books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in December by Suko’s Notebook; and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.



This week, I received three review books in the mail; and downloaded two review books for Sparky.  It looks like a very busy week ahead.

1.  A Thousand Pardons, by Jonathan Dee (Amazon Vine)


For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, Jonathan Dee’s novels are masterful works of literary fiction. In this sharply observed tale of self-invention and public scandal, Dee raises a trenchant question: what do we really want when we ask for forgiveness?

Once a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a breaking point. Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home—a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Ben’s recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly.

Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in public relations and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Yet redemption is more easily granted in her professional life than in her personal one.

As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara’s increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness.

2.  There Was an Old Woman, by Hallie Ephron (Amazon Vine)


There Was An Old Woman by Hallie Ephron is a compelling novel of psychological suspense in which a young woman becomes entangled in a terrifying web of deception and madness involving an elderly neighbor.

When Evie Ferrante learns that her mother has been hospitalized, she finds her mother’s house in chaos. Sorting through her mother’s belongings, Evie discovers objects that don’t quite belong there, and begins to raise questions.

Evie renews a friendship with Mina, an elderly neighbor who might know more about her mother’s recent activities, but Mina is having her own set of problems: Her nephew Brian is trying to persuade her to move to a senior care community. As Evie investigates her mother’s actions, a darker story of deception and madness involving Mina emerges.

In There Was an Old Woman, award-winning mystery author Hallie Ephron delivers another work of domestic noir with truly unforgettable characters that will keep you riveted.

3.  Elly in Bloom (e-book), by Colleen Oakes (Author Request)


The #1 Kindle Bestseller in Contemporary Fiction!  Surrounded by lush flowers and neurotic brides, chubby 32-year old Elly Jordan has carved out a sweet little life for herself as the owner of Posies, a boutique wedding florist in St. Louis. It’s not bad for a woman who drove away from her entire life just two years ago when she found her husband entwined with a red-headed artist.

Sure, Elly has an embarrassingly beautiful best friend, a terribly behaved sheepdog and a sarcastic assistant who she simply calls “Snarky Teenager”, but overall her days are pleasantly uneventful. As a bonus, her new next door neighbor just happens to be an unnervingly handsome musician who has an eye for curvy Elly. Just when she feels that she is finally moving on from her past, she discovers that an extravagant wedding contract, one that could change her financial future, is more than she bargained for.

With the help of her friends, staff and the occasional well-made sandwich, Elly bravely agrees to take on the event that threatens to merge her painful history with her bright new life, and finds herself blooming in a direction she never imagined.

Elly’s voice, both charming and hilarious, will appeal to those readers who have been looking for a new voice in chick-lit, and will give women of all sizes the realistic heroine they’ve been waiting for.

4.  Don’t Let Me Die in a Motel 6 (e-book), by Amy Wolf (Author Request)


Think Nora Ephron on food stamps!

SHOPAHOLIC meets Woody Allen as one middle-class, smartass Jewish gal is ejected from her cushy life as a banker after the crash of Washington Mutual Bank.

Gone are the horses and weekend getaways, and in their place come rescue kitties and quick escapes from the Repo Man.

Our heroine’s travails echo the story of Job, but with much more kvetching: she is forced to declare bankruptcy, gives up all her credit cards (gasp!), and watches her house spin away with the Tidy Bowl man as it slides underwater. Instead of sushi at Katsuya, she dines on Kraft macaroni; in place of a 5,000 square foot house is a small studio apartment that she shares with two dogs, a bunny, and an adopted 14-year-old daughter.

The woman’s name is Amy, and this is her (my) story.

The plot is so heightened it reads like pulp, but all of it is true: Near-Suicide! Death! Violence! Cancer! Sex trafficking of minors! Sex with multiple partners!!

Real life is a bitch, but yes, it can be funny. And Amy — frequent performer at The Comedy Store in Hollywood & refugee from the Hollywood studios — knows how to spin a surreal, comic tale!

Enter her world. . .if you dare. .

5.  Petroleum Venus, by Alexander Snegirev (Unsolicited)


This is the tragicomic story of a successful young architect, Fyodor, the reluctant single father of an adolescent son with Down syndrome. The son is a terrible embarrassment to Fyodor, who relies on his own parents to take care of him. Fyodor has fraught relationship with them as well. But then a fatal car crash and the accidental discovery of a mystical painting, “Petroleum Venus,” force this self-involved father to ultimately embrace his troubled son, his parents’ moral values, and the real things in life.

Petroleum Venus won the Debut Prize, was shortlisted for the National Bestseller Prize, nominated for the Russian Booker, and sat on the http://www.ozon.ru bestseller list for a year.




Welcome to another week:  a time to share our reading, blogging, and life adventures, and a time to enjoy our community of book bloggers.  And since today is December 31, this will be the last It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? for 2012!  So come on by and let’s do some serious chatting.

In the New Year, I do hope to spend more time in a “balanced” state of mind.  Less obsessing, more healthy choices.  Later I’ll do an actual resolutions list.

Part of that process is to participate in reading challenges, and I’ve signed up for four.  You can find my choices in the sidebar at Curl up and Read.

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look at last week.

On the Blogs:

Not that great in terms of reading.  I have finished three books, but I only read sporadically throughout the week.

Here’s my Saturday Snapshot post that shows some Christmas moments.

Monday Potpourri spotlighted my Ten Favorite Books of 2012.

Books Read & Reviewed (Click Titles for Reviews):

How to Be Single, by Liz Tuccillo

Three Moons Over Sedona (e-book), by Sherry Hartzler

Murder at Blue Falls (e-book), by Maggie Bishop.

What’s Up Next? (Click Titles/Covers for More Info)

1.  Deep Connections, by Rebecca Graf (Blog Tour Stops on 2/6 and 2/7)


2.  Potboiler, by Jesse Kellerman


3.  RagDoll Redeemed, by Dawn Novotny



And that is my week, past and present.  I hope to see you here on the blog and in the blogosphere.  Happy New Year!


  1. Will you read all of these this week?

    I loved the Jonathan Dees book…quite yummy…I was saving Halle Ephron for later but maybe I should dive in…I am reading Sea Of Tranquility…it is amazing…


  2. There Was an Old Woman sounds great. I read one book by Hallie Ephron and it made my 2012 Best Reads List. She knows how to build and keep suspense. Enjoy all your new books and enjoy your reading week!


  3. I didn’t get much time to read either Laurel Hopefully this week will be a little quieter!

    Happy New Year!

    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out


  4. Hi Laurel-Rain,

    What a diverse selection of books this week, all of them new to me.

    Hallie Ephron is going to be a definite addition to my list of mystery authors, although I see that she is also a fairly prolific non-fiction writer also.

    Thanks for bringing her to my attention,

    Have a Very Happy New Year,



  5. Thanks so much for stopping by (and leaving a link!) I’ve added two of your books to my wish list… I say thanks, wallet just shakes head 😉


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