Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Spotlight on: A Cobbler’s Tale by Neil Perry Gordon

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I’m giving a shout out today for Neil Perry Gordon’s historical story, based on his family’s experience, which I am reading now: A Cobbler’s Tale.

Here’s the overview via Amazon:

A Cobbler’s Tale is an adventure story about Pincus Potasznik, a second-generation Jewish cobbler, born in a small shtetl in the province of Galicia, part of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1910, at the historic height of the massive Eastern European immigration wave to the New World, Pincus decides to leave behind his pregnant wife, and three small children, in order to seek a new life for his family in the burgeoning Lower East Side of Manhattan. On his traumatic voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on the SS Amerika steamship, Pincus meets Jakob Adler, a young man running from an accidental murder of a notorious crime boss in Warsaw. The story also explores the challenges of pregnant Clara Potasznik as she does her best to protect her family, while the bloodiest battles of World War I explode within miles of her family home, a small village called Krzywcza. Moshe, the young son of Pincus and Clara Potasznik, discovers his divine ability to foretell dire events, and to offer real comfort those in pain, taking the reader into the wisdom and mystery surrounding the ancient Jewish mysticism, known as Kabbalah. A Cobbler’s Tale is a story of a family’s survival against tremendous odds.

Here’s some info about Mr. Gordon:

Biography

Born in the Bronx, Neil Perry Gordon is the eldest son to Elaine and Walter Gordon. At the age of seven years old, Neil’s family moved from the Bronx, to the suburban community of Rockland County. Neil graduated as the first high school class from the Green Meadow Waldorf School in 1976. Shortly after graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Pace University, he moved to south Florida and started a drapery business. In 1990, he relocated back to New York and still operates his business, Decorating with Fabric. He has two adult sons, Samuel and Maximilian. Neil has written two professional trade books, The Designer’s Coach, and An Architect’s Guide to Engineered Shading Solutions.
https://www.neilperrygordon.com/

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Thank you for my copy of A Cobbler’s Tale! I always enjoy a historical story!

Here’s a link to it on Amazon (where I am an affiliate):

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The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

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Today is Pub Day for The Subway Girls, which I read a few months ago after getting it from Net Galley. I love historical fiction, and this story took place in two time periods: post-WWII NYC and current day NYC. I liked the main character from the 40’s particularly (Charlotte) and was so interested in reading about the real Subway Girls in history! This is the first title I’ve read by Ms. Schnall and I really enjoyed it. It was part history, part romance.

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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Saturday Snapshot: a few costumes from the Met

When we were in NYC, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of my very favorite places! One of my top choices there is to see what’s in the basement area – the costume collection. They were having a special exhibit of vestments and clothing from different Popes and no one could take pictures of it (not sure why). However, I came across two other intriguing “costumes” in an exhibition of visitors to Versailles. With my obsession with history, I love reading about Versailles and the opulent life there. I took a picture of a ladies dress from a visitor (not only magnificent, but amazingly well preserved!):

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I also took a picture of one of Ben Franklin’s suits. What struck me was that every picture or interpretation I’ve seen of Ben Franklin as an adult has him about 250-300 pounds (with the exception of his large statue at the Franklin Institute in Philly). While his suit was certainly a bit larger than those of his peers in the display, it really wasn’t very large at all (well, by American standards!): (no flash was allowed – sorry!)

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I found these two costumes memorable!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at Westmetromommyreads.com.

See her site for full participation details!

addendum: I just found online (if that’s to be trusted!) that the real Ben Franklin was 5’9 and 220 pounds.

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Saturday Snapshot: St. Pat’s Cathedral

If you know me, you know we like to go to NYC. When we do, we attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I never tire of looking at the beautiful intricacies of the architecture there, the statues, the windows, the light.

Here are a few photos I took last weekend when we were there:

 

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com. Stop by her site for specifics on participating!

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The Good Twin by Marti Green

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A Note From the Publisher

Evil twins? Unreliable narrators? Double-crossing husbands who get their comeuppance??
Sign me up!
This was a fast and fun read that I was afraid would disappoint me, but didn’t!
Thank you for my e-copy!
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Murder on Union Square by Victoria Thompson

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I really enjoy this series, set in turn-of-the-century NYC. I’ve read them all (this is #21)! They center on former midwife Sarah and former police officer Frank as they solve mysteries. I often don’t figure them out before the conclusion, and I do love the cast of characters that change and grow as the series progresses. While I’ve read them all in order, each title can stand alone.

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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BRIDGES by Maria Murnane

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A while ago I was contacted by the very pleasant author of this novel, Maria Murnane, to see if I’d like to read and review her novels – BRIDGES and WAITING FOR THE RAIN. I had a tbr list of 35 titles, but said yes and Ms. Murnane has been quite patient in awaiting my thoughts on her novels!

This appealing story covers a long weekend in NYC when three best friends from college get together for a girls’ weekend. Each woman has something on her mind and challenges she is facing. Here’s the overview from Amazon:

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

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The women in this story are all around 40 years old, and that really appealed to me, because personally I have trouble connecting with free-wheeling 20-somethings that often are peppered throughout books like this. These women’s challenges are familiar and their relationship is one that has gone through the test of time, reminding me of my own friends. While certainly problems exist, this is a light read, perfect for summer, with likable characters and an uplifting and positive ending. I really enjoyed it!

Here’s some info on Maria:

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Biography

The story of how Maria became an author is a little crazy. She used to work in high-tech PR but hated it, so she quit and ended up playing semi-pro soccer in Argentina for a year. While she was down there she decided to write a novel, which was something she’d always dreamed of doing. Fast forward a few years, and she’s now the bestselling author of the Waverly Bryson series (Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two, which garnered a starred review in Publishers Weekly), plus Katwalk, 2015 International Book Award winner Cassidy Lane, Wait for the Rain, and Bridges. And yes, she still plays a lot of soccer!

Learn more and sign up for her mailing list at http://www.mariamurnane.com

If you enjoy Maria’s books, please tweet @mariamurnane and “like” her fan page at http://www.facebook.com/mariamurnane.

To contact her via email, send a note to maria@mariamurnane.com. She loves hearing from readers and personally responds to every message!

THANK YOU so much for my review copy of BRIDGES! WAITING FOR THE RAIN (which has the same characters and actually comes before this title) is next!
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Saturday Snapshot — More from NYC!

Following up on last week’s post, I wanted to add some shots from St. Pat’s Cathedral and also show the two shows we saw: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and Waitress. We really enjoyed both of them!

I’ve added a picture of the cute little apple pies they were selling at intermission at Waitress!

One morning my husband had to make a business call, so I went out and about and ended up in the Today Show crowd on tv! Now I wish I had a picture of that!! 🙂

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com. See her site for full participation details!

 

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From CookBook to Real Life! Eating at HEARTH in NYC

On our recent trip to NYC, we made a reservation to eat at Hearth, Marco Canora’s restaurant in Manhatten. Last year I read Marco’s cookbook A GOOD FOOD DAY and loved loved loved it!

See my post about it here!

Since the rugrats were at summer camp, we figured this was the best time to have a new dining experience.

Hearth is located off First Avenue on 12th Street in a cute little brick building. It felt very cozy and was lit by candles (thus the dim pictures — sorry).

My husband ordered the Restaurant Week menu, which was prix fixe (it was “restaurant week in NYC when we were there). It included really yummy meatballs and a cheese course for dessert.

I ordered the grilled pork chop with pork sausage, summer kale, and peach balsamic. Yum!!

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My husband and I shared a side dish of mushroom trifolati. That was a new term for me, and I always have to ask a million questions when we dine because I am allergic to some things. It means they were fried with olive oil, garlic, and parsley, and let me tell you – I wanted to lick the bowl! (but I didn’t..after all, we were in a nice place!).

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For dessert, we shared a yummy piece of tiramasu cake:

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And then – to my excitement, they brought out a chocolate tray with chocolates from around the world!

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You could sample as much as you wanted – they all had differing amounts of cocoa in them. Of course, we were behaving, so we each tried two different ones. Yummy!!

Our server was super nice and took good care of me and my allergies (shellfish and cilantro). They also had a nice wine selection (we chose a Cote de Rhone I believe).

All in all, visiting HEARTH was a bit of a dream come true since I’m such a fan of Marco’s cookbook!

Check out Hearth’s website at http://www.restauranthearth.com/ You can read about their mission and philosophy of food.

Or even better — check it out the next time you are in NYC!

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Saturday Snapshot: NYC!

So last week we dropped the kids off at summer camp and went to NYC for a few days. As always, we love the Big Apple and had a great time!

Here are a few pictures from Central Park and the Met’s fashion exhibit. I will post more pictures next week.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at westmetromommyreads.com. See her site for full participation details.


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