Saturday, May 28, 2011

Armchair BEA - Nurturing Relationships

When I started blogging almost two years ago, I did it for a couple of reasons. I thought it looked like a fun, creative way to talk about books with other people who might care. And...**hanging head in shame**...I wanted to have a URL when I left comments on other people's blogs. I didn't want to be "Anonymous" any more, or that blank person picture that pops up next to your comments. Although, to be honest, I could much more easily have just set up a Google account with a picture. But then, I didn't know how to do that then either.

Now if you asked me why I blog, I would still say that the first reason stands. But a completely unexpected thing happened after I started blogging, something that keeps me blogging. I met people. Oh sure, I haven't actually met any of you. But I feel like I have; I consider so many of you friends! I've started to think about who I could actually met if I traveled to different places. If I went to Michigan, I'd travel to the thumb to meet Staci; in New York, I'd want to see Teri and Amy; in Dallas I'd get to meet Trish and Holly. You get the picture. My greatest regret about not getting to go to BEA is that I won't get to meet everyone.

It's not just bloggers I'm wishing I could met; there are publishers and publicists that I've gotten to know and even authors. As someone who grew up loving books, who has always been in awe of the way authors are able to transport me into another world, getting to talk to authors is like getting to talk to an NFL star or one of my favorite musical performers. So when I discovered Jennie Nash's (author of The Last Beach Bungalow and The Threadbare Heart) blog, I was thrilled when she responded to my comments. Soon we were talking back and forth about her teaching, the novel she was working on and even our families. Before I knew it she was sending me the manuscript for The Threadbare Heart. I've written here before of my excited response when the package containing the manuscript arrived and it remains today one of my prized possessions.

**due to computer problems, I've been unable to post anything for the past few days so this post is a bit delayed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
304 pages
Published May 2011 by Harper Collins Publishers
Source: the publisher and TLC Book Tours

Two men: Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones. One white, one black. Both living in the same small town in Mississippi. M-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-humpback-humpback-I.

One the surface, Larry grew up appearing to have every advantage. An intact family, the color of his skin in a place and time where that mattered. But in Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Larry is the more sympathetic of the two men. Larry never fit in any where. Not in his own family where his father mocked him for not being mechanically inclined, not in school where his love of books and knowledge were not valued. He grows up almost entirely friendless.

Silas is the boy, the man, we should empathize with--he grew up abjectly poor, fatherless and the wrong color in a place and time where that mattered. But there is a darkness to Silas that always keeps us at arms length. As he grows up, things begin to be better for him because, as a star athlete, he does fit in. In high school, while Larry is the boy that the other kids shun, Silas is the boy that other kids carry off the ball field on their shoulders.

Years after growing up, both men are once again living in the small town, no longer friends for reasons that are unclear to Larry. Silas is still the person that every one loves, working as constable and known to everyone by the number from his high school baseball jersey. Because of what happened on the one and only date he ever had, Larry is living a life of complete isolation. No friends, no local business at his father's old service station, his mailbox routinely destroyed. "Scary Larry" lives life with only mountains of books as his friends.

When a wealthy local girl goes missing, suspicion falls on Larry and Silas finds himself investigating. In this little town, it turns out that what happens on the surface is masking a myriad of secrets. Chabot, Mississippi is definitely not Mayberry, RFD.
"The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house."
Tom Franklin drew me in from the opening sentence and the energy and tension of the book never flagged. Who is the monster who has come to shoot Larry Ott? What did Larry say to Silas years ago that led to Silas beating Larry and the end of their friendship. What happened to Cindy Walker, the girl that Larry took on that date twenty years ago? Questions were flooding my mind as I raced through this book. As Franklin moves back and forth in time, slowly the answers begin to reveal themselves even as new ones are raised.

It's hard for me to believe that this book is just now being released. I've been hearing so much about it for months now and I was thrilled to be included on this tour. But, as so often is the case, I was concerned that no book could live up to the hype. This one does, with Franklin deftly blending mystery with the greater story of loneliness and friendship. His writing brings to life these characters and the many dimensions of small-town life. It is spare where it needs to be but never lacking in color. For me, the ending was a bit too tidy; I actually found myself hoping for a unclear ending. But that was the only flaw I found in Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me in this tour!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Better Late Than Never--I Just Can't Pass Up Armchair BEA!

Two years ago,at about this time, I started to hear a lot about a little thing called Book Expo America (BEA) being held in New York City. Okay, BEA is definitely NOT a "little" thing. It's a huge deal, with hundreds of publishers and publicists showing off their upcoming offers to librarians, book store buyers, reviewers and bloggers alike. It seemed like every blogger I follow was there, posting pictures and writing about the glorious fun they were having. A week or so later, posts with pictures of all of the books they had picked up at BEA began appearing. I was feeling mighty left out. But I had only just decided to write a book blog so I had no idea that people like little 'ole me could even go. Last year, my envy grew by leaps and bounds when I realized that I could, in fact, go to BEA (assuming it were financially and logistically feasible, which it wasn't). To make matters worse, I was missing the first ever Book Bloggers Convention.

This year I was definitely going to go. A friend, who is also a blogger, has moved to New Jersey. I could stay with her and it was only a short train ride to get into the city. Perfect. Except that life interfered. Things in my house are not conducive to me being gone and my friend is going to Italy with her husband this week. Hurray for her! Not so much for me. My life is insane right now and I didn't think I'd be able to join Armchair BEA as a consolation but just today I decided to make the time. Because maybe, just maybe, it will allow me to keep that green-eyed monster at bay.

Day One Assignment for Armchair BEA: Introduce Yourself

Lit and Life kicked off on May 28th, 2009 with a small post that no one read because I hadn't even told anyone I was doing it yet. On May 31st my first book review, The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt. With every post, every day for months afterwards, I drove my husband crazy with my squealing as I learned new things that could be done on my blog. Not long afterward, I began driving him even crazier when I start squeeing every time a new book arrived in my mailbox (I'm sorry to say, it's not a condition I've outgrown).

So who am I? Those of you who follow me regularly already know more about me than you could ever wish to know. For the rest of you, I'm a mother (three of my own and a couple of dozen who I'm proud to say call me Mama Shepp) and a wife (we've been married since dinosaurs roamed the earth). I read (duh), love musicals, enjoy cooking and baking, and am, I must admit, something of a control freak (stop laughing, family). Clearly I'm also a fan of the parentheses! I'm part of a family of readers and you can expect to find period guest reviews from some of them as well as book recommendations from several others. If I could put one book in everyone I meet's hand's, it would be Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale because it's a brilliant, thought-provoking and prescient piece of literature.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Salon - May 22

Happy Sunday, everyone! It's been a busy weekend for us, trailing a busy week, but we were so happy to be able to share in the celebration of my brother's youngest's graduation from high school. Congrats, Tigger! Part of the fun of any of these kinds of celebrations is getting to be with family and we're very lucky to get the chance to be with most of them again next weekend when my sister's youngest graduations as well. Looking forward to sharing that with her!

The drive there and back gave me a great chance to get some reading in which was a good thing because I couldn't put down Tom Franklin's "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter." For me, it's definitely worthy of all of the praise it's received.

Now it's on to Henry Kissinger's On China.  I've mentioned before that my dad used to teach current events classes and always had the news on every evening. Growing up in when I did, that meant that Henry Kissinger was a person that I heard a lot about. I'm not sure I'll agree with him (we have pretty different political viewpoints) but I do respect his experience and knowledge and I'm looking forward to his thoughts on a very power country.

Mercy arrived in my mailbox this past week. I've been really cutting way back on taking on books for the coming months but being of Danish descent, I couldn't pass up this one by Danish author, Jussi Adler-Olsen.

Think I'll be reading this one only when it's light out!

Timothy Schaffert, author of The Coffins of Little Hope has created a companion site for the book. As you may recall from my interview, part of the book revolves around a children's book series and this site is the site that the publisher of those books would have set up. The Coffins of Little Hope has now gone into it's second printing!

I've recently learned that Rainbow Rowell's Attachments is also available in audio form for those of you who also enjoy audio books. I'm also hoping to be able to post an interview with Rowell soon--we're trying to put that together!

What's on your agenda for the coming week? Do you have big plans for the holiday weekend?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cat Thursday

Looks like my son's kitten has been playing entirely too many video games!

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
262 pages
Published March 2010 Simon & Schuster Adult
Source: bought this one to read with the Omaha Bookworms

In Enniscorthy, Ireland in post World War II, jobs are tough to come by so when Eilis Lacey is offered a part-time job at a local shop she can't turn down the opportunity despite the fact that neither her mother nor her sister approve of the owner. Not long afterward, Eilis' beloved sister, Rose, tells Eilis and her mother that she has invited a Father Flood to tea. Father Flood is originally from Enniscorthy but is currently living in the U.S. His purpose in coming to tea is to invite Eilis to come to Brooklyn; he will sponsor her and has already lined up a job and housing. As she sits there listening to the good father, Eilis realizes that both her mother and sister are being unusually quiet and it comes to her that it's really already been decided that she will be going to America.

After a horrible journey across rough seas, Eilis arrives in America to begin her new life and soon settles into a routine that is, well, routine and a little boring. Despite living in Brooklyn in a very exciting time, Eilis lives a very insular life. She goes to work, she goes to night school, she spends what little free time she has almost exclusively at the boarding house. And in all of those places, Eilis makes almost no effort to befriend anyone. She can't seem to find the place where she fits in and the things that happen around her seem to affect her very little. Perhaps the only thing that she is at all aware of is all of the discrimination rampant in the ethnically diverse borough.

Finally Eilis meets a nice Italian boy and discovers first love and finally becomes more a part of America. Then a terrible tragedy takes her back to Ireland. Once there, Eilis begins to feel the draw of a real home, unsure whether she will ever return to America.

I read this book with the Omaha Bookworms for our May selection after it was recommended by one of our members (Mari of Bookworm With A View). Mari loved it, in no small part because it evoked memories of stories she had heard from her grandparents who were Irish immigrants who settled in Brooklyn at about the same time. Only half of the ladies had actually finished the book so it was hard to talk too much about the book but even those who had only gotten part way through the book were really enjoying it.

Time moves at quite a pace in Brooklyn; Toibin bypasses long periods of time between episode and vignettes. Toibin compares his writing style to Ernest Hemingway with good cause; he knows how to tell a story with just what is necessary to tell the story perfectly. Nothing showy or lush about Brooklyn. All of the emotion is just under the surface and yet it is palpable and the characters are believable and realistic. This book was twice short-listed for the Mann Booker Prize and now I know why.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Island Girl by Lynda Simmons

Island Girl by Lynda Simmons
448 pages
Published December 2010 by Penguin Group
Source: the publisher and TLC Book Tours

Ruby Donaldson has known she has Alzheimer's disease (or Big Al as she calls it) for a year but lately the disease has really begun to accelerate and it's time for Ruby to set things in order with her daughters.

Daughter Grace has a "mild intellectually delay" and, after a terrible tragedy two years ago, Ruby has brought Grace back to the island the family has lived on for three generations, an island in Toronto Harbor, so that Ruby can protect Grace. The only way to reach the island is by ferry; once there the only ways to get around are by foot or bicycle and the residents of the chain of islands only number in the hundreds so it's an easy place to protect someone. But now Ruby needs to find someone to take care of Grace when she is gone. And she will, indeed, be gone. Ruby's plan is to commit suicide before the disease progresses too far.

Enter Ruby's oldest daughter, Liz. The tragedy that brought Grace back to the island, also tore Liz and Ruby apart. It also caused Liz to abandon her law career and sent her careening into alcoholism. When Ruby tracks down Liz and appeals to her to return to care for her sister, Liz wants none of it. She firmly believes that Grace should be allowed to live her own life and Liz is feed up with doing things Ruby's way.

Ruby has held her secret for a year. But when she seeks out one-time love, and father figure to her girls, Mark, things begin to happen in ways that Ruby could not have predicted.

When I was approached about reading and reviewing this one, I jumped at the chance, in no small part because Simmons is Canadian. This is a country that has given us Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), Yann Martel (The Life of Pi), Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) and Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale). Any time I have a chance to discover a new Canadian author, I'm in.

Each of the women is well-developed and I enjoyed learning to like Ruby and Liz as the book progressed. At first I really didn't care for either of them and had a hard time understanding them. I really enjoyed the supporting cast of island inhabitants; they were just the kind of quirky group of characters that I enjoy.

While there was much in Island Girl that I liked, ultimately I felt as if Simmons may have tried to do too much in this book. The story is told in alternating first-person narratives from Ruby, Liz and Grace and each of the women has much more going on than just the story line of dealing with Ruby's Alzheimer's diagnosis. Although I understood that Simmons purpose with these story lines was to develop each character, I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it had concentrated more on the relationship between the women and about the progression of Ruby's disease.
"The memory blanks have been coming more frequently lately, lasting longer. Before the diagnosis, I'd shrug and put it down to menopause or overwork. Convince myself that losing my keys a half dozen times a day was perfectly normal. And hadn't everyone put the toaster in the freezer at least once? Now, of course, I knew the truth. The sad and ugly truth. And the color of that bill would haunt me until I got home. Or until I forgot, whichever came first."
There is a lot about this book that would make it a great book club selection: family dynamics, the choices that we make in regard to our health and lives, progress (Ruby is an rabid activist against a nearby airport), and the rights of the mentally challenged. And that ending--that ending will definitely have people talking!

To learn more about Simmons and her books, check out her website.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Island Beneath The Sea by Isabel Allende

Island Beneath The Sea by Isabel Allende
480 pages
Published April 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers
Source:  the publisher and TLC Book Tours

Toulouse Valmorain, in powdered wig, buckles on his shoes and the latest fashions and ideas from France, arrived in 1770, at age twenty, on the island that will eventually become Haiti. He has come to help his father but when he arrives, ill prepared for the conditions and the responsibilities of running a plantation, he finds that his father is dying and the plantation in shambles. Over the next few years, Valmorain manages to turn the land around but it is not until he finally finds, in Cuba, a Spanish bride, that he rebuilds his home.

To prepare for her arrival, Valmorain calls on the services of his friend, and former lover, VioletteBoisier. Violette literally puts his house in order. She hires for his wife a young slave girl, Zarite. Born into slavery to a white sailor and a slave mother she never knew, Zarite has lead a difficult life. In Valmorain's house and under his protection, Zarite (Tete) will no longer be beaten but will give birth to his children, be required to tend to his wife's every need as she is consumed by madness, and be denied the freedom he promises her for years.

The two will be tied together for decades to come as they flee the bloody slavery rebellion, seeking refuge in New Orleans. When Tete has the opportunity to escape Valmorain during the rebellion, she can't take it, knowing it would mean abandoning their daughter and his son, who she has raised as her own. In Louisiana,  Valmorain will try to establish a plantation using more humane methods to treat his slaves as Zarite will fight to retain her own humanity, despite new humility, and to protect those she loves while trying to find love herself.

Through the arc of their lives, they are influenced by a huge cast of characters including Dr. Parmentier, Valmorain's abolitionist friend; Sancho Garcia del Solar, Valmorain's vice-loving brother-in-law; Tante Rose, a slave who is natural healer and voodoo leader; and Hortense Guizot, Valmorain's second wife, a woman made the lives of all around her miserable.

Allende is the queen of the sweeping historical sage about people you come to know intimately. This is the fourth book by Allende I've read and I went into it with high hopes for the kind of story that I have come to love. Before Allende writes a book, she clearly does a massive amount of research. Sometimes the book can get bogged in all of that research. Publisher Weekly's reviewer had a major problem with this, stating that Allende was offering nothing new. That well may be true in general, but there was a lot here that was new to me. I wasn't reading the book for new insights into history; I was reading the book for the story set in an historical context. Like Barbara Kingsolver, Allende can slip into moral lesson mode and occasionally falls back onto stereotypes. 

All of which I forgive Allende because her story telling simply sweeps me up and carries me along. Her descriptions of place are beautiful, her characters (for the most part) are well-rounded, and there is an underlying tension throughout the book. Those of you who are regular readers know that I have a hard time with magic and spiritualism in a book, but when Allende does it, it works for me (in this book, it appears in the form of voodoo).

Most of this book was told as a third person narrative, but periodically Allende switched to Zarite's voice which was honest and poetic.
"This is how they told it. This is how it happened in Bois Cayman. This is how it is written in the legend of the place they now call Haiti, the first independent republic of Negroes. I don't know what that means, but it must be important because the blacks say it with applause and praise and the whites say it with rage."
Island Beneath the Sea is filled with passion, sadness, hope and heartbreak in the way that only Allende can do it.
"Many [newborns] died of tetanus, paralyzed, their jaws frozen; that was one of the island's mysteries, because whites did not suffer from that disease. The masters did not suspect that those symptoms could be provoked, undetected, by sticking a fine needle into a soft part of the baby's head before the cranial bones hardened. In that way the baby went happily to the island beneath the sea without ever experiencing slavery."
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. For other reviews on this book and several others by Allende, please check out the full tour. My apologies for not getting this review posted on Thursday--thanks, Blogger, for being down most of the day!

To learn more about Isabel Allende and her books, check out her website.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sunday Salon - May 8

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there, what ever form that may take! I'm looking forward to a lovely quiet day; I'm not sure what the kids are planning though (assuming they've thought that far ahead!). Reading on the patio will be a big part of my day, I'm sure.

I haven't been getting nearly enough reading in. Generally I'm not much of a television watcher, especially once football is over, but I've really gotten into "American Idol" this year so that's eating into some of my reading time. Are any of you fans? Do you have a favorite?

Yesterday I made a Half-Price Book Store run. Took a giant bag of books that was mostly kids books and came home with a new pair of reading glasses (they are soooo fun!) and Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop. At the Omaha Lit Fest last fall, there was a lot of talk about Carter and this is the second of her books that I've picked up. I have yet to read the other but they don't show up there very often so I couldn't pass it by.

I had to make the terrible decision to hit the "Mark All As Read" on my Google Reader today. I was at nearly 900 unread posts and there's no way I'm going to even have time to read through all of them, let alone comment. Hoping that now I'll be able to at least keep up with the reading.

Must get reading this week. I've got several books that need to be done in short order. It's finally gotten warm out so I foresee a lot of reading on the patio this week. What's on your reading agenda for the week?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd
403 pages
Published January 2010 by HarperCollins
Source: the publisher and TLC Book Tours

Remember when you were growing up and your mom told you not to talk to strangers? Adam Kindred would have done well to remember his mother's advice. Unfortunately for Adam, he didn't. Instead he made the mistake of striking up a conversation with Dr. Phillip Wang in an out-of-the-way Italian restaurant. When Adam discovers that the Wang's left a folder behind, he does what any good person would do. He finds a phone number for Wang in the folder, then calls and offers to return it. But when Adam tries to do that, his life is turned upside down.

When Adam arrived in London, life was looking good. He's well off financially, respected in his field of climatology, and about to be offered a dream job. Within a few hours, he finds himself homeless, penniless and on the run from both the police and a murderer.

Boyd fills his book with a large cast of supporting characters including Ingram Fryzer, chairman and CEO of the company that Wang worked for; Ivo Redcastle, Ingram's brother-in-law and a general thorn in his side; Rita Nashe, the policewoman who will become entangled in Kindred's case; Mhouse, a hooker who saves Kindred after a beating in more ways than one; and Jonjo Case, ex-military hit man for hire. Boyd does a fine job of filling in the story of each of these characters, giving each of them dimension, without losing track of his story.

More difficult for him to control is, in fact, his story. Boyd has a lot he wants to talk about in the book, including climatology, pharmacology, big business, homelessness and even cult religion. He appears to know what he's talking about on each of these subjects but sometimes it got the best of the story when Boyd got too heavily into educating the reader. Still Boyd is able to keep the tension high and the reader guessing.

Note to the reader: keep a dictionary handy. Boyd has a extensive vocabulary and is not afraid to make the reader work to read the book. He also is well-versed in the details that make London very much a character in the book. I was sucked into the book immediately:
"Let us start with the river - all thing begin with the river and we shall probably end there, no doubt - but let's wait and see how we go. Soon, in a minute or two, a young man will come and stand by the river's edge, here at Chelsea Bridge, in London."

Mr. Boyd's skill with words has earned him awards and another fan in me. To learn more about Boyd and his other works, check out his website. For other reviews, check out these other stops on the TLC Book Tour. Thanks to Trish and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mythology Mondays - The Goddess of Healing

You may already have noticed that I haven't been around as much in the past week, not posting, not visiting blogs, not on Twitter. We've had some rather bad news this past week that will probably mean that I will continue to be online much less than I have been. I'll still be reading your blogs as much as possible and working to keep up with review obligations. Beyond that, I don't know how much I'll get to talk to everyone.That being said, this week I've been looking into the gods and goddesses of healing, of which all cultures seem to have one.

For the Greeks, that goddess is Aceso, the daughter of Epione and Asclepius (who, as one site said, was the main healer dude). Her sisters Hygeia and Panaceia.Asclepius was the god of healing and medicine. The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff is still the symbol of medicine to this day. The Greeks had a number of other gods that also held among their powers healing. Asclepius' Roman counterpart was Vejovis. Angitia was one of the Roman goddess of healing. If you look at both the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses associated in any way with healing, you'll note that most of the names are closely related to current medical terms.
In Celtic mythology, the goddess of healing is Brigid. She was also the goddess of fire, poetry and unity. Apparently the Celtics didn't have as many gods; they had to do double duty? She was said to be the daughter of Dagda, the great father-god of Ireland. Dian Cecht was Brigid's male counterpart.

Mesopotamians worshiped Nintinugga, goddess of healing and and Ninazu, god of healing. The Hindu twin gods of medicine were Ashvins. For the Egyptians, it was Bast, whose totem was the cat, and whose image you are probably familiar with.
Once again, I'm surprised, although I don't know why, that there were so many other cultures with such active systems of gods and goddesses. Given what I learned last week about mythology, it's only natural that peoples all of the world would have turned to myths, gods and goddesses to explain the world around them.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Salon - May 1

Happy May Day! Does anyone out there still deliver May baskets? My kids always did May baskets when they were younger; I kind of miss them! Although I don't miss trying to get all of those baskets to school without having them all spill over.

I was very excited this week to getting an email telling me that I had won a set of books for my local library branch. Thanks to Audry Niffenegger, the American Library Associate, Regal Literary, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Abrams Comic Arts for hosting the giveaway. My library will be receiving copies of The Time Traveler's Daughter, Her Fearful Symmetry and The Night Bookmobile. Yea for my library!
And this from Unbridled Books:
Unbridled Books is pleased to announce that it is going back to press for Timothy Schaffert's new novel, THE COFFINS OF LITTLE HOPE. This May release is moving into stores now. Reviews for the title have been superb, including a starred Publishers Weekly and a rave in The New York Times, with more online and major media scheduled to land soon. THE COFFINS OF LITTLE HOPE is also a Midwest Connections Pick for May as well as a May Indie Next Pick.

"We're thrilled for Timothy," said editor and co-publisher Greg Michalson. "We think this is his break-out book."

Schaffert is the author of three other acclaimed novels: THE PHANTOM LIMBS OF THE ROLLOW SISTERS, THE SINGING AND DANCING DAUGHTERS OF GOD, and DEVILS IN THE SUGAR SHOP, all of which are selling briskly nationwide.

Schaffert is the founder of the (downtown) Omaha Lit Fest and teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has created a playful website featuring the book within his new book at

Coming up this week, my review of William Boyd's Ordinary Thunderstorms and the return of Fairy Tale Fridays. I'll be reading Island Beneath The Sea by Isabel Allende; I'm a huge fan so I'm thrilled to be part of the TLC Book Tour for this one. What's on your agenda this week?