For those readers who enjoy politics and history, businessman, political pundit and blog reader,  Gary S. is my "go to" person for reviews. Recently he commented on Killing Reagon: The Violent Assault that Changed a Presidency by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. 

Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard are a well known team with many successful best sellers. Gary S. actually personally knows Dugard, an accomplished historian and political author. Dugard lives in California and allegedly is responsible for most of the writing....no surprise there....

Here's what Gary S. had to say.....

I finished Killing Reagan and would classify it as basically a biography of Reagan from his Hollywood days until he died. The assassination attempt played a small part in the book. There was no mention of his economic theories of 'trickle down' by cutting taxes for the rich. I thought it was really interesting but was definitely leaning towards the conservative narrative, that he was a great leader. The book focused very heavily on his dementia while in office and after he retired......
Definitely a good read.

Order now directly from this blog. Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.


If Stephen King recommends this thriller it must be good...Right?!? Actually it sounds like a welcome departure from a lot of the disappointing books I've been reading. Critics called The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore "a unique and fast paced psychological thriller that keeps the reader guessing right up to the end."  At the very least, it belongs on my super long TBR LIST.......

Here's what Bookish.com said....


The Poison Artist

Stephen King called this thriller by Jonathan Moore“terrifying,” so consider yourself warned. Toxicologist Caleb Maddox is not having a good night. His girlfriend threw a glass tumbler at his head during a fight that effectively ended their relationship. He’s nursing his wounds (literally and figuratively) at a bar when he catches sight of a mysterious woman named Emmeline. They talk in hushed and seductive tones, but she leaves before he can find out more about her. But when he goes to search for her the next day, he gets caught up in the hunt for a murderer who is using poison to kill. As he hunts for both the serial killer and the seductress, Caleb’s world begins to unravel.


It's not coming out until May and if you're a Louise Erdich fan, it's worth the wait!  What an interesting premise....another compelling read by this prize winning author..By the way, I've never liked her books...but may try this one...Keep tuned....

La Rose by Louise Erdrich

Paul Emmell


Louise Erdrich’s stunning new novel LaRose opens with an unforgivable tragedy: In the summer of 1999, a North Dakota man accidentally shoots and kills his neighbor’s youngest son — a boy who is also his own son’s best friend. In penance, he gives up his son LaRose to the grief-stricken neighbor’s family. Luminous and deeply affecting, LaRose examines the fragile bond between two heartbroken families and the complexities of justice, loss, healing, and redemption.(Buzzfeed.com)

On January 12th, THE LIGHTKEEPERS, a debut  novel by Abby Geni was released. It's without a doubt a page turning mystery and critics were impressed with the superb writing style and original format. 


Abby Geni’s debut novel The Lightkeepers is as wild as the landscape it describes: A nature photographer embarks on a one-year residency in an isolated, dangerous archipelago of islands off the Californian coast, only to encounter violence and a set of companions she cannot trust. Mysterious, vivid, and original, The Lightkeepers will quickly ensnare readers in its cruelly beautiful world.(Buzzfeed.com)


Look who sent me a letter..my BFF Elizabeth!  What a coincidence!  Just started her new book.....

Dear Joyce,

My Name Is Lucy Barton was a different kind of book for me, and writing it surprised me. While I hope for all my books to provide the reader with a kind of intimate experience this one seems particularly available for that, I think.


My Name is Lucy Barton

To re-invent the self has always been a terribly American idea, and I was interested in this, and I was also interested in class lines in this country. And so Lucy begins her life in real poverty, as an outcast, and moves through life until she is arguably an upper-middle class woman living in New York City. How much, or how little, she has really been able to escape, is a question for the reader to think about.

It came to me recently that I always write for a reader who “needs” the book at whatever time in their life it arrives. And readers will always—and should—bring their own story to the story they are reading, and so it becomes, essentially, a different book for every reader. I hope you enjoy My Name is Lucy Barton, that it gives you a momentary vision of life perhaps larger than what you had before.

Elizabeth Strout


According to the Wall Street Journal, winter is a relatively quiet season for book publishers, a time when they can introduce gems that might otherwise be lost in fall’s crush of literary heavyweights. The buzziest titles this season range from family dramas to ghost stories and most are included on this blog.
Among the most notable are the latest novel from Pulitzer Prize-winner Elizabeth Strout reviewed in an earlier post and The Expatriates by Janice Y.K.Lee, described below.

‘The Expatriates’ by Janice Y.K..Lee, Jan. 12

Janice Y.K.Lee's debut novel in 2009, “The Piano Teacher,” a tale of two love affairs in midcentury Hong Kong, was a runaway hit, selling more than 400,000 copies in the U.S., according to her publisher. Viking is hoping for a repeat performance with “The Expatriates.” The new work, set in present day Hong Kong, looks at three women whose lives cross paths in the city’s insular expat community.


Goodreads.com let BuzzFeed Books know which books its users were most pumped about in 2016.  Below are two titles getting a lot of buzz, based on amount of people adding them to their “to-read” shelves.

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

Geoff Howe


Genre: Fiction
What it’s about: This is Martel’s first novel from the Life of Pi writer since 2010, and it takes the reader to Portugal for an epic story told over the course of almost 100 years: in 1904, when a young man discovers a journal that leads him on a trip to find an ancient artifact; to 1939, when a pathologist finds himself implicated in the result of that young man’s search; to 1989, when the quest comes to a surprising end in a northern village, where a Canadian senator is mourning his late wife.
When it comes out: February 2 (Pre-order from the Amazon Searchbox in the Sidebar)

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


Renee Hollingshead


Genre: Historical fiction
What it’s about: Dray and Kamoie dive deep in this extensive, thoroughly-researched story of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson — a woman who held the secrets of her father close to her, and had to make sacrifices of her own for the sake of his reputation and legacy.
When it comes out: March 1 (Pre-order from the Amazon Searchbox in the Sidebar)


We've heard the nightmarish tales of celebrity children. In this case, author Juan Thompson's life ended up nothing like that of his parents.  His father, famous author...or infamous as some would say, was Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

From the beginning, it's very clear this is an honest and heartfelt depiction of his addicted and dysfunctional parents....a touching memoir....definetly worth reading...

Here's a description from Bookish.com

Stories I Tell Myself

Have you ever wondered what it was like growing up with Hunter S. Thompson as a father? Wonder no longer. Here, his son Juan Thompson describes the growth of their relationship and how they reforged a strong father-son bond after a period of anger and silence. Juan’s childhood was far from normal and readers won’t find themselves bored with stories of LSD parties, motorcycle rides, and Hells Angels. But what is even more engaging is the story of a boy growing into a man and finding common ground with his father. There were moments of fear and loathing, but in the end there was also love.


 Get a jump on what's new in 2016....Read something that's not your norm, read more thoughtfully...try new genres...Read something you think you'll hate..

Here's some suggestions from Bookpage.com

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
By Katarina Bival

Already a bestseller in the author’s native Sweden, this is the kind of story most book lovers will find irresistible. After two years of corresponding with an elderly resident of tiny Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara Lindqvist makes the trip from Sweden only to discover that her pen pal has died, leaving behind a large collection of books. Sara's efforts to put the books to good use—and connect with the townspeople of Broken Wheel—is a touching homage to small-town life and the power of reading.

American Housewife cover

American Housewife
By Helen Ellis

Ellis serves up a perfectly seasoned story collection that reveals the darker side of domesticity. Told in a range of styles and voices, these stories include an unforgettable introduction to a book club—narrated in a manic monologue that recalls Dorothy Parker—and the pointedly hilarious “Southern Lady Code.” Readers will enjoy getting lost in this surreal, sensationally funny set of stories.

The following book titled The Portable Veblen is something I typically wouldn't read, but giving it a try...stay tuned.....
Portable Veblen cover

The Portable Veblen
By Elizabeth McKenzie

A book that takes the name of its leading character from economist Thorstein Veblen, who created the concept of “conspicuous consumption,” might sound like a bit of a slog. But this quirky novel is anything but, as indicated by that perky squirrel on the cover. The squirrel takes up residence in the home of our heroine, Veblen, a free spirit who is newly engaged to an ambitious young doctor. When Veblen decides that the squirrel is trying to communicate with her, the story takes off into uncharted—and often hilarious—territory.


Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is debuting a new book January 12th...hopefully as good as her others. I loved Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, both illuminating and extraordinary reads...(See, I'm not always negative) 
Hopefully MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON will be a cause for celebration.

REMINDER: Get a copy directly from this blog. Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.

Here's what Goodreads.com said.....

My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton

by Elizabeth Strout
A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. 
Praise for Elizabeth Strout
“Strout has a magnificent gift for humanizing characters.” —San Francisco Chronicle 
“What truly makes Strout exceptional . . . is the perfect balance she achieves between the tides of story and depths of feeling.”—Chicago Tribune 
“[Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion.” —USA Today 
“Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force.” —The New Yorker 
“[Strout’s] themes are how incompletely we know one another, how ‘desperately hard every person in the world [is] working to get what they need,’ and the redemptive power in little things—a shared memory, a shock of tulips.”People
Hardcover208 pages
Expected publication: January 12th 2016 by Random House (first published January 6th 2016)
Get a copy:



What happened? I could barely endure three chapters of Grisham's newest book....tedious, predictable, and just plain uninteresting....Maybe it's me....but maybe it's him!!! The verdict is in...this book is guilty of blandness and sentenced to ho-humsville.

ROGUE LAWYER By John Grisham

“There are plenty of people who’d like to kill me right now,” grumbles Sebastian Rudd, the rogue lawyer in question. He carries a gun, works out of his car, and sleeps in a different hotel room every week, precisely because he runs up against so many bad guys who mean him harm. Some of them are cops. Why? Because Sebastian, though jaded and cynical, as literary lawyers are required to be, apparently still believes in justice, for which reason, accompanied by a bodyguard named Partner (“a hulking, heavily armed guy who wears black suits and takes me everywhere”), he finds himself in a podunk burg where a client is fighting for his life against the charge that he’s brutally murdered two little girls in a spectacularly gruesome crime. 

Natch, spectacular gruesomeness being another sine qua non for the bestselling crime novel. Indirection and misdirection abound, with lots of talky exposition, the requisite maverick-y norm-flouting (“At this precise moment, I am violating the rules of ethics and perhaps a criminal statute as well”), and the usual sarcastic world-weariness (“The jurors don’t believe any of this because they have known for some time that Gardy was a member of a satanic cult with a history of sexual perversion”). 

All this is to be expected in a genre bound by convention as tightly as our perp bound the ankles of his victims, but the reader can see most of the mystery coming from a long way off, making the yarn less effective than most. And the clich├ęs pile on a bit too thickly, from the large-breasted moll to the bored judge who dozes at the bench.

One wonders if Grisham weren’t sleeping through some of this as well. Whatever the case, one of his lesser cases.



I just returned from fourteen days basking in the warmth of the Caribbean. I planned to do a lot of reading but was mostly distracted by fabulous surroundings, family, food, cocktails and lots of  memorable moments! 

When I finally focused (Thankyou Xanax), I finished Sue Grafton's X which was okay...Started The Turner House, a National Book Award nominee which was fair...and finished Mayoumi and the Sea of Happiness, a sensual, depressing, beautifully written romp...which did hold my interest! (New author Jennifer Tseng is one to watch....)

So here's what's coming out January 5th according to www.bookreporter.com
You can pre-order now directly from this blog. Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.

AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi (Psychological Thriller/Mystery)
A night flight from Istanbul bound for Paris, filled with 169 holiday travelers, plummets into the Swiss Alps. The sole survivor is a three-month-old girl who is thrown from the plane onto the snowy mountainside before fire rages through the aircraft. But two infants were on board. Is the miracle baby Lyse-Rose or Emilie? Both families step forward to claim the child...one poor, one wealthy and dangerous...

THE GUEST ROOM by Chris Bohjalian (Fiction)
When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard’s life rapidly spirals into nightmare.

THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley by Eric Weiner (Travel/Memoir)
In THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS, acclaimed travel writer Eric Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places --- like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou and Silicon Valley --- to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. And he walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo and Leonardo remains.


Two books recommended by Goodreads are part of the many books that are going on vacation with me. I may not be posting as much as I'll be busy sipping tropical drinks by the pool for a few weeks. So if I can stay "focused"... I plan to do a lot of reading and will return with an profusion of good book info.

If you're going on a stay-cation or a vacation, here's two new releases to read over the holidays.

The Age of Reinvention

Identity, prejudice, and deception are at the heart of this bestselling French novel about an impoverished Tunisian immigrant in Paris who steals his Jewish friend's identity and reinvents himself as a top New York lawyer.

The Short Drop

by Matthew Fitzsimmons (Goodreads Author)

A decade ago Suzanne Lombard, the teenage daughter of a powerful U.S. politician now campaigning for the presidency, disappeared. Enter hacker Gibson Vaughn, Suzanne's childhood friend, who embarks on a dangerous new quest to find her.

Have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, food, joy and peace...and of course lots of good books!


If you're looking for a great non-fiction book, DEAD WAKE by award winning author Erik Larson is an exciting story of the sinking of the Lusitania. It's a tale that many of us are familiar with and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly. It brings to life a cast of unforgettable characters, sheer drama and a riveting account of one of the most tragic events of WW1....a perfect gift for the non-fiction reader in your life.

Kirkus Reviews selected DEAD WAKE as one of the best non-fiction books of 2015. 

DEAD WAKE by Erik Larson
Kirkus Star
by Erik Larson

"An intriguing, entirely engrossing investigation into a legendary disaster. Compared to Greg King and Penny Wilson's Lusitania (2014), also publishing to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking, Larson's is the superior account."
 Read full book review >


Buzzfeed Books is an online site for all things books including what, when, and who to read. It's geared to any kind of reader and is continuously updated with the latest in literature.
Today they released their take on best fiction of 2015. Most of them you've heard of but here's two that quietly slipped under the radar. For the complete list go to http://buzzfeeds.com

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Riverhead Books


Infinite Home follows the residents of a Brooklyn brownstone as they come together and fall apart: a depressed comedian, an artist recovering from a stroke, a beautiful young recluse, a man with Williams syndrome cared for by his sister, and the landlady. The home that these tenants create is as fragile as it is beautiful; when the landlady’s encroaching dementia and her shark of a son threaten that community, they must band together to keep what stability they have.

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

LaToya T. Duncan


The Turner House is the story of the Turners, a family who has lived in their house on Detroit’s East Side for half a century, weathering immense changes along the way. Flournoy’s National Book Award–nominated debut does an incredible job of bringing both a family and a city to vibrant, poignant life.