My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space

From  elaine pasquali

Title:  My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space 

Author:  Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Scottoline Serritella

This is a mother-daughter endeavor.  Each chapter recounts family events, relationships, and secrets of their nuclear and extended families.  Each chapter has a generational spin..  Each chapter stands alone.  Each chapter is short, pithy, and humorous.  A quick and entertaining read.

The Black Country

From  Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  Alex Grecian
Title:  The Black Country 
The Black Country: a novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad by Alex Grecian is the second installment of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad and, to me, contained traces reminiscent of a crime which truly occurred. For more information on the true crime case, please see The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: a shocking murder and the undoing of a great Victorian detective by Kate Summerscale. The Murder Squad is sent to the black country or coal country to find some missing family members. Sutton Price, his wife, and his youngest son have disappeared. The three older children are fine and are being cared for by the housekeeper and watched over by the townspeople. Meanwhile, the detectives are trying to find the missing family members and being hindered by the superstitious nature of the townsfolk and by the fact that the ground is slowly giving away due to the tunnels being carved beneath for coal mining. Sutton Price’s second wife is his children’s former nanny and the children view her as an interloper. The first wife ran away. The detectives do finally succeed in unraveling the whole miserable tale in the place that is causing such trouble for the townspeople, the mineshafts. The youngest son was murdered by a most unusual suspect and gave me pause because it forces one to consider the nature versus nurture argument. Is evil learned or is it an innate force? The Black Country is an excellent read for those who appreciate a good mystery.

Stop the Wedding! A Romantic Comedy

From Rosemarie Jerome
Author:  Stephanie Bond
Stop the Wedding!  A Romantic Comedy
Annabelle Coakley’s widowed mother is getting married to Martin Castleberry. This is not good news. Castleberry is a playboy movie star. He has been married five times before and each wife is younger than her predecessor. Annabelle is a divorce lawyer, she has dealt with the pain and suffering of divorce. She does not want her mother to get hurt, so she must stop this wedding. Clay is Martin’s son. He is used to cleaning up his father’s messes. He wants to end this relationship before his father makes another big mistake. They are both on the same mission but never on the same track. It’s the formula for a humorous, light read. This exclusive Kindle eBook is available on our circulating Paperwhite Kindle.

Love amid the ashes : a novel

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Mesu Andrews
Love amid the ashes : a novel
Love Amid the Ashes is a fictionalized account of the biblical story of Job, as told through the eyes of Dinah, daughter of Jacob. Dinah, according to apocryphal writings, became Job’s wife after his first wife Sitidos died.  Early in the story, Dinah travels with Job’s caravan to Uz to become the second wife of one of his sons.  As Job loses everything, including all his grown children, Dinah stays on as part of his household faithfully tending to the needs of Job and his wife.  She uses her knowledge of herbs to care for Job medically.

In this gripping novel , familiar biblical characters are mixed with fictional characters and become more alive with the added detail.  We see bits and pieces of the lives of other biblical characters woven into the story of Job.  The continuing rivalry of Jacob and Esau, the treachery of Simeon and Levi, even Joseph finds his way into the story as Jacob’s family travels to Egypt for survival.

If you enjoy biblical fiction you should like this book which is full of intrigue and suspense.  You will hold your breath at times, even though you know the final outcome for Job is good.

Lost and found: unexpected revelations about food and money

From Jackie Cantwell
Author:  Geneen  Roth
Lost and found: unexpected revelations about food and money
Well-known author Geneen Roth was another victim of Bernie Madoff’s investment scheme. What may differentiate her from other victims is her ability to lay bare her deep-seated, once subconscious beliefs about money and share these hard-earned truths with the reader. Her father’s entire family was killed in the Holocaust. Since he felt that God failed him and his family, he trusted no one and his life was dedicated to accumulating wealth and material things. As a young woman, Geneen was torn between wanting independence and depending on her father’s largesse for all her expenses. Geneen draws the parallel between our relationship with our fathers, our money, our choice of mates, and even our relationship with food. She encourages us to see if how we’re actually handling our finances jibes with our concern for the environment, our values, and our responsibilities to our families. She warns us that being willfully ignorant of our relationship with money, as she once was, can have dire consequences to our very souls.

Monarch of the glen [videorecording DVD]

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  BBC Scotland
Monarch of the glen [videorecording DVD]
Monarch of the Glen is a highly addictive, delightful series from BBC Scotland.  There are seven series, which can be borrowed separately or all together depending on the library.

The series begins with Archie MacDonald, a young restaurateur, being tricked by his family into returning home to Glenbogle, the family estate in the Scottish Highlands, which is in financial ruin.  He stays to try to make Glenbogle viable again.  The show is enhanced by breathtaking scenery, and includes a wacky but ever-changing cast of characters. Though many of the stories are serious, the series manages to remain humorous and lighthearted.  Sometimes you will find yourself laughing out loud. Episodes include romance, business, heartache, family problems, community issues, class differences, and lots of scheming.   When you turn on an episode and hear the familiar theme song, you will feel like you are home again with your new family and friends in the highlands.  Eventually you will begin to think that maybe real men do wear kilts.

Unorthodox : the scandalous rejection of my Hasidic roots

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Deborah Feldman
Unorthodox : the scandalous rejection of my Hasidic roots
Unorthodox is a gripping memoir of girl growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as a member of the Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism. Her father was mentally retarded and her mother left the sect when she was very young, so she was raised by her paternal grandparents.

Devoireh (Deborah) is an independent thinker and never fit into the lifestyle she was born into.  As a child she would sneak into the library and bring home forbidden book “English” books which she had to hide.  She had high hopes for her arranged marriage at age 17, but marriage brought a new set of problems. At 19, Devoirah gave birth to her son.

Devoireh managed to achieve more independence after they moved upstate where the Satmar community wasn’t so vigilant.  She learned to drive and started attending classes at Sarah Lawrence College.  She took more and more steps toward the life she desired for herself and her son, until eventually she left the world she grew up in behind.

This memoir was particularly interesting to me because it gave me an inside look at a community I only saw from the outside as a gentile growing up in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

The themes in this story are universal as many different kinds of people find themselves ill-suited to the culture or lifestyle they are in.  Many have to make the decision between following their dreams or pleasing those around them.  Many  have to choose between thinking for themselves or letting others think for them.  This a book that speaks to all these people, no matter what culture they are a part of.

The Roots of the Olive Tree

From Ginny  Pisciotta
Author:  Courtney Miller  Santo
The Roots of the Olive Tree
The Roots of the Olive Tree gives the reader entrance  into the lives of 5 living generations of firstborn daughters and their complex  relationships.  Much of the story takes place at the family home  in an olive grove in the Sacramento Valley.  Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 years old at the beginning of the story and is still going strong.  Her daughter is 90 and also healthy in body and mind.

A geneticist seeks to unlock the secret of their longevity and provide a breakthrough that would change the aging process.  As he studies their genetic make-up, we catch glimpses into their emotional lives and gradually learn the secrets they are keeping from each other and the world around them.  Mysteries about each of them are revealed little by little as we learn the reasons behind  strained relationships.  The book is divided into sections – each one told from the viewpoint of one of these daughters.  The final chapter in the book jumps ahead about 10 years and is written from the viewpoint of the firstborn son of the youngest.

The book is riveting, but it is not a feel-good kind of story.  The characters are real and flawed, yet you do care about them.

Eyes Right: confessions from a woman Marine

Eyes Right: confessions from a woman Marine
Eyes Right : confessions from a woman Marine traces the life path of a woman determined to prove something, both to herself and to the world at large. She came from a broken family and was determined not to end up in her father’s alcoholic footsteps. She went to the recruiting offices for all branches of service and there was a wait, but she was determined to get going on her path. The author showed brutal honesty in exposing her faults and shortcomings.  I give her credit for her pursuit of a better life. I did not always agree with her actions and choices but hindsight is always 20/20. Until one walks in another person’s shoes, one cannot say she should have done this or the other thing because looking in unemotionally, it is always easier to see the better choice. Once emotions are involved, choices are not so clear cut. The book was an enjoyable, informative read and I simply could not put it aside until I had turned the last page.

Defending Jacob

From Rosemarie Jerome
Author:  William Landay
Defending Jacob
A teenage boy is murdered.  Andy Barber is the assistant district attorney on the case.  His world, and his family, is shattered when his fourteen year old son, Jacob, is charged with the murder.  Is he guilty?  Was he framed?  How far will a father go to protect his son?  Is his son a monster?  This is a  riveting, suspenseful legal drama that has a truly shocking ending.