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Preview: Manic Mommies Book Club

Manic Mommies Book Club



hosted by Bookworm with a View



Updated: 2017-07-29T00:53:21.762-07:00

 



June Book Club: Elizabeth the First Wife

2013-06-10T12:33:00.988-07:00


If you have read my blog for a while you know I'm a big fan of Lian Dolan.  Like many... I started listening to Satellite Sisters when I lived in Minnesota, I streamed the MN radio station when I moved to Omaha, and podcasting let me move away from laptop to listening while walking etc...

Today I'm thrilled to announce our June book selection, Elizabeth the First Wife. Lian Dolan is a returning author to the book club, we are beyond excited to discuss her second novel on June 12th.

The book is available in paper and electronically - for those who love their ereader (myself included).

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Synopsis: Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, finds her perfectly dull but perfectly orchestrated life upended one summer by three men: her movie-star ex-husband, a charming political operative, and William Shakespeare. Until now, she’d been content living in the shadow of her high-profile and highly accomplished family.

Then her college boyfriend and one-time husband of seventeen months, A-list action star FX Fahey, shows up with a job offer that she can’t resist, and Elizabeth’s life suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting. She’s off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the summer to make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

When: Wednesday June 12th at 9PM EST
Call in details: 724-444-7444, call id: 90383#, Pin 1#

Or listen from your computer: Click here to join the call

Lian will join us for 30-40 minutes before transitioning to chatting about books and life.

Giveaway: To enter this month’s giveaway, send me an email (comments are not considered entries) with ‘Elizabeth the First Wife’ in the subject line. Please include your shipping address in the body of your message.

Winners will be selected at random on Sunday evening, May 12th.

Happy Reading!



May Book Club: When She Was Gone

2013-04-09T11:07:47.860-07:00

You hear me say it over and over... the women who participate in the Manic Mommies Book Club are amazing!   Last night we met to discuss our April selection The Good Daughter, with Jane Porter.  Tears were shed, emails and texts passed through the evening. If you weren't able to join us, I will post a recap with a few questions for you next week after I've had time to review and write a proper recap of the evening.TODAY I'm thrilled to announce our May book selection, when she was gone.  Gwendolen Gross is a returning author to the book club, we are beyond excited to discuss her fifth novel on May 15th.The book is available in paper and electronically - for those who love their ereader (myself included).Synopsis: What happened to Linsey Hart? When the Cornell-bound teenager disappears into the steamy blue of a late-summer morning, her quiet neighborhood is left to pick apart the threads of their own lives and assumptions.Linsey’s neighbors are just ordinary people—but even ordinary people can keep terrible secrets hidden close. There’s Linsey’s mother, Abigail, whose door-to-door searching makes her social-outcast status painfully obvious; Mr. Leonard, the quiet, retired piano teacher with insomnia, who saw Linsey leave; Reeva, the queen bee of a clique of mothers, now obsessed with a secret interest; Timmy, Linsey’s lovelorn ex-boyfriend; and George, an eleven-year-old loner who is determined to find out what happened to his missing neighbor.As the days of Linsey’s absence tick by, dread and hope threaten to tear a community apart. This luminous new novel by the acclaimed author of The Orphan Sister explores coming of age in the shadows of a suburban life, and what is revealed when the light suddenly shines in. . . .When: Wednesday May 15th at 8PM ESTCall in details: 724-444-7444, call id: 90383#, Pin 1# Gwendolen will join us for 30-40 minutes before transitioning to chatting about books and life.  Giveaway: To enter this month’s giveaway, send an email (comments are not considered entries) to mari.partyka [at] gmail.com. Put ‘When She Was Gone’ in the subject line. Please include your shipping address in the body of your message.Winners will be selected at random on Sunday evening, April 7th.How to find us: We are talking about books throughout the month on twitter. I have changed our hashtag to #MMBC2013 after learning another group is using our old one (making it hard to find our book chatter).  Click here to send a comment/question for this postHappy Reading![...]



April Book Club: The Good Daughter

2013-02-25T11:41:41.036-08:00

We haven’t blogged about book club lately, but we still meet monthly.  Last month we read a book with mixed reviews (from the group) but talked about the book for an hour. Fellow book clubbers know how divine it is to share something personal only to realize someone else has had a similar experience.  The bonds you make with women are strong, and deep.I spent the evening with Jane Porter last week, this just happened to be her theme for the night.  The strength of community that women create, how important is it to nurture these relationships. Have you thought about how different a holiday would be without mom’s crafting, decorating, and everything that goes into coordinating one holiday?  Women cook, bake, clean, etc… to hold up families going through happy times, illness, death, and other life events.Jane Porter wasn't able to be with us on the Escape last November but if you attended you received a copy of book one in the trilogy, The Good Woman.  I’m pleased to announce we are reading the second book, The Good Daughter, and Jane will be calling in to discuss the book with us on April 3.    Synopsis: Kit Brennan has always been the most grounded of her sisters. A Catholic school English teacher for seventeen years and a constant giver, her decisions have been sound—just not very satisfying. Her fortieth birthday is right around the corner, causing Kit to consider some wilder notions, like skipping right past the love and marriage to raising a child all by herself . . .A girls’ weekend away is just the reprieve Kit needs from school, Mr. Wrongs, and life-changing decisions. It’s there that she meets a man who’s dangerous; a man who challenges who she thought she was, or rather should be. Kit wants to indulge herself this once, but with one of her students in crisis and the weight of her family’s burdens weighing heavy on her heart, Kit isn't sure if now is the time to let her own desires take flight . . .When: April 3rd at 9PM ESTCall in details: 724-444-7444, call id: 90383#, Pin 1# Jane will join us for 30-40 minutes before transitioning to chatting about books and life.   The calls tend to last 60-90 minutes.  Last month we had women knitting, feeding children, rocking babies to sleep, cleaning, and taking a bath. Calling in from NYC to California, Mexico to Switzerland! Giveaway: To enter this month’s giveaway, send an email (comments are not considered entries) to mari.partyka [at] gmail.com. Put ‘The Good Daughter’ in the subject line. Please include your shipping address in the body of your message.Winners will be selected at random on Sunday evening, Feb 17th.How to find us:We are talking about books throughout the month on twitter.  In January we picked a YA book to read/discuss over Twitter. Book club, it’s happening! Hashtag #MMBC, or email me for additional details.Happy Reading! [...]



June 2012 Book Selection Announced!

2012-05-16T05:14:21.172-07:00

I'm please to announce our June selection, The Singles.  I have read a lot of light/fun novels recently and this is one of my favorites.

The Singles is told from different voices, the bride opens the story but it's told by the people to attend the wedding as a 'single'. As the story goes on we learn how the singles know the bride and groom, their relationships, insecurities, and more. It's a very fun look at an evening (and the morning after).

A great summer selection! 

I'm so excited to that we are reading this book and that we get to discuss it with the author, Meredith Goldstein.

Synopsis: Bee wanted the perfect wedding; she got the “Singles”
 
Back in her single days—before she met the man of her dreams—Beth “Bee” Evans hated being forced to attend weddings solo. Determined to spare her friends the same humiliation, she invites everyone on her list with a guest. Much to her chagrin, however, Hannah, Vicki, Rob, Joe, and Nancy insist upon attending Bee’s lavish Chesapeake Bay nuptials alone. The frustrated bride dubs them the “Minus-Ones” and their collective decision wreaks unintended havoc on her otherwise perfectly planned wedding weekend.

When: June 20th at 8PM EST
Call in details: 724-444-7444, call id: 90383#, Pin 1#

Giveaway: To enter this month’s giveaway, send an email (comments are not considered entries) to mari.partyka [at] gmail.com. Put ‘The Singles’ in the subject line. Please include your shipping address in the body of your message.

Winners will be selected at random on Sunday evening, May 20th.



May 2012 Book Selection Announced!

2012-04-04T09:34:37.915-07:00

Our May selection is one of my favorite books read this year. THE UNDERSIDE OF JOY explores the definition of family and the limits of love, postnatal depression, infertility, child custody and the role of step mothers. There’s something in this novel for almost everyone!

I'm so excited to that we are reading this book and that we get to discuss it with the author, Sere Prince Halverson.

Synopsis: Losing a husband is virtually unbearable. Losing your children to the birth mother who abandoned them, whilst you are still grieving, is one heartbreak too far. It must not be allowed to happen … Ella counts as her blessings her wonderful husband, two animated kids and an extended family who regard her as one of their own.

Yet when her soul mate Joe tragically drowns, her life is turned upside down without warning, and she finds that the luck, which she had thought would last forever, has run out. When Joe’s beautiful ex-wife, who deserted their children three years earlier, arrives at the funeral, Ella fears the worst. And she may well be right to. Ella discovers she must struggle with her own grief, while battling to remain with the children and the life which she loves. Questioning her own role as a mother, and trying to do what is right, all she is sure of is that she needs her family to make it through each day. Yet when pushed to the limits of love, Ella must decide whether she is, after all, the best mother for her children.

When: May 23rd at 8PM EST
Call in details: 724-444-7444, call id: 90383#, Pin 1#

Giveaway: To enter this month’s giveaway, send an email (comments are not considered entries) to mari.partyka [at] gmail.com. Put ‘The Underside of Joy’ in the subject line. Please include your shipping address in the body of your message.

Winners will be selected at random on Tuesday evening, April 10th.



March 2012 Selection: The Last Time We Met

2012-04-02T09:21:00.236-07:00

Originally posted on Manic Mommies

I’m a big fan of the audio book. If the book is really good, you might catch me folding laundry, doing the dishes, or maybe listening while running errands. I know I look silly with my ipod clipped to my waist, one ear bud in and the other dangling but I’m willing to turn ‘must do’ tasks into me time whenever possible. An audio book can be a wonderful companion while working in the yard, just don’t snip the cord in two while pruning!

The narrator can make or break the experience though. If Cassandra Campbell is reading the story, I know I will enjoy it a little bit more. I tend to stay away from thrillers and scary books since I listen while running in the woods. Erin has mentioned the Steig Larsson series a few times but I haven’t found the courage to listen. Have you read/listened to this series?

Our January book selection was a great one, a dark tale. Our next book is also a page turner!

Synopsis: Adored and nurtured by his adoptive parents in California, Asher Stone has moved effortlessly through a nearly perfect life. He is on the verge of a professional soccer career-when a car accident throws his future into doubt. Suddenly, Asher begins to wonder about his past, and about the girl who gave him up for adoption in Colombia two decades ago. And so begins his search for a woman named Rita Ortiz.

From the teeming streets of Bogata to a tiny orphanage tucked into a hillside, Asher untangles the mystery of Rita's identity, her abrupt disappearance from her home, and the winding journey that followed. But as Asher comes closer to finding Rita, his own parents are faced with fears and doubts. And Rita must soon make her own momentous choice: stay hidden in her hard-earned new life, or meet the secret son who will bring painful memories-or the promise of a new beginning . . .

UPDATE: Our call was postponed from March to April 4th, giveaway closed.
When: April 4 at 8PM EST

Call in details: 724-444-7444, call id: 90383#, Pin 1#

Giveaway: To enter this month’s giveaway, send an email (comments are not considered entries) to mari.partyka [at] gmail.com. Put ‘The Second Time We Met’ in the subject line. Please include your shipping address in the body of your message.

Winners will be selected at random on Wednesday evening, February 15



January 2012 Selection: Little Girl Gone

2011-12-13T10:47:06.012-08:00

Originally posted on Manic Mommies

Can you believe our book club has read 35 novels over the past three years? Discussing books with Jane Porter, Elin Hilderbrand, and Joshilyn Jackson… we’ve also talked to several debut authors over the years. Reading a range of books, from award winning titles to light summer reading, historical fiction to memoirs.

Some of you may remember the night I called in from the emergency room (an average day for a manic mom, right?) asking you to keep me company while my son was in surgery. We also have moms calling in from baseball practice, while grocery shopping, and one reader listens to our chats during chemo (sniff).

Whether you participate live while making dinner, from karate, or sneaking in a little time for yourself… I would like to thank all of you for making our book club a wonderful experience. As you can see, our book club holds a special place for many of us. Where else can you discuss a book with the author from the comfort of your home (in sweats), with a glass of wine?

To kick off our fourth year, we are reading/discussing a book BEFORE it’s published. What a treat

When: January 18th at 8PM EST
Call in details: 724-444-7444, Call id: 90383#, Pin: 1#

Synopsis: Madora was seventeen, headed for trouble with drugs and men, when Willis rescued her. Fearful of the world and alienated from family and friends, she ran away with him and for five years they have lived alone, in near isolation. But after Willis kidnaps a pregnant teenager and imprisons her in a trailer behind the house, Madora is torn between her love for him and her sense of right and wrong. When a pit bull puppy named Foo brings into Madora’s world another unexpected person—Django Jones, a brilliant but troubled twelve-year-old boy—she’s forced to face the truth of what her life has become.

An intensely emotional and provocative story, Little Girl Gone explores the secret hopes and fears that drive good people to do dangerous things . . . and the courage it takes to make things right.



November 2011 Selection: The Orphan Sister

2011-11-16T12:08:35.127-08:00

I love it when listeners recommend books for us to read, it’s even better when the author is available to discuss the book with us!

This month we are reading an interesting novel about triplets, exploring the relationships of a set of identical twins and their triplet sister who shared a womb. I always read/hear about twins and their connections but have never thought about how might this be different for the triplet who doesn’t share the ‘identical’ label.

I’m reading this book now and am enjoying it, I don’t know any ‘multiples’ so it’s quite interesting to read about the connections and isolation that could happen to someone.

Giveaway: Watch for a 24 book giveaway to post in the next day/two, on the Manic Mommies website

When: November 16th at 8PM EST

Call in details: 724-444-7444
     Call id: 90383#
     Pin: 1#

Synopsis: Clementine Lord is not an orphan. She just feels like one sometimes. One of triplets, a quirk of nature left her the odd one out. Odette and Olivia are identical; Clementine is a singleton. Biologically speaking, she came from her own egg. Practically speaking, she never quite left it. Then Clementine’s father—a pediatric neurologist who is an expert on children’s brains, but clueless when it comes to his own daughters—disappears, and his choices, both past and present, force the family dynamics to change at last. As the three sisters struggle to make sense of it, their mother must emerge from the greenhouse and leave the flowers that have long been the focus of her warmth and nurturing.

For Clementine, the next step means retracing the winding route that led her to this very moment: to understand her father’s betrayal, the tragedy of her first lost love, her family’s divisions, and her best friend Eli’s sudden romantic interest. Most of all, she may finally have found the voice with which to share the inside story of being the odd sister out. . . .



October 2011 Selection: The Midwife's Confession

2011-11-16T12:09:13.647-08:00

I scold myself each morning as I walk down the stairs with three things in hand, an iPhone, iPod, and iPad. How did I become this person? A better question might be, why am I okay with this?

The easy answer, I love knowing I can carry a stack of books with me. I am listening to The Paris Wife on my iPod, reading a memoir on the iPad and if I must confess…I’m listening to a business book on my iPhone during the day. My iPhone is also my listening option for podcasts (no headphones needed).

Reading from an e-reader most of the summer I had all but forgotten what it felt like to hold a book in my hands. Then my copy of The Midwife’s Confession arrived. I found myself enjoying turning the pages as I read. This story is a page turner!

I must confess… there’s nothing like holding a real book in your hands. I hope you enjoy this month’s book as much as I did.

Click here to read my review

Happy reading, Mari

Giveaway: Watch for a 24 book giveaway to post in the next day/two, on the Manic Mommies website

When: October 5th at 8PM EST

Call in details: 724-444-7444
     Call id: 90383#
     Pin: 1#

Synopsis: Dear Anna, What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry…

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know. 

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.



September 2011 Selection: Exposure

2011-09-19T04:39:33.818-07:00

We have been busy reading ‘fun/light novels with a message’ this summer, something we tend to do every year. We have enjoyed these books but now it’s time to turn to more serious topics.

This month we are reading a story based on true events; if you have teenagers in your home, this is an important story that you need to read. Technology can complicate parenting, in ways I hadn’t thought about until reading this book.

I hope you will read along with us.

Synopsis: Amelia Wilkes’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, Winsome High School senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows and keeps their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested.

Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn.

As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all.

When: September 21st at 8PM EST
Call in details: 724-444-7444
   Call id: 90383#
   Pin: 1#



August 2011 Selection: Deep Down True

2011-09-12T18:35:07.012-07:00

In August we met with author Juliette Fay to discuss Deep Down True.

We had a wonderful discussion, talking about motherhood, womanhood, friendship and self discovery. 

If you were not able to join us live, the podcast is available on iTunes (search Manic Mommies Book Club).  Or click below to listen:

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Synopsis: Newly divorced Dana Stellgarten has always been unfailingly nice—even to telemarketers—but now her temper is wearing thin. Money is tight, her kids are reeling from their dad's departure, and her Goth teenage niece has just landed on her doorstep. As she enters the slipstream of post-divorce romance and is befriended by the town queen bee, Dana finds that the tension between being true to yourself and being liked doesn't end in middle school…and that sometimes it takes a real friend to help you embrace adulthood in all its flawed complexity.

I encourage you to visit the author's website to learn more about her and to read her blog. In June we talked with author Melissa Senate, Melissa recently interviewed Juliette Fay, click here to read the Q&A.



Upcoming Selections: September - December

2011-07-23T08:43:53.971-07:00

We are closing out the year with some wonderful books, moving from summer reading to more meaty novels.  Two of the stories below deal with ethical issues/discovery, all the books deal with family struggles but are unique to themselves.  I read each in just a few days (I really couldn't put them down... I just had to find out what happened).Book giveaway's are announced the first Wednesday of each month, watch for details on the Manic Mommies website. I hope you find time to read with us, read ahead, and enjoy the rest of the year - we have some fantastic selections and author discussions coming up! September - December selections:Exposure: In Exposure, Therese Fowler has written her most gripping novel to date—a ripped-from-the-headlines story of ardent young love and a nightmarish legal maelstrom that threatens to destroy two families. Amelia’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows—and keeps—their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested. Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn. As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all. The Midwife's Confession: Dear Anna, What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry… The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life. Yet there was so much they didn't know. With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit. November selection: We are finalizing our Escape selection.  Watch for details later this summer.The Stormchasers: A powerful novel about twins who must confront a dark secret from their past. In this emotional and provocative new novel, Blum asks the question: How far would you go to protect a sibling-and at what cost to yourself? As a teenager, Karena Jorge has always taken care of her twin brother, Charles. Obsessed with severe weather, Charles, who suffers from bipolar disorder, begins chasing storms. Refusing to take his medication, Charles soon involves them both in a terrifying tornado chase-with deadly consequences. Now, two decades later, Karena must find her long-estranged brother before he reveals the dark secret from their past or hurts himself-or someone else. But there is only one way to find him: the storms...[...]



June Book Discussion - rescheduled to Jun 29th

2011-06-21T07:33:28.705-07:00

Just a quick post to let everyone know that our June book club discussion will be delayed one week. 

If you won a copy of the book in the giveaway, you should have received it by now.  Everyone is buzzing about this one, such a fun book for summer!

Please feel free to leave a comment with questions/discussion topics (or email me).

Call now scheduled for June 29th at 8PM EST

Where:  (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 90383
Pin:1#

Original post



July 2011 Selection: Violets of March

2011-07-05T12:43:13.985-07:00

Last summer, by pure coincidence, my family moved the same day Erin’s family moved to New York. Even though our paths don’t cross in real life I found comfort knowing someone else was going through something similar. I remember July passing by in a flash, spending every minute unpacking and get settled (thriving on order… this couldn’t happen fast enough for me).

This summer I’m determined will find time to unwind and relax, taking in all that summer has to offer on the east coast. With fairs to attend almost every weekend, fun runs, parades… summer will be a new experience (so different than in the Midwest). I hope everyone finds time to unwind this summer, taking time to read on the deck, enjoying an upcoming road trip, baseball, time at the cabin, the choices are many.

Our July book selection was just released and I’m thrilled to say it’s getting great reviews!

Click here to read an author interview with Nicole from Linus's Blanket.

Giveaway: We have 24 books to giveaway, visit the Manic Mommies website for details.  Giveaway closed

When: July 20th at 8PM EST
Where: Call-in details will be available a week before the call

Synopsis: A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

I encourage you to visit the author's website to learn more about her, read her blog, and to watch a book trailer that will leave you wanting more!



June 2011 Selection: The Love Goddess' Cooking School

2011-06-21T07:33:42.390-07:00

Ask and your wish may come true!  We requested book ideas/suggestions earlier this year and a few Manic Mommies readers requested a book with a cooking theme.  I'm happy to say we were able to find a great book that's about so much more than cooking.

Giveaway: Watch for a 24 book giveaway to post in the next day/two, on the Manic Mommies website

When: June 22nd at 8PM EST
Where: Call-in details will be available a week before the call

We are finalizing our book selections for the rest of the year - if you have a suggestion (title, genre, theme) please send Mari an email, we will try to accommodate the request.

Synopsis: Holly Maguire’s grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine—a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can’t make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that’s why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla’s Cucinotta, she’s determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother’s legacy.

But Holly’s four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla’s chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter’s heart. Juliet, Holly’s childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can’t find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla’s essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed—and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.



Summer Selections (June - August)

2011-06-21T07:33:42.392-07:00

I can't believe how quickly the year is going by - we just wrapped up our May giveaway and it's time to announce our summer selections. We pass a milestone this summer, our July book is our 30th book club selection. Some of our readers have read every one, it's been a wonderful experience.I hope you find time to read with us, read ahead, and enjoy summer - we have some fantastic selections and author discussions coming up! Click here to read our book selections for January - MayJune - August Selections:The Love Goddess' Cooking School: Camilla’s Cucinotta: Italian Cooking Classes. Fresh take-home pastas & sauces dailyBenvenuti! (Welcome!) Holly Maguire’s grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine—a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can’t make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that’s why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla’s Cucinotta, she’s determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother’s legacy. But Holly’s four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla’s chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter’s heart. Juliet, Holly’s childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can’t find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla’s essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed—and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness. The Violets of March: A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.  In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after. Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.Deep Down True: Newly divorced Dana Stellgarten has always been unfailingly nice—even to telemarketers—but now her temper is wearing thin. Money is tight, her kids are reeling from their dad's departure, and her Goth teenage niece has just landed on her doorstep. As she enters the slipstream of post-divorce romance and is befriended by the town queen bee, Dana finds that the tension between being true to yourself and being liked doesn't end in middle school…and that sometimes it takes a real friend to help you embrace adulthood in all its flawed complexity.[...]



May 2011 Selection: Exit the Actress

2011-06-21T07:33:42.393-07:00

I enjoy reading historical fiction so this month I'm excited to announce that we are reading Exit the Actress.  Having finished reading the book a few weeks ago I can tell you this is a delightful novel told with letters, articles and journal entries. We will have a lively discussion with author Priya Parmar late May and I can't wait to talk to her.  Giveaway: Watch for a 24 book giveaway to post in the next day/two, on the Manic Mommies websiteWhen: May 18th at 8PM ESTWhere: Call-in details will be available a week before the callSynopsis: While selling oranges in the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, sweet and sprightly Ellen "Nell" Gwyn impresses the theater’s proprietors with a wit and sparkle that belie her youth and poverty. She quickly earns a place in the company, narrowly avoiding the life of prostitution to which her sister has already succumbed. As her roles evolve from supporting to starring, the scope of her life broadens as well. Soon Ellen is dressed in the finest fashions, charming the theatrical, literary, and royal luminaries of Restoration England. Ellen grows up on the stage, experiencing first love and heartbreak and eventually becoming the mistress of Charles II. Despite his reputation as a libertine, Ellen wholly captures his heart—and he hers—but even the most powerful love isn’t enough to stave off the gossip and bitter court politics that accompany a royal romance. Telling the story through a collection of vibrant seventeenth-century voices ranging from Ellen’s diary to playbills, letters, gossip columns, and home remedies, Priya Parmar brings to life the story of an endearing and delightful heroine. Author Q&A:Tell us a little about herself: I love: words, writing, books, water, sunshine, dear friends, a worn stone, peppermint, old maps, new cities, lost shoes, pocket watches, 1920’s dresses, handwriting, peonies, sea shells, 1930’s poetry, broken in boots and language.My mother taught me to write. Whether it was a birthday card or a post it or a thank you letter, she encouraged me to really think about the capabilities of a line, of a rhythm. She made it exploratory and fun. Then I worked for Eve Ensler, the playwright of the Vagina Monologues, and she wields language with such gorgeous dexterity. She can make people think and experience with words.I loved being in academic. I loved the rigor and discipline of study. It was wonderful training to write a historical novel. I love history, story and the fictitious place where they meet. I love hearing about what readers love to read. I find it tells you so much about someone. A favorite book?  There are several that love in a wonderful flexible way that keeps them relevant and current in my life. The Great Gatsby, I was asked once, who my favourite fictional villain was and I chose Daisy Buchanan. Her brittle, destructive, vigilance over her own happiness always shocks me. The irony of that being the exact element that keeps her unhappy is just genius.Room with a View, Mr. Emerson’s unabashed love and hope for his son George always makes me feel brave and alive. George takes all that faith and puts it toward loving Lucy Honeychurch is such an active verb way. I love it.Persuasion, I love the quiet steadfast way that Anne Elliot loves.An Equal Music, It is just a shatteringly beautiful book.For fun, I am reading Anne Fortier’s Juliet and loving it. For research I am reading about thirty books, among them, The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicholson. It is about the summer of 1911 in the last moments before the world fell apart.[...]



April 2011 Selection: The Four Ms. Bradwell's

2011-06-21T07:33:42.394-07:00

I'm excited for this months selection!  Meg Waite Clayton joined us in Napa (Escape 2009) to discuss The Wednesday Sisters so talking to Meg to discuss The Four Mrs. Bradwell's will be exciting for those of who met her a few years ago.Meg will be wearing her pearls for our call and encourages each of us to do the same.    :)Click here to return to the Manic Mommies post for The Four Ms. BradwellsWhen: April 20th at 8PM ESTCall Details: (724) 444-7444 Enter: 90383 #Enter: 1 # Synopsis: Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four have supported one another through life’s challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small. Betts was, and still is, the Funny One. Ginger, the Rebel. Laney, the Good Girl. And Mia, the Savant.But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwell’s retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.Author Q&A: Tell us a little about yourself:  With the publication of The Four Ms. Bradwells, I have three novels on bookstore shelves, and am working on a fourth which Ballantine will publish probably in 2013, depending in part on how fast I can write it. But I didn't start out being a novelist, I started out as someone who wanted to be a novelist but had no idea how one went about that - much less any faith in my own talent. I went off to the University of Michigan thinking I would become a doctor, one of the few educational and career paths I understood. I emerged after seven years as a corporate lawyer in a tidy blue suit, and it was years later - and only at my husband's gentle reminder that I wasn't getting younger - that I got up the nerve to give writing a serious try. I was thirty-two by then, and pregnant with my second son, who was eleven when my first novel was published. Writing, I've discovered, is a lot harder than it looks.Along the way, I wrote short stories and essays, and more than a few pages that are in the proverbial drawer. I had great luck on the first piece I ever published, an essay called "What the Medal Means" which sold quickly to the only publication I could imagine it in: Runner's World. The other short nonfiction I've published has also placed relatively easily, but my fiction was slower going. I sent stories out again and again before they began to sell, revising each time before I mailed them until they did finally start appearing in publications that include Shenandoah, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Literary Review.My fiction is not closely autobiographical, but I do draw heavily from my own emotions and experiences as I write. If you're interested, you can find quite a bit about how I've drawn from life for my writing on the Book Groups pages for each book. For starters, anything clever any child has done in anything I've written was likely first done by my sons Chris and Nick. Like Nelly in The Language of Light, I moved with them to the Maryland horse country that is fictionalized in that novel, to a farm that looked much lik[...]



March 2011 Selection: Sanibel Scribbles

2011-06-21T07:33:42.395-07:00

When we were putting together our book selections for the first half of the year I asked for book recommendations from our readers.  I'm please to say that this months book recommendation came from a regular participant with the MMBC and fellow book blogger. Thank you Jilleen for suggesting Sand in My Eyes.  Click here to read Jill's interview with the author. Update: We originally planned to read Sand in my Eyes, now we are reading Sanibel Scribbles which is the authors latest novel. When: March 23rd (8PM EST)Synopsis: After the shocking death of her friend, a woman embarks on a grief journey that takes her to a remote Florida island, then to Madrid, Spain. Along the way, she turns her own fear of death into a passion for living. Strangers entangle her in their secrets while revealing truths about life, death and things worth doing. They inspire her to re-evaluate the dreams she has for her life.Three questions with the author:Tell us a little about yourself: I live on Sanibel Island—a sanctuary island off Florida’s Gulf Coast—with my husband, three children and our brand new puppy! We live in what looks like a bird house on stilts. My children are 10, 8 and 4 and I find myself spinning in circles half the time like a chicken with its head cut off, going into the kitchen and forgetting why I went in there in the first place. There are mounds of laundry (clean laundry) on the floor of my bedroom. I am great at washing it but never find the time to fold and put it away. There is never enough time in a day for me to get done all that I want to get done. So much a mother does goes unnoticed and unrecognized, but I remind myself all the time that what we mothers are doing when our children are small is working on the underground roots, the things not seen but vital below the earth.In recent years I have learned to say ‘no.’ There are infinite things a woman must do in her lifetime, more things she doesn’t want to do but has to do than there are things she wants to do and can. And whether she is doing what she wants to be doing or doing what she must, there is never sufficient time in a day to get it all done. I have learned to cut out that which isn’t needed in my garden, in my life—trimming away that which serves no purpose and benefits neither me nor others. And I’ve learned to space my plants appropriately. I feel that overplanting, crowding your days with too many commitments, activities and involvements leads to disease and fungus and the things you want to do won’t stand a chance at surviving.When I start feeling exhausted, I choose to do nothing. I can recognize when I need a break and I no longer feel guilty for going to bed one night at nine o’clock, or for letting my house become a mess for a day. I think of roses and how women, like roses, need rest in order to bloom again. Do you have a favorite book that you find you keep recommending to people to read? Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, a non-fiction book about how to speak to the heart of your child. It describes how the things your child does and says flows from what is going on in their heart, so when we are trying to understand our children and when we are instructing and disciplining them, we need to speak to their hearts. The author not only draws on his thirty years experience as a pastor, counselor, school administrator, and father, but he also shares insights gained in ten years of teaching this material in conferences worldwide. There is a workbook that comes along with the book. Someone recommended the book[...]



February 2011 Selection: Healer

2011-06-21T07:33:42.396-07:00

This month we are meeting with Carol Cassella to discuss her latest novel, Healer.  Carol holds high status with the MMBC - she was our first author interview!  We had a wonderful time talking with her and I'm excited for her return visit.The book was announced on the Manic Mommies website a few weeks ago, along with a book drawing (which is closed).  The book club is open to anyone who would like to participate.  When: rescheduled to Mar 9th at 8PM ESTCall details: Dial: (724) 444-7444                     Enter: 90383 # (Call ID)                      Enter: 1 #Synopsis: Claire is at the start of her medical career when she falls in love with Addison Boehning, a biochemist with blazing genius and big dreams. A complicated pregnancy deflects Claire’s professional path, and she is forced to drop out of her residency. Soon thereafter Addison invents a simple blood test for ovarian cancer, and his biotech start-up lands a fortune. Overnight the Boehnings are catapulted into a financial and social tier they had never anticipated or sought: they move into a gracious Seattle home and buy an old ranch in the high desert mountains of eastern Washington, and Claire drifts away from medicine to become a full-time wife and mother. Then Addison gambles everything on a cutting-edge cancer drug, and when the studies go awry, their comfortable life is swept away. Claire and her daughter, Jory, move to a dilapidated ranch house in rural Hallum, where Claire has to find a job until Addison can salvage his discredited lab. Her only offer for employment comes from a struggling public health clinic, but Claire gets more than a second chance at medicine when she meets Miguela, a bright Nicaraguan immigrant and orphan of the contra war who has come to the United States on a secret quest to find the family she has lost. As their friendship develops, a new mystery unfolds that threatens to destroy Claire’s family and forces her to question what it truly means to heal. Healer exposes the vulnerabilities of the American family, provoking questions of choice versus fate, desire versus need, and the duplicitous power of money.Author Q&A: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[...]



January 2011 selection: Helen of Pasadena

2012-04-05T04:53:19.144-07:00

Thank you so much to everyone for sending questions ahead of time, we could have kept talking for another hour if time allowed.  If you weren't able to join us you can listen online (player located in the right column) or via iTunes by searching Manic Mommies Book Club.Lian's Book Recommendation: Pictures of You (Caroline Leavitt)Click here to listen to our book discussion, with author Lian Dolan. Synopsis: Helen Fairchild leads a privileged existence. It only bothers her a tiny bit that she has never quite fit in with the proper Pasadena crowd, never finished that graduate degree in Classics, and never had that second baby. But the rigid rules of Pasadena society appeal to Helen, the daughter of Oregon fiber artists, even if she'll never be an insider. A hilarious social commentary about modern upper-middle class life meets a strong story of midlife reinvention. Author Q&A:Tell us a little about yourself: I am a mother, sister, wife, friend and daughter. In addition, I write, talk and observe for a living. I’ve spent the last two decades working in media—from TV production to radio to magazines to digital content to novels. I created Satellite Sisters with my four real-life sisters to discuss issues of modern women on the radio and the web. And, I created The Chaos Chronicles to examine issues of modern motherhood with a humorous slant. I’m married, have two boys and a busy life in Pasadena, California.   When you start writing Helen of Pasadena, how much of the story did you have mapped out and how much of it emerged as you were writing? I have always been an outliner, even in high school when I was writing papers about The Catcher in the Rye, so having a detailed road map is an engrained part of my writing process. Especially because Helen of Pasadena was my first fiction, I wanted to know where I was going before I started writing. And the pacing of the book was very important to me; I wanted it to move along briskly, no dawdling! I really approached the format more like the three- act screenplay, than a traditional novel. I identified my key plot points before I every typed a word. I bet I had about 70% of the story mapped out as I started to write. I had cards for every scene, with the characters, the conflict and the resolution outlined. That being said, I was really surprised how many big, fun plot details came to me during the writing process. I think having a strong outline gave me confidence that I had enough “happening” in the book and my imagination just opened up during the day writing. I was so immersed in the story that I thought of almost nothing else. And lots of the extra details, situation and characters that made the book fun to write—and hopefully to read—came to me as I was writing. It’s definitely a writing model I will use again. In the movie Helen of Pasadena, who would you LOVE to see play the roles of Helen, Patrick and Rochelle?  I am terrible at the casting game. Ter-ri-ble! But, as I was writing the book, I did keep picturing Kate Winslet as Helen and Hugh Jackman as Patrick. I know, neither is American, but I know both could pull off those roles. The Rochelle question is tricky, because all I can see are the faces of actual news anchors in my head, bedecked in bright red jackets and overdone make-up! Maybe Bridget Wilson Sampras could pull off Rochelle! Not that she’s anything like Rochelle, I’m sure. In the back of the novel you mention that your next novel will be a character spin off fr[...]



Upcoming Selections: Jan - June 2011

2011-06-21T07:33:42.398-07:00

Can you believe that the Manic Mommies Book Club started two years ago? We have read dozens of books, and have grown from discussing books via email with authors (and online chats) to discussing books with the author on a conference call! Thanks Carol Cassella for being our guinea pig (I’m happy to say she is making another appearance in 2011).We have read some great books and talked with wonderful authors. Most of the authors were new names to me but I’m honored to say I have discovered some new must read authors. I have read all of the published books by Jennie Shortridge, I think I had an author crush in 2009! I can’t wait for Kim Wright’s next book which is a character spin off from Love in Mid Air. This December we are talking to Kathleen Kent to discuss The Wolves of Andover (the prequel to The Heretic’s Daughter, one of my favorite books read this year) to name a few.  For the first half of 2011 we will be reading books that explore self discovery, trust and ethics, motherhood and personal dreams, the power of friendship, mixed in with a historical fiction novel set in the seventeenth century, and a cooking novel (with recipes). Four of the books were suggested authors or genre’s from manic mommies listener’s, so I’m please to say this list is truly a collaboration!Jan – June 2011 Book Selections:Helen of Pasadena: Helen Fairchild leads a privileged existence. It only bothers her a tiny bit that she has never quite fit in with the proper Pasadena crowd, never finished that graduate degree in Classics, and never had that second baby. But the rigid rules of Pasadena society appeal to Helen, the daughter of Oregon fiber artists, even if she'll never be an insider. A hilarious social commentary about modern upper-middle class life meets a strong story of midlife reinvention. Healer: Claire is at the start of her medical career when she falls in love with Addison Boehning, a biochemist with blazing genius and big dreams. A complicated pregnancy deflects Claire’s professional path, and she is forced to drop out of her residency. Soon thereafter Addison invents a simple blood test for ovarian cancer, and his biotech start-up lands a fortune. Overnight the Boehnings are catapulted into a financial and social tier they had never anticipated or sought: they move into a gracious Seattle home and buy an old ranch in the high desert mountains of eastern Washington, and Claire drifts away from medicine to become a full-time wife and mother. Then Addison gambles everything on a cutting-edge cancer drug, and when the studies go awry, their comfortable life is swept away. Claire and her daughter, Jory, move to a dilapidated ranch house in rural Hallum, where Claire has to find a job until Addison can salvage his discredited lab. Her only offer for employment comes from a struggling public health clinic, but Claire gets more than a second chance at medicine when she meets Miguela, a bright Nicaraguan immigrant and orphan of the contra war who has come to the United States on a secret quest to find the family she has lost. As their friendship develops, a new mystery unfolds that threatens to destroy Claire’s family and forces her to question what it truly means to heal. Healer exposes the vulnerabilities of the American family, provoking questions of choice versus fate, desire versus need, and the duplicitous power of money.Sand in my Eyes: Twenty years ago, Anna Hott thought she could control everything — her crumbling marriage, her de[...]



December 2010 Book Discussion: The Wolves of Andover

2011-06-21T07:33:42.400-07:00

If you didn't get a chance to join us when we talked with author Kathleen Kent in December be sure to listen to our discussion.  You can listen online (player located in the right column) or via iTunes.Synopsis: In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of his part in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves-in many forms-who hunt for blood. A love story and a tale of courage, The Wolves of Andover confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories of family from colonial history.Book Discussion: Kathleen's book recommendations: Cleopatra: a life (Schiff) and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (Summerscale)In addition to the call, we are bringing back the online discussion for those unable to join us - or for anyone who has read the book and would like to participate.Here are some questions to get the discussion started (answer any/all of them or simply leave a comment about your reading experience):1. What was your overall view of the book? Did you enjoy it? 2. Kathleen explained to us that she is a descendant to Thomas Carrier, have you researched your family tree?  If yes, do you have any interesting stories to share?3.  I know we are talking about The Wolves of Andover but we spent just as much time discussing The Heretic's Daughter on our call.  Have you read this book? Did you like it?  If not, have you been to Salem?  It's a haunting piece of American history.And as I always end this post... what are you reading now? Author Q&A:Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in Texas and attended the University of Texas in Austin. I had always loved writing, but wasn't confident I could make a living at it, so I spent twenty years living and working in New York first in commodities and then as Chief Operating Officer for a US company doing defense conversion work in Russia for the Department of Defense. I travelled extensively through the Former Soviet Union, and greatly enjoyed the career I had built. But always, in the back of my mind, was the thought that someday I would write the book that became The Heretic's Daughter. In 2000 I moved with my husband and son back to Texas and, retiring early from my job, made the conscious decision to begin writing full time. Little did I know it would take 5 years to research and write, but I was fortunate enough to have the support of my family and to find my agent who got me the publishing deal at Little Brown.What was it like getting your first novel published? What is your writing schedule like? The success of my first novel has been beyond my wildest expectations. The book is now published in over a dozen countries, including such exotic places as Turkey and Taiwan. While writing the book my only expectation was that I get published. I had no academic standing to gain easy entree into research library records and the most ambitious writing project I had ever undertaken was to write short stories and poems for my own pleasure. The things I did have were disciplined work hab[...]



Nov 2010 Discussion Recap: The Good Sister

2011-06-21T07:33:42.401-07:00

Several of us were anxiously waiting for this months book club discussion of The Good Sister.  If you weren't able to join us this month, we had a wonderful conversation with Drusilla Campbell - discussing the book and we had a hard time not spending too much time talking about her next book which sounds so interesting.  If you enjoyed The Good Sister you will want to read Little Girl Gone (to be published Jan 2012).If you weren't able to join us, you will find this month's discussion on the playlist located in the right column.  Synopsis: Roxanne Callahan has always been her younger sister's caretaker. Now married, her happiness is threatened when beautiful and emotionally unstable Simone, suffering from crippling postpartum depression, commits an unforgivable crime for which Roxanne comes to believe she is partially responsible. In the glare of national media attention brought on her sister, Roxanne fights to hold her marriage together as she is drawn back into the pain of her troubled past and relives the fraught relationship she and Simone shared with their narcissistic mother. At the same time, only she can help Simone's nine year old daughter, Merell, make sense of the family's tragedy. Cathartic, lyrical, and unflinchingly honest, THE GOOD SISTER is a novel of four generations of women struggling to overcome a legacy of violence, lies and secrecy, ultimately finding strength and courage in their love for each other. Discussion Recap: Drusilla's book recommendations include: The Cookbook Collector (Goodman), and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (Mitchell)In addition to the call, we are bringing back the online discussion for those unable to join us - or for anyone who has read the book and would like to participate.Here are some questions to get the discussion started (answer any/all of them or simply leave a comment about your reading experience):1.  What was your overall view of the book? Did you enjoy it? 2.  What was your opinion of Johnny?3.  Do you think Roxanne handled the situation well?  Did she frustrate you with some of her choices throughout the story?4.  Do you know anyone or have a personal experience with PPD?  If yes, would you like to share your story with us?  It's so important to realize that women do struggle and it's not a choice.5.  The author mentioned that Andrea Yates was the inspiration for this book, after reading this and thinking about Johnny.... has your view changed towards husbands when their wife has PPD?  Do you see them as victim/survivors?And as I always end this post... what are you reading now?   Author Q&A: Tell us a little about yourself: I was born in Melbourne, Australia and came to this country when I was a baby. My mom is one of five sisters and I'm the eldest of more than ten cousins and despite rarely seeing each other, I'm still tight with many of them. What amazes me is how much alike we all are. My Dad was an American and took us to live in a beautiful small town (big now) in Northern California. I was blessed with a wonderful childhood. I've always been a reader, a daydreamer, but most of all a storyteller, going back to sixth grade when I wrote a novel called "A Designing Young Teacher." My husband, Art, is a law professor and poet and we've been married a long time and still really like each other. We have two sons and three grandchildren, two large dogs and four h[...]



October 2010 Book Discussion: If you lived here, you'd be home by now

2011-06-21T07:33:42.402-07:00

We had a wonderful conversation with Claire LaZebnik last night. If you were unable to join us, you can listen to our discussion from the playlist in the right column or by downloading the podcast on iTunes.Synopsis: From the well-loved author of Knitting Under the Influence and The Smart One and the Pretty One comes a new novel about a young single mother trying to move out of her family's shadow. Rickie left home a long time ago-so how is it that at the age of twenty-five, she's living with her parents again, and sleeping in the bedroom of her childhood home? At least one thing has changed since high school: She now has a very sweet but frequently challenging son named Noah, who attends the same tony private LA school she herself attended. Rickie fit in fine when she was a student, but now her age and tattoos make her stand out from all the blond Stepford moms, who are desperate to know why someone so young-and so unmarried-has a kid in first grade. Already on the defensive, Rickie goes into full mother-tigress mode when her small and unathletic son tells her that the gym teacher is out to get him. She storms the principal's office, only to discover that Andrew Fulton, the coach, is no dumb jock. As her friendship with Andrew develops, Rickie finds herself questioning her assumptions-about motherhood, being a grown-up, and falling in love.Book Club Discussion: Are you looking for a good book recommendation? Claire just finished Freedom and says it's worth reading.In addition to the call, we are bringing back the online discussion for those unable to join us - or for anyone who has read the book and would like to participate.Here are some questions to get the discussion started (answer any/all of them or simply leave a comment about your reading experience):1. What was your overall view of the book? Did you enjoy it? 2. In the beginning of the novel Rickie doesn't want to volunteer at her son's school and is intimidated by the women 'running the show'.  Do you volunteer at your child's school (or activities)? Have you had a challenging experience that you have overcome? or do you know women similar to the women Rickie has to interact with?3. Did you read Rickie as a tough or vulnerable character? Do you like where she's headed at the end of the book?4. What were your thoughts regarding Rickie's mom, how she handled both of her daughter's situations and her view on motherhood?Lastly, what are you reading now?Author Q&ATell us a little about yourself: I'm married to a TV writer (he works on "The Simpsons" at the moment) and we have four kids. Which means life is very busy.  What is your writing schedule like? I'm a mother first and foremost, so writing has to be fit in around all the rest. It's not too bad during the school year--I usually have time to write while the kids are in school. But summers are hard! I have someone home on pretty much any given day and it gets tough to find a block of time to work. Out of necessity, I've become a master at racing over to the computer and writing a paragraph or two when everyone's distracted. I keep my laptop in the dining room most of the time--near the first floor action but just slightly apart from it, so I can dash in and write whenever I find the time. I'm NOT complaining: I am so lucky to be able to be a full-time mom and stay home with a sick kid and go to any school performances or[...]