Shakespeare Saves Lives

“Shakespeare has the power to educate convicted killers and help them examine the choices they made that landed them here – and how to avoid making those choices again.” No one would be more surprised than William Shakespeare to learn his words could mean so much to a group of inmates 400 years after his very own death. Shakespeare Saved My Life by Indiana State University professor Dr. Laura Bates is a fascinating and unique memoir about a group of supermax inmates (“the baddest of the bad”) which I read on a whim but share with a purpose.

Four Books Walk Into A Bar

Four books walk into a bar. (Tell me if you’ve heard this one.) A Rom-Com, a Chick-Lit, a Vic-Lit and a YA. The Rom-Com has been telling jokes since they all packed into an Uber. Harback YA cracked a few, but they went over Rom-Com and Chick-Lit’s heads. Vic-Lit had simply smiled and shaken her head at all three of them, but she also did that eye-slit-look-to-the-side thing she learned from the YA novel in response to paperback Rom-Com and Chick-Lit pretending to get YA’s jokes.


I know I’m late to the Gillian Flynn party, but better late than never to have read at all. GONE GIRL, published by Penguin Random House in 2012, is Flynn’s most recent work – not including her short story THE GROWNUP, originally entitled “What Do You Do?” as part of George R. R. Martin’s ROGUES (already added to my reading shelf).


Anthony Doerr‘s ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE (published by Scribner in 2014) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and received the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Clearly, you do not need my recommendation for a novel with two of the most distinguished awards in literature, but I’ll give it to you anyway. In one word, this novel is divine.


EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL is the New York Times best-selling author of four novels, including the outstanding dystopian STATION ELEVEN which was a 2014 National Book Award Finalist & Winner of the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award.


Christina McKenna is a best-selling author from Northern Ireland and is best known for her four novels all set in a small Irish village in the county of Derry. The Misremembered Man is the first in the series, followed by The Disenchanted Widow, The Godforsaken Daughter and The Spinster Wife (which I have not yet read so is not included here). I have also not yet read Ms. McKenna’s first book, MY MOTHER WORE A YELLOW DRESS; MEMORIES OF AN IRISH CHILDHOOD in which she describes a tumultuous and haunted upbringing. Her real-life experiences, growing up with an oppressive father and a compassionate mother, resonate in her…


Outlander fans everywhere are always looking for ways to entertain and amuse themselves during the harrowing dry spells. While we all love pictures of our Jamie and Claire – or mainly Jamie (admit it) –talking, tweeting and blogging about Outlander, I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce new novels I’ve recently discovered, especially those by authors who deserve more recognition than they are currently receiving. Many of my readers responded with kind comments to the recommendations I made in Jamie’s Top 30 Awkward Moments, so I created a new blog category for book reviews and recommendations – aptly titled BOOKS. Like all of…

Jane Eyrë: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics

The new Writer’s Digest publication of the classic, Jane Eyre, includes annotated notes by K.M. Weiland. Weiland is the award-winning author of the non-fiction best-sellers: Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. When she’s not working on her own writing projects, she’s mentoring authors through her website: Helping Writers Become Authors. Before reading a single savory note by Weiland, the reader is greeted with an eloquently written Forward by Diana Gabaldon – internationally best-selling author of the Outlander and Lord John Grey series. Gabaldon points out:

Win a Copy of Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics, with notes by K. M. Weiland, will be available for purchase July 24, 2014. But Weiland – best-selling author, writing mentor, and creator of the Helping Writers Become Authors website – gives us a fun sneak peek into her upcoming release in her blog post: 10 THINGS WRITERS CAN LEARN FROM JANE EYRE. Even more exciting is the giveaway Weiland is offering. You can win an advanced copy of the annotated classic before its official publication. Visit her website HERE and good luck to all who enter!

Crazy Little Thing

I want to shine the spotlight on a small (relatively speaking) romance novel which gave me more chuckles than any romantically-inclined book I can remember. The novel to which I am referring is entitled Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan and was a Romance Writer’s of America Best First Book finalist in 2013. You can learn more about Ms. Brogan and her other publications on her website. Ms. Brogan is a warm and generous person who is having a blast with the take off of her career and loves to hear from her fans. Just for fun, I did a bit of imaginary casting for Crazy Little Thing. Here is what our…