Who’s Up for a Chat? A Review of Gil McNeil’s The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club

I have an aunt who’s something of a talker. In fact, my late uncle used to say that she was the only person he knew who could talk to a fence post...and get it to talk back. Sometimes I get the impression from my aunt that she thinks this is a deficit, an obnoxious quirk, …

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On Mothers – A Review of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere

Dear Cassie, What if you were born into a different family? What if your mother was a different mother than the one you have come to know today? What if you were born into wealth? To poverty? In the world within Shaker Heights, OH created by Ng, we get a glimpse of all of these …

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On the Desire to Consume – A Review of Susan Meissner’s As Bright as Heaven

Dear Anita, Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are fame once said this regarding one of his favorite bits of praise: “Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters—sometimes very hastily—but this one I lingered over. I sent …

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Bildungsroman – A Review of Bryn Greenwood’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Dear Cassie, What is love?  Now. Before you start thinking of Will Ferrell's A Night at the Roxbury, think about it. Love is so much more complicated than its simple 4 letter composition. There's family, friends, significant others, spouses, pets, animals, children of friends, family of friends, and the list goes on. Wavonna: A 5 year …

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The Comfort of Familiar Places – A Review of Louise Penny’s Glass Houses

Dear Anita, I will readily admit that I could never give a fair or partial review to a Louise Penny book. She has a true gift shared with so few: she has created a world I wish was mine. I can relate this feeling only to books I read in my early years. What child …

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Young Love: A Review of Jardine Libaire’s White Fur

Dear Cassie, Does the phrase "young, wild and free" mean anything to you? Like many people, I've heard it plenty of times, but never stopped to think of what that phrase actually meant to me. Until I read White Fur. Street smart meets book smart. Wealth meets poverty. And the result? A Cinderella love story. …

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Food and Culture, A Review of David Casarett’s Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness

Dear Anita, I was recently gifted David Casarett’s Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness, a cozy mystery set in Thailand with plucky nurse ethicist, Ladarat Patalung, for a heroine. It was a lovely, thoughtful gift from my in-laws, two people that are as well versed in my love (read: obsession) for cozy mysteries as …

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Savory Suspense – A Review of Fiona Barton’s The Child

Dear Cassie, Have you ever been on a blind date? There is a certain level of awkwardness and uneasiness of not knowing what you're about to get yourself into. Opening the cover of one of my first mystery thriller novels gave me the same feels. What if I don't like it? What if selecting an unfamiliar …

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The Difficulty of Being Human – A Review of Sarah Perry’s After the Eclipse

Dear Anita, What is it about being human that makes us seek the dramatic? The hopelessly tragic? The murderous and sensational? I am guiltier than most, the deep well of my penchant for murder mystery seemingly bottomless. I have devoured CSI, in all its superfluous iterations. Same for Law & Order. I’ve consumed Bones and …

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A Holiday Treat – A Review of Cleveland Amory’s The Cat Who Came for Christmas

Dear Cassie, Can you believe the year is almost over? I feel that with the addition of every year, we have more and more responsibilities and obligations. By the time we turn around to take a breath, it's Thanksgiving already and then Christmas. Where has the time gone? Well, it's that time of year again - …

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