a procedure or surgery. This is Dr. Marie Heaton’s story. Yes the patient and her family play in important part of the story but as a reader you are following the Doctor’s side of this case.

Click here for discussion invite and details

Carol answers our questions:
Tell us a little about yourself: I am currently wearing lots of hats, so where do I start? I am first and foremost a mother. My husband and I have two sets of twins (I’ll go ahead and answer the question you’re asking—yes they are natural! Set two was quite the surprise!) That alone has made for an interesting life. I’m also a doctor. I started my medical career as an internist, but I wanted a bit more time at home with my family and changed specialties to become an anesthesiologist. I really do love my work, and I’ve never regretted making that change. Anesthesia is challenging, intense, creative, FUN (often) and still does give me lots of patient contact.

Then there is the writer. That was actually my mission in life from the time I was very young, but I kept getting involved in other things (medicine, babies) and never devoted the time and dedication that serious writing takes until I was in my forties. That’s not to say I wasn’t writing—I have drawers of partially finished manuscripts and I worked as a science writer for a few years. But it took a completely different level of commitment to finish a novel. It was much harder than I expected, but also much more rewarding. Other details? I grew up in Texas, lived in the Northeast for few years and then discovered the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Hard to think I’ll ever leave!

Do you write daily? I can’t write daily. Until my children are grown and I work less at the hospital , I’m afraid that will be impossible. But I highly advise all writers to try. Writing fiction, and probably non-fiction as well, is a bit like maintaining a dream while awake. Much as a dream can feel tangible and unforgettable right after you open your eyes, it’s often forgotten by the time you brush your teeth. I try to remember that whatever I would have written today will never make it onto the page unless I make time to put it there. What I write tomorrow may be just as good, but it won’t be the same.

Click here to read the rest of the interview

Type: Fiction, 290 pages, Trade paperback

Dr. Marie Heaton is an anesthesiologist at the height of her profession. She has worked, lived and breathed her career since medical school, and she now practices at a top Seattle hospital. Marie has carefully constructed and constricted her life according to empirical truths, to the science and art of medicine. But when her tried-and-true formula suddenly deserts her during a routine surgery, she must explain the nightmarish operating room disaster and face the resulting malpractice suit. Marie's best friend, colleague and former lover, Dr. Joe Hillary, becomes her closest confidante as she twists through depositions, accusations and a remorseful preoccupation with the mother of the patient in question. As she struggles to salvage her career and reputation, Marie must face hard truths about the path she's chosen, the bridges she's burned and the colleagues and superiors she's mistaken for friends.

A quieter crisis is simultaneously unfolding within Marie's family. Her aging father is losing his sight and approaching an awkward dependency on Marie and her sister, Lori. But Lori has taken a more traditional path than Marie and is busy raising a family. Although Marie has been estranged from her Texas roots for decades, the ultimate responsibility for their father's care is falling on her.

As her carefully structured life begins to collapse, Marie confronts questions of love and betrayal, family bonds and the price of her own choices. Setagainst the natural splendor of Seattle, and inside the closed vaults of hospital operating rooms, Oxygen climaxes in a final twist that is as heartrending as it is redeeming.

Review: The Girl who Stopped Swimming

The Girl who Stopped Swimming is the third novel written by Joshilyn Jackson and the second novel I have read by this author.

From the authors website: New York Times Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson was born in the Deep South and raised by a tribe of wild fundamentalists who taught her to be virtuous and upright. Unfortunately, it didn't take, and Ms. Jackson dropped out of college to pursue a career as an actor. She worked in regional repertoire, wrote plays, and traveled the southern third of the country with a dinner theatre troupe.

Quick Take: This is a lovely novel that combines all of the must haves for readers, great character development, suspense, and a solid storyline. The story is addicting. It's a mystery, but also a study in families and relationships and how the past affects the present.

I found this next comment on BN.COM and thought it was thought provolking... In the reading group guide and notes, the author notes that "at it's heart, this book is about poverty". As well as the literal translation of fiscal poverty, emotional poverty plays a key role.

Type: Fiction, 311 pages, Hardcover

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty. Coming from a family with a literal skeleton in their closet, she's developed this talent all her life, whether helping her willful mother to smooth over the reality of her family's ugly past, or elevating humble scraps of unwanted fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts.

Her sister Thalia, an impoverished "Actress" with a capital A, is her opposite, and prides herself in exposing the lurid truth lurking behind life's everyday niceties. And while Laurel's life was neatly on track, a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in lovely suburban Victorianna, everything she holds dear is thrown into question the night she is visited by an apparition in her bedroom. The ghost appears to be her 14-year-old neighbor Molly Dufresne, and when Laurel follows this ghost , she finds the real Molly floating lifeless in her swimming pool. While the community writes the tragedy off as a suicide, Laurel can't. Reluctantly enlisting Thalia's aid, Laurel sets out on a life-altering investigation that triggers startling revelations about her own guarded past, the truth about her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

Richer and more rewarding than any story from Joshilyn Jackson, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING is destined both to delight Jackson's loyal fans and capture a whole new audience.

Review: Easy on the Eyes

I really enjoy reading Jane Porter’s novels, they are smart, fun, flirty and so much more. The women are strong characters, who own their life. This is what keeps drawing me back for more.

From the Author's website:  Jane Porter, a former English teacher, holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco, and loves talking books and working with aspiring writers. Jane continues to work with writer friends all the time, developing the craft and discussing good books. For more on the craft of writing, check out Jane's workshop descriptions.

Quick Take: This book surprised me – in a good way. Not only does Jane deliver another solid book but she weaves philanthropy into the story bringing exposure to a must needed organization. This book warmed my heart. I can’t wait to discuss it with her in the next few weeks. I will post again after the discussion.

With so many of my must read authors releasing books this fall I have been trying to slowly read their books, knowing that I will have to wait at least a year for another book to be released. I didn’t plan to read Easy on the Eyes this week until I read that Jane is hosting an online book discussion. Click here for more information, the call was postponed so it’s not too late to join us!

Easy on the Eyes is the story about Tiana, a TV anchor in her late 30’s who has been told she should consider plastic surgery. With a younger co-anchor waiting in the wings Tiana is forced to re-evaluate her options knowing that management would like to add the younger anchor to the show to boost ratings. In addition to dealing with career decisions (should she hold true to her values), Tiana must come to terms with some personal baggage she has been holding on to, she’s attracted to someone she thinks is all wrong for her and some life changing decisions need to be made soon.

Be sure to visit Jane’s Blog to keep up with her

Type: Fiction, 332 pages, Trade Paperback

Synopsis:At 38, Tiana Tomlinson has made it. America adores her as one of the anchors of America Tonight, a top-rated nightly entertainment and news program. But even with the trappings that come with her elite lifestyle, she feels empty. Tina desperately misses her late husband Keith, who died several years before. And in a business that thrives on youth, Tina is getting the message that her age is starting to show and certain measures must be taken if she wants to remain in the spotlight. It doesn't help that at every turn she has to deal with her adversary—the devilishly handsome, plastic surgeon to the stars, Michael Sullivan. But a trip away from the Hollywood madness has consequences that could affect the rest of her life.

Review: Run at Destruction

It’s not a secret that I’m a runner and love to run so when Pump up your Book Promotions asked me if I was interested in this title I jumped at the chance to read it.

A little about Lynda Drews: Even though this is Lynda’s first book, she has inside knowledge about the victim and the accused. One of the book’s themes is the impact her best friend’s mysterious death has on Green Bay’s close-knit running community. Lynda and her husband, Jim, a retired teacher and guidance counselor, helped launch the local running movement. Green Bay now hosts the nation’s fifth largest 10K, attracting more than 15,000 participants.

I really enjoy reading memoirs and true stories – I have read so many stories about runners and running, they motivate me. This book is a little different – it’s less about running and more about friendship and community. A suspicious death rocks the group, and several members are asked to testify against a member of the running group. The author presents us with four unique scenarios of her friend's death - she refuses to reveal which one she herself accepts which keeps you wondering and longing for more.

A solid review from BN.COM: Lynda Drews was a close friend to Pam Bulik and they shared a love running-along with their husbands and friends. In 1984 when Pam failed to show up for a race, many begin to worry about her absence. It was later found that she was killed the very morning of the race she missed.

Run At Destruction goes through the days, weeks, and months after Bulik's death as seen through the eyes of a close friend. Drews gives a close look into the past of the Bulik marriage that was marred by infidelity, lies, and deceit. This is a no holds barred look into a marriage that was falling apart, the murder of a friend, and the suspicion aimed at her husband, Bob Bulik.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was so different from other true crime books in that you are reading in through the eyes of someone who knew the victim. Knew of their struggles and their highs. Lynda Drews paints a clear picture of the turmoil not only in her own family but in the runner's group both her and Pam Bulik belonged to as well as the entire town.

She paints a picture of what going through a trial feels like for all involved. Drews shows how the court system we all trust may be a bit flawed. If you like true crime books, I highly recommend this book. You will find yourself becoming attached to the author and the people of this book. This is a great read!

This book is getting 5 stars on BN.COM

Author Q&A:
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a Wisconsin native that’s been running for forty years and relishes the outdoors, whatever season. Now, with eight marathons under my belt, the sport remains one of my passions. My husband, Jim, and I helped start Green Bay’s local running movement where the city now hosts the fourth largest 10K. My former marketing career was global, allowing me to accumulate air miles. During each of my two son’s middle and high school years, I let them pick a one-on-one trip with just their mom. Yes, that was me, sitting in the first five rows of those 15 Dave Mathew’s Band concerts! As a freshman in college, I’d loved two basic studies courses – creative writing and introduction to computer science. In the seventies, the latter was an emerging field. Encouraged, I became the first graduate and was hired by IBM, putting my writing passion on the backburner until I retired in 2004. As a child, I’d been enamoured by any sort of mystery. I’d immediately turn to the High Life Magazine picture to discover the hidden objects on the page. I loved surprise balls - unrolling the ribbon of tissue paper to gradually reveal the trinkets inside. The Nancy Drew mystery series was my favorite and Clue was my game of choice. So it wasn’t surprising that after my best friend and running partner mysteriously drowned in her bathtub, I’d been bothered ever since. Recently I gave the commencement speech at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, my Alma Mater. One of the lessons I shared was to “journal your life.” When I retired, I followed my own advice. Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle is the outcome.
What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? I personally don’t own a kindle, though many of my friends do. People that travel seem to like this format, so they don’t have to lug books around. My book came out in Trade Paperback and also on Kindle. My sales on Amazon have been decent in this format. The Kindle version is actually much more lucrative for both my publisher and me since there are no print costs involved.

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? To find a publisher, you must be passionate and tenacious and, most importantly, willing to change. Take the constructive advice from the seemingly endless rejections to rework your book proposal and/or manuscript and resubmit again. In any profession, it is those people that are willing to adapt and even relish change that can defy the odds.

What are you reading now? One Thousand White Women – The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus. I Love reading books about strong women who break social constraints.

Lastly, share one or two of your all time favorite novels read, excluding classics: My favorite reads are Pillars of the Earth, Lonesome Dove, The Stand, Presumed Innocent, and The Pact.
Just for fun:- Favorite Season: Summer – still dressed in sweaty clothes from a run, I love to relax on our screened in porch, an ice tea within reach, while editing a manuscript and listening to the sounds of the river.
- Morning or night: Why do I have to pick? I love both… I’ve always been able to exist on a limited amount of sleep.
- Favorite ice cream flavor: Vanilla mixed with maraschino cherry juice poured from the jar. This is a childhood ritual established with my dad.
- If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: I would love travel to the countries that spawned me – it’s quite a mix! My paternal side journeyed in the 1600s from Holland to help found New Amsterdam, and my maternal side migrated from Ireland where an ancestor was head of the Protestant Church.
Synopsis:Deeply immersed in the close-knit culture of long-distance running, Pam and Bob Bulik were avid competitors. To all appearances, they were also a happily married couple, devoted to each other and their two young children. Then, Bob made a fateful decision. He began an extramarital affair that led to his wife's tragic death and to one of the most sensationalized and heavily attended trials in Green Bay's history.

Candidly written by Pam's best friend, Run At Destruction exposes the irresistible human passions that make us so vulnerable and the ultimate price we pay for choosing to act on them. You'll relive every detail of the crime and the exhaustive police investigation, and watch the courtroom drama from a front-row seat as a major homicde case unfolds in a small town where everyone knows all the players. Then, when you've heard all the evidence, you can decide for yourself - was Pam Bulik's death a terrible accident, intentional suicide, or premeditated murder?

Review: Off Season

This is the first novel I have read by writer Anne Rivers Siddons. She has written seventeen fictional books and has had a long career in writing and film.

From the author’s site: Off Season, is an examination of one woman's life and the loves that shaped her. It began a long time ago, when my goddaughter asked, "Where does love go when it dies?"

I've been thinking about that for a long time, and I have come to know many things about love between a man and a woman: that it is both tender and terrible, sweet and stormy, hurtful and healing, heartbreaking and heart-lifting. But the thing I'm surest about is that love endures. For a few special people, it does not die.

That's what I wanted to write about in Off Season, and I hope with all my heart you're going to like it. I think that Lilly's journey will speak to many of you one way or another, and it pleases me greatly to introduce her to you.

When Lily’s husband dies unexpectedly, she decides to spend the summer at their cottage to mourn on her own terms. We follow Lily as she reminisces of her youth, setting the foundation for her strong personality. Meeting Cam, trying to get her father’s approval and setting up a life for themselves are important to the story.

The book was a little slow paced for me and it was hard for me to come to terms with Lily having conversations with her cat (who talked back). It is just a book after all, I need to get over it!

I was reading reviews on BN.COM this morning and I agree with a few of them, the book should have concentrated more on Lilly and Cam's life together, since there are missing years we know nothing about.

Type: Fiction, 384 pages, Trade paperback

Synopsis:For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly—happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past—to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety— to try to figure out her future.It is a journey begun with tender memories and culminating in a revelation that will make Lilly re-evaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage.

Review: When She Flew

Thank you Jennie Shortridge and Penguin for sending me a copy of her new book. I was first introduced to Jennie earlier this year when the MMBC read Eating Heaven (one of my favorite books read this year).

From article: ...Portland is also the place where Shortridge found the inspiration for her new book, "When She Flew." It's set in a lightly fictionalized version of the city she calls Columbia and is based on a father and daughter who lived in Forest Park for several years before being discovered in 2004.

Like many people, Shortridge was "completely mesmerized" by the story of a man and his 12-year-old daughter, clean and well-behaved, who lived in a hidden camp and went into town for food and supplies. They were taken to live on a horse farm in Yamhill County by Michael Barkley of the Portland Police Bureau but slipped away after the man complained of media intrusions and worried that his daughter would be teased at school. Their whereabouts are unknown.
When She Flew is a fictional story, based on true events… twelve year old Lindy is spotted in the woods by a bird watcher. The novel follows a police search for Lindy and her father along with the aftermath of said search. As you read this book you not only read Lindy’s story but you also read the story from the view of Officer Jessica Villareal. The search and rescue forces Jessica to think through some life changing events in her own life and she starts to make some decisions about her future.

I absolutely fell in love with Lindy as she processed the events of the day and days after being found. You feel like you are in the woods with her as she describes her home, her cherished belongings, love for her father and the woods.

Take your time reading this one – Lindy is one of my favorite characters read in a long time.

Links worth visiting:- Interviews with Jennie
- Click here to read the MMBC discussion of Eating Heaven
Author Q&A

Type: Fiction, 352 pages, Trade paperback

Police officer Jessica Villareal has always played by the book and tried to do the right thing. But now, she finds herself approaching midlife divorced, estranged from her daughter, alone, and unhappy. And she's wondering if she ever made a right choice in her life.

But then Jess discovers a girl and her father living off the radar in the Oregon woods, avoiding the comforts-and curses-of modern life. Her colleagues on the force are determined to uproot and separate them, but Jess knows the damage of losing those you love. She recognizes her chance to make a difference by doing something she's never dared. Because even though she's used to playing by the rules, there are times when they need to be broken...

Review: Have a Little Faith

Have a Little Faith is the first book that showed up in my mailbox without knowledge it was coming. I have read every Albom book and his books hold a special place in my family. My son has read Tuesday’s with Morrie about 50 times! He was reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven on a family vacation which sparked a conversation with Mike Tyson (along with an autograph). I was excited to receive an ARC copy, thank you to the individual who sent this to me.

From the author’s website: Mitch Albom is an internationally renowned and best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. His books have collectively sold over 28 million copies worldwide; have been published in forty-one territories and in forty-two languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.

Tuesdays with Morrie is the chronicle of Mitch’s time spent with his beloved professor. As a labor of love, Mitch wrote the book to help pay Morrie’s medical bills. It spent four years on the New York Times Bestseller list and is now the most successful memoir ever published. His first novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, is the most successful US hardcover first adult novel ever. For One More Day, his most recent, debuted at No.1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and spent nine months on the list. In October 2006, For One More Day was the first book chosen by Starbucks in the newly launched Book Break Program, which also helped fight illiteracy by donating one dollar from every book sold to Jumpstart.

Albom profiles two people in this book: a rabbi who he has been asked to write a eulogy for and an inner-city convict turned pastor. The Rabbi and Pastor’s journeys to faith couldn’t be more different yet it’s the one thing that keeps them grounded. The change we see in one of the main characters in the book is something that we rarely see in this world.

I look forward to reading all of his books, Tuesday’s with Morrie might still be my favorite, but I also loved Five People you meet in Heaven. Have a Little Faith is a wonderful story, it reminds us to focus on what is important.

Type: Inspirational, 272 pages, Hardcover

What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together?
In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight year journey between two worlds – two men, two faiths, two communities – that will inspire readers everywhere.

Albom’s first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie was published twelve years ago, Have A Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an 82-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy.

Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor – a reformed drug dealer and convict – who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Mitch observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi, embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.

As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Mitch and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers and histories are different, Albom begins to realize a striking unity between the two worlds - and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.

In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor’s wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.

Review: Her Fearful Symmetry

I haven’t seen any reviews for Audrey Niffenegger’s new novel and am a little surprised (in the blogosphere). If you enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife I think you will love this one.

I do suggest you click through to the author’s website first – Highgate Cemetery is a real place and the photographs are amazing. They will provide a visual for the story.

From the author’s website: Audrey Niffenegger was born in 1963 in the idyllic hamlet of South Haven, Michigan. Her family moved to Evanston, Illinois when she was little; she has lived in or near Chicago for most of her life.

She began making prints in 1978 under the tutelage of William Wimmer. Miss Niffenegger trained as a visual artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and received her MFA from Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice in 1991. She has exhibited her artist’s books, prints, paintings, drawings and comics at Printworks Gallery in Chicago since 1987.

In 1997 Miss Niffenegger had an idea for a book about a time traveler and his wife. She originally imagined making it as a graphic novel, but eventually realized that it is very difficult to represent sudden time shifts with still images. She began to work on the project as a novel, and published The Time Traveler’s Wife in 2003 with the independent publisher MacAdam/Cage. It was an international best seller, and has been made into a movie.

I’m not going to summarize the storyline beyond what is provided below (see synopsis), if I talk about the details I might give something away. Her Fearful Symmetry is elegantly written, the story progresses at a slow detailed pace (I mean this in the best way possible), every word is on the page serves a purpose. The imagery is stunning, spellbinding.

I have mentioned this before, I'm a naïve reader. A writer’s perfect muse - I was eagerly awaited the twists and turns in this book. As I write this review, it’s definitely a top 5 read in 2009.

Please do not rush through this book, I took two weeks to read it – it’s worth taking in, absorbing, enjoying every page!

Click here to read a good author Q&A

Type: Fiction, 416 pages, Hardcover

Synopsis: Six years after the phenomenal success of The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger has returned with a spectacularly compelling and haunting second novel set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt; they only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers -- with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive former lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including -- perhaps -- their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry: about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life -- even after death.

Review: Earthly Pleasures

I just had to read this book after reading about it on a blog. What a fun idea for a story!

From Author’s website: Karen Neches was single for over twenty years. She used to tell people she was in the “hospice stage” of being single as she never expected to recover. Then at the age of forty-three she finally met her soul mate. Earthly Pleasures is dedicated to him. Neches also writes under the name Karin Gillespie and is the national bestselling author of The Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big-Ass Novel with Jill Conner Browne and three novels in the critically acclaimed Bottom Dollar Girl series. She’s founder of the forty author virtual tour The Girlfriend Circuit as well as the grog for Southern authors, A Good Blog is Hard to Find. She is a former lifestyle columnist for the Augusta Chronicle.
Skye is a hospitality greeter in heaven. She greets new arrivals, explaining all the wonderful things heaven has to offer. After being chosen to go to earth she takes classes to prepare her for her journey. The teachers lesson plan is based her belief that all you need to know on earth is found in the lyrics of Beatles songs.

This book was a pleasure to read, I had such a busy week and enjoyed carrying this with me to the doctors office, the gym, etc… Earthly Pleasures is a reality show, looking from heaven to the lives of the living. It’s on this show that Skye first sees Ryan Blaine. As the story progresses we follow Skye and Ryan’s journey. I loved all the characters and enjoyed trying to figure out the stories ending. If you are looking for a fun, flirty story this one’s for you.

The is an Author Q&A on Karen Neches website worth reading.

Type: Fiction, 320 pages, Trade paperback

Synopsis:When Skye Sebring, a hospitality greeter inside the pearly gates of Heaven, meets lawyer Ryan Blaine during his brush with death after a motorcycle accident, she falls so deeply in love that she follows him back to Earth, a world with strange customs she knows nothing about — until she discovers that all of life's lessons can be learned from the lyrics of five Beatles songs.

Review: Belong to Me

Thank you Bookclub Girl for sending me a copy of Belong to Me. This is my first book in the book challenge I am participating in this fall.

A little bit Marisa de los Santos background: The child of a general surgeon hailing from Cebu City, Philippines and a nurse hailing from Westminster, Maryland, Marisa de los Santos grew up in Baltimore and Northern Virginia. She was a happy if somewhat neurotic kid, and had a little sister, Kristina, whom she both antagonized and adored, usually at the same time.
Enamored of Louisa May Alcott, Helen Keller, Joan of Arc, and Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, Marisa read while skating, turning cartwheels, descending stairs, and/or bathing, sometimes with disastrous results.

Marisa found early success with the publication of her poetry collection, From The Bones Out. However, her son Charles soon arrived. Along with being handsome and brilliant, Charles screamed more than any baby on the planet. Three years later, Charles’s sister Annabel, also lovely and brilliant, also a maniac, made the scene. Their caterwauling, combined with Marisa’s distractingly large love for them, made mustering the concentration necessary for writing poetry difficult, so she produced less and less. That’s her story, anyway. (When in doubt, blame the kids.)

Around this time, Marisa started hearing a voice in her head. While this was initially a little weird, the voice turned out to belong to a fictional character, Cornelia Brown. Cornelia kept talking until Marisa was compelled to write Love Walked In.

Charles and Annabel turned out to be great kids.

This is story of Cornelia, her husband and life in the suburbs. We first met Cornelia in Love Walked In; if you enjoyed this book you will surely enjoy Belong to Me. The novel is told in different voices, women who become important to Cornelia. As you turn the pages you feel like you are listening to a friend share stories with you. You will believe the characters in this book, the daily struggles with friends, looking forward in life, health, children, marriage etc…

The story was beautiful and complicated, and happy and sad. You care about the people in the story, they become your friends for the length of the book, you laugh and cry when they do. At the back of the book, Marisa gives the slightest hint of someday writing Clare and Dev's story.

After you finish reading this book, be sure to click to BookClub Girl’s site and listen to her discussion with the author. I enjoy reading along with Jennifer and then getting to listen to the discussion, the books always have more meaning and I always like a book even more after listening.

Type: Fiction, pages, 388 pages, Trade paperback

Everyone has secrets. Some we keep to protect ourselves, others we keep to protect those we love.

A devoted city dweller, Cornelia Brown surprised no one more than herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to leave urban life behind and head for an idyllic suburb. Though she knows she and her beloved husband, Teo, have made the right move, she approaches her new life with trepidation and struggles to forge friendships in her new home. Cornelia's mettle is quickly tested by judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt. Perfectly manicured, impeccably dressed, and possessing impossible standards, Piper is the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she would find in suburbia. A saving grace soon appears in the form of Lake. Over a shared love of literature and old movies, Cornelia develops an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman who has also recently arrived in town, ostensibly to send her perceptive and brilliant son, Dev, to a school for the gifted.

Marisa de los Santos's literary talents shine in the complex interactions she creates between these three women. She deftly explores the life-altering roller coaster of emotions Piper faces as she cares for two households, her own and that of her cancer-stricken best friend, Elizabeth. Skillfully, de los Santos creates an enigmatic and beguiling character in Lake, who draws Cornelia closer even as she harbors a shocking secret. And from the first page until the exhilarating conclusion, de los Santos engages readers with Cornelia, who, while trying to adapt to her new surroundings, must remain true to herself. As their individual stories unfold, the women become entangled in a web of trust, betrayal,love, and loss that challenges them in ways they never imagined, and that ultimately teaches them what it means for one human being to belong to another.

Review: Moon River and Me

Thank you Penguin Group for sending me a copy of Andy Williams new memoir, Moon River and Me.

From the authors website: Williams’ story begins in Wall Lake, Iowa, where he and his siblings were encouraged by their ambitious father to form the singing group The Williams Brothers and bartered public performances for shoes, groceries and even their youngest brother’s funeral (they sang in the funeral parlor every day after school and all day Saturdays to pay off their debt). After moving to Los Angeles, the brothers gained a short-lived national following before Andy set off on a solo career, struggling for years until a regular spot on Steve Allen’s Tonight Show and a string of hit singles established his stardom.

In MOON RIVER AND ME, Williams shares all the highs and lows of this period—including the controversial and highly publicized shooting by his ex-wife Claudine Longet of her lover, skier Spider Sabich, and stories featuring his close friend Bobby Kennedy, Ronald Reagan (who declared him a national treasure), Judy Garland, John Huston, Jack Lemmon, Howard Hughes, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and countless others. Andy will be 82 when this memoir is published, and he's as energetic and popular as ever. In fact, he still performs throughout the year at his Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri.

I must confess, I know Andy Williams by name but I didn’t want much television as a child so unfortunately I don’t remember watching him perform on the Tonight Show (or other appearences).

This memoir is well written, it grabs you from the beginning pages when the author shares stories from his youth. Born in 1927, it was interesting to read about life and growing up in the Midwest along with the highs/lows in the entertainment business. Williams’ preformed with his brothers as a child, struggled on his own as a young man but it was a lucky break on Steve Allen’s Tonight Show that made him a household name.

I enjoyed reading the stories of all the celebrities, life as a musician/celebrity and the joy he has as he looks back on his career (and family).

Type: Memoir, 305 pages, Hardcover

A remarkable memoir by one of the most popular and beloved entertainers of the twentieth centuryWhen in the mid-1950s Andy Williams reached a low point in his career, singing in dives to ever-smaller audiences, the young man from Wall Lake, Iowa, had no inkling of the success he would one day achieve. Before being declared a national treasure by President Ronald Reagan, Williams would chart eighteen gold and three platinum albums, headline at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for more than twenty years, and host an enormously popular weekly television variety show whose Christmas specials still occupy a tender spot in every baby boomer's heart.

Williams knew everybody who was anybody during his seven remarkable decades in show business (including Judy Garland, John Huston, Jack Lemmon, John Lennon, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Barbra Streisand, among others) and was a close friend of Bobby Kennedy for many years, and he shares memories of them all in Moon River and Me. His millions of fans guarantee a huge audience for the autobiography of the plush baritone who- at the age of eighty-one-still draws thousands of fans to his Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri.

Review: The Sari Shop

When I saw this title listed on Pump up your book Promotions, I just had to read it. Thank you Dorothy for the opportunity to participate in Shoban’s book tour.

Shoban Bantwal’s background: I was born and raised in a large, conservative Hindu family in a small town called Belgaum in Southwestern India. I was the black sheep of the family, the only tomboy and hellion in a family of five girls. My four sisters were angels—good little Brahmin girls with the perfect mix of academic achievement, modesty and deportment. Needless to say, I single-handedly gave my parents every gray hair they possessed, but they were wonderful parents and to a large degree I owe everything I am today to them. The most valuable things they gave me were an outstanding education and the love of reading.An arranged marriage to a man who happened to live in the U.S. brought me to New Jersey several years ago. After giving birth to a daughter and acquiring a second master’s degree in Public Administration from Rider University, I started working for a government agency, where I continue to work.
In the opening pages of this novel we learn that Anjali and her parents own a Sari shop, the store is not turning a profit and that Uncle Jeevan is coming to the rescue. Anjali, widowed after just a few years of marriages, returns home to help her parents with the Sari Shop. She makes beautiful custom garments and is in change of buying most of the stores items. We follow Anjali and her family as they try to turn around the business. Uncle Jeevan has unexpectedly brought his business for what started as a week long visit. To complicate matters, Anjali is torn between making her family proud and becoming the woman she want to become. This is a theme throughout the novel and reminds us of the strong bond within the indian culture.

I enjoyed learning about the family dynamics in the Indian culture while reading this story. The author’s writing style helps you along, you feel you are listening to Anjali share her tale. This was s great weekend read, an interesting and charming story that I would pass this along to a friend.

Author Q&A
Tell us a little about yourself:
My writing career began as a “menopausal epiphany.” Along with hot flashes, insomnia, hair loss, and mood swings came a sudden and unexpected urge to write stories in my middle age. What started as an absorbing hobby turned into a second full-time occupation. I now have a day job which is quite demanding and a writing career that is equally so. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to be sure I am not dreaming all this. My loving family keeps me grounded and supports me through the ups and downs of being a published author.

Do you write daily? Unfortunately I am not a disciplined writer, so I write when the mood strikes. But when the creative juices are not flowing, I try to edit what I have already written.

What was it like getting your first novel published? Since I more or less stumbled into creative writing, I was a naïve and clueless beginner in 2004. I had no idea about querying agents, or what would appeal to a publisher. I just began to write what interested me, women’s fiction with romantic elements, but brimming with Indian cultural elements and characters. My books did not fit into any genre. They were what I call “Bollywood in a Book,” which encompasses mainstream, women’s fiction, romance, drama, and a bit of everything. I was stunned when after several rejections a reputable agent signed me on and Kensington Publishing offered me a two-book contract. THE DOWRY BRIDE was my first book, which really started out as a short story but I decided to expand into a full-length novel. The journey from wide-eyed novice to multi-published author has been fun but scary, fulfilling but challenging.

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? While I prefer the feel of a good old-fashioned hard copy book in my hands, I believe e-book readers are a sign of the future of book publishing. As the concept of a green economy gains momentum, Kindles, Sony Readers and such gizmos that use no paper will become the norm. I bet they will become smaller and more powerful, just like cell phones, watches, computers, and all other electronics that went from big and clunky to small and sleek and full of awesome features. Then everyone will tuck a little e-reader in their pocket and read whenever and wherever they want to.

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? I would say to aspiring writers: write what you like and write from your heart. With so many sub-genres appearing every year, whatever you create (written well of course) is likely to catch on eventually. I never thought my books would ever see the light of day, but readers send me wonderful feedback about how much they like my books, mainly because they are different. So keep on plugging away.

What are you reading now? Nora Roberts’s TRIBUTE. I am a huge Nora fan.

Lastly, share one or two of your all time favorite novels read, excluding classics: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, The Genesis Code by John Case
Just for fun:Favorite Season: Spring. I love its wealth of flowers and its promise of warm sunshine and balmy breezes.
Morning or night: Morning, especially a sunny morning.
Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: Greek Islands

To contact me or learn more about my books, author events, book trailer video, recipes, short stories, and sign up for my newsletter, visit my website

Click here to read another author interview

Type: Fiction, 352 pages, Trade paperback

Pungent curry…sweet fried onions…incense…colorful beads…lush fabrics. Shobhan Bantwal's compelling new novel is set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey's Little India, where a young businesswoman rediscovers the magic of love and family…
Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents' sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison's bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…

To the rescue comes Anjali's wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah—a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he's Indian. Rishi's cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn't felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual…

Love disappointed Anjali once before and she's vowed to live without it—though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi's past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth…

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