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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weekend Cooking- Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
Published by Clarkson Potter ISBN 9781101903919
Hardcover, $29.99, 235 pages

Chrissy Teigen is a supermodel married to singer John Legend, co-host of the lifestyle television show FABLife and Instagram and Twitter superstar. She is also hilarious, down-to-earth and loves to eat. She doesn't just eat the supermodel salads either.

If you have ever seen her cook on any television show, you would know that she likes normal-people food. So it only makes sense that her first cookbook, Cravings, features recipes that most people would enjoy.

Teigen's mom is Thai, so she has a lot of recipes for Thai food and food that features Sriracha hot sauce, one of her favorites. In addition to recipes, Cravings has commentary from Teigen, told in her conversational tone (which includes a lot of swearing, so be warned). Reading Cravings makes you feel like you are in her kitchen with her, cooking up a storm and laughing all the way.

Her chapters aren't your usual ones either; she has Breakfast All Day, Thai Mom, Sh*T on Toast (pictures of things she likes to put on toast which all look delicious) and Things That Intimidate People But Shouldn't among them.

Here are some things I loved about this book:

  • She doesn't like restaurants that don't know the difference between hash browns and home fries
  • Her French Toast Casserole with Salted Frosted Flakes- oh yeah, I'm trying that one
  • When she made chicken soup with her dad, she'd butter saltine crackers to accompany it
  • She actually likes airport food- specifically LAX's Kogi Korean Truck inside the Delta terminal, Cat Cora's meatballs at SFO, Salt Lick ribs at Austin
  • The cute photos of her and John
There are so many recipes that I want to try- an updated Cheesy JalapenoTuna Casserole with Potato Chip Topping, Sweet Potato Gnocci with Brown Butter Sage Sauce, and Steak Bites with Melty Blue Cheese Butter are just a few.

The book is beautiful, with thick stock paper and lots of full-page color photos. This is the kind of cookbook you'll want to read for pleasure as well as for the recipes, and if you're a fan of Chrissy Teigen, you'll be pleased. I recommend it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Published by Penguin Random House ISBN 9781594205712
Trade paperback, $16, 320 pages

I'd heard so much about Celeste Ng's debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, and it ended up on so many year-end Best of lists in 2014, I'm not sure why it took me so long to read it.

The story of family in 1970's small town of Ohio, Dad James is a college professor of Asian decent who teaches history at a small school, American Mom Marilyn was his student who deferred her dreams to raise her three children.

Nathan is the oldest, and Lydia is a little younger, the golden child, the apple of her father's eye. Mom pushes Lydia to study hard and become the success she never got to be. James wants Lydia to be popular.

Lydia gets all of her parents' attention, leaving Nathan and younger sister Hannah to their own devices. James gets accepted to a good college and is preparing to leave when Lydia disappears. Her body is found in the lake, and her parents are convinced that she was murdered because she was afraid of the water and wouldn't have gotten in a boat on her own.

Nathan believes that their neighbor, his classmate Jack, killed her. Hannah saw Lydia leave the house that night, but tells no one.

As the story progresses, we see how grief is overwhelming the Lee family. Marilyn falls apart, staying in Lydia's room all day crying and sleeping. Nathan feels anger and guilt, his plan to escape the home he hates now in jeopardy.

We get the backstory to the Lee family, including the time when Marilyn left the family for awhile. Her absence had long-lasting repercussions for the entire family. The events that led up to Lydia's death are seen through her, Nathan and Hannah's eyes.

There are so many themes here- the stifling of a woman's dreams, lack of honest family communication, the difficulty of being 'the other' in a small homogenous community, the danger of secrets and how an event in a family can have long-last consequences.

Everything I Never Told You is a heartbreaking novel, so beautifully and achingly told by a master storyteller. Watching this family fall apart will bring the reader to tears. It deserves every accolade available and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Erin McHugh at Barnes & Noble

Political Suicide By Erin McHugh
Published by Pegasus Books ISBN 9781605989785
Hardcover, $26.95, 256 pages

In a political season that no one could have seen coming, Erin McHugh has written the perfect book to accompany all the craziness- Political Suicide- Missteps, Peccadilloes, Bad Calls, Backroom Hijinx, Sordid Pasts, Rotten Breaks, And Just Plain Dumb Mistakes In The Annals Of American Politics.

McHugh spoke at Barnes & Noble 86th St. store in Manhattan a few weeks ago, the day after Ted Cruz dropped out the Presidential race, a week after he chose Carly Fiorina as his imaginary Vice-Presidential running mate. She introduced herself by saying "for those of you who don't know me, from Monday to Tuesday, I was briefly Ted Cruz's Secretary of State", which elicited huge laughs from the crowd.
Erin McHugh

Although we think this year's circus atmosphere is unusual, McHugh's book belies that fact. She read a few pieces from the book, starting with Robert Potter, a Congressman from North Carolina who castrated not one, but two men- a minister and a young boy, both of whom he believed were having an affair with his wife. In the South, castrating someone is called "potterizing".

She spoke of Marion Zioncheck, a Washington state Congressman who has the distinction of being the only sitting congressperson sent to an asylum. (I'm sure some citizens have other nominations for this category.)

Rita Crundwell committed the largest municipal fraud we never heard of, stealing over $53 million in her position as comptroller and treasurer of Dixon, Illinois, Ronald Reagan's hometown. It took her 30 years, and while she was stealing from the town to fund her horse farm and expensive clothes, furs and jewelry, the town literally fell apart. Roads didn't get paved, police cars went unrepaired. This one shocked me.

Familiar scandals like Senator Bob Packwood and Congressman Wilbur Mills sexual escapades were recounted, and although we have had some more recent scandals, like the Anthony Weiner sexting incident, McHugh's book features incidents that have already completed their story. We'll have to wait for the sequel to hear about those other ones.

In the lively Q&A section of the program, McHugh talked about the huge amount of research she did for this, starting with lists on Google and then researching many hours at the library. When asked what the standards of conduct are today versus history, McHugh replied that today's standards are low.

McHugh bemoaned the fact that people seem to have no manners anymore in the political arena. "They go one more step and one more step and next thing you know, you're talking about your member" in a national debate for President.

The media and the 24-hour news cycle contributes to this course discourse, and with the 2016 Presidential race gearing up, Erin McHugh's Political Suicide is the perfect book to pick up to remind yourself that our nation has survived political craziness before, hopefully we can yet again.

The short chapters make it an easy read, and political junkies will want to add this fun book to their collection. I highly recommend it.

McHugh also has two other timely books- Like My Father Always Said for Father's Day and Like My Teacher Always Said, which makes a great teacher's gift. You can find them here and here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Weekend Cooking- Three Recipes From Marlene Koch

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

A few years back I picked up Marlene Koch's Eat What You Love Everyday. The cookbook is filled with simple recipes that cut fat, sugar and calories but not the taste. I pulled out the book and her followup, Eat More of What You Love, to make a healthy dinner this week.

We've been eating a lot of takeout lately, so I wanted to eat something a little healthier. My husband loves chicken fried steak, and Marlene has a Chicken Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy that looked like it would fit the bill in Eat More of What You Love.

In her Menus section of the book, she paired this with Sour Cream and Onion Smashed Potatoes in her Sunday Dinner Southern-Style menu, and I found a 10 Minute Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie for dessert in her first book. I added roasted asparagus and we had ourselves a delicious meal.

Koch uses ingredients you would generally have on hand, like onion and garlic powder, and since I had buttermilk in the frig, the chicken dish would be a good way to use it up. I only had to buy corn flakes for the breading and fat-free half-and-half for the cream gravy.

Chicken Chicken Fried Steak from the book- mine didn't look as pretty

Cauliflower is mixed with the potatoes, and even though I had never made cauliflower mashed potatoes, we eat them at restaurants and love them. This dish turned out fabulous, and we ate the leftovers the next night.

Although the Peanut Butter Pie is easy to make, it takes more than 10 minutes to make as it has to freeze for two hours. But it was worth the wait; we ate the leftovers on that all week with no complaints!

My husband loved the meal, the chicken was crispy and juicy, and even though the kitchen looked a little disheveled, this meal was a definite keeper. I know that Koch has a new cookbook out and I will be looking for it, as well as pulling more great, light recipes from the two I already have.
Peanut Butter Pie from the book

10 Minute Peanut Butter Pie
3 cups light, no-sugar-added vanilla ice cream, slightly softened (I used Edy's)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 chocolate or Oreo pre-made pie crust
1 tablespoon sugar-fee chocolate ice cream topping
1/3 cup roughly crushed pretzels
1 cup light whipped topping (optional)

Directions: I a medium bowl, combine ice cream and peanut butter until well mixed. Spoon mixture into the crust and smooth the top. Drizzle the filling with ice cream topping, and sprinkle pretzels over the top.

Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Let pie sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before cutting and garnish with whipped topping if desired.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Weekend Cooking- Breakfast Treats

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

Last weekend my husband had a conference at the Ritz-Carlton resort at Laguna Niguel in California. The views were spectacular, and it is located near a public beach where lots of surfers hang out. They all look like birds in the water, hanging out looking for a wave.
My breakfast view

I had breakfast at Raya, which has has huge windows overlooking the ocean. It is a spectacular view and what a way to start the day. Since it was California, I had the Breakfast Tacos of course. The tacos were soft flour tortillas filled with shredded hash brown potatoes, bacon, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and pico de gallo. A side of black beans with queso fresco and guacamole accompanied this delightful dish.
The breakfast tacos were delicious

We enjoyed lunch at 180Blu, an outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean. We shared the nachos, which had cheese, shredded chicken, chorizo, jalapenos and fresno chile peppers. The nachos were the perfect size to share and the view was even better.
Our lunch view

Dinner was at their steakhouse, EnoSteak. We were not pleased with the dinner. There were three of us and dinner came to $400, and that was only with two glasses of wine total for the table. We all ordered the Wedge Salad, and we were served a wedge of lettuce with the core intact. I found that strange. The salad had chopped bacon, blue cheese crumbles, chopped red onion and just a scant tablespoon of a very thin buttermilk dressing. The salad really needed more dressing.

Two people at our table ordered the nine ounce beef tenderloin, and I ordered the nine ounce strip steak. The steaks were fine, done to medium as we asked, but all three steaks looked exactly alike to me, which I found odd as they had tenderloin and I had strip steak. That perplexed me.

We skipped dessert, as there didn't seem to be anything on a rather limited menu that appealed to us. The service was fine, and even though we are used to paying Manhattan prices for dinner, we thought that $68 for the steak alone was pretty pricy. I can't really say I would recommend EnoSteak.

This morning my sons took us to brunch for a belated Mother's Day celebration. We went to Uva, a lovely local restaurant that specializes in Italian food. We each got the brunch special, a brunch entree, side dish and a cocktail for $19.50 per person.

I chose the chocolate crepes with nutella filling, topped with whipped cream, a side of sausage and a Fragosa- prosecco with fragioli wild strawberry liqueur. Brunch was delicious and we ate in the garden area. The restaurant opened at 11am and the place was full within ten minutes. I enjoyed the company even more than the brunch.
Chocolate nutella filled crepes
I hope you all had a great week. I missed the Book Expo this year, as it was in Chicago and after traveling to California, another trip in the same week wasn't in the cards. I did follow BEA on social media and it looked like another great year. We'll see you all in NYC next May!

Friday, May 13, 2016

New in Paperback- The Santangelos by Jackie Collins

The Santangelos by Jackie Collins
Published by St. Martin's Paperback ISBN 9781250048240
Mass Market Paperback, 624 pages, $9.99

Sadly, the world lost Jackie Collins last year and she will be greatly missed. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a book signing a few years ago and she was such a joy! She spoke about her career and her life and she made you feel like a dear friend as she signed your book.

Her last novel ties up loose ends for her best protagonist, Lucky Santangelo in The Santangelos. I have been reading about Lucky Santangelo and her family, friends and enemies since Chances was published back in 1981.

 Collins is an expert at creating a perfectly blended cocktail of sex, ambition, drugs, alcohol, mayhem and murder, and The Santangelos continues in her winning tradition. She manages to create several storylines that you know are going to intersect at some point and just explode, like cars on a collision course, but getting to that point keeps you turning the pages.

Lucky is still running her fabulous Vegas hotel, and still happily married to filmmaker husband Lennie. They are a great couple, who compliment each other's strengths and balance out each other's weaknesses.

Lucky is waiting for a visit from her beloved father Gino, who has moved to Palm Springs with his new wife. Lucky's son Bobby has just opened up another successful nightclub in Chicago, and 18 year-old daughter Max is in Europe partying and trying to get a modeling career going.

As usual, there are a few bad guys who want to cause problems for Lucky. A Middle Eastern king vows vengeance, holding Lucky responsible for his son's death, and when Bobby is framed for a murder and someone Lucky loves is gunned down, Lucky goes into fifth gear to find out who is targeting her family.

We see several characters pop up here from previous books- former child star Willow Price, mega movie star Billy who once loved young Max, Bobby's business partner M.J., and his girlfriend Assistant District Attorney Denver Jones- among others. I particularly enjoyed the funeral scene when many previous characters made cameo appearances.

You know what you are getting in Jackie Collins' Lucky books- lots of sex scenes, opulent homes, behind-the-scenes Hollywood stories, fabulous clothes, great parties, drugs, really bad guys, violence and loyalty- and that's what makes it so much fun.

Lucky is a terrific character, a strong-willed, ambitious, hard-working, smart woman who loves her family and friends and would do anything for them. And that's a good thing for her family and friends, because they seem to need her help a lot.

The Santangelos is a fabulous book to while away the days under the sun getting your Vitamin D. And even though it's 600 pages, you will tear through it quickly. The good news is that after you finish The Santangelos, you can start with Chances and read the entire Lucky Santangelo canon if you haven't already.

You don't need to have read any of the Lucky series to enjoy this one, Collins gives you enough information in this book that you aren't lost, but those who have read the Lucky books will get an extra level of enjoyment.

(Warning- there are graphic sex scenes in this book. If that is not your thing, don't read this one.)

Jackie Collins's website is here, and you can read an excerpt from The Santangelos there.
I met Jackie Collins  a few years ago at Barnes & Noble

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062083470
Hardcover, $26.99, 368 pages

Laura Lippman writes mystery novels that are not only page-turners, they are thought-provoking and very well written. Her latest stand-alone novel is Wilde Lake, set in Baltimore as most of her books are.

Lu Brant has just been elected the first female state's attorney in Howard County. She is a single mother of eight-year-old twins, Justin and Penelope, after her wealthy husband died of heart attack. Lu moved back to her childhood home to live with her father, a former state's attorney.

The story has two time settings- the present day and when Lu was an eight-year-old girl. Lu's mother died one week after Lu was born, so she never knew her mother. Her brother AJ is eight years older, and the golden boy at his high school.

As AJ and his friends were celebrating their upcoming high school graduation, three brothers crashed the party and accused AJ's friend of ruining their sister. A fight broke out, one young man died and AJ's friend was seriously injured.

In the present, Lu is proceeding to prosecute the murder of a woman in her apartment. A homeless man is accused of the brutal crime and as the investigation proceeds, the case looks like a slam-dunk for Lu until she digs deeper and finds a connection to an old incident.

A woman has also come to Lu claiming that she has information about a famous murder conviction Lu's father had obtained thirty years ago. The woman said that she was the convicted man's alibi but Lu's father ignored her all those years ago.

Lippman has said that this story was inspired by Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. It does have several of the same elements- a young girl worships her honorable lawyer father, a trial that envelops the entire town- and adds many more intriguing ones.

Lippman brings her characteristic thoughtfulness to the societal change in attitudes about sex and rape over the last thirty years. She also unravels many secrets in the Brant family and among AJ and his group of high school friends. I love a book that keeps me guessing, and Wilde Lake certainly did that. I actually gasped at one sad event late in the book that I didn't see coming.

One thing Lippman excels at is ending the chapter on a sentence that forces you to keep reading, like this one:
"Besides, if Fred wanted to make it personal, there were better, juicer-truer-rumors to spread. He just didn't know where to look."
How can you stop reading there?

The characters in Wilde Lake are fascinating too. From Lu to her father to her brother to even less important ones like AJ's friends Bash and Noel and Teensy, the Brant's housekeeper, all are fully realized people.

Wilde Lake is a literary mystery that will keep the reader guessing as she is compulsively turning the pages. It is a worthy homage to To Kill A Mockingbird, but one that stands on its own as a terrific story. I highly recommend it.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Laura Lippman's tour. The rest of her stops are here:

Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 3rd: Reading Reality
Wednesday, May 4rd: she treads softly
Friday, May 6th: A Bookworm’s World
Monday, May 9th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, May 11th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, May 12th: bookchickdi
Friday, May 13th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, May 16th: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, May 17th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, May 19th: Luxury Reading

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On Broadway- She Loves Me

I was so pleased to see that the Broadway revival of the musical She Loves Me is nominated for eight Tony awards this year, including Best Actress (musical) for Laura Benanti, Best Actor (musical) for Zachary Levi, Best Supporting Actress (musical) for Jane Krakowski and Best Revival of a Musical.

The show is just such a lovely production, and the performances from all are just spot-on. Benanti and Krakowsi are previous Tony winners, but this is only Levi's second Broadway musical and he is a marvel. Those who only know him from his NBC TV show Chuck will be pleasantly surprised by his terrific singing voice.

The show is based on 1937's Parfumerie, and the story has been retold in other forms, such as The Shop Around the Corner and You've Got Mail. Set in a perfume store in 1930's Budapest it tells the story of Georg, who is a salesman in  Maraczek's perfume shop.

Georg (Levi) has a Lonely Hearts correspondence (think Tinder of yore) with a lovely woman who calls him "Dear Friend" in her letters to him. Although they haven't met, Georg is deeply enamored of her.

Amalia (Benanti) comes into the shop looking for a job and shows Georg up in front of the store owner. She is hired and Georg and Amalia spend their time circling each other and clashing.

Amalia also has a Lonely Hearts correspondence with a lovely man she calls "Dear Friend". Yes, unbeknownst to the other, Georg and Amalia are sweethearts by night and competitors by day.

Ilona (Krakowski) is having a relationship with Steven (Gavin Creel), a lothario who juggles more than one woman. Krakowski and Benanti sparkle in this delightful, sweet show and one of the many highlights is their duet of "I Don't Know His Name". Their gorgeous voices blend together in a way that gave me goosebumps.

Levi and Benanti have a fantastic chemistry, whether they are fighting at work or unknowingly falling in love with each other. The audience waits impatiently for them to realize what we already know- they are perfect for each other.

If you are looking for a show that bring a smile to your face, with lots of laughs and wonderful performances, She Loves Me is just the ticket. Discount tickets are available for this show and I highly recommend it.

The website for She Loves Me is here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New in Paperback- All The Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank

All The Single Ladies  by Dorothea Benton Frank
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks ISBN 9780062132581
Trade paperback, $15.99, 400 pages

One of the great things about summer is that I get to spend some time in South Carolina's Lowcountry when Dorothea Benton Frank's latest novel publishes. Last year's terrific novel All The Single Ladies shows Frank in fine form with wonderful characters in a great story, topped off with Frank's signature one-liners that crack me up and is now available in paperback.

Lisa St. Clair is a divorced nurse, struggling to make do with a part-time job working at an adult home, sad that her 18-year-old daughter has moved to Colorado, where her estranged father has help set her up in her own legal marijuana tourist company.

Lisa has become close to Kathy, fifty-year-old patient who is dying of cancer, as well as the woman's two best friends, Carrie and Suzanne, who hold a constant vigil at her bedside. When Kathy passes away, Lisa, Carrie and Suzanne join forces to clean out Kathy's apartment, and they become closer.

What I liked about this book was that these are women of a certain age, who haven't been lucky in love up to this point, but they don't close themselves off to the possibilities in front of them. They support each other, and when Lisa loses her apartment, Suzanne offers her a room in her grandmother's home near the beach.

Suzanne's grandmother Miss Trudie is an unforgettable character, the kind of grandma we'd all wish to have. She's 99 years-old, sassy, and full of life and advice. I fell in love with Miss Trudie.

Carrie is a thrice-widowed woman, and she is always on the lookout for husband number four. Suzanne owns her floral shop, but she doesn't have time or the inclination to look for a husband. Taking care of Miss Trudie and trying to keep her shop open takes all of her time.

Lisa not only has to deal with her strained relationship with her daughter, but her phone conversations with her parents are hilarious. I can almost see her banging her head against the wall as she tries to get through a call with them.

The friendship these women develop is heartwarming, they support and encourage each other in their individual endeavors. And the men that come into their lives are not stereotypical clueless guys, they feel like real men, trying to do their best for the women they care about.

One of the men even gives a great piece of advice; he tells Lisa that children don't do things to hurt their parents, they don't even consider that their actions have anything to do with their parents. Smart man.

One of the best things about reading Frank's novels is that I can add so many great restaurants to my Charleston Pinterest board. Frank helped me add close to a dozen more, and the Chamber of Commerce of Charleston should send her a big bouquet of flowers because no one encourages more people to visit (and maybe even retire) to that beautiful area.

Grab a beach chair, your best girlfriends, a couple of bottles of Pinot Grigio, and a few copies of All The Single Ladies and make a day of it. Then go to dinner and plan your girls' vacation to Charleston.

Dorothea Benton Frank's website is here.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler

The Secrets of Flight  by Maggie Leffler
Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062427922
Trade paperback, $15.99, 339 pages

In The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler, Mary Browning is an 87 year-old widow who runs a writing group for senior citizens at her local library. One day, a fifteen year-old young lady named Elyse joins the group after seeing an ad in the newspaper. Elyse is unaware that it is a senior citizens group, but the members were more than happy to welcome the youngster to their group.

Mary and Elyse become friends, and Mary hires Elyse to type up her memoirs for her. Mary has many secrets from the group, from her real name (Miri Lichtenstein) to her former occupation. The group believes that Mary was a book editor in New York City, but in actuality Mary had belonged to the Women's Airforce Service Pilots during WWII, a group of civilian pilots who were trained by the military.

The book us told in two different voices- Mary's and Elyse's- and in two different time periods. I found Miri's story of her time training as a pilot, and her camaraderie with her female pilots to be the more interesting of the two stories.

One of the more interesting anecdotes (which according to the author's notes at the end of the book really happened) involved landing in bad weather. The ladies had to land their planes in a remote area. They found a restaurant in this small town, and of course these strange women, unaccompanied by any men, drew interest from the regulars.

A man came to their table and said that they were trying to guess who these ladies were. The women had been told not to tell anyone who they were, so when the man guessed that they were a baseball team, the ladies readily agreed. (Just like A League of Their Own!)

One of the sadder tales involved a pilot who crashed her plane and perished. The women had to take up a collection to send her body back to the woman's parents. As they were not officially in the armed services, the government would not cover the cost. That made me so sad and angry.

Another aspect of the story that intrigued me concerned the idea of Jewish people hiding their identity. Miri's boyfriend wanted to study medicine, but he had a difficult time getting into medical school because at that time, there was a strict quota for Jewish men in medical school. I had never heard of that, and found it so shocking that in the United States in the 1940's this blatant discrimination existed.

He had to decide whether to hide his identity to achieve his goal, when his relatives had to hide their identity in Europe to avoid being sent to concentration camps. The strain that this decision caused himself and his family was enlightening. (And I have never seen so many people just cut themselves off from family members as in this book.)

Mary had many secrets that she kept from those around her, and when we slowly discover them, it becomes easier to see why Mary was so lonely.

The Secrets of Flight will appeal to fans of The Orphan Train.  Both of the books feature an older woman whose earlier life held a fascination for the teenage girl they befriend. Both books tell of two women of different ages and experiences and how they changed each other.

There is a twist of fate at the end of the story that is hinted at at the beginning. I personally found it to be a little too coincidental, but it does bring the story full circle. I recommend The Secrets of Flight to anyone who enjoys a story about strong women, and who find the time period of WWII interesting. I loved learning about the women flyers.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Maggie Leffler's tour. The rest of the stops are here:

Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 3rd: BookNAround
Wednesday, May 4th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, May 5th: bookchickdi
Friday, May 6th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, May 10th: Back Porchervations
Wednesday, May 11th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, May 12th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Monday, May 16th: Helen’s Book Blog
Tuesday, May 17th: Dreams, Etc.
Thursday, May 19th: Staircase Wit
Monday, May 23rd: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, May 24th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, May 25th: Reading is My Super Power
Thursday, May 26th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, May 26th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, May 27th: A Book Geek
Monday, May 30th: Book by Book
Monday, May 30th: Life By Kristen
Thursday, June 2nd: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom