February She Reads Book Club Selection: The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

The Wife the maid the mistress

Photo Credit: Goodreads

It’s here! It’s time! The February She Reads Book Club Selection is………. THE WIFE, THE MAID, and THE MISTRESS by Ariel Lawhon (one of the geniuses behind She Reads). Recently released and already generating tons of buzz in the book world- this book should be a popular pick with book clubs around the world. Want more proof? Read the summary:

A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930-Justice Joseph Crater’s infamous disappearance-as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best.

They say behind every great man, there’s a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge’s wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge’s bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband’s recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city’s most notorious gangster, Owney “The Killer” Madden.

On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge’s involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?

After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge’s favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks-one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale-of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on.

With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages.

Want to read this book? You are in luck! Traveling With T just happens to know of several giveaways! She Reads is giving away 5 copies (plus shot glasses- super cute!), Goodreads is giving away 30 copies, and because Doubleday Publishing is the cat’s pajamas- for the She Reads Twitter chat where we chat with Ariel Lawhon (hosted by me!)- 10 copies of the book will be given away that night! The Twitter chat is February 27th- 8pmEST. #srbkchat is the hashtag (while all are welcome to join in the fun of the Twitter chat- the giveaway portion is limited to US only (sorry!)

Want to read what others are saying about The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress? You are in luck! Check out She Reads Blog Network and see what they are saying!

Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,

T @ Traveling With T

T Traveling With T pic sign off

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

the firebird

Photo Credit: Amazon

The Firebird is July’s She Reads Book Club pick. Part historical fiction, some magical realism, romance, and a mystery- this book has much that can and will appeal to a variety of readers.

Nicola has a gift (or a curse as she sees it sometimes). She can touch an object and see things from it’s past. Nicola works for an art dealer, Sebastian, in London. A woman comes in desperate to see this little bird- a bird that she claims to have belonged to Empress Catherine at one time. Sebastian is interested- but since there is no proof- he cannot buy the bird. Nicola, though, before the lady leaves, touches the bird. Instantly she has a vision of Empress Catherine telling a girl named Anna “You were never a nobody”. She knows the bird is what the woman claims- yet, she can’t reveal what knows without revealing her “gift”.

Nicola, shaken, thinks about what to do next. She goes in search of a person that she knows from 2 years ago- a man named Rob. He has a gift like Nicola- yet, he does not regard it as a curse. When Nicola and Rob meet again- the reader finds out about their history- and that there is still something unfinished between them. Together, the 2 of them embark on an adventure- an adventure that is designed to prove the truth about the firebird.

While on this adventure, with both Nicola and Rob using their gifts- they learn about this mysterious Anna. Her background, her story, how and why Nicola had a vision of her with Empress Catherine. Told in alternating tales, what Anna lived through and how her life was and the story of  Nicola and Rob – The Firebird takes the reader from past to present and through a multitude of historical references.

Partly a romantic story, party a historical fiction, a few dashes of magical realism- The Firebird opens the reader to a world they may never have dreamed of knowing- and a story, Anna’s story, that they are better for reading.

My thoughts:

Conflicted. The little synopsis about this book had me intrigued. I began reading- and the first chapter or so, I was intrigued. Interested. Curious. Then Nicola goes in search of Rob- and I encounter a dialect that I’m not familiar with. Words such as “Aye, Ken and more”. I re-read the sections, and essentially get the meaning. Yet, it’s distracting to me. I find myself in a reading groove- and then the Scottish dialect rears it’s head. I continue, though, partly because I want to know what happens. Anna has caught my interest. Nicola and Rob have caught my interest.

The story continues and I faithfully read- I’m learning quite a bit as the book is well researched- and yet, the amount of characters is almost hard to keep up with- some are mentioned at 1 point- and then not mentioned again for nearly 200 pages. I found myself wishing I’d made a note of each character. Then, when I’m about convinced that it’s not the book’s fault, it’s me- some books just don’t capture my attention- I start getting a bit more caught up in the story- Anna’s older, her story is growing more and more interesting as the pages go. The interactions between Nicola and Rob are better- the unfinished history between them is apparent. Even the Scottish dialect is not distracting me. I flew through the last 100 or so pages- dying to know what happens next. Who can be trusted, who can’t be- what will become of Anna?

With the ending being as strong as it was- it definitely ended the book on a positive note (for me!) I liked how things were revealed bit by bit- and how the author used misdirection at times. However, it took several pages for me to get to this point- and honestly, if I’d borrowed this book from a library- I’d have returned it before I finished it. In the end, I’m a better person for having read this- for sticking with it. For learning about an unfamiliar author to me. My advice for you, if you decide to read this, is to know that it’s slow moving- it will get to a point that the reader has to know what happens next- but it takes it’s time getting there.

* This book was provided to me by She Reads in exchange for a fair and honest review. The above opinions and thoughts are mine alone.

Literary Friday ya’ll……

Today, The Great Gatsby releases. And the people have been excited, the tv has shown the trailer multiple times, and everything’s a-buzz foe The Great Gatsby! In related news, Erika Robuck’s latest, Call Me Zelda, was released earlier this week (I’d like to know who the marketing genius was who saw a prime opportunity to release CMZ the same week as TGG came out in theaters- because that person- that person has their game face on!)


1. Deep South Mag has been counting down to Gatsby all week long! Their #literaryfriday is basically filled with Gatsby! So sit back and read and enjoy!

Not enough Gatsby for you? Well Deep South Mag has more: Gatsby Companion Reading List!

Is Zelda more your thing? Deep South Mag has the answer to that as well: Zelda Gets Her Day

2. Amy Sue Nathan and her debut novel- The Glass Wives, has been twirling around the book world for a bit- early readers of The Glass Wives have been tweeting and blogging very positive things about Amy’s debut. When she’s not writing or getting ready for a book launch- Amy Sue Nathan has a website called Women’s Fiction Writers. It’s smart, funny interviews and talks with interesting women (this week alone- she had Wendy Francis, Three Good Things author and Erika Robuck, Call Me Zelda author.

Here are the 3 posts I read this week that I really felt needed to be shared: Three Good Things (ok Many More) from Wendy Francis, Author Natalia Sylvester Says the way to Support Women’s Fiction Is to Keep Writing It, Writing Words and Book Banter with Erika Robuck.

Specifically, pay attention to Natalia Sylvester’s article- women’s fiction is much harder to define than I’ve ever thought- but it needs to be supported. Needs to be bought, read, enjoyed. Natalia has some insightful thoughts.

3. She Reads announced this week that Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline would be the May Book Club Selection. It’s a fascinating book- fast read, interesting characters, and has a historical aspect to it. Join me and others at end of the month as we discuss Orphan Train at She Reads!

Orphan Train: Featured Recipe

May Book Club Selection: Orphan Train

Bookmagnet’s review of Orphan Train

Love At First Book’s review of Orphan Train

The Book Wheel’s review of Orphan Train

Traveling With T’s review of Orphan Train

Want to read more reviews of Orphan Train? Use #srblog on Twitter- and you’ll see tons of reviews!

4. Looking for a non-fiction book to read with a great online book club? Join Rebecca (Love at First Book) and Allison (The Book Wheel) as they read A Train in Winter. Details, sign-up and more are posted already.

5. My #fridayreads is Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman and Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol by Gyles Brandreth. What is your #fridayreads?

6. Looking for books? Like Pinterest? I have 2 Pinterest boards that might interest you! Beach Bag Reads 2013 and The TBR List that Ate an Entire Town

7. ICYMI: 3 reviews I posted this week- Big Daddy’s Rules: Raising Daughters is Tougher Than I Look, Deadly Harvest, and Game Drive

8. And look today for more info about Traveling With T’s online book club- beginning in June!


Happy Reading!




Interviews, Giveaways, and Happy Pub Days!

Today’s a day where several books are released- and it’s got Twitter and Facebook a-buzz with the excitement. Out of the 5 books that I know that were released today- I’ve read 3- so buckle up for the wild ride through interviews, reviews and giveaways!

Happy Pub Day to Gods of Mischief by George Rowe, The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones, Calling Me Home  by Julie Kibler, The House Girl by Tara Conklin, and The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers!


She Reads is giving away a copy of The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers. Just comment on She Reads post for a chance to win!

Women’s Fiction Writers is giving away a homemade bracelet to celebrate Julie Kibler’s pub day of Calling Me Home. They also have an interview with Julie Kibler for your reading delight. Read the post, follow the directions, and good luck to you for the bracelet!


Bookmagnet interviews Tara Conklin, author of The House Girl.

Bookmagnet also interviewed Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home.

Book Reviews:

Katherine Scott Jones reviews Gods of Mischief by George Rowe

Bookmagnet (aka Jaime Boler) reviews The House Girl by Tara Conklin.

Bookmagnet reviews Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler.

And lastly I (Traveling With T) review:

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones

Gods of Mischief: My Undercover Vendetta to Take Down the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by George Rowe

It’s a good day book lovers- a really good day!



Giveaways, Twitter chats and more!

1.Erika Robuck chats about Hemingway’s Girl on Twitter Wed Feb 6th from 8-9 pm CST! Use #gr8books to join in! Great Thoughts ( a blog) is hosting the chat- stop by her page and see some of the questions that will be discussed!

2. Elin Hilderbrand’s book The Castaways is $2.99 for e-books today only!

3. She Reads has a copy of The Girl’s Guide to Love and Supper Clubs to give to a lucky commenter! Go read Tell Me Something True- A Visit with Dana Bate, comment and maybe win! Also get a chuckle out of Dana’s story- it involves a Pyrex dish, explosion, and a 2 lessons she learned that night!

4. Be Your Own Valentine Giveaway- check Amy Hatvany website for details! Chocolates, signed galley, and Sephora- it’s a good #giveaway!

5. Win a copy of Joanne Fluke’s Red Velvet Cupcake Murder on Goodreads! Go there and follow the directions- fingers crossed for a win!

6. If you are not following #srblog hashtag on Twitter, you are missing out on so much. Reviews about books that are GREAT, good conversation with ladies who love to read, and much more!

7. The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones- my review will be posted this week. Entertaining, though!




The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro (She Reads January Book Club Pick)

It’s January- and She Reads is back in business after taking some time off for the holidays. And boy- have they picked a great book to start the 2013 year off with a POP! The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro has it all- love, lust, double-crossing, intrigue, mystery and art!

This is a book where the reader can’t take characters at face-value- with each page turned, a bit more of the story is revealed and the characters true nature is shown. It takes the reader on a wild ride, a heart pounding ride!

Thanks to Algonquin Books, She Reads is able to give 10 copies of The Art Forger away to some very lucky people!

To enter to win a copy of The Art Forger, check out She Reads. My review of The Art Forger has also been posted. For fans of Twitter, look for #srblog- She Reads Blog Network will be chattering away all month about The Art Forger!


The Art Forger by B.A.Shapiro

Love, lust, lies, betrayal, trust, and double crossing- all in a day of the art world.

Claire- a young artist that has been blackballed by the artist community and given the nickname “Great Pretender” is approached by Aiden Markel, owner of Markel G, a studio in town. Aiden makes a visit to Claire’s studio apartment with a proposition – one might even call it a deal with the devil. Everyone in the world knows about the art theft at the Isabella Stewart  Gardner Museum- a theft that has never been solved.

Aiden and Claire make a deal- Claire will paint a copy of Degas “After the Bath”, Aiden will sell the copy to his buyer, the buyer will think he’s bought the original, and the original will return to the Gardner museum where it rightfully belongs. Aiden talks of things of “the greater good’ and righting wrongs- Claire decides that she can live with that and the money she’ll make. As Claire begins the process of copying the Degas painting- she begins to suspect something is wrong. Did Aiden have the original or was he double-crossed? Can Claire trust Aiden or is he using her past to set her up? Because of Claire’s past as “The Great Pretender” she has insights into this potential problem that no other artist has.

This story tells the story in 3 different phases: the time when After the Baths was painted, 3 years ago and current time. All 3 sections interweave to tell a story that is brilliant, interesting, and mysterious. In this story- the reader can never be 100% sure of who is telling the truth, who is looking to double cross someone, and who is innocent. A fabulous tale of love, lust, intrigue, and betrayal in the art world.

Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris

November’s She Reads book club pick is Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris. Besides being a pick of She Reads- Man in the Blue Moon has received some notable praise from other authors- specfically Pat Conroy.  When people in high places are praising the book and author, a reader is surely in for a good ride. This book is no exception.

Ella Wallace- a 35 year old woman with 3 kids and a husband who has left her for parts unknow. Her aunt warned her years ago about Harlan- “He’s a gambler at best. A con artist at worst”- but Ella was young, full of dreams and love for this man. Now she’s paying the price. Ella is on the verge of losing the one thing she has left (besides her 3 kids)- her land. Ella speaks of this land similarily to how Mr. O’Hara spoke of land to Scarlett in Gone with the Wind; but the land is important Ella and she needs to keep it- especially since if she loses the land it will be in the hands of a man who is not fit to spit on the land that Ella holds dear, much less own it.

When Ella was a teen, she was involved with Clive Gillespie. Harlan Wallace swept in and stole the young Ella from Clive- and that is not the first embarassment that Clive suffered at the hands of the Harlan- a man who had more charisma than needed. Clive is pressuring Ella to sell her precious land to him or face foreclosure- either way to him, he’ll own it. Clive plays it close to the vest as to why he wants the land, but secrets- they do have a way of coming out.

All while Ella is facing the propsect of losing her land, a package arrives for Ella- only it’s not quite the package that she had expected. It’s a man, Lanier, a relation of Harlan. Lanier has his own secrets that he would rather not tell, as well.

Does Ella lose her land? What is Clive’s secret plans with Ella’s land? Is Lanier a friend or foe? Will Harlan come back to Ella- and if he does, will Ella accept him back into her life after the pain he’s caused? The answers to all the above questions are in this beautifully written book- a book that will move you to tears at times.

This is a wonderfully written book: Themes of desperation, redemption, betrayal, love, loss, learning to become stronger than you ever had to be, and accepting people and yourself- are interweaved through the story- to create a tale that is dramatic, sorrowful, bittersweet, and engaging. This is a book that causes the reader to feel emotions- the reader will find aspects to be angry about, happy, sad, and hopeful. The reader will feel sadness during the book- and ultimately sadness when the book is finished; because Man in the Blue Moon is that good of a book.