Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Confession Club

This novel of Women’s Fiction is a continuation of a heartwarming series by Elizabeth Berg that started with, The Story of Arthur Truluv.

A group of women form an unlikely bond of trust that allows them to share personal revelations.

When a participant in a local dining club in Mason, Mo., reveals a personal secret over dinner, the gathering is suddenly transformed into a "safe space": members of the group share not only a weekly feast, but begin to confess dilemmas from their private lives. Elizabeth Berg's illuminating novel The Confession Club brings together a small group of women--ages 20 to their 70s--who maintain an oath of confidentiality as they voice their sins, burdens, inadequacies and shameful secrets, offering each other opinions and advice without judgment. Among the members are a preacher's wife, who is a kleptomaniac; a woman remorseful over the way she chronically lied to her parents during adolescence; and another who finds herself attracted to an exhibitionist.

New additions to the group include some beloved characters from Berg's prior novels, including Iris Winters, from Night of Miracles, a divorcée who runs a baking school out of her home. She falls for a handsome, bright, high-functioning--yet homeless--Vietnam veteran with PTSD. And Maddy Harris, introduced in The Story of Arthur Truluv, is a married mother who returns to town to regroup and reconcile feelings from the past that prohibit her from sharing her soul with her husband.

Readers don't need to be familiar with Berg's prior books in the Mason series to enjoy this one--a tenderhearted, at times philosophical, patchwork quilt of stories. Berg extols the benefits of these unlikely people forming a bond and a community of trust and friendship that changes their lives for the better.

The Confession Club: A Novel (Book 3 of 3 in the Mason Series) by Elizabeth Berg

Random House, $26.00 Hardcover, 9781984855176, 304 pages

Publication Date: April 2, 2019

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (January 10, 2020), link HERE

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

This Is Sunday Dinner

Lisa Caponigri is masterful Italian chef—and so knowledgeable. This cookbook is a keeper!

An elegantly presented cookbook that offers 52 authentic menus--each with five courses--to create traditional, memorable Italian feasts. 

Lisa Caponigri's life has been spent in the kitchen. Memories of cooking with her Sicilian grandmother and her own children have encouraged Caponigri--an Italian American who has lived in Italy--to inspire others to create similar experiences. In This Is Sunday Dinner, Caponigri presents 52 easy-to-follow, classic menus--each comprised of five courses, including wine suggestions--that pay homage to traditional, five-course Italian Sunday dinners: antipasto, soup, pasta and risotto, entrée or vegetable and dessert. 

Italians make creative use of seasonal ingredients at their peak. Thus, the cookbook is presented in accordance with the four seasons, and each section offers 13 region-specific menus. "Winter in Piemonte" showcases delicious cheeses, like figs stuffed with Gorgonzola and marinated in port wine, as well as creamy risottos, steak and even delicate Apple-Almond Turnovers. "Spring in Campania" features peasant dishes such as "Garbage Pail Spaghetti" that combines nuts with capers, raisins, tomatoes, olives and Pecorino Romano, not to mention Cheese Gattó that marries potatoes with broccoli rabe and smoked mozzarella. Menus replete with fish, eggplant, pastas and desserts--including a rich Cannoli Cake--are highlights of "Summer in Sicily." And "Tuscany in Autumn" showcases the elegant simplicity of menus that offer crostini, a luscious recipe for Ribollita--Tuscan bread and bean soup--as well as hearty recipes for pork and chicken.

Caponigri (Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?) believes cookbooks are not just about food, but also about traditions and a lifestyle. This elegant, artfully presented collection is testament to her culinary passion and prowess for all things Italian.

This Is Sunday Dinner: 52 Seasonal Italian Menus by Lisa Caponigri

Sterling Epicure, $29.95 Hardcover, 9781454930174, 336 pages

Publication Date: April 2, 2019

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (May 3, 2019), link HERE

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Would Like to Meet

Who can resist lively rom-coms in the vein of Nora Ephron? 

An aspiring talent agent sets out to prove to an Oscar-winning screenwriter that people can fall in love just as they do in the movies.

Debut author Rachel Winters hits all the right notes in Would Like to Meet. Single Londoner Evelyn Summers once dreamed of becoming a screenwriter. But she has settled into being the "longest-serving assistant in the industry," working for William Jonathan (Monty) Montgomery, an eccentric, high-powered, old-school talent agent. Things take a turn, however, when Monty reassures production duo Sam-and-Max that Evie can light a fire under screenwriter Ezra Chester and convince him to finish a script for which he's been contracted. Evie perceives Ezra--an "Academy Award winner, charitable heartthrob, and industry darling"--to be an "arrogant, insufferable arse." The stakes are raised when a possible promotion to agent is dangled before Evie. The problem, however, is that Ezra believes "Oscar winners... don't write rom-coms."

In order to get Ezra to fulfill his commitment on deadline and convince him to stop being so "short-sighted about the genre," Evie agrees to serve as his inspiration and "living proof." She proposes that she can meet a man the way it happens in rom-coms.

What ensues is a lively, laugh-out-loud story filled with raucous scenes of Evie's madcap meetings and zany mishaps in fulfilling her end of the bargain--from road trips to holidays to chance encounters. Everything that can go wrong does, including Evie making a child vomit, leaving her name and number in random books around London, and accidentally joining an erotic book group. Would Like to Meet is a fun and lively millennial rom-com with a heartfelt message that cleverly plays off tropes from a host of contemporary romance movies.

Would Like to Meet: A Novel by Rachel Winters

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $16.00 Paperback, 9780525542315, 368 pages

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (December 10, 2019), link HERE

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Way I Heard It

Mike Rowe, of ‘Dirty Jobs’ fame, has written a book…and it’s a good one! It's both clever and greatly entertaining. Rowe blends the story of his own life with his exploration of the lives of other notables. This is the perfect read to take with you on the go—short chapters for when you’ve got only a few minutes to escape into a good book!

Popular personality Mike Rowe cleverly spins and unravels mysteries about notable public figures, while sharing stories of his own life.

Television host, narrator, actor, producer and product pitchman, Mike Rowe presents 35 cleverly written short mysteries about public figures and notables that are culled from his podcast, The Way I Heard It. Between the mysteries, Rowe, with his signature humor and dry wit, ties in entertaining anecdotes about his own life--childhood adventures while growing up in a tight-knit Baltimore family; his mentors and his girlfriends; his penchant for Travis McGee novels; and his many comical experiences on the winding, bumpy road to success.

Rowe has hosted several offbeat shows on networks such as QVC, the Science Channel, CNN and National Geographic. He's most known for Dirty Jobs, where he performed 300 messy occupational duties alongside regular, hardworking employees. Rowe's affinity for the programs of radio broadcaster Paul Harvey served as inspiration for his creation of the mysteries of the book--what he pitches as "some true stories you probably don't know about some famous people you probably do." This includes obscure facts about presidents, musicians, writers, sports figures and more--the living and the dead--as well as places and events.

Readers will be greatly amused and intrigued by Rowe's presentation of each story. He offers just enough information and clues to keep readers engrossed--and guessing--about the who or what of each subject before he delivers surprising twists and reveals the mysterious identity at each story's conclusion. For all the jobs Mike Rowe has held in his storied career, writing might just prove to be his forte.

The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe

Gallery Books, $28.00 Hardcover, 9781982130855, 272 pages

Publication Date: October 15, 2019

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (October 25, 2019), link HERE