Tag Archives: fiction

Love Is In The Baking

Short Story My Holiday Gift for You

Hi All – As I get ready to leave for an exciting holiday trip to Singapore, I’ve uploaded a new short story to Amazon. Love Is In The Baking is  a poignant look at love, loss, memories, and family. My new story will be free December 21, 2015 through December 25, 2016.

If you don’t have a Kindle remember that you can read this story or any Kindle book by downloading the free Kindle app for your computer and/or any smart phone.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

If you enjoy this story, please. come back and leave a review.

Augustus Family Trilogy by Tamara Merrill

Reading and Writing

It isn’t that I haven’t been reading but it is that I’ve – surprise – actually spent more time writing Family Myths – the third book of the Augustus Family Trilogy than I have spent reading the last couple of weeks.  That, of course, doesn’t mean I  haven’t been reading at all it just means I haven’t read a book a day. So sad!

Besides working on the new book I’ve been “enjoying” a construction project at my home.  This has resulted in massive amounts of dust and dirt and the need to pour a glass of wine for myself the moment the workers leave for the day and then binge watch Six Feet Under.  Hmmm. That might not be exactly what I meant because some times the workers get here at 11 AM and are gone by 1PM.  I always wait for the wine until I’m done fretting about the day’s progress.

Enough about nothing…here’s the new list of what I’ve read recently. Hope you find something you like.

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova – by the author of Still Alice – Genova takes a look a another devastating disease. Huntington’s Disease is a genetic mutation and if you are unfortunate enough to inherit the mutated gene it is 100% certain you will die from the disease. This a warm, wonderful, loving look at a family and their responses to the terrible news that the father has been diagnosed. It will make you laugh and cry and examine your reactions both to those who are “different” and to how you handle the difficult. *****

Saving Grace by Jane Green – a quick read.  I’d call this one “chick lit”.  The plot is one we’ve all read and/or seen the movie but the cooking angle is nice and I actually tried one of the recipes – Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle – and it was wonderful!  ***

In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – I’m a fan of Bloom so I read this as soon as I noticed it at the library.  It is based on true events – a series of airplane crashes – that took place in her home town during her teenage years.  She does a good job of showing the fear kids felt and how it affected them for the rest of their lives.  It’s not her best book and it took me awhile to get into it.  It was difficult to keep the characters straight – but by the end I was thinking – not bad. **1/2

You’re Never Weird On The Internet by Felicia Day – A quirky, weird ,memoir by Day who is popular young actress and an admitted math nerd.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed this – probably because I’m a bit of a nerd myself. I usually stay away from memoirs written by anyone under 50, unless they have a devastating illness, but Day is a talented, enterprising, obviously smart and successful woman and she has a story to tell. She tells it well.  ***

The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell by Nadia Hashimi – This was a book club choice and I slogged my way through it.  The story is a familiar one about the terrible oppression and abuse of women in Afghanistan. Hashimi uses two stories set against the history of the country – one takes place in the early 1900’s and other in a more modern-day setting.  The writing is awkward and difficult to follow but the discussion reading this book provokes makes it worth while. ***

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan – A light-hearted, funny beach or fireplace (depending on your weather) read. A modern marriage.  A warm female friendship. Big ugly internet seller vs the local bookstore. A peak into publishing. A few tears. a few giggles.  Just a super fun book to breeze through. ****

August 29, 2015

It’s been an excellent week for reading – too hot to do anything else. Some days I read at the beach. Some days I stayed inside with the air conditioning on. Six of the books I read were 5 star books! Truly a great week for reading! Next week I must get back to work no matter how hot it is.

The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles – Two orphaned sisters, both excellent seamstresses, take wildly divergent paths to adulthood in 1920’s Brazil. One makes a disastrous marriage to a wealthy man and the other becomes an outlaw. Full of vivid detail, some parts of this book are excellent and some are just overly long. ***

A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler – This is my favorite Tyler book. I’ve read it several times because I love these characters. It’s a story of a totally trustworthy young man who no one trusts. It always makes me feel good when I read this book. *****

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg – I’m and Elizabeth Berg fan so even though I knew this was a departure from her usual style, I knew it was about George Sand and I thought it would be fascinating – but – it wasn’t. How Berg managed to make Sand boring I don’t know but I really can’t recommend this book. But I’m still a Berg fan and I appreciate the fact that she stepped out of her comfort zone and gave this a try. *

After You by Julie Buxbaum – an emotional story about devastating loss. It starts a bit slow but keep reading – it’s actually a well told story that will make you cry and cheer. *****

Swimming Upstream by Ruth Mancini – I thought this would be simple “chick lit” but I gave it a try because it was free on Kindle and I was happily surprised. This is a book about friendship, and rejection, and love, and mental illness and it totally surprised me in the epilogue. Give it a try. *****

Then and Always by Dani Atkins – I have to say this book was Great! I thought it would be okay but it was surprisingly wonderful. It begins with a terrible accident that disfigures a young woman and changes her life but then another accident seems to show an entirely different life – it will keep you guessing right to the end as to which life is real. *****

In The Mirror by Kaira Rouda – a serious look at a young women who is facing her imminent death from breast cancer. But while it is a serious, sad, topic, Jennifer is funny and bright and still thinking clearly. I started this book with trepidation but I loved, and throughly enjoyed, every minute of the read. *****

Defending Jacob by William Landay – this is a well written legal thriller. A normal teenager is charged with murder and his family reacts. The father is an attorney who totally believes in his son’s innocence but as evidence mounts it is hard to hold the family together. *****

Coronado CA 4th of July

July 4, 2015

I live in town that knows how to celebrate Independence Day! Perhaps  in part because we are a small town, 25,000 residents but more likely because Coronado Island, CA has a long, proud history of supporting the military.  Whatever the reason, it’s our favorite holiday and the town turns out in all it’s glory for the parade, the rough water swim, the concerts, the special performances and the glorious fireworks!  And every year many, many (100,000 or more) people from all over the world join us. This year was no exception – it was a wonderful party from Wednesday the 1st all the way through to the last concert in the park on Sunday the 5th.

I did mange to sneak in some reading between all the fun. No matter how tired, I HAVE to read before sleep — every night.

my grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry – Fredrik Backman – translated form Swedish this is a heart warming love story – the love between Grandparents and Grandchildren and how that love affects the world.  told in a wonderful fairy tale, fantasy, hard life facts manner I was captivated from the first page. ****

The Library At Mount Char – Scott Hawkins – Not sure if this is fantasy, science fiction or a cult gone bad – but it’s a great read.  Full of intrigue, twist and turns, a bit of human tenderness.  I really wanted to know more about some of the characters but that’s not a compliant they were just that interesting.  *****

The Children’s Crusade – Ann Packer – This new novel from the talented Packer explores the secrets and desires, the remnant wounds and saving graces of one California family, over the course of five decades. The mother is especially well drawn.  It’s really worth a read if you like books about families and how they survive anything.  *****

Leaving Time

Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

First let mes ay I’m a BIG Jodi Picoult fan!  I love the way she takes a simple human experience and make you think about your gut feelings.  You may not agree with the choices her characters make but you always think about what you would do in a similar circumstance. This book, Leaving Time, is a bit different – not really – but sort of.  How’s that for not being sure what I want to write?

As always the characters are complete, interesting human beings.  The focus is on memory, and grieving, and love.  How much is enough, or too little?  Why and how do humans grieve? And if those questions aren’t enough you’ll be asking all kind of questions about the mother/daughter relationship.

Picoult uses elephants to bring this story to life.  That might seem like a strange choice but, as in all her books, it’s the perfect choice.  If you didn’t love elephants before you read this book you’ll love them by the end.

Read it you’ll like it!  I promise.

WE ARE CALLED TO RISE by Laura McBride

We ARE CALLED TO RISE by Laura McBride is my favorite kind of book. This debut novel is a story of family, not just birth family but the families we create as life and situations change. Every chapter is told in the voice of one character. They each have a unique story and yet these disparate lives intersect in a completely plausible way. Using Las Vegas, in the boom years before the real estate collapse, as the back drop to this story enriches the story. The book speaks to the way many points of view and many cultures collide in America today and yet we manage to coexist, that we are responsible for each other and that life is always worth living.