Monday, November 12, 2012

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch

4 out of 5

Julia Pandl's wonderful account of growing up in the Pandl family restaurant, Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, is a touching tribute to her parents and particularly to her eccentric father, George, who was chief cook but not bottle washer. There has to be a lot of humor in large family and hers is no exception. Being the youngest of nine children, Julia was left with her parents in an empty nest just when she was getting into the family restaurant business.

This is a very personal memoir about all the quirks and foibles of a family that is self supporting and at the same time dysfunctional in many ways.  However, aren't we all.  It is a great picture of how families make the best of situations and come together the good of the whole when possible.

Julia's father taught all his children some valuable lessons, good and bad, and I enjoyed the funny as well the sad parts of their story.

I believe that Ms. Pandl has the ability to tell a funny and heart warming story whether, fact or fiction, I hope that is this is not her last attempt at story telling.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Night Watch

5 out of 5

Well, Ms. Linda Fairstein, has certainly done it again with her new Alexandra Cooper mystery novel, Night Watch.  

This is the latest in the series and it does not fail to pull you into the world of law and order in New York City, and France, since Alexandra is still in a relationship with Luc.  Having read the entire series, I think this is by far her most complex and entertaining story so far.  There is still a lot of history to hold your interest. This time the history is of many of the great upscale restaurants of New York, and the famous or infamous, as the case may be, that own or patronize them.   The story line takes lots of twists and turns with two different story tracks unfolding side by side.  The similarity of the first story line is uncanny or "maybe not". to the well-known real story of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. However, it gives an inside look at what can happen in a case where truth seems to flit around and not always land on the most important facts.

  All the regulars are are still on the scene, but she leaves us with a cliff hanger at the end to make us yearn for the next book in the series. I know I am yearning.   Don't look to me to give it away, I don't do spoilers.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Good House

5 out 5

I would give it a 10 out of 5 if that was possible.

Wow, oh, wow!!  This latest book, The Good House, by Ann Leary hooks you in the first few pages.  You don't even know you are getting pulled in until you look at the clock or the page you are on.  If you start early, it can be a one sitting book, but that does not mean it is fluffy.  By no means fluffy.  I wanted to finish it but I did not want it to end.  This is the first Leary novel I have read, so now I will have to go search out the others and put them in the TBR pile.

I don't believe in writing spoilers especially on a book that is not out yet.  It is suffice to say that Ann Leary has hit the mark with this story on so many different levels.   You may know a "Hilda (called Hildy) Good", you may live in New England, or you may know an alcoholic, but you will learn something new about each in this book either through the humor or the hard hitting reality of the characters. I look forward to talking and sharing my take with others once they have consumed it.  

So sorry you have to wait until January 2013 to share in this wonderful read.  Order an advance copy as a Christmas present and then be prepared to devote the time to read in one sitting after the holiday rush.  You will be glad you did.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The End of Your Life Book Club

5 out of 5

 It was a pleasure to meet Mary Ann Schwalbe even if was for a very short time at the end of her life.    I would have loved to have known her during the rest of her life.   She had a beautiful spirit and outlook on humanity.   There are a lot of lessons to take away from this wonderful memoir, The End of Your Life Book Club.   Will Schwalbe has bared his heart and love for his mother, and her life.     He has also shared with us the love of books that she instilled in her children and others around her.  

Maybe I loved this book because the values that she carried and passed on to her children were much the same as ones that we learned as kids from my parents.   Or maybe it was her simple unadorned love of books and the need she had to share her opinion, or passion of the topic with others.   Whatever the pull was, I completely fell into this story, the discussion of some books that I have loved as well, and a recommendation of some that I will now have to read as a result of her enthusiasm for the story.

 Will’s love for his Mom comes out over and over again.   He admired not only how she had lived her life and the service she gave to refugees, students, women and children around the world, but he was a witness to how she was choosing to live the end of her life and loved her even more for that.

 Mary Ann gives out a lot of advice for anyone who will come in contact with a loved one or friend who is dealing with a terminal illness.      I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to read this book early, and that I will be able to share it with my friends.   Some may want to compare this book with other memoirs about death and the loss of an immediate family member; however, I believe this memoir is about life.

 Thank you, Will Schwalbe for giving us this extraordinarily personal gift.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Carry the One

5 out of 5

We all know that a single event can have a lifelong impact on us and may have a different impact on us than it does in others, however, Carol Anshaw has taken a single event and delved deeply into the impact it had a group of friends and family who experienced it and how it changed all of their lives.

Carry The One, her latest novel,due out in March, is sure to be a page turner for many this year. The skill that Ms. Anshaw has at taking the complexity of each character and blending them together, on top of, around, and under each other is masterful. As you wind your way through this story of two sisters, a brother, their extended families, you become a part of them, you wonder how the event would have affected you, and what long term effects it would have had on your life.

Five people leave a wedding party after a long night of partying. They most certainly should have stayed but didn’t, each for their own reasons. While driving down a lonely country road, they hit and kill a child who happens to be in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night.

The secret is not in the event, but in the spell that is cast and holds you throughout the book to show how lives change or don’t change, how they separate or come closer together. A wonderful, astute look at what life can hand you and what you choose to do with it or allow it to do to you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fabric by Fabric One Yard Wonders

5 out 5

Fabric by Fabric One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker, and Patricia Hoskins, the second One Yard Wonders book by them covering many types of fabrics, is simply fabulous. The range of patterns for little people and big people, for yourself as well as a plethora of gift ideas, is amazing. When I say gift, I mean after I make one for myself. I lost count of how many projects I wanted to make. In fact when I first started reviewing this book, I had a momentary lapse and ran out to the fabric store to pick up a copy so I could make a few of the baby items since we have two new grandbabies. Silly me, I said as I realized only after I was there that I was reviewing a book that wasn't due out until December.

This book will definitely be mine before Christmas, I just hate I won't have time to make any of the items for presents. Well, I can get ready for all the birthdays.

The book has great references for fabric, needle use according to the fabric, a glossary, and is in sections by the different types of fabric. There is a bio of each of the pattern designers, which is great since many times there are other patterns that they have created. This book will be an instant best seller.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Salon

I am at the decision crossroads, and I need some help. I am going to be gifted my choice of an iPad, a Kindle, a Sony Reader or any other device that I want to use to read books on. I know there are many other things I can do on the iPad that I can't do on the e Readers, but I have also read all the pros and cons about the screen viewing on the Kindle for book reading vs. devices that have backlighting. Is there anyone out there that owns multiple devices, that can critique them against one another for me? I currently read a few ebooks on my laptop with Adobe Editions and I am comfortable with it but I still like holding a book and being able to be in different positions while reading.

My reading has been catch as catch can this week. I am diving into The Foreigners tonight, Maxine Swann's new novel to be released August 18, 2011. I am very excited by this book, and even my husband was interested which is extremely, and I do mean extremely rare, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.