As many of you may know, I am no longer a New Yorker, so please check out my new blog A Library of My Own. If you are just reading Life and Times, you are missing out. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kentucky Stroll

Head on over to my new blog A Library of My Own to see photos of my Kentucky Stroll.

** I am no longer a New Yorker so please update your readers! I am still posting reviews at Life and Times of a "New" New Yorker but I am posting much more over at my new blog. Thanks!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

31 Bond Street - Ellen Horan

Book: 31 Bond Street
Author: Ellen Horan
Hardback: 368 Pages
Publisher: Harpercollins
Published Date: 3-30-2010

Awhile back I was asked to join the TLC Book Tour for 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan: A Novel of Murder, Innocence, and Power in New York City.  I love historical fiction and I have a specific fondness for the 19th Century so I thought why not?  I'm not sure if it's was because recently I've been Netflixing the series Bones (forensic anthropology helps solve murders) or what, but I totally absorbed this book in just a couple of days.

Here's the story:

The setting is 1857 in New York City.  A real crime happened: a dentist, Dr. Burdell, was found gruesomely murdered in his home. The main suspect is a young widowed lady, Emma Cunningham, with a couple of daughters who lives with him (as a tenant) and claims to be his wife.  Suspicion is out whether or not they were married and if she murdered him.  A brilliant defense attorney, Henry Clinton, puts his career at stake defending her of this crime.

I thought this story was absolutely fascinating.  The story is told from various perspectives, mainly flipping from Henry Clinton's point of view as the trial proceeds, to Emma Cunnigham's view as she meets the Dr. Burdell and the events leading up to his death.  Sometimes I can figure out in a crime book who the culprit is, but in this case I had absolutely no clue.  Since this was a real life murder, I also refrained from looking it up on Wikipedia as I sometimes end up doing.  I know Ellen Horan had to employ creative license while writing the fictional parts but I thought she did a fabulous job doing a "what if" to this real life crime story.

I just have to mention that I loved the book's setting in NewYork City.  In her acknowledgements and explanations at the end of the book, she mentions that New York City was definitely a character in the book.  I loved seeing the city from this historic perspective - before the high rises, before the Civil War and abolition of slavery, and before women's rights.  Even the forensics I thought was interesting, like how they knew back then it had to be a left handed person.  I especially thought it was bizarre when they mentioned the crime scene was painted, not photographed.  This was before photography was used in a crime scene.  I just thought she did a wonderful job bringing this era and old New York City to life.

I visited the website for 31 Bond Street and found this cool book trailer:

Ellen Horan previously worked as a freelance photo editor for magazines and books in New York City.  She has a background in painting and visual art.  31 Bond Street is her first novel.

Connect with Ellen:

On her Website

On her Facebook

On Twitter

Ellen Horan's TLC Book Tour Stops:

Tuesday, July 6th: Word Lily

Wednesday, July 7th: Rundpinne

Thursday, July 8th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Monday, July 12th: Simply Stacie

Tuesday, July 13th: Novel Whore

Wednesday, July 14th: Ask Miss A

Thursday, July 15th: Life and Times of a "New" New Yorker

Monday, July 19th: The 3 R's Blog

Tuesday, July 20th: Scraps of Life

Wednesday, July 21st: A Few More Pages

Thursday, July 22nd: Novel Whore- Gabriella

Friday, July 23rd: Starting Fresh

Monday, July 26th: Caribousmom

Tuesday, July 27th: The Tome Traveller

Wednesday, July 28th: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!!!

Thursday, July 29th: Bibliofreak

Monday, August 2nd: A Bookworm's World

Tuesday, August 3rd: Jen's Book Thoughts

Friday, July 9, 2010

Update on Blog

Hello everyone!

I am just popping in to tell you all to move on over to my new blog A Library of My Own. I will still post book reviews here at Life and Times of a "New" New Yorker through the end of August.*  But if you want my entire blog in all it's glory, just head on over there:

Oh, and as an incentive, I have a nice long photo post of my time in Paris years ago as part of Paris in July - hosted by Book Bath and Thyme for Tea.  Go check it out!

* Publishers and Publicists: If you've sent me a book to read and review and want to make sure I post it at Life and Times of a "New" New Yorker, please let me know:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Queen of Palmyra Giveaway Winner!

Sorry for my delayed announcement of the winner of The Queen of Palmyra. I had asked everyone to name a book that had totally absorbed them. I received a number of new to me books, a few of Michelle Moran's books like Cleopatra's Daughter, and a couple of my favorites (The Art of Racing in the Rain and Pride and Prejudice). A few of you, including the winner, mentioned The Help.

And the winner....

I've sent you an email so please email me your snail mail address so I can ship it out to you.

Thanks everyone for entering the contest!

How to Knit a Love Song - Rachael Herron

Book: How to Knit a Love Song
Author: Rachael Herron
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Avon A (April 1, 2010)

A little while ago I read a knitting romance book by Rachael Herron called How to Knit a Love Song.  I received the book from Harper Collins and thought it was such a cute book.  I had no clue that there was a whole genre of knitting novels out there.  I have to say it's something that I could get into since I recently took up knitting.

Here's the story:

Abigail is running away from her old life and towards a new beginning.  Her mentor and friend, Eliza Carpenter (famous in the knitting circles) recently passed away and left Abigail a home on her California property.  Abigail's dreams are put on hold though when she shows up and finds Eliza's angry but attractive nephew living there.

Eliza apparently left Abigail the cottage on the property while Cade, the nephew, gets the property and the main house.  Cade is angry that the land he's made prosperous during his aunt's absence has been usurped by a city girl.

So yeah, this is a romance novel and normally I wouldn't be too big into it but I absolutely loved the knitting part.  I also have to admit that while not insanely original, the story was pretty cute and not too romantically annoying.  It also helped inspire me to knit more on my own.  There's even a pattern for a sweater, which is what Abigail is working on, at the back of the book.  I also loved that each chapter started with a pearl (or purl...sorry, had to do it) of wisdom from Eliza Carpenter.  This is one of those books I sent on to my sister to read and enjoy.

Speaking of knitting and sisters, here's what I made after I read this book.

It was my first attempt at a cable stitch.  I love this cool green color for a scarf. I used Lion Brand's Nature's Choice Organic Cotton because it is so soft. I hate itchy things around my neck:

 I call it the sister scarf. I made my sister the green one to match her hazel eyes and I am making myself a creamy white one.  If you want the pattern, head over to Lion Brand and search for Harbor Scarf.  You can also check out my Ravelry site (username: libraryofmyown) :

For more info about Rachael Herron's book, you can check out her blog Yarn-A-Go-Go.
Book Club Girl also interviewed her so go over and check out their show.

Also reviewed by:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Language of Trees - Ilie Ruby

Book: The Language of Trees
Author: Ilie Ruby
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Avon A (July 20, 2010)

A while back I saw Ilie Ruby's novel The Language of Trees on Shelf Awareness and requested an ARC to read and review.  I think the main reason was because of it's gorgeous cover but also because it takes place in the Fingerlakes region of New York and involves Native American themes.  I thought it was a beautiful novel with touches of a mystery and romance with a supernatural twist.

Here's the synopsis:

Grant Shongo is part Seneca and has returned to his home town by Canandaigua Lake.  He's running away from a failed marriage and needs some time to repair his life.  By chance, he runs into his high school sweetheart, Echo, who's also come home to check on her adopted father, Joseph, who's health is ailing.  However, Joseph has other things on his mind.  Local town legend, Melanie Ellis, a young mother, has gone missing.

Twelve years earlier, Melanie Ellis was just a young girl when she took her young brother and sister, Maya and Luke, on a midnight canoe trip, through the pouring rain to Squaw Island.  No one knows what happened but after the storm subsided, Luke was gone.  Now Luke's spirit is haunting certain members of Canandiagua and long buried secrets will have to be resurrected.    

I hope that made some kind of sense as I usually like writing my own synopsis.  For the most part, I liked this book.  The way Ilie Ruby made the Fingerlakes area come alive was beautiful.  For instance, this blurb by author unknown at the beginning of the book is a running theme to the whole story:

Trees are the most trusting of all living creatures because they trust enough to put their roots down in one place, knowing they'll be there for life.

Ilie Ruby made all the characters multi-dimensional and I loved that not all problems were resolved at the end.  The story wasn't just narrated by Grant and Echo, but by almost all of the characters involved in the story.  It was a beautiful and sad story: bittersweet.  While I enjoyed the supernatural touches, it wasn't overly supernatural to make it unbelievable.  The only problem I had with it was sometimes it got a little over descriptive which can make me skim a bit too much.  But that might just be my problem, not the author's.  

I noticed a review over at TLC Book Tours which states that it's a "healing tale of redemption" (Elizabet Rosner) which describes it exactly.

I was going to find photos of Canandaigua Lake on Google Images but found that Ilie Ruby has a section on her website of photos of the area.  So go over there and check it out.