Sunday, August 02, 2015

September Treasures in My Closet - Part 2

It's an enormous list of forthcoming books for September, so I'll jump right in today with the title that  tops my pick list, Mary Karr's The Art of Memoir. No, I don't have a life worth writing about, but I'm interested in reading what  Karr has to say since she wrote three prize-winning memoirs, and has taught memoir writing for thirty years. Including excerpts and anecdotes from other writers, this is Mary Karr's process. (Release date is Sept. 15.)









Camilla Lackberg's The Drowning is set in Fjallbacka, where a new novel from a reclusive resident has enraptured the community. But author Christian Thydell remains distant. And, then Detective Patrik Hedstrom has his worst suspicions confirmed when the mind games aimed at Christian become a disturbing reality. And Christian's childhood friends, a "gang of four" have secrets, relationships and love triangles to conceal. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? (Release date is Sept. 15.)




In Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. For most of her life, she's battled depression, anxiety, and a number of other disorders. Now, she discusses it, the good and the bad, along with the humorous aspects, and how to thrive despite it all. (Release date is Sept. 22.)







I know there are readers waiting for Archer Mayor's new Joe Gunther crime novel, The Company She Kept. When a woman's body is found hanging high above the Vermont interstate, with a hate message carved on her chest, Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team are called in. When the victim is identified not only as a state senator, but as an intimate friend of the governor's, all hell breaks loose. It's up to Gunther and his team to cut through all the publicity and furor, and find a killer. (Release date is Sept. 29.)





Livi Michael's historical novel, Succession, is a story of treachery, betrayal, and the lives of two extraordinary women, set during the Wars of the Roses. The novel about the fall of the House of Lancaster and the two women who gave birth to the Tudor dynasty tells the story of Margaret of Anjou and Margaret Beaufort. (Release date is Sept. 22.)







British police officer and single father Max Wolfe returns in Tony Parsons' crime novel, The Slaughter Man. When a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their gated community, and their youngest child is missing, the clues lead Wolfe to Scotland Yard's Black Museum and an exhibit devoted to a mass murderer from thirty years earlier. The young, obsessed detective finds that even happy families have dark secrets. (Release date is Sept. 22.)






Hollow Man is a standalone novel by Mark Pryor, author of the Hugo Marston novels. "Dominic is a prosecutor, a musician, and an Englishman living in Texas. He's also a sociopath." He's trying to live a normal life and become a full-time musician in Austin. But one day spells disaster, and he ends up making a plan to steal a van filled with cash. He lets his accomplices know there will be no guns nor violence, but when they're caught in the act, theft turns into capital murder. As problems occur, Dominic has to decide if he'll stick with his partners in crime, or "let his true nature come out to play". (Release date is Sept. 1.)



In the fall of 2009, the food world was stunned when Gourmet magazine closed down. Editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl was as stunned as everyone else. Now, in My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, she tells the story of her retreat to her country house, and the year she spent trying to recover the simple pleasures of the kitchen. (Release date is Sept. 29.)







Salman Rushdie turns to a story that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story in Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. For a thousand and one nights, whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, descendants from a jinn princess named Dunia, play a role in an epic war between light and dark. (Release date is Sept. 8.)







Scott Shane's Objective Troy tells the story of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American imam who once called for moderation, and, eventually directed his talents to terrorism. It also tells how President Barack Obama directed the mammoth machinery of spy agencies to hunt Awlaki down in a pursuit that would end in the death of Awlaki by the robotic technology that is changing warfare, the drone. (Release date is Sept. 15.)






Anne-Marie Slaughter uses her own life as the background for Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family. When she left the State Department for a job that allowed her to spend more time with her family, and wrote about if for The Atlantic, it caused a furor. Now, she takes it one step further, suggesting what might be needed so men and women can work and have family time. (Release date is  Sept. 29.)






Here's another tough subject in a nonfiction book, the Holocaust. Timothy Snyder's Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, focuses on the failure of nations to save the Jews. Instead, individuals stepped forward. He focuses on stories of the survivors, but, also warns that conditions are ripe right now in the 21st century, for a repeat of history. (Release date is Sept. 8.)







Stories of fathers and sons often revolve around sports. For Stuart Stevens, it's Ole Miss football. In The Last Season, he tells of spending one last season with his 95-year-old father, paying fanatical attention to every form of madness and bonding that college football, and Southern football, represents. It's a story of fathers, sons, race, and growing up in the South during the late 1960s. (Release date is Sept. 15.)






Amy Stewart's novel, Girl Waits with Gun, is based on the true story of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs. It's a story of suspense, mystery, and wry humor, set in Patterson, NJ in 1914, where Constance Copp takes on an arrogant factory owner, helping the local sheriff who has long wanted to convict the man and his gang of thugs. (Release date is Sept. 1.)







The Year of Fear by Joe Urschel is about 1933. It's subtitled "Machine Gun Kelly and The Manhunt That Changed the Nation". Prohibition has given rise to the American gangster, a lawless group of bank robbers, bootleggers, and kidnappers.  With a botched kidnapping, George "Machine Gun" Kelly and his wife Kathryn make the Justice Department's J. Edgar Hoover and his agents hit the road on a 20,000 mile chase across Depression-era America. This is the true story of that manhunt. (Release date is Sept. 8.)




The last title is a debut crime novel, Sarah Ward's In Bitter Chill. It's a story of loss and family secrets. In Derbyshire, in 1978, two young schoolgirls are kidnapped. One, Rachel Jones, is found wandering unharmed, but with no memory of the events, except that her abductor was a woman. No trace of Sophie Jenkins is ever found. Over thirty years later, Sophie's mother commits suicide. And, then one of Rachel's former teachers is found murdered. She teams up with two police officers to look at the long ago clues to find what really happened all those years ago. (Release date is Sept. 29.)

An interesting collection, isn't it, with an emphasis on nonfiction? Well, I'm sure there will be more crime novels turning up in the next month, so we'll see what really ends up being reviewed. And, what titles entice you?

Saturday, August 01, 2015

September Treasures in My Closet

My gosh! There are almost enough September book releases for three days of Treasures in My Closet, but I have to split them in two. I already have an interview scheduled for Monday. So, I hope you find something of interest in the wealth of titles coming out in September.

My personal pick for the first day was actually a self-published bestseller, now brought out by a large publisher. St. Martin's Press is releasing Nicole Dweck's Debt of Tamar. I'm a sucker for historical novels spanning centuries. It's a saga intertwining the fates of two families, one Jewish and one Muslim, beginning in Istanbul when a young man escapes the Inquisition in Portugal. The book moves to WWII Paris and modern-day New York, in a story of love, history, and fate. (Release date is Sept. 8.)





The Secrets of Blood and Bone is Rebecca Alexander's follow-up to The Secrets of Life and Death. It's a supernatural thriller featuring a woman running from her past. Her only salvation may lie with the secrets of a sixteenth century master occultist and the dangerous mission he once undertook to confront the Inquisition. (Release date is Sept. 1.)







Leave it to Margaret Atwood to come up with an unusual premise for her novel The Heart Goes Last. Stan and Charmaine are a married couple desperately trying to stay afloat during an economic and social collapse. They live in their car until they find what seems to be the answer to their prayers, the Positron Project. Everyone gets a comfortable house to live in for six months out of the year. On alternating months, they must leave their home and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. One their month is up, they can return to their "civilian" home. It seems to work, until Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house while they're in prison. (Release date is Sept. 29.)


Agatha Raisin is back in M.C. Beaton's Dishing the Dirt. This time, Agatha must use her skills to save her own skin when a local therapist turns up dead. Agatha Raisin was not the therapist's biggest fan since the woman was romancing Agatha's ex-husband and dug up details of Agatha's not-so-glamorous origins. When Agatha learns the woman hired a private detective to investigate her background, she threatened her. Of course, when the therapist ends up dead, Agatha Raisin tops the suspect list. (Release date is Sept. 15.)





K.K. Beck kicks off the Workplace Mystery series with Tipping the Valet. Pity young parking valet Tyler Benson who is accidentally involved in cases of auto theft and murder on the lot at an upscale Seattle restaurant. There's a body in a parked car, someone shooting at a tech zillionaire, and a collection of inept Russian mafiosi. (Release date is Sept. 9.)







Bill Clegg's debut novel, Did You Ever Have a Family, was one of the heavily promoted books at BEA. On the eve of her daughter's wedding, June Reid's life is completely devastated when a shocking disaster takes the lives of everyone in her family, leaving her as the lone survivor. Alone and directionless, she drives across country, leaving a community made of a web of connections behind her. (Release date is Sept. 8.)






H.S. Cross also has a debut novel, Wilberforce. Set at St. Stephen's Academy in England in 1926, it's a story of adolescent longing, and a young man. Everything Wilberforce touches turns to disaster "in his desperate attempts to fight off boredom, desire, and angst". When a terrible accident at the boarding school leaves him with more suffering than he could have thought possible, he finds himself utterly lost. (Release date is Sept. 15.)






Robert Dugoni follows up his bestselling thriller My Sister's Grave with Her Final Breath. Homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite has returned to the police force after the retrial of her sister's killer. She's still scarred from the ordeal, but ends up working an investigation that threatens to end her career, if not her life. A serial killer known as the Cowboy is killing young women in cheap motels in North Seattle. Even after a stalker leaves her menacing messaging suggesting the killer or a copycat could be targeting her personally, she continues to pursue the case, hoping she doesn't become the next victim. (Release date is Sept. 15.)



Are you up for a 576 page novel, Purity, by Jonathan Franzen? Called "a dark-hued comedy of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder", it's the story of a young woman who doesn't really know who she is. Oh, Pip knows the facts of her life, but she doesn't know who her father is, why her mother has always concealed her own real name, or how she can ever have a normal life. It won't come about by her internship in South America with an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world. Pip hopes to find the secrets of her own origins. In the process, she's drawn to the charismatic man who heads up the organization, a man on the lam in Bolivia. (Release date is Sept. 1.)


Shane Gericke brings us a high stakes thriller, The Fury. Police detective Superstition "Sue" Davis is still mourning the recent murder of her husband when she's thrown into a dangerous undercover assignment. She must infiltrate the Mexican narcotics cartel responsible for the death of her husband in order to get close to the cartel's enforcer. But, when that man's entire family is killed in Mexico by a U.S. Special Forces raid gone wrong, Garcia is willing to trigger a doomsday attack on the U.S. (Release date is Sept. 4.)




The Second Life of Nick Mason is the new crime novel by Edgar Award-winner Steve Hamilton. Nick Mason has already served five years in prison when he's offered a chance for early release instead of the rest of his 25-to-life sentence. He grabs at it, but he finds himself forced to answer his cell phone whenever it rings, night or day. He owes his release to a criminal mastermind, Darius Cole, who is running his criminal empire from his prison cell. And, as the expectations continue to get worse, Nick grows desperate to escape his new prison. (Release date is Sept. 29.)




Elsa Hart's debut suspense novel, Jade Dragon Mountain, "weaves an intricate web of imperial politics and personal greed set against the art, science, magic, and religion of eighteenth-century China". Li Du, an exiled librarian, can see the pass over Jade Dragon Mountain that will take him out of China forever. "But before he can escape, he is tasked with solving the murder of a Jesuit astronomer." (Release date is Sept. 1.)






Shakespeare No More is a Jacobean mystery by the late Tony Hays. It's set in April 1616 when William Shakespeare is dying. Some say he's dying of a fever, but he tells his estranged friend Constable Simon Saddler that he's been poisoned. And, once Shakespeare dies, Constable Saddler feels compelled to investigate his old friend's death, not only to find a killer, but also to learn more about the man who destroyed their old friendship. (Release date is Sept. 9.)





Amateur detectives Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins return in D.E. Ireland's Move Your Blooming Corpse. It's murder at the posh Royal Ascot in a mystery that explores the Edwardian racing world and the fascinating characters that people it, from jockeys to duchesses. And, Eliza and Higgins have quite a collection of characters to investigate. (Release date is Sept. 22.)







How many of you will be delighted to read a novel about a woman returning to her home town to tell  off the woman who betrayed her twenty-five years earlier? Matthew Dicks' novel is Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, about a woman who has always been a wimp. When she finally asserts herself with a four-letter word in the face of the president of the PTO, she decides it's time to go back and find the person who set her on that path. She busts her daughter out of school, and the two set off on a trip to fix the past, while mother and daughter learn to understand each other. (Release date is Sept. 8.)




And, we'll end today's list with Erica Jong's novel, Fear of Dying. It's the story of Vanessa Wonderman, a woman "of a certain age" watching her aged parents fade, her daughter prepare for childbirth while her much older husband struggles with open-heart surgery. And, she doesn't want endings. Searching for fountain of youth fantasies, she finds a website with fantasy encounters with no consequences. And, she's willing to try anything, until she realizes that what she craves may be closer at hand than she realizes. (Release date is Sept. 8.)

So, which of today's titles appeal to you? Or, are you waiting for tomorrow's treasures in my closet?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Winners and a Suspense Novel Giveaway

Congratulations to the winners of Eunsun Kim's A Thousand Miles to Freedom. The publisher will be sending copies to Cynthia B. from Uxbridge, MA and Carol K. from Columbia, CT.

This week, I have two suspense novels to give away. Here's the publicist's description of Peter Swanson's The Kind Worth Killing. "On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché.

"But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .
"Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth. Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail."

Or, you could win a copy of Sophie McKenzie's You Can Trust Me. When her best friend's death is ruled a suicide, Livy Jackson knows that something isn't right. Then she discovers evidence that forces her to consider a horrifying possibility: Julia may have been murdered by the same man who killed her own sister eighteen years earlier. Livy soon discovers that the murderer is someone close to her family. When the truth emerges, Livy wonders...is there really anyone she can trust?

Which suspense novel would you like to win? You can enter to win both, but I need separate entries. Email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read either "Win The Kind Worth Killing" or "Win You Can Trust Me." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. The contest will end Thursday, Aug. 6 at 6 PM CT.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

So, I'm a heretic. While I found J. Ryan Stradal's debut novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, fascinating, I didn't love it as passionately as some of my librarian friends. It's a bittersweet, offbeat story that introduces a cast of awkward characters. The intriguing novel conveys a shared passion for good food and good wine, a passion that leads the reader on a circular journey.

It is a story of family in the Midwest, beginning with Lars Thorvald, a man who grew up working in the family bakery while making lutefisk for the Scandinavian Lutherans of Duluth, Minnesota. He hated lutefisk, and escaped to the Twin Cities, taking jobs in various restaurants to learn about food. It was a love of food, starting with tomatoes, that he shared with his baby daughter, Eva. Fatherhood was his greatest joy, followed by food. And, throughout Eva's troubled teen years, she always had an appreciation, like her father, for food.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest is Eva's story, however, it's seldom told from her viewpoint. Except for the story of her teen years, when she was bullied until she instituted a horrific form of revenge, the reader sees Eva through the eyes of those who encounter her while her passion for food continues to grow until she is recognized worldwide for her skills.

Stradal takes the readers through twenty-five years in a leisurely paced episodic novel. Using food as the connecting element, he tells a story of family, and finding the people to support us in life, whether it's actual family, or the family we need at various stages. There's dark humor, recipes, flawed characters.

J. Ryan Stradal's Kitchens of the Great Midwest is fresh, original, a little pensive. The author connects the story beautifully, bringing it full circle. My recommendation? Taste is for yourself. Get back to me with your opinion.

J. Ryan Stradal's website is www.jryanstradal.com

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. Viking. 2015. ISBN 9780525429142 (hardcover), 310p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I picked up an advanced reading copy at BEA.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Place to Hide by Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis' No Place to Hide might be for readers of Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain, as reviews said, but it's really for those who want a long, drawn-out novel leading to an explosive scene of tragic proportions.

Justine Cantrell flees from her home in England, taking little more than her four-year-old daughter, Lula. She changes her last name, and moves to Culver, Indiana because she remembers the town with fondness. It was the place of delightful vacations when Justine's grandmother lived there. Now, though, Justine is seeking a refuge. And, she's looking for her grandmother's house because her mother won't say anything about it, and the townspeople only give her funny stares when she mentions her family connection. It seems Justine isn't the only Cantrell with family secrets.

Lewis alternates chapters, shifting between locations and time periods, with Justine viewing her present life in Culver and remembering what appeared to be a charmed existence in Chipping Vale, England. It's those past memories that drove her to Culver where she's afraid someone will recognize her and reveal her identity and her secrets. At the same time, Justine can't leave behind her family connections, people she once loved.

Lewis develops her story carefully, perhaps too carefully. No Place to Hide is so leisurely paced that I only continued because I was reading it for a book review in a journal. Yes, the tragedy is horrendous. At the same time, many readers won't want to read over 200 pages to get to the climatic scene. Then, in the last one hundred pages, the author tries to reveal two family secrets and tie together two storylines. It's not easy to reach the conclusion in No Place to Hide.

Susan Lewis' website is www.susanlewis.com

No Place to Hide by Susan Lewis. Ballantine Books. 2015. ISBN 9780345549556 (paperback), 432p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review it for a journal.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Unfinished Business in NYC

We had a great family trip to New York City in June, but my sister, Linda, and I had some unfinished business there. She had three more plays she wanted to see, including a couple that hadn't yet opened in June, and I wanted to see Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean one last time before he left Les Miserables, and headed to Japan for a show there. So, we made a Broadway weekend trip.

If I can fly Southwest, I will, so Linda drove down on Wednesday, staying overnight. We watched the movie Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren, and decided we'd go see that painting at the Neue Gallery in New York if we had the chance. Thursday morning we were out the door by 5:45 to drive to Nashville. Lovely airport, which is one reason I like flying out of it. And, this is the sentimental side of me. In Nashville's airport, I can see dreams. While we waited to leave, we saw five people with guitars, and one with a banjo. It's a city of dreams.

We stayed at the same hotel in New York as we did when we were there in June, Hilton Garden Inn on 8th and 48th. It's so convenient when it's a Broadway trip. And, ours definitely was. We had a show scheduled for Thursday night. But, before the show, we went to dinner at Sangria 46, a Spanish Tapas restaurant on 46th Street. We sat outside on the courtyard, where a grape leaf covering kept the patio shaded. And, it was gorgeous weather, in the low 80s, and not humid. The menu consisted of tapas from Spain and Argentina. And, of course, a pitcher of Sangria.


Asparagus and cheese


Dates wrapped in bacon

Grape Leaf Overhang

And, then off to a 7 p.m. show, An Act of God, a comedy starring Jim Parsons. Studio 54 was the perfect venue for an irreverent ninety-minute show that poked fun at religion, politics and science. Jim Parsons as God, was accompanied by two archangels, Gabriel (Tim Kazurinsky) and Michael (Christopher Fitzgerald). It was brilliant, written by David Javerbaum, a former head writer and executive producer of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart".


Friday we had all day to enjoy the gorgeous weather before a 6 p.m. dinner and then the show. So, we headed out, walking 2.1 miles up Fifth Avenue. We both enjoyed the architecture on the embassies and other buildings on the way.







We went first to the Neue Gallery to see "Woman in Gold". The line was clear down the block, which says a lot about the movie and the attention it drew. The photo is not the painting itself by Klimt, but just a print downstairs near the cafe.


Linda had a salad at the cafe, Der Fledermaus, and I had apple strudel. How can you not try pastry at an Austrian cafe? I shared. And, if the napkin doesn't match, it's because Cafe Sabarsky operates two cafes in the gallery, Cafe Sabarsky itself, and Der Fledermaus.


From there, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had enough time to see a variety of exhibits, including the Temple of Dendur, and a stunning special exhibit. It was Van Gogh's  paintings, Irises and Roses, either the last, or some of the last four works he did. Just beautiful.




We had two miles to walk back, but right outside the Met I found a fun sight. One of the city buses had a sign for my favorite show, Les Miserables, and the one we were going to that night. And, of course, it's a picture of Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean.


We had a few minutes to freshen up, and then head to dinner at Da Marino, an Italian restaurant recommended by author Teri Wilson. And, she was right. Terrific place - atmosphere, food, and service.


Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce

Linda at Da Marino

From there, we headed to Les Miz. It was the first show I ever saw on Broadway, years ago. It's still my favorite show.

Ramin Karimloo as Prisoner #24601


Ramin Karimloo, Jean Valjean




Ramin Karimloo



And, Ramin Karimloo will always be MY Jean Valjean. I saw him first in December 2014, and went back to see him again on that trip. I saw him in Les Miz when I went to BEA in June. And, this was my fourth and final time to see him in this run of the show.

And, as perfect as the trip was, this was my favorite moment, thanks to my sister, Linda, who said she'd go wait with me at the stage door after Les Miserables. When Ramin Karimloo came out, he worked the line, signing autographs and posing for pictures. And, the pictures I have? Ramin was kind enough to take the phone from me and take the picture of us.





A kind man. And, a gorgeous voice and great talent as Linda said. I wish him all the luck in the world, and if he comes back to Broadway, I'll go back to see him.

Saturday was another gorgeous day, but we didn't have the whole day because we had a matinee and an evening show. We still had time to walk to Central Park, and spend a little time enjoying it.



And, then we went to The Plaza, and had sandwiches and one lemonade macaroon apiece before walking to the theater.


Our afternoon show was Amazing Grace starring Josh Young as John Newton. Beautiful voice! And, Linda was right. She said she hoped people weren't scared away by the thought this is a religious show, particularly the people who usually attend Broadway shows. It was actually about a man from a slave trading family and the movement to abolish slavery in England. And, this play had some of the most dramatic special effects I've ever seen - a drowning scene just before intermission, followed by a hurricane in the second act. And, those of us in the front row got wet during the hurricane. Very good show.


Dinner was at Bourbon Street Bar & Grille, creole food, but way too much of it. I couldn't eat half of the food, gumbo, jambalaya, and a hurricane, followed by a double chocolate brownie with ice cream. It was actually cheaper to order all of it than to order a la carte.
Linda






Our final show as Finding Neverland, the story of J.M. Barrie and the inspiration for Peter Pan. The four boys who all played the Davies boys were outstanding, but the eleven-year-old, Aidan Gemme, who played Peter was amazing. That's the show that actually brings tears to your eyes.


Our day wasn't over, though. St. Malachy's, The Actors' Chapel, has an 11 p.m. Mass on Saturday night. It was originally for the actors who went after the shows. Theater, church, and then back to our hotel.


We were flying out on Sunday afternoon. I had time for a walk in the morning, which is when I found the food cart that Ramin Karimloo joked about on Instagram. Alfie Boe is taking Ramin's place as Jean Valjean. Karimloo's comment? "Lol. Does this mean they will put @alfieboe's poster on a fish and chip truck?"


Breakfast at Juniors, and then a trip to LaGuardia. Who would think a security agent would joke with me about how long the lines were, and then we were through security in less than 5 minutes? And, landed in Nashville a half hour early.

Fabulous Broadway weekend, helped by the best weather I've ever had on a NYC trip. And, of course, highlighted by Ramin Karimloo. Thank you, Linda.