In case you missed them! BCM post recap October 2022

Hey Everyone,

In case you missed them, here’s a quick look at Book Club Mom’s posts in October.

I read five books this month – all good reads!

Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg – 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book which explores the always-interesting theme of truth versus public persona in politics. A series of twists leads to an ending I did not expect and ties in nicely with how image is everything.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy – 4 stars. Don’t be put off by the title. This is a fast, engrossing read, written in humble humor. It’s not the typical celebrity memoir in the sense that McCurdy focuses on her own battles and does little name dropping.

Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin – 4.5 stars. Wow, I really enjoyed this tightly-written story, Rubin’s latest medical/psychological thriller, the first in the Liza Larkin series. I loved getting to know Liza, a first-year resident who struggles with schizoid personality disorder. Why is a well-known trauma surgeon in the background of so many family photos?

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke – 4 stars. I love when I discover an excellent older book. First published in 2012, this is a suspenseful murder mystery set on a former sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. Made even better with well-developed characters and themes.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah – 3.5 stars. A very readable historical fiction set in the Texas Panhandle in the 1920s and 30s, during the Great Depression, years of drought and continuous dust storms, and later in California during the great migration west. Not as good as The Grapes of Wrath, but still worth reading.

Miscellaneous posts

Book cover eye candy – similar, very similar, confusing, pretty and more book covers

Who’s That Indie Author? Priscilla Bettis

My Kindle is loaded!

A repost of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – 5 stars

The Great Depression and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

A repost of “The Oblong Box” by Edgar Allan Poe

Updated About Page: Read this, not that!

I hope you all had a great month. I’m still working on my “loaded” Kindle. New review on its way!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Review: Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

Sea Wife
by
Amity Gaige

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You don’t always know what you’re going to get when you pick a random book off the shelf. As a reader, I sometimes feel boxed in by reading lists. So I occasionally like to choose books spontaneously. I picked Sea Wife during my latest Read React Decide YouTube video. It took me a bit of time to get to it, but I’m so happy I did. I also thought it was especially good to read during the summer, since it’s a book about sailing. Good timing, even though I take no credit!

I had never heard of Sea Wife, published in 2021, but it was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. I’d describe it as suspenseful literary fiction that looks at the complexities of marriage and parenthood.

What would you do if your spouse asked you to pick up and embark on a year-long sailing trip in Panama? Michael Partlow had been feeling the itch to get away from suburban life in Connecticut. Restless and distracted at his job, he finds himself hanging around a marina during his lunch hour. There he meets Harry Borawski, a boat dealer, who helps him find a 44-foot sailboat. Harry may be trying to close the deal when he tells Michael, “What you want is a holy human right, and you shouldn’t give it up… to feel the burden of carrying your own life,” but there’s truth in what he says.

Now it’s just a matter of convincing his wife, Juliet that a trip like this with their two young children, seven-year-old Sybil and two-year-old George, is what they desperately need. Michael may be restless, but Juliet suffers from debilitating depression. Motherhood is not what she expected. She’s inches away from earning her PhD in confessional poetry, but can’t seem to finish.

Michael is ultra-prepared but problems are inevitable and the family must rely on each other to get through storms and other difficulties. The children adapt, the family begins to enjoy their life at sea and Juliet emerges from her depression. Michael and Juliet also confront long-simmering serious conflicts in their marriage (many about politics). What they don’t know is if they can overcome everything that happens.

Gaige tells the story from two points of view: Juliet’s first-person account of their trip, told upon the family’s return, and Michael’s sea log which reads more like a diary. Readers sense a tragedy, adding a layer of suspense to the book.

I liked this book very much. It’s a fast read because you’ll want to know what happened. But it’s also a deeper look at marriage and parenthood.

I also made a short video about the book. I surprised myself by something I said!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

On YouTube today – Read React Decide and REVIEW!

Hi Everyone,

A couple months ago I posted a video where I pulled five random books from the library and read a couple sentences, reacted and decided whether I would read them. I picked two out of the five and today I’m reviewing them. (Also – I got a new shirt!)

You can watch my original video here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Would you like to review a book on What’s That Book?

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been updating a few things on my blog, including What’s That Book, the place for guest bloggers to talk about books they’ve read.

Would you like to be a guest reviewer on What’s That Book? It’s a great way to share your bookish opinions and connect with readers from around the world.

Maybe it’s a favorite book. Maybe it’s a book you just finished. Or maybe you have a different opinion about a book I’ve reviewed and want to talk about it!

Want to know more about it? Check out these recent guest posts on What’s That Book:

Surreality by Ben Trube – review by Berthold Gambrel

Where Do You Hang Your Hammock? by Bella Mahaya Carter – review by Marian Beaman

The Little Cafe by the Lake by Joanne Tracey – review by Donna Connolly

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky – review by Darlene Foster

If you are interested, email me at bvitelli2009@gmail.com and I’ll send you a template.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Please pardon my absence…be back soon!

Hi Everyone,

Please pardon my absence from the blog. Between NaNoWriMo, reading, working and getting ready for Thanksgiving, I’ve been short on time. I will be back on the blog soon, to visit you and with new posts.

Thanks for your patience!

Would you like to review a book on What’s That Book?

Hi Everyone,

Would you like to talk about a book you’ve read? Consider being a guest on What’s That Book, a great way to share your bookish opinions and connect with readers from around the world.

Maybe it’s a favorite book. Maybe it’s a book you just finished. Or maybe you have a different opinion about a book I’ve reviewed and want to talk about it!

Want to know more about it? Check out this recent post of What’s That Book? Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain here.

If you are interested, email me at bvitelli2009@gmail.com and I’ll send you a template.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

What’s That Book? A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Welcome to What’s That Book, sharing book recommendations from readers and bloggers. Today’s guest reviewer is Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Title: A Gentleman in Moscow        

Author: Amor Towles

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What’s it about?  This book tells the story of the journey of the Bolsheviks and the Russian people from the Russian Revolution in 1917 to 1954 through the eyes of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who becomes an ex-person, namely, a person who was previously a member of the Russian aristocracy.

Alexander was raised on an estate in Nizhny Novgorod province. His parents died when he was ten years old and he and his sister, Helena, were raised by his grandmother, the Countess. After the revolution in 1917 and the assassination of the Tsar, Alexander, who has been in exile in France due to rash and hot-headed behavior in his early 20s, returns to Russian to help his grandmother leave and go into exile in France. Alexander decides to remain in Russia and takes up permanent residence in the hotel Metropol in Moscow, across the road from the Kremlin.

Four years later, in 1922, Alexander is called before a tribunal of the Bolsheviks and sentenced to house arrest for life in the hotel because he had written a poem with a revolutionary subtext. Alexander believes the writing of this poem saved his life, although the Bolsheviks who questioned him are disappointed that he seems to have subsequently lost his purpose and ambition.

Alexander is forced to move out of his palatial suite of rooms and into rooms in the attic which were originally built to accommodate the servants of the gentry who were staying at the hotel.

Alexander’s journey of adjustment to his new circumstances as an ex-person begins and he finds the lack of freedom and the changes in the hotel under the new Bolshevik administration hard to bear. Alexander’s circumstances take a turn for the better when he meets Nina, the nine-year-old daughter of a Bolshevik leader and learns how to make the most of his life and situation.

Through his relationships with Nina, a movie star called, Anna Urbanova, who becomes his love interest, and interactions with his University friend, Mishka, Alexander stays abreast of life outside of the Metropol Hotel and the changes that are being implemented in Russian society under the new regime. Ultimately, his friendship with Nina has a far greater impact on his life than he could have ever imagined.

How did you hear about it?  I had not heard of this book which was recommended to me by a blogging friend who had recently read it. I must be honest, I am wondering how I have gone through such a large portion of my life without reading this amazing book, or even hearing about it.

Closing comments:  There are some powerful themes in A Gentleman in Moscow. I have identified them below with an appropriate quote to demonstrate how the them asserts itself in the book:

Change and adaptation: “For the times do, in fact, change. They change relentlessly. Inevitably. Inventively. And as they change, they set into bright relief not only outmoded honorifics and hunting horns, but silver summoners and mother-of-pearl opera glasses and all manner of carefully crafted things that have outlived their usefulness.”

Friendship, Family and Love: “This is where we part. Remember: down another flight and out the black metal door. Naturally, it would be best if you never mentioned to anyone that either of us were here.”

“Osip, I don’t know how to repay you.”

“Alexander,” he said with a smile, “you have been at my service for over fifteen years. It is a pleasure for once to be at yours.” Then he was gone.

Chance, Luck and Fate: “Suffice it to say that once the Count’s clothes had been gathered, the curtains were dutifully drawn. What’s more, before he had tiptoed to the door half dressed, he took a moment to ensure that the actress’s ivory blouse had been picked off the floor and hung on its hanger. After all, as the Count himself had observed just hours before: the best-bred dogs belong in the surest hands.”

Bolshevism and Class Struggle: “For pomp is a tenacious force. And a wily one too.

How humbly it bows its head as the emperor is dragged down the steps and tossed in the street. But then, having quietly bided its time, while helping the newly appointed leader on with his jacket, it compliments his appearance and suggests the wearing of a medal or two.”

Contributor:  Roberta Eaton Cheadle is an author of children’s books, historical fiction, horror and short fiction. She’s also an active WordPress blogger. You can find her at the following sites:

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/
Blogs: Robbie’s Inspiration and Roberta Writes
Twitter:  @RobertaEaton17
Facebook: @robertawrites


Have you read something good?  Want to talk about it? Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for information.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s February 2021 Recap

Hi all! I hope you are doing well. Thanks to everyone who visited my blog this month. I very much appreciate your support! February was a pretty good month. We got a lot more snow, but now most of it has melted, except for a big pile the plows made on the island in our cul de sac.

Unrelated to books, this month I participated in the 24th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count. For four days, I counted the different types of birds I saw in our backyard. I downloaded and app called Merlin Bird ID on my phone and it helped me identify them. The data goes to researchers at the National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Birds Canada and helps them learn more about how birds are doing and how to protect them and the environment. I had a lot of fun doing it and the app was easy to use. This is a global event and anyone can participate. If you’re interested in doing it next year, you can learn more about it at birdcount.org.

I also got back in the reading and blogging swing this month. Here’s a rundown of what I read and other posts.

Book Reviews

Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise by Scott Eyman – 5 stars

The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce – 3 stars

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing – 4 stars

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane – 4 stars

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – 4 stars


Who’s That Indie Author and Author Updates

Angela Paolantonio

B. Lynn Goodwin

Tammie Painter


What’s That Book?

Torn Between Worlds by Nancy Blodgett Klein – reviewed by Darlene Foster


Miscellaneous

Perfect characters and situations gone wrong – books with perfect in their titles

Share your thoughts on What’s That Book – an invitation to you!


Spring is only a couple weeks away – are you as ready as I am?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Share your thoughts on What’s That Book – an invitation to you!

Hello readers and bloggers! Some of you may remember What’s That Book?, an occasional feature by guest readers. (Here’s one from author Tammie Painter, reviewing The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick.) This feature has been dormant for a while and now I’m bringing back an updated version. So if you’ve read something good and want to talk about it, I’d love to have you as a guest on my blog.

If you are interested, please email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com and I’ll send you more information.

Hope to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s January 2021 Recap

We are in the midst of a winter storm and pretty much snowed in with more to come. I was just beginning to think we were going to have an uneventful winter.

January came and went! I only read three books this month, but I’m already on track to read more in February.

Here’s a quick recap of book reviews and other things:

The Searcher by Tana French

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders


Blog views and other obsessions – two great tools for your blog – I’ve been spending a lot of time on Canva, which I talk about in this post. I have much to learn, though.


I featured two indie authors this month and have more lined up. Look for new Author Updates too!

Who’s That Indie Author? Kaitlyn Jain

Who’s That Indie Author? Bruce W. Bishop


Based on all the comments, I think we all had fun with this “How Well Read Are You” challenge. If you haven’t tried it, hop over and see!

How well read are you? Take this challenge and see!

Books on my list – based on the above challenge


What’s happening now? After finishing The Woman in the Window, I was in the mood for another psychological thriller and recently finished The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce. Keep an eye out for my review. Right now I’m reading a new biography by Scott Eyman – Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise. It’s long, but I’m enjoying it very much and will probably review that before I get The Perfect Wife review out. I have two more books lined up. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel and My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing.

Pretty soon, I’m going to get up from under this blanket and make some soup for dinner. Back to work tomorrow! What are you doing on this winter day?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!