Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at Bermudaonion where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Join in by writing a post and then add your link to Mr. Linky at Bermudaonion.

Final WWW post using words from THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwin.  Information from the Oxford Dictionaries (Online)

Punctilious:  punc·til·i·ous –  Showing great attention to detail or correct behavior.

‘Oh yes, Augusta was punctilious in letting me know about that,’ Charlotte replied.

Trenchant:  trench·ant – Vigorous or incisive in expression or style.

Augusta, realizing that her mother was going to support Middleton so long as there was a chance of being introduced to the Empress, took up her place at the piano and gave her own trenchant version of a Chopin nocturne.

Kedgeree:  ked·ger·ee  (kejəˌrē) –   A European dish consisting chiefly of fish, rice, and hard-boiled eggs.

Charlotte went into the breakfast room, where the footmen were setting out chafing dishes of eggs and bacon, deviled kidneys, and kedgeree.
the fortune hunter

Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman

  • cancel the wedding (Aug5)Title:  Cancel the Wedding: A Novel
  • Author:  Carolyn Dingman
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction; Southern
  • Published:  August 2014 – Harper Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit—so why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?

Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job, and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her fourteen-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads South on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother.

As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life—truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past—and say yes to her own desire to start over?  (publisher)

My take:  Cancel the Wedding is the story of Olivia Hughes and her search for answers about her mother. Her search takes her to Tillman, Georgia where her mother grew up. It is there that, with the help of her niece and a very helpful local newspaperman, Olivia starts to figure out the mystery of her mother’s early life.

Carolyn Dingman filled her story with charming and eccentric characters. The story was funny at times and emotionally charged at others. Olivia needed to find answers in her own life as well as her mother’s. She knew she wasn’t headed in the right direction where her personal life was concerned so the time away afforded her the space she needed to figure things out. She hadn’t planned on meeting someone new on this quest. Elliot ended up helping her solve the mystery of her mother’s life before she met Olivia’s father. He also helped her see the possibilities in her future. 

The title Cancel the Wedding might make readers think this is a breezy chick lit novel but it is not. It’s the story about a young woman searching for answers from the past so that she can move forward. I enjoyed it very much and can’t wait to see what Carolyn Dingman writes next. Recommended to fans of Southern contemporary fiction.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals ( linked to Mailbox Monday)

A Promise at Bluebell Hill  the assassination of marg. thatcher (sept)

Last week on Bookfan:

small blessings jacket return to glory (Aug26) The House We Grew Up In (Aug12) The Partner Track pbk cover just one kiss

Currently reading:


Happy reading!

Just One Kiss by Susan Mallery

  • just one kissTitle:  Just One Kiss
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold #10
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Small town; Series
  • Published:  May 2013 – Harlequin HQN
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  He won’t hesitate to put his life on the line…but will he ever risk his heart?

Falling for Justice Garrett was a high point in Patience McGraw’s otherwise awkward adolescence. Even after he disappeared, Patience never forgot the boy who captured her heart. Now he’s back in Fool’s Gold, California, and her passion for him is as strong as ever. But how can she trust that he won’t abandon her again—and her daughter, too?

When bodyguard Justice Garrett was a young man, witness protection brought him to this idyllic town and he never forgot its warmth, or the sweet beauty of his childhood friend. He’s returned to open a defense academy, and the Patience he once knew is all grown up. He can’t resist her smile, or her curves. But Justice’s past doesn’t make him husband, or father, material.

Patience and Justice think they’ll succumb to just one kiss… Then one more… Okay, just one night together. But they might learn that falling in love is beyond anyone’s control.  (publisher)

My take:  Patience and Justice knew each other when they were in high school. She had a huge crush on him and he thought she was a great person. One day Justice just disappeared. Patience went to his house on her way to school and the house was cleared out. Fast-forward to fifteen years later. Patience has a ten-year-old daughter and they live with her mother. Justice is back in Fool’s Gold to set up a “defense academy” with some of his former military friends. This is the first of a trilogy within the series that will involve Justice and his co-workers/friends.

I enjoyed Patience and Justice’s story. It was rather predictable but as long as that’s what I expect I’m ok with that. It’s a contemporary romance series (#10) so despite the predictable parts I know I’m going to like Susan Mallery’s small town stories. It’s why I keep reading them – I like them :-)

Justice’s past is an interesting story. It catches up to him in this book in a lot of drama near the end of the story. Things wrapped up neatly and I look forward to “seeing” these two in future books.

Q and A with Helen Wan, author of The Partner Track

Today I’d like to share a Q&A (sent by the publisher) with author Helen Wan.

The Partner Track pbk cover

What’s your novel about?

THE PARTNER TRACK is the story of Ingrid Yung, an ambitious young Chinese-American woman who’s being groomed to become the first minority female partner at one of the country’s most prestigious law firms. Though she often feels like an outsider, Ingrid has perfected the art of blending in.  Then an incident at the firm’s summer outing changes everything, forcing her to square off against her colleagues in a workplace war of race, gender, and sexual politics.

Like Ingrid Yung, you’re a Chinese-American woman. You’ve also been a full-time lawyer who started out as an associate at one of the biggest law firms in New York. How much of your story and personal experiences can be found in Ingrid Yung and THE PARTNER TRACK?

That’s the first question I get asked: how much of this novel is autobiographical? Well, my first job after law school was in fact being a corporate associate at a big law firm in Manhattan.  But this book is decidedly fiction—thank goodness!  I left my big firm after about a year to work in media and entertainment law, and then became in-house counsel at a large media company.  Parsons Valentine isn’t modeled after any particular law firm, but is an amalgam of many big white-shoe firms, banks or corporations where I and my minority and female friends and colleagues have worked.  Whenever we got together to share war stories, we found that all our work experiences at these places were remarkably similar. Invariably, we’d say, “There should be a book!”  So I finally decided to write one.

The heroine of The Partner Track, Ingrid, is torn between the prestige of partnership and her budding relationship with her “golden-boy” colleague. How do you think women can best balance the dichotomy between work and play? When is it okay to mix business and pleasure?

Ah, the “mixing business with pleasure” question. One of the most fascinating things as a new novelist has been seeing the intensely emotional reader reactions stirred up by this particular Golden Boy character. By a mile, it is Ingrid’s relationship with him that dominates the questions I get asked by women readers. Was he just pretending to be into her? Was she in love with him? Did you consider an alternate outcome to their relationship? I do see a lot of successful professional women dating people in the workplace, and I think that’s as much out of necessity and convenience as anything else. We spend so many of our waking hours in the office. Where and when else are we ever going to meet anyone?

On some level, Ingrid already knew it was in the Bad Idea Handbook to date a male colleague, but took the plunge anyway. I think lots of women in her position would take the same calculated risk. (And this particular Golden Boy, by the way, is really HAWT.)

Still on the question of mixing business with pleasure—is there a double standard here?

There’s a whole other dimension to this dating issue that I don’t think men have to deal with, and that’s the success gradient. My protagonist Ingrid explains her theory on why it’s so much harder for successful women to find people to date than men. And it has to do with society expecting women to “date up,” while men are free to date up, down, across, over and under the career, success, age, education, and income gradients with reckless abandon. For the single professional woman, and as a sheer numbers game, this is a pretty self-defeating strategy.

Where do you think the glass ceiling for women in high powered jobs stems from? How can women break through the many stereotypes laid out for them?

For better or worse, it’s simply human nature that people feel more comfortable with other people who look, talk, sound, and act in ways that seem familiar to them – at least at first. Let’s face it, it’s just easier for Bob to casually ask Steve to go grab a beer after work than to ask someone like Zhang Liu the same thing. That’s why employers need to take a hard look around at their workplace, and figure out what unconscious biases might be informing their hiring, staffing, and promotion decisions.  I actually believe the majority of stereotyping by employers that hinders women and minorities is unintentional and unconscious. In fact, it’s the very benignness of many stereotypes of women and minorities that render them so hard to pinpoint and eliminate.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

That’s easy: write the book you’d most like to read.  For years and years, I searched for, but could not find, contemporary fiction about Asian American women that did not involve: (a) a soul-searching trip to an ancestral village; (b) a flock of quaint-as-hell relatives; or (c) an arranged marriage.  I’m not denigrating novels that happen to include these plot points; in fact I myself have enjoyed many of them. I’m just saying I wanted to be able to read a realistic, fast-paced, contemporary novel about a minority woman whose perspective and experience were closer to my own.  Finding none, I decided to write one.

Why did you write THE PARTNER TRACK?

Like many other women who are good rule-followers and good at school, I went out in search of a book that could tell me how a young woman could succeed on the corporate ladder while still being an “authentic” self.  But I couldn’t find any books that spoke to me. I was not seeing any credible or instructive contemporary stories out there about young women (let alone a young woman of color!) navigating the dynamics of corporate America and succeeding. I wrote THE PARTNER TRACK for anyone who’s ever felt like an “outsider” – anyone who ever looked around and secretly thought, Wow, I must have been out sick the day they passed out the decoder rings around here Soon after my novel was first published, I heard from a young African American woman who had just completed her summer internship at a large Parsons Valentine-like firm. She thanked me for writing the book and told me she only wished she’d found it at the beginning of her summer, rather than toward the end, because, she said, it would have made her feel so much less alone. Well, to a first-time novelist, who wrote this book for the reasons I did, there could be no better compliment than that!

What are you working on now?

I’m at work on my second novel.  It’s a lot of fun to get to know a whole new set of characters. It feels kind of like starting a new school year.  (I’m nerdy like that; I’ve always loved fall for that reason – fresh starts, a new school year, new notebooks and sweaters and a crispness to the air.)  My new novel isn’t a direct sequel to THE PARTNER TRACK, but you could say it’s a deeper dive into some key themes: women’s complicated relationship with ambition itself, and the ways that race, sex, class, cultural heritage, and family upbringing influence the way we pursue happiness. I’m still at the “themes” stage – I know what I want to write about, but am still figuring out the story.  And I’m also still learning the ropes of being a first-time mom to our wonderful little son.  In my wildest dreams I never would have thought that a first book and a first baby would arrive the same year.  But if you want to make God laugh, just tell her your plans.

Book blurb:

The Partner Track pbk coverIngrid Yung’s life is full of firsts. A first-generation Chinese American, the first lawyer in her family, she’s about to collect the holy grail of “firsts” and become the first minority woman to make partner at the venerable old law firm Parsons Valentine & Hunt.
Ingrid has perfected the art of “passing” and seamlessly blends into the old-boy corporate culture. She gamely banters in the corporate cafeteria, plays in the firm softball league, and earnestly racks up her billable hours. But when an offensive incident at the summer outing threatens the firm’s reputation, Ingrid’s outsider status is suddenly thrown into sharp relief. Scrambling to do damage control, Parsons Valentine announces a new Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, commanding Ingrid to spearhead the effort. Only she’s about to close an enormous transaction that was to be her final step in securing partnership.
For the first time, Ingrid must question her place in the firm. Pitted against her colleagues, including her golden-boy boyfriend, Ingrid begins to wonder whether the prestige of partnership is worth breaching her ethics. But can she risk throwing away the American dream that is finally within her reach?


Helen Wan_Credit Anna CampanelliAuthor bio:

HELEN WAN was Associate General Counsel at the Time Inc. division of Time Warner Inc. Before that, she practiced corporate law and media law at law firms in New York. Born in California and raised near Washington, D.C., Wan is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her essays and reviews of fiction have been published in The Washington Post and elsewhere. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her husband and son.

Visit the author’s  Website    Facebook    Twitter

The House We Grew Up In: A Novel by Lisa Jewell

  • The House We Grew Up In (Aug12)Title:  The House We Grew Up In: A Novel
  • Author:  Lisa Jewell
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  August 2014 – Atria Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children’s lives.

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in—and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.  (publisher)

My take:  I love reading about families and their issues. This novel is about the Bird family and boy do they have issues!

The Birds live in a lovely home in the Cotswolds and unless you were a close friend you wouldn’t think they had a care in the world. But inside the lovely home it’s a different story. The mother can’t throw anything away and continues to collect stuff – much to everyone’s dismay. As the children grow up and leave home they all have issues that stem back to one terrible Easter when the unthinkable happened.

My favorite character was oldest daughter Megan – probably because I understood her most. She grew up, left home, and lived her life completely opposite her mother’s.  She was determined to be in control and yet handled herself admirably when life didn’t go as planned and dysfunction found its way into her life. I’m not certain how realistic it was but I still enjoyed her part of the novel.

I won’t spoil it by going into the details but I will say that Lisa Jewell wrote a compelling novel that I couldn’t put down. It is by turns heartbreaking, harrowing, yet ultimately hopeful. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to fans of the author, contemporary fiction and family dramas. I look forward to reading more of Lisa Jewell’s books.

Return to Glory by Sara Arden

  • return to glory (Aug26)Title:  Return to Glory
  • Series:  Home to Glory, #1
  • Author:  Sara Arden
  • Genre:  Contemporary/ Small town Romance
  • Published:  August 2014 – Harlequin HQN
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In Glory, Kansas, the best bakery in three counties not only brings together ingredients for sweet treats, but is the place where—through the powerful mix of friendship, community and a well-stocked kitchen—a wounded hero can forge a forever kind of love. 

Back in the hometown he left behind five years ago, Jack McConnell has returned battle-scarred and feeling like half a man. But Betsy Lewis only sees the hero who once saved her life and set her heart on fire. Now she’s burning to save him in return. She’ll use every trick she’s got up her sleeve, from her generous natural assets to her talent for baking, to coax Jack out from the bottom of his whiskey bottle. 

At first, Jack responds to Betsy like any red-blooded man would. He’s always denied his attraction to the innocent girl he used to know, but he’s returned to find Betsy’s grown into a full-on woman with strength enough for both of them. Until Jack realizes the only way to conquer his demons and be worthy of the hero’s mantle she’s pinned to his shoulders is to save Betsy one last time—from himself.  (publisher)

My take:  Betsy has been in love with Jack, her brother’s best friend, since she was a young girl. When he comes home wounded from war she’s determined to make him well again using any means that will work. Jack is determined to make her see that he’s not the man for her.

Sara Arden’s descriptions of the wounded warrior, Jack, seemed completely believable. I also bought into the way Betsy felt about him both when she thought they had a future and when she didn’t. The heartache was palpable. Their story is an emotional one that is further charged by their feelings for each other. Be prepared for some very spicy scenes!

The town of Glory is intriguing. Arden hints at the occupations of a few former military that I can only imagine will figure into future books of the Home to Glory series. It’s a charming town where the citizens have each others’ back. I look forward to my next visit to Glory, Kansas. Recommended to fans of contemporary, small town Romance.

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

  • small blessings jacketTitle:  Small Blessings
  • Author:  Martha Woodroof
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  August 2014 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had. 

Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop’s charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he’d fathered a son who is heading Tom’s way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings‘s wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.  (publisher)

My take:  Small Blessings is filled with quirky characters who seem kind of like some people I know in my life. On the surface you’d think they don’t have a problem in the world. But when you get a glimpse of what’s actually going on in their lives you find they’re like many people who, for various reasons, are just trying to get by one day at a time.

My favorite character was Agnes, Tom’s mother-in-law. She was vibrant and unafraid – at least that’s how she appeared to most people. She reminded me of a character Kathy Bates might play in a movie version – strong yet sensitive in a no nonsense way. She had every right to be bitter because of how life had played out for her but she kept moving forward.

I loved the small twists Martha Woodroof slipped in when I least expected them. The plot would just turn on a dime! That kept me flipping the pages because I had to know what happened next. I was never disappointed. Also, I love it when I laugh out loud while reading – that happened more than a few times while reading Small Blessings.

So, read the synopsis above to get an idea of what the book is about and then grab a copy and read it. I bet you’ll like it! This is one I’ll recommend to my friends.


If you enjoy listening to audiobooks check out this sample of Small Blessings:

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Mr. Miracle (Vine Oct7)

Last week on Bookfan:

Island of a Thousand Mirrors cover PolioBoulevard the stories we tell (Sept4) DrMuttersMarvels Jacket Art

Currently reading:

the fortune hunter   LuckyCatch_Final(5)

Yes, I was reading The Fortune Hunter last week too. It’s a chunkster and I’m enjoying it but life has been keeping me busy lately :)

Happy reading!

Giveaway (US) and Spotlight on Dr. Mütter’s Marvels by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

DrMuttersMarvels Jacket Art

A mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country’s most famous museum of medical oddities

Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools—or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mütter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the middle of the nineteenth century.

Although he died at just forty-eight, Mütter was an audacious medical innovator who pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed, which clashed spectacularly with the sentiments of his time.

Brilliant, outspoken, and brazenly handsome, Mütter was flamboyant in every aspect of his life. He wore pink silk suits to perform surgery, added an umlaut to his last name just because he could, and amassed an immense collection of medical oddities that would later form the basis of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum.

Award-winning writer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz vividly chronicles how Mütter’s efforts helped establish Philadelphia as a global mecca for medical innovation—despite intense resistance from his numerous rivals. (Foremost among them: Charles D. Meigs, an influential obstetrician who loathed Mütter’s “overly” modern medical opinions.) In the narrative spirit of The Devil in the White City, Dr. Mütter’s Marvels interweaves an eye-opening portrait of nineteenth-century medicine with the riveting biography of a man once described as the “P. T. Barnum of the surgery room.”

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Praise for Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

“In her deftly crafted narrative, the author provides an absorbing account of the charismatic surgeon’s life and career as well as a vivid look at the medical practices and prejudices of his time. Aptowicz draws nicely on Mütter’s speeches and lectures to reveal the depth of his empathetic philosophies and humanist approach.” - Kirkus Starred Review
“If you aren’t familiar with Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, then you are doing a serious disservice to your sensibilities.” - Hothouse Magazine
“Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is a dizzying dervish of a poet, an astounding talent, a deft lyricist whose patented take on this dopey world is dazzling in its originality. Everything she encounters is fair game, and she jolts us into unexpected, delightful recognition.” - Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzle
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About the author:
01.winters_cristin_aptowicz_Skull copy 2
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is the author of six books of poetry (including Dear Future Boyfriend, Hot Teen Slut,Working Class Represent, Oh, Terrible Youth and Everything is Everything) as well as the nonfiction book, Words In Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam, which Billy Collins wrote “leaves no doubt that the slam poetry scene has achieved legitimacy and taken its rightful place on the map of contemporary literature.” On the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) podcast Art Works, host Josephine Reed introduced Cristin as being “something of a legend in NYC’s slam poetry scene. She is lively, thoughtful, and approachable looking to engage the audience with her work and deeply committed to the community that art (in general) and slam poetry (in particular) can create.” In July 2010, she was named the 2010-2011 ArtsEdge Writer-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, where she spent the year researching and writing a book on Thomas Dent Mütter, founder of the Philadelphia’s (in)famous Mütter Museum. It was during this residency year that she was also awarded a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.
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US Giveaway
Please click here and fill out the form
DrMuttersMarvels Jacket Art
Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine

The Stories We Tell: A Novel by Patti Callahan Henry

  • the stories we tell (Sept4)Title:  The Stories We Tell: A Novel
  • Author:  Patti Callahan Henry
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  June 2014 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Sullivan and Partners

Synopsis:  Eve and Cooper Morrison are Savannah’s power couple. They’re on every artistic board and deeply involved in the community. She owns and operates a letterpress studio specializing in the handmade; he runs a digital magazine featuring all things southern gentlemen. The perfect juxtaposition of the old and the new, Eve and Cooper are the beautiful people. The lucky ones. And they have the wealth and name that comes from being part of an old Georgia family. But things may not be as good as they seem. Eve’s sister, Willa, is staying with the family until she gets “back on her feet.” Their daughter, Gwen, is all adolescent rebellion. And Cooper thinks Eve works too much. Still, the Morrison marriage is strong. After twenty-one years together, Eve and Cooper know each other. They count on each other. They know what to expect. But when Cooper and Willa are involved in a car accident, the questions surrounding the event bring the family close to breaking point. Sifting between the stories—what Cooper says, what Willa remembers, what the evidence indicates—Eve has to find out what really happened. And what she’s going to do about it.  (publisher)

My take:  The Stories We Tell opens with a storm brewing outside Eve Morrison’s window one evening. To her it feels like an omen. Her feeling proves correct when a policeman arrives to take her to a hospital where her husband and sister have been admitted after a car accident. Eve can’t figure out why they would’ve been in the car together. That is just the first of many questions she’ll be seeking answers to.

Eve married Cooper for good reasons (she’d told herself) but now she wonders if they were the right reasons. The last straw is when Cooper blames Willa (Eve’s sister) for the car accident. Eve is certain he is hiding something and wonders if she can trust her husband anymore. On top of that, their seventeen-year-old daughter is acting out big time. It’s all Eve can do just to keep the peace in her own house. What will she do when her questions are answered?

Patti Callahan Henry’s novel is about a marriage and appearances and what happens when appearances aren’t what they seem. It’s about the fallout from fibs and stories and lies.I loved how all the strings of the story were woven together by the end of the novel. I wouldn’t expect to feel any other way about one of Patti Callahan Henry’s books. I’m a fan and recommend The Stories We Tell to fans of the author and Contemporary Southern Fiction.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at Bermudaonion where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Join in by writing a post and then add your link to Mr. Linky at Bermudaonion.

 the fortune hunter
I’m reading THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwin. At over 450 pages I’m taking my time so this may not be the last you’ll see a WWW post about this book :)
Bay had no great desire for an official appointment, but he knew that a position of some kind would make it much easier for him to pursue his interest in Charlotte Baird. As an impecunious cavalry captain on half-pay he was not much of a catch, …
(page 85)
According to the Oxford dictionary im•pe•cu•ni•ous is an adjective meaning “having little or no money”

Guest post/US Giveaway by Karen Chase author of Polio Boulevard

Today I’m pleased to welcome Karen Chase, author of POLIO BOULEVARD.



Polio As A Global Threat

By Karen Chase


In 1953, I was a ten-year-old girl living in an affluent suburb of New York City, mildly aware of hysteria in the air.  We were in the midst of the Cold War, we were in the aftermath of World War Two, and polio was a hot source of fear.  The mysterious, crippling disease led to the closings of swimming pools, movie theaters and drinking fountains.  Terrorized parents worried for their children.

Even so, I was merrily riding my bike, jumping rope, and playing hopscotch with my friends.  But one morning that fall, I woke up with a stiff neck, a high fever and lots of pain.  I had been stricken with polio.

That children in Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq wake up in their beds with pain and fever as polio invades their bodies is a devastating thought.  How can this be?  Because of the preventative power of the Salk Vaccine, it is avoidable.

In the spring of 1954, when I was a patient in the polio ward at Grasslands Hospital in Westchester County, I was happily playing Monopoly with my friends.  The radio was on.  A voice announced that a doctor named Jonas Salk had invented a vaccine to prevent polio.  Some of us turned silent, some of us laughed, and one patient blurted out, “Too late for us!”  Here we were, a group of ill children on stretchers and in wheelchairs living through an historical moment when polio’s peril was replaced by joy and relief.

But polio remains a global threat. Still, there are nations where the virus does its deadly work.  There are even some places like Pakistan and Nigeria where aid workers trying to dispense the polio vaccine have been assassinated.

The World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the International Rotary Club have dedicated themselves to making the earth polio-free.  Through their efforts and their dollars, combined with many countries’ internal efforts, polio has been eradicated in most of the world.

Recently, while spending time in New Delhi, I saw billboards that publicized polio as an existing threat. But I also learned that the Indian government was sending out massive numbers of people to families and religious leaders in order to foster understanding about immunizations.  Aid workers were being sent to the most remote villages in the country to dispense the vaccine. Even Bollywood stars and celebrity cricket players joined in. Huge efforts from within the country, combined with international dedication, have made India polio-free as of 2013, making India a prime example of how polio can be stricken from this earth.

Since writing my memoir, Polio Boulevard, I have had a chance to reflect on how the creation of the polio vaccine was too late for me and my Monopoly-playing cohorts on the polio ward, but not too late for the world’s children to avoid the disease once called infantile paralysis.


Praise for Polio Boulevard

“In the early ’50s, during the polio epidemic, I worked as a physical therapist. I saw firsthand the crushing suffering children and their families endured. I also saw their bravery and love for each other. Karen’s memoir is a truly remarkable piece of history.”  - Olympia Dukakis

“Polio and poetry would seem to be near-opposites. Yet in Karen Chase’s compelling memoir of a terrifying disease she and so many others contracted in childhood, we watch polio’s unwelcome transformations to be matched and outdone by the twists and turns of a poet’s mind. Bravely and with surprising humor, Chase has turned the unlikely, the unlucky, even the tragic into beauty.”  -Mary Jo Salter, poet and author ofNothing By Design and A Phone Call to the Future


About the book:
In 1954, Karen Chase was a ten-year-old girl playing Monopoly in the polio ward when the radio blared out the news that Dr. Jonas Salk had developed the polio vaccine. The discovery came too late for her, and Polio Boulevard is Chase’s unique chronicle of her childhood while fighting polio. From her lively sickbed she experiences puppy love, applies to the Barbizon School of Modeling, and dreams of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a polio patient who became President of the United States (a man who continues to fascinate and inspire her to this day).
Chase, now an accomplished poet who survived her illness, tells a story that flows backward and forward in time from childhood to adulthood. Woven throughout are the themes of how private and public history get braided together, how imagination is shaped when your body can’t move but your mind can, and how sexuality blooms in a young girl laid up in bed. Chase’s imagination soars in this narrative of illness and recovery, a remarkable blend of provocative reflection, humor, and pluck.
Karen Chase is the author of two volumes of poetry: Kazimierz Square and Bear, as well as Land of Stone: Breaking Silence Through Poetry and Jamali-Kamali: A Tale of Passion in Mughal India. Her next writing project is about FDR.

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Spotlight/Giveaway (US): Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

Island of a Thousand Mirrors cover

Before violence tore apart the tapestry of Sri Lanka and turned its pristine beaches red, there were two families. Yasodhara tells the story of her own Sinhala family, rich in love, with everything they could ask for. As a child in idyllic Colombo, Yasodhara’s and her siblings’ lives are shaped by social hierarchies, their parents’ ambitions, teenage love and, subtly, the differences between Tamil and Sinhala people; but the peace is shattered by the tragedies of war. Yasodhara’s family escapes to Los Angeles. But Yasodhara’s life has already become intertwined with a young Tamil girl’s…

Saraswathie is living in the active war zone of Sri Lanka, and hopes to become a teacher. But her dreams for the future are abruptly stamped out when she is arrested by a group of Sinhala soldiers and pulled into the very heart of the conflict that she has tried so hard to avoid – a conflict that, eventually, will connect her and Yasodhara in unexpected ways.

Nayomi Munaweera’s Island of a Thousand Mirrors is an emotionally resonant saga of cultural heritage, heartbreaking conflict and deep family bonds. Narrated in two unforgettably authentic voices and spanning the entirety of the decades-long civil war, it offers an unparalleled portrait of a beautiful land during its most difficult moment by a spellbinding new literary talent who promises tremendous things to come.

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About the author:

Author Photo Nayomi MunaweeraNAYOMI MUNAWEERA was born in Sri Lanka, and grew up in Nigeria. She emigrated to the United States in her early teens, and now lives in Oakland, CA. Island of a Thousand Mirrors won the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize for the Asian Region and was longlisted for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize. It is her first novel.

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Giveaway (US)

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Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

My mailbox was empty so it’s a catch-up week :)  Author Glen Craney is giving away FIVE ebooks of his Historical Fiction novel The Spider and the Stone. Click the title link and check out the Spotlight and Giveaway (mobi or epub)

Last week on Bookfan:

butternut summer (Aug12)  a man called ove  the homecoming (August26)  the S&S cover

Currently reading:

the fortune hunter  LuckyCatch_Final(5)

Happy reading!