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WELCOME HOME DINER: A Foodie Novel ~Peggy Lampman

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Cousins Samantha and Addie are hoping that they have made a good bet on Detroit.  They are going into business together by purchasing an old diner and an old house in Detroit proper.  They are hoping that they can revitalize the neighborhood with good homegrown food and delightful delights from their Polish Grandmother’s wealth of yummy recipes.  Addie is handling the business end and Samantha is the cook extraordinaire.

Their garden plot, crusty neighbors and a church with a Gospel Choir surround their WELCOME HOME DINER.  The food is getting rave reviews from folks traveling in from the suburbs but they are not pulling in the locals.  Also someone is writing untrue reviews on YELP.   They hire local people to work and the diner is feeling very much like a family.  The products they purchase are locally made also and come with interesting characters to discover.

I loved the recipe for Potlikker Broth as that is a family recipe at our house as well, but we call it Potassium Broth (without Ham Hock) and it does cure what ails one, as the cousins will testify to as it helped to heal their conflict.  Home celebrated food with panache and I did not gain any weight.  Now that is win-win!

This is a fine story and just a cozy good read as these dynamic women work out success in their new environment and with each other.  New, old and modern problems are resolved and help readers to find new ideas that might just change their circumstances.  The writing is perfect for the type of story and I am sure this will make a successful gift during the holiday –winter season for the reader on your list.  Be sure to read before you wrap it!

Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications—summa cum laude—from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for a public-relations firm. When she returned to Ann Arbor, her college town, she opened a specialty foods store, the Back Alley Gourmet. Years later, she sold the store and started writing a weekly food column for the Ann Arbor News and MLive. Lampman’s first novel, The Promise Kitchen, published in 2016, garnered several awards and accolades. She is married and has two children. She also writes the popular blog www.dinnerfeed.com.

RELATED:
Family Tree
The Restaurant Critic’s Wife
Fudge and Jury

tlc-logoTLC Book tours sent me a copy of this book for an honest review.

I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved The Romantic Comedy ~Erin Carlson

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Delightful!  Is the best adjective I can use to describe I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING.  It is light fair and fun fare to read, as it is written like a Hollywood gossip column with lots and lots of details.  It is a biography that goes into the creation of how WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, and YOU’VE GOT MAIL were written and directed by Nora Ephron and how the director, writers, and actors change the rom-com world in the most delightful manner.

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham. (From the cover)

Nora Ephron was from a family of screenwriters and lots of sisters.  She personally had a struggle with finding love and it took her several tries to gain the right match.  She was a perfectionist and a satirist who learned to share her emotions on the big screen and assist all the other poor folks in doing the same.  Ephron’s writing was dynamic and bold and formulated stories into other than the usual norm.  She knew which actors she wanted to play different parts and exactly what clothing and shoes they would wear in each scene.  She opened up the world of writing and directing to more women.  She created a trilogy of success.

I had no idea what the book was about when it arrived for review.  I just said, “yes” to a biography.   But about a week before the book arrived, I just needed something positive in my life and I rented YOU’VE GOT MAIL to take my mind off the news – It was the perfect respite to my worry

I actually rented WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE after I finished the book and found it so fun to know the back-stories and the little details.  And yes indeed, there was the sailboat covered in twinkle lights crossing the bay!!!   The observation deck of the Empire State Building was actually filmed on a sound stage in Seattle!  Success in the details.

The movie I have watched probably a hundred times is JULIE AND JULIA  also a Nora Ephron film and it just pulls me right out of any funk I am in at the time and wow, it is about Julia Child and a blogger who actually has success blogging.

What I did not know when the book arrived was that Nora Ephron had died of leukemia, and was no longer writing and making more movies for us to love and enjoy.  This created sadness and yet I still have her movies to enjoy again and again and again.   I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING is part of a great legacy.

I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING is a TLC Book Tours review book

About Erin Carlson

Erin Carlson has covered the entertainment industry for The Hollywood Reporter and AP. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Fortune, and the LA Times. She compiled and wrote an oral history of You’ve Got Mail for Vanity Fair. She holds a master’s in magazine journalism from Northwestern, and has been profiled in the New York Times.

Related:
Love Literary Style
Alice In Bed
It Takes One To Tango

WTF Poems ~Laura Foley

Monday, June 12th, 2017

WTF is a collection of 18 poems, which are the biography of the author’s father – William T. Foley.  It is the recounting of a life of a WWII POW, doctor, husband, father, and mansion resident high up in New York City.  He is described as a healer not a killer and he enjoyed the respect of other men.

Foley’s words continue to share the sharp treatment of her mother and the contrast of how he robustly denounced his daughters:

DADDY’S GIRLS
He wanted a boy so badly,
he called four girls
a Chinese curse,
blamed our mother,
haunted us, his
unwanted daughters.
Kiss me, he’d insist…
Quickly, we learned to turn away,
duck his gaze,
but still he broke us,
two to madness,
one to meanness,
one to poetry.

I read a poem nearly everyday and I enjoy listening to poems being read aloud on the Writer’s Almanac (Garrison Keillor) on the radio.  I either like a poem or I do not and I like to analyze what I believe was the poet’s intention – just for the fun of it.

This is the third book of poems I have reviewed by Laura Foley and I have enjoyed them all.  One reason that I care for them so much is that Foley has done her homework and emotional companion work; she shares that integration with her writing.  The raw feelings are still evident and they allow the reader to touch into the poem and connect with one’s own emotions without one needing to work that emotion through for the author.  The work has been done and the reader is able to respond cleanly.

Poetic Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review. WTF – my pleasure.

“Laura Foley is the author of five poetry collections, including Joy Street, Syringa and Night Ringing.  Her poem ‘Gratitude List’ won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac.  She won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry contest, judged by Marge Piercy. A palliative care volunteer in hospitals, she lives with her partner Clara Giménez and their three big dogs among the hills of Vermont.” (Cover)

Laura Foley Web
Laura Foley Facebook
Laura Foley Writer’s Almanac

Related:
Joy Street
Night Ringing
To Be of Use
Gone to Soldiers

THE INTERSECT: A Novel ~Brad Graber

Monday, November 14th, 2016

“When life veers off course, strangers find comfort and lasting connection”

There are so many issues discussed in this fine story it is hard to find a place to start. A couple decides to move out of the heavy, duty, frenetic life of San Francisco and relocate to Phoenix, Arizona.  Dave and Charlie form the foundational couple for the story, well! until they begin to have some troubles of their own.  One new job is crazy making stressful and the other new job is rolling along just fine.  Oh! But they found the perfect house and have remodeled it to their liking.

Daisy an older woman, vibrant and on her own, is in a car accident and has to have a hip replacement.  Her nephew Jack and his wife Enid have moved from Michigan to Arizona and Enid decides Daisy is dying and she starts  “handling her affairs”, which is a disaster.  Bonnie a physical therapist, gets Daisy back on her feet as they discover that Daisy has no place to go as she leaves the rehabilitation center.  The two have become fast friends.

“Anna, a gifted psychic who channels the dead, is concerned about her neighborhood.  She hires a handyman to install motion-detectors, unaware that Ernie has entered the United States illegally from Mexico as a child.  When Henry, a homeless gay teen, attempts to rob Anna, Ernie intervenes and melee ensues.  The police mistakenly arrest Ernie, leading to his deportation.” (cover)

We are just about right at the story line where the character’s lives are beginning to weave together and they are all making connections, which hold them fast into a new family framework.  It is not easy going and there are lots of turns and twists to this wonderful story.  Lots of restaurants are mentioned in the Phoenix area and these characters all eat lots of fine and tasty foods.  I got a bit of a hankering for popcorn during the read.

Larissa at Claire McKinney PR sent me a copy of this book for review – what a treat.

The story has quite an exciting ending and the author invites one to discover an extra chapter on his website

Brad Graber Website
Brad Graber Twitter: @jefbral
Brad Graber Facebook

About Brad Graber:

“Brad Graber was born and raised in New York City. He obtained a B.A. in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.H.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. As a healthcare administrator, Brad has held a number of positions living in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago; West Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit; and Mill Valley, a suburb of San Francisco. Brad currently resides in Phoenix with Jeffrey, his spouse of 26 years, and their dog Charlie. Brad volunteers with non-profit organizations, most recently with Duet, which provides support for seniors. He has in the past volunteered with OnenTen.org, which supports GLBTQ youth. THE INTERSECT is Brad’s first novel.” (From Claire McKinney PR)

“Exploring today’s hot-button issues of immigration, elder abuse, and teen homelessness, THE INTERSECT shows readers that strangers can make unexpected and lasting connections—even as they reveal the most vulnerable part of themselves.”

A most enjoyable read and I would highly recommend it as a great story, well written.

My favorite quote:  Page 251

“It’s what’s in your heart.  You’ll know by your reaction to others.  How you behave speaks volumes about who you are.  Determine if that’s the person you want to be, and then, if you don’t like what you’re feeling, make a change.  Every day we get to choose who we want to be.  When you find the response that feels best, you’ve found your true self.”

Related:
My Thinning Years
The Isolation Door
We’re All Damaged