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Dec 2017 – Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe – by Jenny Colgan

Photo Dec 19, 5 54 39 PMCan you believe 2017 is coming to a close….already?  Well bring it on 2018!  It was wonderful to see such a lively group! Everyone meandered down about 25 mins South of Historic College Park to the farmhouse (Magpie Blue Manor) for our end of year December meeting!  Which has previously been hosted by Linda & Georgie – they needed a break so it’s now nested at the farmhouse.

As everyone began to filter in, nibbles were opened and wine was poured!  Our White Elephant gifts were sat aside to later rip open and steal! Bwhahahah!

For a summary of the book:

For fans of Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) and Sophie Kinsella (the Shopaholic series) comes the perfect holiday story—a moving, funny, utterly delightful novel about love, loss, and baking.

How many times can your life change?

Once upon a time, Issy Randall was the girl nobody wanted. But when she opened the Cupcake Café, her life changed—and now Issy is happy, confident, and in love with a wonderful man raising his young brother after the death of their parents.

Is life about to change again? With the holidays approaching, cracks show in Issy’s perfect world. Her boyfriend Austin has been scouted for a possible move to New York City. Her colleagues at the Cupcake Café are suffering heartbreak. And as Christmas looms ever closer, Issy finds forced to decide what she holds most dear.

From an author whose work Sophie Kinsella describes as ‘sheer indulgence’, and featuring delicious holiday recipes, Christmas at the Cupcake Café is a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and long for sugar. (HarperCollins.com)

Jenny Colgan is know as a ‘Chick-Lit’ author — and she does it well! For author bio please click HERE 

After we sat and discussed Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe, nibbled refreshments we moved to the parlor for White Elephant Gift exchange!  Georgie attended for Linda because she was off flying the friendly skies!   We had some fun steals and many a squeal and giggle escape all of us.  As we sat chatting and admiring our gifts we continued to hear a strange pounding from the other room… which we completely ignored.  Well.  It turned out to be Eileen stuck in the bathroom!  It’s a 100 year old house!  Things stick every now and then! LOL

A very merry meeting as everyone gathered their goodies and headed out into the dark night…. the tree glimmered and scotties were licking guests goodbye.  A very fun meeting gals. Jenny and I were lucky enough to have a sleepover! Scotties and all!  Thanks to Anda Panda for taking so many wonderful photos!

For 2018 check our website and give any suggestions we might add for 2018! We have a few spots left!

*If you are new to reading our blog, follow us so you don’t miss a meeting with us!

We hope the spirit of the season is happy and magical.   Have a very merry holiday and a joyful New Year!

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Nov 2017 – A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

Photo Nov 27, 6 43 15 PM*Make sure you follow our blog so that you don’t miss the ladies of Historic College Park’s Book Club meetings! Even though you aren’t present you can be there in spirit by reading our blog! To books and the discussion of such (among other things!) – Cheers! 

Thanks so much Laura Lee Gentry for hosting our November meeting! LOVE the renovations!

On a chilly wintry night in Georgia (Historic College Park to be exact…..) we gathered to discuss A Certain Age – by Beatriz Williams.    A novel set in the roaring 1920’s amid the privileged upper class of New York, flappers, lots of sex (no drugs or rock at roll at this point) and a GREAT plot twist mid way.

The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.

For author bio click HERE 

We discussed the freedom many women were experience at this time in the roaring 1920’s —  the open marriage arrangement Teresa had with her husband and the love she felt for Boyo in letting him go.  The plot twist of the murder house that both Octavian and Sophie lived in and what brought them together was a fabulous act!

Hope you enjoyed the book as much as we did.

To books! And discussing them at book club!

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Oct 2017 – The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

Photo Oct 23, 5 45 12 PMA very macabre subject for our October read indeed.  The Black Dahlia aka Elizabeth Short’s most horrific unsolved murder!  James Ellroy spins a tail of ‘what may have happened’ to the young raven haired beauty from the East who landed in the City of Angels hoping to become a starlet.

Getting into the first few chapters of the book was a bit hard for many of us.   Once the dust settles the film noir essense of the time period of the late 1940s takes over then you’re HOOKED!

James Ellroy spins a tale trying to explain the people who came in and out of Elizabeth Shorts life; seeking to find the killer who brutally tortured and murdered this lovely girl.

On January 15, 1947, the tortured body of a beautiful young woman was found in a vacant lot in Hollywood. Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, a young Hollywood hopeful, had been brutally murdered. Her murder sparked one of the greatest manhunts in California history.

In this fictionalized treatment of a real case, Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, both LA cops obsessed with the Black Dahlia, journey through the seamy underside of Hollywood to the core of the dead girl’s twisted life.

“Passionate, violent, frustrating…imaginative and bizarre.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Building like a symphony, this is a wonderful, complicated, but accessible tale of ambition, insanity, passion and deceit.”

We met in Wendy’s wonderful home to discuss this grissly murder along with many others!  From the Atlanta missing and murdered children (which many were never solved – some were attributed to Wayne Williams), to the Zodiac Killer, Ed Geins and many more.   We certainly wish DNA evidence would have been available for Elizabeth Shorts case.   The Winecoff Hotel Fire in Atlanta was never solved.  The former Winecoff is now the Ellis Hotel.  The 15 story Winecoff killed over 100 people.  For video Click HERE 

An update to Short’s case — Steve Hodel who grew up in LA – with his father Dr. George Hodel – feels he has found clues in his father’s passing that he may well have killed Elizabeth Short and many others!  Can you imagine finding clues in your 93 year old father’s stash that shows he could have been a serial killer!?!? Click HERE for Steve Hodel’s updates.  Interestingly enough, Dr. George Hodel was actually under suspicion for her murder by LAPD! Hodel was never officially charged.

 

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Sept 2017 – The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray

Photo Sep 26, 7 02 44 PMThanks so much for hosting Linda Gravitt!  We always love spending time in your home.  Good group of ladies last night.

The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray was an interesting read indeed.  It was like holding a hand-full of marbles then dropping them on the floor seeing them shoot into every direction possible.    When Waldy ends up in his deceased twin aunt’s home and realized he’s in a time loop – well… let’s just say it goes in every direction you can possibly think and conceive.

For full author bio on John Wray click HERE  — John Wray is the author of The Lost Time AccidentsLowboyCanaan’s Tongue, and The Right Hand of Sleep. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin, he was named one of Granta‘s Best Young American Novelists in 2007. A citizen of the United States and Austria, he currently lives in New York City.

For a NY Times review on The Lost Time Accidents press HERE  

We went round-robin about time-paths, scientific thoughts and astroplanes of sorts.  Remember the movie Somewhere In Time?  And the movie Contact?  Exactly.

Oh!  If you want the book Lost Time Accidents, I put my copy in the Uncles Little Free Library on the corner of John Calvin & Hemphill in Historic College Park.  While dropping off said book, we found a College Park Rock!  Cool Beans!

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Aug 2017 – Georgia by Dawn Tripp

cp2Thanks for hosting Wendy!  Your home is lovely!  The pups are precious and book club rocked!  Welcome Amy and Ellen are newest members!  Great turn out!

Our August book was close to everyone’s heart – Georgia by Dawn Tripp.  A book created through the letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband / promoter Alfred Stieglitz.

Dawn Tripp a favorite among Boston writers, graduated from Harvard.  She lives in Massachusetts with her family.   For full author bio click HERE   

We explored how Georgia evolved as a person, woman and artist.  How would the birth of a child changed her?  Did Stieglitz truly love her and she him?

Did Georgia feel she was an icon?

Many have visited the Georgia O’Keeffe museum and her Ghost Ranch home.     As a group we felt we knew much of Georgia but realized much was learned in this book selection .  We questioned all the sexual inserts – being that this is ‘based’ on the letters between she and her husband we truly questioned it.

Learning all the people who came in and out of their social circle was quite fascinating.   Many in the group kept a list of people mentioned in book to research them further.

What a fun evening girls!   An incredible artist was Georgia.  She was a minimalist,  cutting edge modern artist of her time and to this day!

P.S.  Anda took all the caramel cake.  LOL

 

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July 2017 – Where’d You Go Bernadette? – Maria Semple

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A small intimate group gathered tonight – really enjoyed it ladies!  We had Georgie (Linda’s hubby) as our honorary male join us this evening along with the lovely Sarah (Anda’s grand) all the way from Kansas!   Also Pip and Cricket scotties extraordinaire in tow!

We all gathered around with nibbles and vino in hand – and delved into book club questions.  We all pretty much agreed that the book was a joy to read!  For book club questions click HERE –

For bio on Maria Semple click HERE 

Moving from LA to Seattle proved to be a bit too much for Bernadette — which is narrated in form by her daughter Bee.   Just picturing so many of the situations and facial expressions of the characters involved  when something happens alone will keep you in stitches.

Bernadette Fox is notorious.

To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

We discussed how there is not a ‘norm’ when it comes to any family – and yes…. we’ve all been in new situations and yes… we’ve definitely felt the outsider at times…   We think you’ll enjoy Maria Semples ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’.   Happy page turning!

Can you believe it’s the end of July and almost August? Yikes….

Til next time ladies!

 

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Jan 2017- Blood Money by Stephen Russell

article-2726185-1a12ca5d000005dc-486_634x800A huge thanks to Steph for hosting our book club.  I always love nesting at your home!  A huge shout-out to author Stephen Russell for facetiming with us for our meeting!  You rock!!!

For Dr. Stephen Russell thriller author bio click <<HERE>>

We gathered our nibbles and wine and settled into Steph’s LOVELY home!  A sweet little Victorian with so much charm!  We had the pleasure of a man this meeting! Alan Gravitt who is also an author joined us!  We had many questions for Stephen Russell who joined us via my iPhone.  NEXT time I”ll bring my laptop or iPad for larger view! It worked out just fine this time.  We also had a ‘drop-in’ by Georgie Prichard whose wife Linda was ill.  She still wanted him to bring food. Gotta love the South! :::beaming::::::   A lively meeting was had by all.

We were able to query Dr. Russell on questions regarding the book and on personal life as an author.  Being that Dr. Russell has 4 children at home (small ones) and a wife who is also a pediatrician – he has many things to juggle! When in the world do you find time to write?   This question was answered as he gets up at 4:30 (on purpose) to write at his kitchen table before everyone awakens for the day.   We all enjoyed the Mackie McKay series, with some reading his 2nd book first (Command and Control) and then reading the first book Blood Money.  He has the 3rd book in this series set to be released to the public in a few months.  Great job! Can’t wait to see what Mackie gets into!

Thank you again Dr. Russell for taking time out of your BUSY schedule to talk Blood Money.  We all greatly enjoyed your enthusiasm and the book.