Now out:


A novel

by Mona Simpson

Mona Simpson has written a number of highly regarded works of fiction, of which this is her latest. In Commitment, she pens a story of family and the sorts of stresses and bonds that join its members. Single mother, Diane, has done everything and more for her son and daughter; it has not always (or often) been easy. Children, Walter, Lina and Donny have their own deep wishes and needs. All will be challenged.

There is a double (at least) meaning in this book’s title as it refers to both relationships (family and friend) and psychiatric issues. All of these kinds of commitments are explored in the hands of this capable writer.

Publishers Weekly calls this one “deep and tender.” I think that readers will agree. They may also find it a bit slow moving.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Knopf for this title. All opinions are my own.

From the Publisher

a powerful family story says amy hempel author of sing to itdeep and tender says publishers weeklyunforgettable. a sweeping family epic says weike wang

What makes for: An American Beauty by Shana Abe

#AnAmericanBeauty #NetGalley

The “American Dream” is based on the notion that, with hard work and grit, one can succeed. For many years, the success was about men and, of course, there were all of those “robber barons” with names like Carnegie and Morgan. But, what about women? Could they make their way up? Yes, sometimes with the right marriage and maybe sometimes with that same grit. How will Arabella achieve this?

Here is an historical novel about a young woman who was working in a gambling parlor when she caught the eye of a wealthy railroad baron. The two became involved in an affair and Collis Harrington helps Arabella to move to New York and establish a new life there.

What happens to these two forms the basis for this novel that is grounded in some truth historically. Will Arabella achieve all that she wants, especially if this includes wanting social acceptance and not just money? Read this one to find out. An American Beauty may put readers in mind of The Gilded Age mini series but that is no bad thing. It is a book with which to relax and maybe dream.

Many thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for this title. All opinions are my own.

Pub date: 25 April 2023

What it means (t) to her to be: In Love by Amy Bloom

#InLove #NetGalley

Amy Bloom is not writing about fictional characters in this heartbreaking, moving and extremely well written work. Instead the novelist tells a story that is as impactful as any of those that came from her imagination. In some ways, she asks her readers to think about the unthinable.

This book relates what happened when the author’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Brian knew that he wanted to end his life. As this is not currently possible in most of the U.S., he wanted to go to Dignitas in Switzerland where assisted suicide is a choice. Bloom recounts her and Brian’s experiences, the emotional impact of the decision, the story of their relationship and the poignancy of their last days. Readers will also spend time with the author as she begins to experience her life without Brian.

Many will be touched by this book. I think that it will resonate and also open some hearts and minds.

This is an unforgettable book. Publishers Weekly states: “The result is a stunning portrayal of how love can reveal itself in life’s most difficult moments.” I definitely agree.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for this title. All opinions are my own.

This book was published in 2022.

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, Time, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, USA Today, Real Simple, Prospect (UK), She Reads, Kirkus Reviews

From the Publisher

in love;amy bloom;personal memoir;grief books;grief and loss;inspirational;personal growth;health
Amy Tan says “The mastery of this book draws us in, and delivers us, by the last page, changed.” in love;amy bloom;personal memoir;grief books;grief and loss;inspirational;personal growth;healthAlison Bechdel says "Buoyant and entrancing . . . A story pulsing with raw life."

Now out:

Mind over Batter

75 Recipes for Baking as Therapy

by Jack Hazan

I love the pun title of this book. It does tell readers/bakers what this took is about. The author, a therapist, offers recipes that he believes have a therapeutic value, hence the subtitle which is 75 recipes for baking as therapy.

A few of the chapter headings are Self-Care, Finding Comfort, Dealing with Stress and Anxiety, and Connecting with Others. Each section includes self-help and recipes.

In his introduction the author notes that baking engages all of the senses and is easily available. He shares the biographical information that led him from a traditional Syrian Jewish family of immigrants to his becoming a therapist-baker. This is worth reading before going to the recipes.

There are helpful therapeutic sections in this book. For example, early on, there is a section on setting boundaries. There are also, of course, beautiful photos and delicious recipes. Make the Self-Care in a Cup Cake. It serves one; sometimes that is just the right amount. Try some of the others as well.

I very much liked the approach of this book. I think that I may purchase the hard copy for me or someone I know.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for this title. All opinions are my own.

From the Publisher

Mind Over Batter
Mind Over BatterMind Over BatterMind Over Batter
Choose-Your-Own-SconeHeaven and Hell CakeYou’ve Met Your (Banana) Matcha Loaf
Mind Over BatterMind Over BatterMind Over Batter
Jack’s Chocolate Chip CookieGrandma Peggy’s KanafehSambusak
Mind Over Batter

Heart and Brain: Onward to Good Things!

A Heart and Brain Collection

by Nick Seluk

#HeartandBrainOnwardtoGoodThings #NetGalley

There are three sections in this title; Anxiety Machine, Growing Pains, and Onward to Good Things. In them, the author/cartoonist shares his view of the world and some of his struggles. Heart and Brain may sometimes be in conflict but they both are needed.

Those who like comics with a somewhat existential bent may want to give this book a look. It did not fully gel with my sense of humor but that certainly doesn’t mean that it might not be perfect for others. Many readers have given this title five stars.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel for this title. All opinions are my own.

Pub date: 02 May 2023

Become involved in: The Metropolitan Affair by Jocelyn Green

#TheMetropolitanAffair #NetGalley

The Metropolitan Affair was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I loved how it combined history, mystery, art, relationships and more. The characters and settings were engaging and the pages turned easily.

About the book:

Lauren Westlake has a deep interest in Egyptology and has secured an excellent position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The story takes place around the time of the discovery of Tut’s tomb so it was an exciting time to be a curator. Lauren’s father is also an Egyptologist; they have a complex relationship and one that is in need of some repair. It doesn’t help that he might be involved in something unsavory.

Detective Joe Caravello has known Lauren for many years. When he has a case involving Egyptian artifacts, he naturally turns to her for assistance. What they uncover and how they resolve things form the basis for the narrative.

The Roaring Twenties. Forgery. A plot that leaves readers wanting to find out everything. All in all, a fun read.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for this title. All opinions are my own.

This book was published in March 2023