The Mountain- My Time on Everest by Ed Viesturs

the mountain fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

The Mountain

Mt. Everest- the world’s tallest peak. A climber’s holy grail- as it takes strength, determination, guts and smarts to climb Mt.Everest and live to tell the tale. Ed Viesturs is this kind of person. When you have climbed all 14 of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks, as a climber, you need a challenge. Something to work hard for. Mt.Everest hears Ed’s need for a challenge and gladly supplied said challenge.

Ed, with eleven expeditions to Mt. Everest, has successfully reached the summit 7 times. One might wonder what type of skill Ed has or is it luck? In The Mountain, luck is not a word that used. And Ed, well he’s different. Unlike other climbers, he’s been able to avoid some of the physical ailments (frostbite, pulmonary edema or cerebral edema) that can take a mountain climb from dangerous to deadly. Ed comments on the differences of his physicality, but also remarks that before a climb- he goes through  rigorous conditioning.

As Ed Viesturs talks about climbing, the reader begins to understand that making it to the top is not all Ed wants. He doesn’t want to the be the person who made it, then die the next day because he ignored conditions or gut feelings. His goal is to safely make it there and back- and not to have an obsession with the mountain. One might think, though, with 11 expeditions to Mt.Everest, he has a slight obsession. Maybe, maybe not. It should be noted that that in his 11 expeditions, he only reached the summit 7 times- which might have something to say about the conditions Ed was facing or a feeling he had.

Ed tell stories of the Everest International Peace Climb- the pit falls, the hard work, and more of working with climbers from different countries in this event. Ed also mixes in accounts of his climbs to Everest- stories of people who did it before, some with fatal consequences.

Ed Viesturs has had many successes at Mt. Everest- but the mountain has also taught him many lessons. Each story, as Ed writes, is written with the respect and awe that Everest not only deserves, but is entitled to.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts

The Mountain by Ed Viesturs is a book that is awe inspiring. His stories, his pictures- together, they make the book pop. Ed has great respect for Mt. Everest and it shows in his story. Whether a person is a climber or just fancies reading stories of others climb, this book, The Mountain, would make an excellent read.

The Mountain was provided by Touchstone Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. Above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Inherit the Dead- Twenty Thrilling Writers, 1 Chilling Mystery

inherit the dead

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Inherit the Dead is a collaborative effort amongst 20 great and fantastic mystery writers in their own right. They teamed up to write this book to help benefit the group Safe Horizon– a victim assistance agency that provides a multitude of options and support for victims of various crimes.

With each author writing a chapter, one might wonder if the book flows nicely- and I’m here to say, it does. The mystery is good, the plot interesting. Some chapters are a bit better than others- but that’s just my opinion. Overall, a good book to read for mystery/crime buffs.

Inherit The Dead

Meet Perry Christo- a PI that has a checkered past. Once a police officer, until he was forced to retire- Perry is a broken man. Perry’s job was part of his identity- and being accused of being a dirty cop is something that haunts him daily.  He laments about the loss of his marriage and daughter, the loss of his former job as a police officer- and often wonders how things could have been different.

Perry has been hired to find a girl. A daughter of a wealthy woman, Julia Drusilla, is looking for her daughter, Angelina. Angelina or Angel as she likes to be called- is almost 21, a fun and spirited woman- and has a difficult relationship with her mother. Her mom wants her found because on her 21st birthday, Angel will inherit a great deal of money- but only if she signs on her 21st birthday. Perry is a bit skeptical about Julia- but he decides to help her find Angel.

The search for Angel is not going to be easy, though. Her father hasn’t seen her and is not worried, her best friend doesn’t want to help Perry and Angel’s lover is 10 kinds of shady.  When Perry finds out information about the last night anyone saw Angel, his feelings of dread rise- as Perry thinks that someone might have been stalking Angel. The question is- who? And why? Because she was about to inherit a great sum of money? An inheritance that no one is supposed to know about? Or did Angel make an enemy that had nothing to do with her inheritance?

Perry is not sure who to trust. Or where to look. He only knows that finding Angel is his top priority- he feels that this girl needs him. Even though she’s had a life of privilege, she’s in trouble. Can Perry find Angel? Will Angel inherit the money? Or has Angel’s fate been determined before Perry was hired?

A twist and turn of a tale- mystery and suspense- some family drama, some police procedure- all creates a story that is sure to entertain.


Traveling With T’s Thoughts

Entertaining. Enjoyable. At first, I was unsure how 1 book written by 20 authors was going to work- would the story flow? Would it be enjoyable?  Yes and Yes. While some chapters, in my opinion, are better than others- overall, the book is a nice piece of work. The plot and the characters are thought-out, the ending is fast  and intense- and there are enough clues and red-herrings dropped through-out the book to entice a reader and keep them guessing.


*This book was sent to me by Touchstone Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Speak of the Devil by Allison Leotta

speak of the devil

Photo Credit: Amazon

Sex, drugs, and crime. Just another day in the life for Anna Curtis, sex-crimes prosecutor. Until a case hits too close to home………

Anna Curtis, sex-crimes prosecutor, is at a professional high-point. Helping in the organization of a raid of a brothel that will hopefully lead to some serious jail time- she feels confident by the end of the night she’ll have at least 1 piece of good news. Her second piece of good news happens shortly after she arrives at the restaurant in the form of a proposal from Jack. Little does Anna know- that what happens at the brothel will change her life and everyone she loves lives as well.

During the raid, the MS-13, a deadly gang, is at the brothel. A blood-bath ensues- and the clues left behind at the scene pose more questions than answers. One of the police officers kills a gang member- but did he kill in self-defense? Or for his own personal reasons?

As Anna delves further into this case- she soon finds that not all is as it appears. When Anna is greenlighted by the MS-13, she’s afraid- but will not back down. She wants these men brought to justice. She just did not realize that in her search for justice- it was going to open doors to questions that she’s not sure if she wants the answer about.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

This is my first Allison Leotta book- and I really enjoyed it. Fiction writing with a true crime-ish twist, this story is a reminder of the types of real-life crimes. Allison dances the line between writing a great fiction story and educating people about crime, police procedures and trials. The plot was action-packed and engaging- and as each twist was revealed- I was surprised. If you enjoy crime books- I recommend this one.

Author Spotlight: Amy Shearn

the mermaid of brooklynMonday, Amy Shearn was at Traveling With T for an interview- today it’s all about the Author Spotlight and #literaryconfessions, #literarycrush and more!

Warning: Do not drink anything while reading this- Amy’s quite funny- and she has a way with words!


Author Spotlight: Amy Shearn

What are some of your favorite books, Amy?

Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is the novel I’m always going back to. I just started rereading it for the millionth time. To me it’s the perfect novel – it’s beautiful, funny, sad, complicated, simple. It’s about one day in the life of one woman but it’s also about everything. It’s essentially Ulysses, but without being an asshole.

If you could choose to be a character in a book- who would you choose?

What a great question! Maybe the title character of Virginia Woolf’s (much-stranger-than-Mrs-Dalloway) novel Orlando? Orlando gets to be both a man and a woman and live for 400 years and have all sorts of adventures, which seems pretty rad to me. Though upon consideration I’m not sure I’d actually like to be a man (no offense to men).

If you were not an author, what would you like to be?

Recently I’ve been having some hot-and-heavy fantasies about working in a bookstore. I know it’s not all just reading, talking to people about books, and petting the bookstore cat, but in my fantasy it is. 

Do you have any #literaryconfessions? 

 You know, I was just thinking about how I’ve never read Philip Roth! How has this happened? I think I might get my Author Card revoked for admitting that. I also don’t really read magazines, despite writing for them. I don’t dislike them, I just always end up with a book instead.

Do you have a #literarycrush?

I completely have the hots for Mr. Darcy, who’s such a brooding grouch. It’s so annoying. (Mr. Darcy, my crush, all of it.)

What is your favorite song?

It’s overplayed in every coffee shop in New York City but I still get happy when I hear Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.” I love the strange lyrics, and the way it reminds me of a very happy, creatively alive time in my life and the beginning of my relationship with my husband. It’s about dying, a little. It’s also the most romantic of all love songs! I swear.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Oh, too much social media, like everyone else. I have to severely limit my Pinterest time or every evening of my life would disappear in an ether of lovely kitchens, glamour shots of typewriters, and nicely-laid-out quotations about being brave.


*Special thanks to Amy Shearn for this Author Spotlight!


Amy Shearn can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and has a website. If you’ve enjoyed the Author Spotlight, grab a copy of The Mermaid of Brooklyn!


Interview with Amy Shearn- author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn

the mermaid of brooklynA few months ago, I was sent a copy of The Mermaid of Brooklyn– and I’ll be honest- I did not know who Amy Shearn was. The cover drew me in- but the writing made me stay. It’s funny- with a biting wit that is similar to The Nanny Diaries (in my opinion). After reading it, I had 2 regrets: 1. that I had finished and 2. that Amy is a New Yorker and I’ll probably never get to meet her to tell her in person that I enjoyed The Mermaid of Brooklyn.

Amy was kind enough to agree to an interview- today, we’ll talk about The Mermaid of Brooklyn, Jenny Lipkin, and much more! She’ll be back Wednesday to talk #literarycrush, #literaryconfessions, and guilty pleasures.


Interview with Amy Shearn

Amy, how did the idea of The Mermaid of Brooklyn happen?

I was shopping with my grandmother for shoes to wear at my wedding when she told me the story of how a pair of shoes saved my great-grandmother’s life. My great-grandmother, a tiny, tough woman named Jenny Lipkin, was a virtuosic seamstress, a self-sufficient ball-buster, a strong mother of three girls, and the wife of a really awful man – and yet the tale my grandmother told spoke of such inner turmoil, vulnerability, even a touch of the poetic. This story stuck with me, and somehow combined in my mind with the idea of the rusalka, the malevolent mermaid of Eastern European lore. I was trying to write an essay interweaving the two ideas for the longest time, until one day when I was describing it to a friend in the hopes she could help me untangle it all, and she said, “Um, that’s a novel.” The final piece fell into place when I became a mother. I found myself fascinated by the parenting culture of Park Slope, Brooklyn – half-loving it, half-amused/repelled by it – and that was when I was ready to start writing the book.

Is Jenny Lipkin based on you, Amy? Or any mothers you know? Or is more of a collective idea of mothers everywhere?

I think every character in a novel is a little part of the writer. From the outside, Jenny’s life certainly looks like mine. I live in Brooklyn, I have two kids (although when I was writing the book I only had one), and when I was writing the first draft of this book we lived in a cramped walk-up apartment that was making me crazy. Like Jenny (and like many writers and bookish types, I think) I often find myself feeling like a bit of an outsider, observing everyone else, looking in.

That said, I based her character largely on the original Jenny Lipkin. I knew so many mothers who battled with post-partum depression or depression in general that I felt it was important to speak to that, too, although I was lucky to not have experienced anything so dark and awful after the birth of my babies. And my husband doesn’t disappear on gambling binges! Phew.


How long did it take to write The Mermaid of Brooklyn?

The first draft took about two years, fitting neatly in between the birth of my first child and the birth of my second. Then my agent had some revision ideas, so I spent a few months working through those, and then of course my editor had more notes, and the whole process of her reads, the copyediting, the proofreading, and all that other publishing side business that took another year or so.


The witty lines- I’ve read other reviews that compare the biting wit of A Mermaid in Brooklyn to The Nanny Diaries. Do you have any thoughts on that comparison?

Oh, that’s so nice! I have no idea since I haven’t read The Nanny Diaries, but I’ll take it as a compliment.


Do you think The Mermaid of Brooklyn would make a good movie? Have you ever wondered who could make up the dream cast? I’ll be honest- I’m very interested in knowing who would be the rusalka.

I would love to see TMOB as a movie! While I was writing it I happened to see the film All The Real Girls and thought that then-Zooey Deschanel and then-Paul Schneider would be great as Jenny Lipkin and Cute Dad, mostly because they had this great chemistry, and because I have a weird embarrassing movie-star crush on Paul Schneider. I don’t know – Jenny would be hard to cast, particularly since one of her defining characteristics is being tiny, with size 4 feet (it’s a pretty important plot point!). A lady who works at Powerhouse on 8th, this great bookstore where I had my book launch, told me she pictured the rusalka as Bette Midler, which I think is pretty perfect.

In The Mermaid of Brooklyn, you do not sugar-coat the life of a mother with 2 young children. I find that refreshing.  Have you encountered readers who think otherwise?

Oh gosh yes. A few reviewers seem to find Jenny to be quite awful, as if having negative thoughts about the constant, brutal, unappreciated work of parenting meant you didn’t love your kids or weren’t a good mom. A mother-writer I know scoffed at this, and told me over Chinese food the other day, “Any mother who says she hasn’t had thoughts like Jenny’s is LYING!” I think some readers find Jenny to be whiny and self-pitying, too. She is, of course, and that’s part of why she needs so much help from Bette Midler. I mean the rusalka.

It’s hard to be honest about how hard parenting is, because of the fear of being judged – but I’ve found some of the most satisfying experiences to come out of writing this book are all the mothers who say to me, “How did you know? It’s like you’re inside my head! I’m not alone!” We have to be honest with each other. It makes us all feel a bit less mad.

Have we heard the last from Jenny Lipkin? Is her story over? Or might you revisit her one day?

I can’t imagine writing anything else about this character. I love her, but it was hard to spend so much time with her voice in my head. I actually wrote a note to myself while slogging through a millionth round of revisions – I may have even tweeted it! – to remember that writing about a depressed person can be very depressing. It’s like hanging out with that downer friend…for years.

What are you working on next, Amy? Are you still gathering ideas or do you have a book in mind?

I’ve been thinking about, researching, and outlining a new novel for some time now, but only in the past few months have I started writing it. Now that I’m really writing it I feel like I can’t talk about it or I will jinx it somehow. But I’m excited. It feels good to be actually writing again.


*Special thanks goes to Amy Shearn for agreeing to be interviewed!


amy shearn 1Amy Shearn, author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn, can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and she has a website as well. Recently, Amy had an article in the New York Times Opinionator section, A Writer’s Mommy Guilt.


To read Traveling With T’s review of The Mermaid of Brooklyn, visit HERE.

A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King

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Superheroes. Comic book style. Novel. This book, A Once Crowded Sky, has it all. Partly told in novel style, partly told in comic book style (with detailed illustrations)- this book is for the adult who loves comics and superheroes.

When the book opens, the reader finds out that the superheroes have had to make ultimate sacrifices to save Arcadia. A mysterious blue flame will destroy everything, everything the superheroes have worked so hard to save, time and time again.  They have to give up their superpowers and the leader, Ultimate- The Man with the Metal Face to protect Arcadia.

After that, the superheroes are back to normal people.  What happens when you go from having superpowers to not having them? But an even better question: What happens when you have denied your superpowers in favor of a normal life- and then one day, you are the only person with a superpower to save Arcadia from a new threat?

Pen Ultimate- the one person who still has his superpowers- has a choice to make. Give up his normal life, the one where he rejects his superpowers or to accept them- and know that life will not be normal again. Pen’s got other problems, as well, though- in the rejecting of his powers- the other superheroes regard him as a coward. Will their opinion change now that he is the most powerful man in the world?

Can Pen, the most powerful man in the world, save Arcadia from the next threat? Does he want to take on that responsibility? Can he and the other superheroes (minus their superpowers) work together? Read Tom King’s A Once Crowded Sky to find the answers!

A Once Crowded Sky is a new take on the superhero/comic book tale for a couple of reasons. First, it combines the likes of a novel and a comic book in a seamless way- which should please literary and comic book fans. Secondly, the storyline- while many comics focus on the main character learning and accepting his new found powers; this is about what happens when the power is lost. How life can go from superhero to normal in a matter of a choice. Conversely- the novel also focuses on going from a normal life to a superhero life. It’s an interesting premise! Recommended for fans of comic books, sci-fi, superhero stories, and action- themed books.


*This book was provided to me through Touchstone Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. All above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Time Flies by Claire Cook

time fliesHigh school reunions- fun or big disappointment? Melanie is about to find out!

Many years ago, Melanie let her husband, Kurt, talk her into leaving their New England beach town home, load up the 2 boys they have and move to Atlanta, Georgia- where the peaches grow, the tea is sweet, and the accents are even sweeter. Melanie adjusts to life in the South and grows to really like it.


When Time Flies opens, the reader finds out that Melanie’s husband has left her for another woman- and that Melanie is struggling with her day to day life. Her boys are grown, she has friends and a job- but life is different- and she’s not sure what her next step should be. When BJ, Melanie’s old high school friend, emails about their upcoming high school reunion- Melanie is resistant. She doesn’t want to go- until an intriguing email from a high school boyfriend catches her attention. She decides to book her trip, and go on the adventure of a lifetime!

However, Melanie’s new driving phobia might put a crimp in her plans.

As Melanie and BJ reunite- their big plans for the reunion happen- some with hilarious results! While Melanie at first thought the reward of her adventure would be the reunion and seeing the ex-boyfriend- she discovers that the lessons she learned along the way were much more important.

Will Melanie find her happy ending back in New England? Or is her happy ending in Atlanta?

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Time Flies is a cute and funny book. Melanie is a great character- dealing with a world where everything has changed and trying to find her way as a single instead of a couple. The high school reunion is funny (and a great touch to the book!) Definitely put this on your To Be Read list- entertaining and enjoyable!

Liked my review? Then read my Interview with Claire Cook– the author!


*This book was won in a giveaway sponsored by Claire Cook. The above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Interview with Susan Rebecca White author of A Place At The Table

Susan Rebecca White, author of A Place At The Table, stopped by to answer a few questions.

a place at the tableIf you have not read A Place At The Table– go immediately to the nearest bookstore and buy it. Borrow it from library or a friend! Just get your hands on this book. Trust me.


Interview with Susan Rebecca White:

Susan, what was the inspiration for A PLACE AT THE TABLE?

Though A Place at the Table is a work of fiction, and neither Bobby Banks nor Alice Stone are stand-ins for Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis, the seeds of inspiration did indeed come from the friendship between Scott and Edna, dubbed “the odd couple of southern cooking.” Miss Lewis has now gone on to her glory, but back in the day she and Scott were great friends, despite the many outward differences between them, most notably race and age. Raised in a community of freed slaves in Virginia, Miss Lewis was over fifty years older than Scott, a young white boy who hailed from a tiny town in Alabama. The two bonded over cooking. Eventually they wrote a cookbook together, The Gift of Southern Cooking, which is a fantastic record of the South’s long and esteemed culinary tradition and heritage, the roots of which come from Africa.

My mom gave me a copy of The Gift of Southern Cooking when it was first published, and I fell in love both with the recipes and the story of Scott and Edna’s friendship. That was long before I ever thought I might write a novel inspired by the two of them. Instead I cooked nearly every recipe in the book, especially when I was living in San Francisco, far from my native South. I would make Scott and Edna’s roast duck stuffed with red rice or something simpler, cheese straws or preacher’s cookies. Doing so allowed me to be back in the South, at least while eating.

This is a long way of saying that while I had my own story to tell in this novel, I wanted to pay homage to Scott and Edna’s atypical and beautiful friendship, to shed light on the unexpected connections between us, rather than the things that keep us divided and suspicious of one another.


The characters of Alice and Bobby were inspired by the real life friendship of chefs Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock. Was Amelia or Kate inspired by any real life people? Or are they created from your imagination?

On some levels every single character I write about contains some element of me within them. I guess stating that is to admit that I have many flaws, because my characters are all far from perfect! When I was writing the character of Amelia I was living in the carriage house of my good friends Peter and Bruce, and spending a lot of time with their family, including their daughters Teagan and Olivia. I got to participate in the daily routines of life with young kids: the afternoon bike rides, the early dinners, the bath time rituals before getting to choose a treat for dessert, the stories read and songs sung before bed. I loved the gentle rhythm of family life (though my friend Peter would laugh at my use of the word “gentle” to describe getting his girls to bed—they often fight hard against the day ending.) My time with Teagan and Olivia really influenced my understanding of the type of mother Amelia was to her two girls. I wrote lots and lots of detailed scenes showing Amelia raising her kids, but I ended up cutting a lot of those scenes because while they were important for me to understand, they weren’t important to show the reader in order to carry the story forward. But having written about Amelia as a mother helped me to better know her as a woman. I guess what I’m trying to say is that my personal experience with my friends’ kids helped me build the character of Amelia.

As for Editor Kate, well she’s sort of my ideal. I’ve known a few women like Kate in my life, women who are utterly competent and forthright. Women who make it a point of pride to always keep their word, to be someone their friends and family can rely on.  This type of woman doesn’t let society define who she is—or at least she resists definition. For example, Kate doesn’t mind being traditional (she has prepared many dinners for her husband) but she also has no qualms breaking all types of boundaries in terms of the work she does and the space she makes for herself in the world. Through Kate I wrote a model of a woman I would one day like to be.


Have we, as readers, heard the last from Bobby, Amelia and others in A PLACE AT THE TABLE? Or are you open to revisiting those characters in a future book, perhaps?

Oh wow, I haven’t ever thought about writing a sequel to this book but I appreciate the question because it makes me think you want to read more! I would certainly be interested in knowing what happens to both Amelia and Bobby over the next fifteen years. I have a feeling that Bobby will settle down with another partner at some point. Maybe he’ll even become a dad. As for Amelia, I think her life will be much calmer than it was when she was with Cam. She’ll live lower on the hog but she’ll be happier, more content. The problem is that happy and content lives aren’t always the most interesting to write about. So I wouldn’t hold your breath for a sequel, but I can promise you that there will be another novel from me. I’m working on it now!



*Special thanks to Susan Rebecca White for answering the questions and to Al for her help as well.


susan rw

 Susan Rebecca White is working on her next novel. For more information on Susan, please visit her website.



* Traveling With T’s review of A Place At The Table can be found here.

Literary Friday ya’ll…

Friday. YES!

My brother is in Washington DC today- a little road trip planned with a friend. He reports that it’s quite cold in our nations capitol.

Other #literaryfriday news:

1. Deep South Mag has their weekly #literaryfriday- as always it’s quite good. Talk of Kevin Bacon’s new show The Following and it’s Edgar Allan Poe connection, Gone Girl (the movie) may have found a director, and much more!

Today was also the day of the Amy Hill Hearth chat on Twitter (sorry I did not post blog before it happened!) If you want to know more about her, please read the interview that Deep South Magazine posted. Also, look for #southernlit on Twitter to see some of the talk!

2. My #fridayreads is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes and Gods of Mischief:My Undercover Vendetta to Take Down the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by George Rowe. Both are good- and at opposite ends of the book world! Me Before You has already made several books lists and is creating quite a buzz. Look for Gods of Mischief (Touchstone Publishing) in February!

3. Had a lovely book weekend last weekend. Met with some ladies- spent the entire weekend discussing books and things (look for a blog post ASAP). While on my book weekend, I bought 2 books from Lemuria Bookstore- Deep South by Nevada Barr and Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. Any thoughts on these?

4. I should have my chick lit fan club card revoked for this: I saw a Madeline Wickham book on the bargain book table at Barnes and Noble- and upon first glance I thought it said “by Sophie Kinsella and Madeline Wickham”, but it turns out- they are the same person, which I did not know. Silly me. #pleasedonttakemychicklitfancardaway

5. Oh and my copy of Kinsey and Me by Sue Grafton arrived this week. Guess who’s tap dancing around the house? This girl, that’s who!

Happy Reading- wherever you are!