Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Summer House

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Summer House
By Nancy Thayer
Publication Date: June 23

From Amazon:

"At 30, Charlotte Wheelwright remains the dreamer she’s always been. But when she begins an organic garden on a portion of her grandmother’s land, Charlotte learns to plant her feet in solid ground and begins to build a new life. More often than not, 90-year-old Nona Wheelwright contentedly spends her time reminiscing about days gone by. But with her family’s annual reunion and financial meeting looming, Nona must give up her days of quiet solitude to soothe her easily riled up family. For decades Charlotte’s mother, Helen, who married into the illustrious Wheelwright family, has been pressured to adhere to their way of life. But when, during the course of the family’s annual summer retreat, she discovers her husband’s betrayal, Helen wonders if she sacrificed her dreams for the wrong reasons."

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Review: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

"There is logic and order to cooking. What you put into it has everything to do with what you get out of it. With love, it's not so cut-and-dried."

In I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, a delicious and funny memoir, author Giulia Melucci, a New York magazine and book publishing PR exec, recounts the ups and downs of her romantic life, detailing the men she has dated and the food she cooked for them. It's a candid and unflinching account of a single girl's quest to find a husband...and finding herself along the way.

The book is divided into chapters by relationship, and the men are as quirky as they come. If they were presented as characters in a novel, they would be immediately dismissed as unbelievable. In a memoir, however, it makes for great in, "you just couldn't make this up if you tried." There are early red flags with each man, but Melucci's desire to be a part of a couple clouds her judgment every time.

She truly adopted the old adage of getting to a man's heart through his stomach and showed her love and affection for the men in her life through her talents in the kitchen, with some more appreciative than others.

One section, in particular, stood out to me as the best summarization of Melucci's approach to relationships:

"Thing was, I had a remarkable ability for turning any picture into the picture I wanted to see: me with a husband. My imagination had the flexibility of a thirteen-year-old Chinese gymnast."

I read this book in one sitting...not intentionally, but every time I went to put it down, I opted for "just one more chapter." While humorous, it is also sad, as we witness the author getting her heart broken again and again. But, each time, she picks herself up and dusts herself off, ever the optimist that the next one would be "the one." Also, the recipes are delectable (I'm trying her gnocchi with simple sauce of tomato and butter this week).

Friday, April 24, 2009

For the Love of...Food Memoirs

Anyone who follows this blog knows that my primary concentration is on newly released women's hardcover fiction...but I'm also a sucker for a good food memoir.

Two new ones hit the shelves this spring: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci and A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. I can't wait to read them, and it made me think about my five all-time favorites:

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee
Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser

If you're a foodie, is there one I've left off the list? Have a favorite of your own?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Sometimes Mine

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Sometimes Mine
By Martha Moody
Publication Date: August 6

From Publishers Weekly:

"Doctor-novelist Moody again zooms in to examine the many facets, features and fissures of a relationship, this time in the story of Genie Toledo, an Ohio cardiologist who has a 12-year-long affair with a married college basketball coach. From medical technology to billing bureaucracy, saving lives to losing patients, Moody shows the demands of medical practice and then treats readers to an almost equal display of insight into the world of college basketball as Genie's lover, Mick Crabbe, prods and nurtures his team to national prominence. When Mick is diagnosed with cancer, Genie becomes further enmeshed with his family. Moody probes new layers of emotion and personal connection as Genie comes to understand the intangible aspects of the human heart. "

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Library Loot: 4-16

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by A Striped Armchair and Out of the Blue that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Here's what came into my house this week:

Love Or Something Like It by Deirdre Shaw

Life Without Summer by Lynne Griffin

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice

I'm almost done with The Stepmother. Any suggestions on which of these I should pick as my next read?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Come Sunday

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Come Sunday
By Isla Morley
Publication Date: May 26

From Amazon:

"Abbe Deighton is a woman who has lost her bearings. Once a child of the African plains, she is now settled in Hawaii, married to a minister, and waging her battles in a hallway of monotony. There is the leaky roof, the chafing expectations of her husband’s congregation, and the constant demands of motherhood. But in an instant, beginning with the skid of tires, Abbe’s battlefield is transformed when her three-year-old daughter is killed, triggering in Abbe a seismic grief that will cut a swath through the landscape of her life and her identity. Come Sunday is a novel about searching for a true homeland, family bonds torn asunder, and the unearthing of decades-old secrets."

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Review: A Reliable Wife

"Country Businessman Seeks Reliable Wife. Compelled by Practical, not Romantic Reasons. Reply by Letter."

So reads the advertisement that Ralph Truitt places in several newspapers in his quest to find a wife. While he's a wealthy and successful Wisconsin business owner, Ralph has endured more than his fair share of tragedy in his life, losing his wife and two children...and never fully recovering or finding love again.

But when Catherine Land steps off the train, Ralph realizes that she isn't the girl from the photo, the girl he so carefully selected for her plain, simple looks. And, the rocky start to their first day together doesn't end there. On the way home, their horse-drawn carriage nearly collides with a deer, and Ralph suffers life-threatening injuries.

Over the next few days, Catherine nurses him back to health, and a bond forms between the two, despite the lie that started their relationship. Ralph soon unveils his true purpose for his "reliable wife" and the mission on which he wants her to embark. But, there's more to Catherine than meets the eye, too, and her own intentions (and complicated past) are equally surprising.

This was a compelling and engaging novel, full of twists at nearly every turn. Through evocative descriptions, author Robert Goolrick takes us to early 1900s winter in Wisconsin and through both the high-class and down-and-dirty streets of St. Louis.

Ralph and Catherine's relationship is, at times, difficult to realistically understand through its peaks and valleys, but, ultimately, it's the deception and suspense that truly propel this book forward to its dramatic end.

Note: This book topped the Today Show's list of the 10 best spring reads. You can see the entire list here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Library Loot: 4-10

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by A Striped Armchair and Out of the Blue that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Waveland by Frederick Barthelme

The Last Secret by Mary McGarry Morris

Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson

Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton

All the Living by C. E. Morgan

I also picked up A Reliable Wife, which I'm almost through with and really enjoying...full of twists and turns.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Perfect Life

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Perfect Life
By Jessica Shattuck
Publication Date: August 3

From Amazon:

"Two years ago, Neil Banks walked into a bathroom in the Pacific Fertility Center to provide his former college girlfriend, Jenny Callahan, with the biological material needed to conceive a child. Becoming a father was not part of the deal: adrift in his postmodern Los Angeles lifestyle, he signed away all paternity rights. But on the day of the baby’s christening, Neil turns up at the church. His unexpected—and unauthorized—return to Jenny’s privileged East Coast world sends a shockwave through the families of Jenny and her two college roommates—and sets off this deeply funny and keenly observed novel about fertility, love, and American excess."

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Upcoming Reviews

Lest those who follow my blog think that I haven't been reading (just posting WoW entries!), rest assured. I have been reading and reading and reading...and not reviewing!

Stay tuned for reviews on the following books to come over the next few days:

  • Very Valentine
  • Addition
  • Everyone Is Beautiful
  • The Cradle
  • The Girl She Used to Be
Fellow bloggers...ever get in this pattern?? I've been reading some great books, but instead of putting my thoughts immediately down on the blog, I'm picking up another book from the stack.

My book cup runneth over! :)

"Waiting On" Wednesday: South of Broad

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

South of Broad
By Pat Conroy
Publication Date: August 11
From Random House:

"Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for."

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).