Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Book Review Club (March 2017)

Happy Very First Day of March! And welcome to this month's edition of The Book Review Club.  On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order which established the Peace Corps. Today also happens to be National Horse Protection Day and National Pig Day. And I'd say that's about enough trivia for one paragraph! And now our book reviews! Interestingly, we have an abundance of reviews of non-fiction books this month. Enjoy!

by ELINOR LIPMAN (adult, romantic comedy)

Do you want to be charmed and entertained? Fall in love with a crew of quirky characters? Get tangled up in a twisty-turny plot? Yes? Then I have the book for you! On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman.

In a Nutshell: Our sassy thirty-something protagonist, Faith Frankel, buys a small 5 1/2 room quaint but rundown house with an unexpected history. This purchase somehow sets off a crazy chain of events. There's Faith's deadbeat fiancé whose idea of a ring is a piece of red wool that makes her finger itch. He's walking across America. I'm not exactly sure why. I don't think he knows either. Enter Faith's meddling mother, her father and his wandering eye, her snow-plow driving brother with a new relationship. And, and, and a perfectly delightful officemate named Nick. Now, toss in a murder and a few more zany characters. It's all just so amusing!

What I Loved: 1. This book is beautifully, perfectly, wonderfully plotted. The plotting is a work of art. 2. The dialogue is spot on to the point you feel you're right there with the characters, perhaps sitting at the kitchen table, sipping a cup of coffee with them. 3. Great humor. And lots of it. 4. The writing is so damned good. Here are a few of my favorite examples:
~"...Windexed at the first sign of a fingerprint..."
~"His next question, eyes never leaving a colorized Kris Kringle, was..." (character is watching Miracle on 34th Street)
~"One of the things I love about you is your doomsday outlook based on affection for whoever's at risk."

What I Didn't Love: I have to wait another year or so for the next Elinor Lipman novel!

Kirkus Reviews describes On Turpentine Lane as "warm, clever, a little silly, a lot of fun." 

I'd say it's all that and more! Heartily recommended!

(Dear FCC: Bought it.)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Stacy Nyikos: THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon (contemporary YA)


Stacy of the Cat's Meow: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead 
                                          (historical, literary)

Tanya Sutton: BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty (contemporary women's lit)


                                by Jason Porath (biography/folklore)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THE BLUE SATIN NIGHTGOWN by Karin Crilly (memoir)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: BORN A CRIME: STORIES FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN
                                                            CHILDHOOD by Trevor Noah (memoir)

                                by Nancy Isenberg (sociology)

Margy Lutz: TIDE RIPS AND BACK EDDIES by Bill Proctor and Yvonne Maximchuk

Ray Potthoff: THE PATRIARCH by David Nasaw (biography about Joseph P. Kennedy)                            

Sarah Laurence: BECOMING NICOLE by Amy Ellis Nutt

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


Lucy said...

I love a book with quirky characters that you fall in love with. :) Sounds like a very good book. Thanks for the review and thanks for hosting. :)

Barrie said...

Lucy, I really think you'd enjoy this book, especially because you liked Liane Moriarty's Three Wishes.

Linda McLaughlin said...

This sounds like a really fun read. I'm adding it to my TBR list.

Barrie said...

Linda, I think this book is right up your alley!

Powell River Books said...

I love reading books in a series, but hate to have a long wait. If I know it is going to be a trilogy or longer I sometimes wait until I can binge read. - Margy

Linda McLaughlin said...

Hey everyone,

I made a Pinterest Board for our Book Review Club. Here's the link:


Sarah Laurence said...

Wow, we've never been so heavy on nonfiction reviews! Is this in response to "alternative facts?" My book choices have become more political as of late, even in fiction, or else I look for a fun escape.

Your murder mystery sounds entertaining. I hope the plotting was inspiring. It's funny how you notice plot first, and I'm more focused on character and setting. We both like language. That reflects our writing style too.

Thanks for hosting!

Barrie said...

Margy/Powell River Books: Ha! That takes some self-control...waiting till a series is all out before beginning to read. :) On Turpentine Lane isn't part of a series. I read everything by Elinor Lipman, so now I'm back in wait mode for her next release.

Barrie said...

Wow, Linda!! How cool! I may have to join Pinterest. I'll show this to my daughter after school. She's on Pinterest.

Barrie said...

Hi Sarah! Interesting...I hadn't thought about the alternative fact angle. Maybe?? Anyway, I was surprised as the emails kept arriving with nonfiction titles. Yes, the plotting was inspiring. Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, On Turpentine Lane isn't a murder mystery. The mystery is a subplot. This book is much more a romantic comedy. Great escapism!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Thanks for the review, Barrie! Sounds right up my alley--I'm going to look this one up!