Adult Fiction Books

Coincidence, J.W. Ironmonger’s U.S. Fiction Debut



Are you in a book club? Looking for the next book club pick that will rival your previous good picks?  I’ve stumbled across this one that proves to be a keeper.  It’s called Coincidence and it’s JW Ironmonger’s US fiction debut. Ironmonger (dontcha love that name?) was born in East Africa and has been previously published in the UK where he now lives.

Ironmonger prolly lives in a quaint little house near 212B Baker Street.  Not really, because that street is in London and Ironmonger (can’t stop saying that name!) lives in Shropshire, which, according to Wikipedia, is west of there.

So, more like a quaint little village that Hyacinth Bucket lives in.



Back to Coincidence:

Azalea Lewis’s life has been dominated by coincidences – a bizarre, and increasingly troubling, series of chance events so perfectly coordinated that any sane person would conclude that only the hidden hand of providence could explain them.

On Midsummer’s Day, 1982, at the age of three, Azalea was found wandering a fairground in England, alone, too young to explain what had happened to her or her parents. After a brief investigation, she was declared a ward of the court, and placed in foster care. The following year, the body of a woman – her mother – was found on a nearby beach. Everyone had forgotten about the little girl, and no connection was ever made. The couple who adopted Azalea brought her to Africa where – on Midsummer’s Day, 1992 – they were killed in a Ugandan uprising while trying to protect their children. Azalea is spared on that day, but as she grows into adulthood, she discovers that her life has been shaped by an uncanny set of coincidences – all of them leading back to her birth mother, and the three men who could have been her father, each who have played an improbable but very real role in her fate.

Troubled by what she has uncovered – and increasingly convinced that she, too, will meet her fate on Midsummer’s Day – she approaches Thomas Post, a rational-minded academic whose specialty is debunking our belief in coincidence, the belief that certain events are linked, even predestined by the hands of fate. Even as they fall in love, Thomas tries to help Azalea to understand her past as a series of random events – not divinely predetermined. Yet as the fateful date draws closer, Thomas begins to fear he may lose her all together; that she may throw herself into the very fate she fears.

I know right?  Can’t wait to read it!! Doesn’t this sound like the perfect book club book?

And who doesn’t’ love the name Azalea?

Adult Fiction Books

The Passage by Justin Cronin

This month at Towne Book Center & Cafe our book club is reading The Passage.  The book is over 700 pages long and quite daunting looking but the orange color is so pretty!

The tale reads like a realistic fiction book but it’s not until later that readers discover that there is actually a fantasy bend to the story.  To be sure, I was quite a ways into the book when I figured that out.

The pros: Great character development. I love character development as it lends to the credibility of the story.  That said, I am forced to admit…

The cons: I couldn’t finish the book.  There is so much background information that by the time Cronin got to the meat and potatoes of the story, I was spent.  I couldn’t go on.  I was emotionally drained.  And I still had another 350+ pages to go.

An Unconventional Librarian The Passage

Fortunately, there are over 20 people in our book club. I’m sure the discussion will be a lively one; no one will notice that I’ve not finished it.  Maybe I’ll just read the ending…

Have you read it? What did you think?

Our next book club pick is Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.

Books Children

The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

August has been a fun month of reading.  I especially love meeting with my tweenies at book club!  This month we discussed The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

The Lightning Thief

These little bibliophiles are just as excited to read books as my adult book club members are with one exception; my tweenies get smothies! Aside from chatting about the book, book clubbers also get a few fun activities to enjoy, like word searches, crossword puzzles, etc.

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See that purple square? That’s the Percy Jackson Bingo game we played.  That’s how one clubber colored in her game card.  I kinda like it.

A few days later, several of us met up to watch the new movie Sea of Monsters.  My little critics were well behaved AND had no shortage of opinions about the movies and the books.


Have you read Percy Jackson?  What do you think?

Did I possibly spot the  author in a cameo?


Lisa Scottoline Book Club Daddy’s Girl

Lisa Scottoline Unconventional Librarian



















It’s been great fun hosting a Lisa Scottoline Book Club at Towne Book Center & Cafe.  Many of the ladies have read much more than I have but I can see why they are devoted readers.  To be sure, I’m a noob to Lisa Scottoline; but I’m hooked nonetheless.  So far, I’ve read these titles:

  • Look Again (A World Book Night pick)
  • Don’t Go
  • Come Home
  • Everywhere That Mary Went
  • Daddy’s Girl

I’ve enjoyed all the book immensely, but like others, I enjoy the legal thrillers the most.  I love that Scottoline tools around the Philadelphia area naming neighborhoods I’ve heard of or been in; it makes me even feel more part of the story. August’s pick was Daddy’s Girl about a law professor at Penn (coincidence?) who stumbles upon a horrible prison riot, falls in love, and gets pegged for murder.  I loved it! There’s a great surprise about the Underground Railroad, which, if you know history,  you know that the Quakers and Chester County, PA were a vital portion of the railroad.


At next month’s meeting we’ll play catch up in preparation for the big party at the author’s house in October.


Have you read any of Lisa’s books?  Which are your favorite?




award winners Books Take Control of Your TBR Challenge

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli

Today I had the pleasure having an online book discussion with Clever Heather’s son.  E and I share a love of books and even though he’s young, he gets them.  You mDoor in the Wallay remember me chatting about him when we met at my Ugly Holiday Sweater party last fall?

We’ve been keeping in touch ever since and we agreed that today we would meet online to discuss the Newbery winner, The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli.

Just so you know, Clever Heather homeschools her children, and E, like most homeschooled children, reads above grade level.  He was reading the book as part of an online novel class and I thought it might be interesting to piggyback off of what he was discussing in that class.  To my surprise, Heather told me that the class discussions were not as extensive as the the conversations I’ve had with E about books in the past.

Surprising, right?  So I felt free to discuss whatever I wanted! We discussed the types of names that people had in those times, like how Robin called himself Crookshanks; I asked E what name he would choose for himself and we discussed how these names evolve into real last names.  Naturally, the discussion led to brief chats about my dog, and other frivolous things; but E volunteered to read his tall tale from a school project, which I loved and thought fit perfectly with the idea of choosing a name based on a physical quality.

We agreed to meet again next month to discuss The Voyage of Dawn Treader.  Who’s in?

And you know what? Now that I think about it, this book was published before March 2013 so it qualifies as part of my Take Control of Your TBR Challenge, right?




Adult Fiction

Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck #Gr8books Twitter Book Club

I’m reading Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck!


I can’t wait to talk about it!

I’ll be discussing it during the #Gr8books Twitter Book Club

TONIGHT, February 6th at 9pm Eastern

with the author herself!

Join us on Twitter, won’t you?

Books In My Mailbox

Whats in my Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a party hosted by The Story Siren   and we all know how much Pammy Pam loves parties!

Today’s party, however, is attended by Bailey, my Book Page.

Bailey wants to tell you two things:

  1. he’s sorry he barked at the mail man and
  2. he’s excited about several interesting reads that came this week

The first two books are part of a classic books for brilliant babies series:

Little Miss Bronte, Jane Eyre

Unconventional Librarian

and Little Master Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Unconventional Librarian

I can’t wait to break into these and read them to my littles!


for some book club fun:

Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor

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which is the April selection of From Left to Write Book Club


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The April book selection for the GR8books Book club.

Check back later for my reviews!


Cat Thursday

This edition of Cat Thursday shows Cleo reading a book for book club

what is she reading?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

i hope she finishes it

by Feb 1st!

Wanna see more cats?

Go over to my bestie

at The True Book Addict

to see what other cats are up to!


Books Reviews

A Christmas Screwup

I recently attended one of the most interesting book club meetings ever.  To be sure, the opinions are usually quite mixed but generally friendly.  Last night’s discussion, however, was completely different.

I was about the only person in the group who enjoyed the book.  I thought it a fun, light, silly poke at Christmas movies and mankind.

I was in the minority (not a new feeling, for sure).  As the discussions heated up we noticed a few disturbing points and it seemed as if everyone had read a different book. We noticed discrepancies in:

  • the main character’s hometown (Chicago or Minneapolis)
  • the wealth of the main character (wealthy or not)
  • an epilogue (have or have not)
  • method of transport (commercial or private airline)
  • own or not own a condo
  • owner or employee of a power drink company

Are you starting to understand?  Our discussion of the book turned from “I love how crazy gun toting Liz got her comeuppance” (me) to “wait a minute, Sparrow lives in Chicago not Minneapolis!!!” (everyone)

It turns out that the version I read, the first image, is the latest out in time for Christmas 2011. An original version published in 2009 the image in red, offers a slightly different story.

All of this leads me to wonder: What the heck was Keillor thinking?

To be sure, Keillor’s found great success with A Prairie Home Companion and many Lake Wobegon tales.

So, if a writer is so successful, how did  this book become such a hack?  Did he slack off on purpose? Was it put together hastily? Did he have interns or assistants write it?

Or was it a prank, a very bad publicity stunt?

I don’t know the answer but as our book club wrangler said: you will probably never run into this kind of situation again.

I hope not.

What do you think?

I’m linking up to  Serenity Now’s bloggy reading party.