Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday: Diva

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released novel I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: Diva by Daisy Goodwin

Due out: January 23, 2024

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

The story of the scandalous love affair between the most celebrated opera singer of all time and one of the richest men in the world

In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas was known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic, and striking beauty, she was the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. But her fame was hard won: Raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her golden voice, she learned early in life to protect herself from those who would use her for their own ends.

When she met the fabulously rich Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, for the first time in her life, she believed she’d found someone who saw the woman within the legendary soprano. She fell desperately in love. He introduced her to a life of unbelievable luxury, showering her with jewels and sojourns in the most fashionable international watering holes with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And then suddenly, it was over. The international press announced that Aristotle Onassis would marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.

In this remarkable novel, Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unremitting drive, and natural chic made her a legend. But it was only in confronting the heartbreak of losing the man she loved that Maria Callas found her true voice and went on to triumph.

Monday, September 11, 2023

NonFiction Tuesday: In Light of All Darkness

I love reading non-fiction and this year am pulled toward nonfiction more than ever before.  This title is coming out in just a couple weeks and I'm excited to sit down with it.


This week's pick:  In Light of All Darkness: Inside the Polly Klaas Kidnapping And the Search for America's Child by Kim Cross

Due out October 3, 2023

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

On October 1, 1993, a 12-year-old girl was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom in Petaluma, California, during a sleepover with two friends, while her mother slept soundly in the room next door. This rarest of all kidnappings—a stranger abduction from the home—triggered one of the largest manhunts in FBI history.  

Many Americans remember Polly's face, which appeared on the national news every night, on the cover of 
People magazine, and on more than 8 million flyers distributed as far as China. The emotional gravity of Polly’s story touched every agent, police officer, and forensic technician who worked on her case. Many of these investigators have never shared their stories—until now.

New York Times bestselling author Kim Cross has written the first comprehensive account of what happened on that fateful night in October, as well as how the case forever transformed the Bureau’s approach to solving crimes. With unprecedented access to case files, crime scene photos, a videotaped murder confession, and inside sources, In Light of All Darkness follows the investigators who pieced together the evidence that led to the arrest and conviction of the kidnapper—and made the victim a household name and a girl who will never be forgotten.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Monday Mini-Reviews

Every year I transition back to school and not as much free reading time.  It never gets any easier, and those stacks of books I want to read just keep on growing.  Three of these four gems are newly published but one of them has languished on my shelf for nearly twenty years.  I'm so glad I didn't get rid of it; it ended up being a five-star read. 

Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J Ryan Stradal - this isn't my favorite of Stradal's; I LOVED The Lager Queens of Minnesota, but I did still enjoy this latest book.  I always appreciate a Minnesota setting and the quirkiness of Stradel's characters.  This story centers around two restaurant families who struggle to keep their businesses and families afloat. This one reminded me a little of Lorna Landvik, which is always a good thing.

Lady Tan's Circle of Women by Lisa See - I love Lisa See but I'm not usually a fan of books set in the 1400s.  I was happily surprised by how readable this book was.  Yunxian is being raised by her grandparents and learning about women's medicine, an unlikely path for a female during this time period.  Her best friend Meiling is the daughter of a midwife, and despite the different worlds they come from, develop a close friendship that lasts their entire lives.  This one was interesting from beginning to end.

Moloka'i by Alan Brenner - I should have read this when it came out in 2003, but even though it took me a good long time to get to it, I am so glad I did.  When Rachel is just six and develops leprosy, she is sent away from her family to the island where lepers are quarantined.  Years pass and as devastating as Rachel's childhood was, her life was full and interesting in so many ways.

The Connellys of County Down by Tracy Lange - this sophomore novel was fun, if a little predictable.  Tara is newly released from prison and returns home to live with her brother, sister and nephew.  It turns out that all three siblings have their own secrets they've been keeping and when the policeman who put her behind bars keeps showing up in her life, Tara can't help but want to get to know him. 

These were all good reads and ones I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys women's fiction.  I've got a few others I want to get to this week, and with only one cross country meet that just might happen.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Friday Five

 This week was only four days long - and yet it felt like fourteen.  I've skipped workouts most mornings because I've been up later at night than I would like.  I've gone to cross country meets and enjoyed beautiful, sunny weather while I've watched my daughters run (one in high school, one in college).  I've tried to get some reading done and can't quite catch up with school things. I'm predicting that next week will be much the same.  

Here are some fun things that caught my eye this week:

1.  Extra High Waisted Wide Leg Trouser Jeans for Women

2.  Maeve Phthao Ruth Cities Sweatshirt

3. Maeve Striped Pullover Sweater

4.  White Daisy Gray Long Sleeve Sweater

5.  Autumn Garden Print Top

6.  Bomber Jacket

7.  Birds of Paradis by Trovata Carla Blouse

8.  The Marvin Slingback Loafer

9.  Classic Fine Knit Crew Sweater

10.  AE Dreamy Drape Stretch Super High Waisted Baggy Wide Leg Corduroy Pant

That's it for me this week. What's caught your eye?

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday: The Fiction Writer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor

Due out: November 28, 2023

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

The once-rising literary star Olivia Fitzgerald is down on her luck. Her most recent novel—a retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca—was a flop, her boyfriend of nine years just dumped her and she’s battling a bad case of writer’s block. So when her agent calls her with a high-paying ghostwriting opportunity, Olivia is all too willing to sign the NDA.

At first, the write-for-hire job seems too good to be true. All she has to do is interview Henry “Ash” Asherwood, a reclusive mega billionaire, twice named 
People’s Sexiest Man Alive, who wants her help in writing a book that reveals a shocking secret about his late grandmother and Daphne du Maurier. But when Olivia arrives at his Malibu estate, nothing is as it seems. The more Olivia digs into his grandmother’s past, the more questions she has—and before she knows it, she’s trapped in a gothic mystery of her own.

With as many twists and turns as the California coast, 
The Fiction Writer is a page-turner that explores the boundaries of creative freedom and whose stories we have the right to tell.

NonFiction Tuesday: Upcoming: The Wives by Simone Gorindo


I love finding nonfiction books that pique my interest.  I can't wait for this one to be out in April.

This month's pick: The Wives by Simone Gorrindo

Due out April 4, 2024

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A powerful, intimate memoir of marriage and friendship that traces one woman’s experience joining a tightknit community of fellow army wives after leaving her New York City job to follow her enlisted husband.

When her new husband joins an elite Army unit, Simone Gorrindo is uprooted from New York City and dropped into Columbus, Georgia—a town so foreign she might as well have landed on the moon. With her husband frequently deployed, Simone is left to find her place in this new world, alone—until she meets the wives.

Gorrindo gives us an intimate look into the inner lives of a remarkable group of women and a tender, unflinching portrait of a marriage. A love story, an unforgettable coming-of-age tale, and a bracing tour of the intractable divisions that plague our country today, 
The Wives offers a rare and powerful gift: a hopeful stitch in the fabric of a torn America.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Friday Five: Labor Day Weekend

After a full week of work with students, a three day weekend is just what everyone needs.  On Monday I got to school thinking I could get organized and I would be ready for classes.  But after an entire day of helping kids with chromebook issues, there wasn't time to go to the bathroom, let alone organize.  And while I should have foreseen this coming, perhaps it was better that I didn't.

The weather is HOT and I'm just going to keep enjoying the heat wave while it lasts.  Cold weather will be here soon as is evidenced by some of my Friday Five selections this week.

Hope everyone has a relaxing weekend, and perhaps comes across some great Labor Day sales.


1. Camp Lodge Cardigan

2.  Tortoise Wide Buckle Sandal

3.  We the Free Vintage Crush Plaid Shirt

4.  Women's Waffle Debut Retro Sneaker

5.  Gap x FancyLoveShack High Rise Floral 70s Flare Jeans With Washwell

6.  Denim A-Line Skirt

7.  In Things Loop-Crochet Cardigan

8.  Pilcro Graphic Band Tulle Tee

9.  Petite Herringbone Wool Blend Holland Blazer

10.  Full-zip Active Anorak in Botanical Print

That's it for me this week. What's caught your eye?

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday: What Wild Women Do

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: What Wild Women Do by Karma Brown

Due out: October 24, 2023

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Two women's lives unexpectedly intertwine in this intriguing dual timeline novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author.

A 1970s feminist facing the costs of loss and autonomy strives to create a better future for women at her Adirondacks camp; the other woman, an aspiring screenwriter of today, makes a shocking discovery that sets her on a course of rewriting her own story.

Rowan is stuck. Her dreams of becoming a screenwriter are stalled, along with her bank account, as she and her fiancé, Seth, try to make sense of what's next for them after leaving LA. But when the couple takes a trip to a cabin in the Adirondacks, hoping the change will provide inspiration for Seth's novel-in-progress, Rowan finds herself drawn into a story greater than her own--that of socialite-turned-feminist-crusader Eddie Calloway, who vanished one day in 1975 and was never found or heard from again. In a handbook left behind in the abandoned ruins of a once-great camp, Rowan learns more about the enigmatic Eddie, and clues as to what happened to her.

As Rowan delves deeper into the mystery, we meet Eddie herself, a fierce and loving woman whose greatest wish was to host women at her camp and unlock their "wildness." However, Eddie's wild ways aren't welcomed by everyone, and rifts between camp owners threaten her mission. When Rowan gets closer to the truth of Eddie's disappearance, she realizes that it may hold the key to unlocking her own ambition and future.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Non-Fiction Tuesday: Accountable

 I have read some really amazing nonfiction this year.  Accountable was published last Tuesday. I picked it up on Friday night and finished it Saturday morning. It was amazing.

Dashka Slater's 57 Bus has been well reviewed since its publication several years ago.  In my opinion, Accountable is even better than that.  

A student creates an Instagram account where he posts racist pictures.  There are only thirteen followers to this account and each post seems a bit more offensive than the one before.  Of course this isn't something that can remain a secret to just the thirteen followers and one of them eventually tells other students about it.  And once it gets out, there are consequences for everyone involved.

Of course, the victims of these posts, fellow students and friends, have to deal with the trauma of being singled out and the hurt that goes with it.  But what I hadn't thought about prior to Slater following up with the people involved with the Instagram account, is how long the consequences of their actions would continue to impact them.  

This is a book I am going to be thinking about for a long time. I've already ordered copies that I hope to read with a book club at school. It's a book I think all educators, parents and students need to read and discuss.