Author

Jennifer Blankfein

Jennifer Blankfein has 53 articles published.

Jennifer Gans Blankfein is a freelance marketing consultant and book reviewer. She graduated from Lehigh University with a Psychology degree and has a background in advertising. Her experience includes event coordination and fundraising along with editing a weekly, local, small business newsletter. Jennifer loves to talk about books, is an avid reader, and currently writes a book blog, Book Nation by Jen. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two sons and black lab.

“The Lost Family” Covers Marriage and Love Post-WWII

in Fiction by

Jenna Blum, author of the bestseller Those Who Save Us, is back with another novel, one that is equally heartbreaking and haunting. Covering topics of grief and love, Blum artfully and skillfully reminds us that the past never seems to stay there, and that the repercussions can still be felt decades and generations later. The Lost Family begins in 1965 Manhattan. World War II may be over, but the memories are always present for Peter Rashkin, who survived Auschwitz, but lost his wife and daughters. Now, trying to make a new life for himself, he becomes the owner and head chef of a restaurant called Masha, a namesake to his lost wife. People from all over come to eat and savor the…

Keep Reading

Debut Novel by Catherine Steadman is Bombshell Thriller

in Thrillers by

Psychological thrillers have been all the rage recently, beloved for their ability to grab your attention from the very first pages, pull you in, and become so intertwined and twisted that you’re forced to second-guess yourself… and Downton Abbey actress Catherine Steadman has done just that in her fast-moving, debut novel Something in the Water. Erin, a filmmaker in the middle of making a documentary of people in prison – which has the potential to be her professional breakthrough moment – and Mark, a good-looking investment banker with big plans for the future, are traveling in the beautiful and exotic Bora Bora for their dream honeymoon. Passionately in love, they can imagine nothing better than the sun, sand, and each other. But one…

Keep Reading

The Elegance and Beauty of a Struggling Family

in Fiction by

In her heartfelt and elegantly written debut of a beautiful, struggling family, it’s clear that Fatima Farheen Mirza is a gifted writer. She is more than able to make you feel every character’s emotions, while offering compassion for different views, gradually revealing different aspects of each story to create a multilayered tapestry. A Place For Us begins at Hadia’s wedding in California, where the family gathers to celebrate a marriage based on love, rather than one that was arranged. Huda, the middle child, is determined to be like her sister more and more, headstrong and bold. Lastly, Amar, Hadia’s younger brother who ran away three years earlier, has returned for the celebration, taking his place as the brother of the bride.…

Keep Reading

Sarah Winman’s “Tin Man” is Heartbreaking and Tender

in Fiction by

A tender and beautiful story, Sarah Winman’s novel Tin Man is heartbreaking and wonderfully moving, focusing on the relationship between two people, first as young boys and then as adults, with an exquisitely written and introspective look into the experiences and intimacies that are shared in a relationship so close. At twelve years old, Ellis and Michael become friends, with shared similarities in their difficult family lives and less than stellar relationships with their fathers. The two spend a lot of time together, having fun and exploring their hometown, learning to swim, and more. Then, their close friendship becomes something much more. Ten years later, Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is gone from the picture. Burdened with shame stemming from…

Keep Reading

“That Kind of Mother” Takes on the Challenges of Race and Motherhood

in Fiction by

Rebecca Stone desperately needs help with her newborn and Priscilla, a La Leche nurse from the hospital comes to her rescue. Having experience being a mother herself when she was a single, teen mother many years ago, Priscilla leaves her job at the hospital to become the nanny for Rebecca’s baby. Rebecca feels extremely close to Priscilla, confiding her fears, the hopes and dreams she had for herself and has for her child. She looks at Priscilla as a source of stability in her life, all while learning how to care for a child, and just what it means to be a mother.  Priscilla ends up changing the way that Rebecca looks on not only motherhood, but also the world…

Keep Reading

‘The Immortalists’ Review: If You Knew You Were Going To Die Tomorrow, How Would You Live Today?

in Fiction by

In the summer of 1969, four children from a Jewish family on the Lower East Side of Manhattan visit a psychic and are told the date they will die.  Does this information, this prediction, change the way they choose to live?  That question is wrapped in mystery in The Immortalists, a story that takes us through each of the siblings’ lives. Author Chloe Benjamin provides us with a mesmerizing story of these rich characters, and their choices about how to live. Simon, the youngest brother, moves to California to live his truth and gets caught up in the sexual revolution of the 1980s. His sister Klara, who is irresponsible in many ways, chooses to become a magician. Daniel, the oldest brother,…

Keep Reading

Love Works in Mysterious Ways in Rachel Joyce’s ‘The Music Shop’

in Fiction by

If you love everything 80s, music, tradition, England, and love, you will want to read The Music Shop right away! Frank had an odd childhood; growing up he called his single mother by her first name. The only thing his not-so-nurturing, nontraditional mom ever taught him about was music. Now, a single man outside of London, Frank owns a small music shop on a rundown street. He only sells vinyl records, refusing to keep up with the times and offer CDs or even cassette tapes. He has given up on the possibility for love and seems content in his role in life as a music expert. Frank matches customers and friends to songs he thinks they need to know. He is…

Keep Reading

A Very Human Story: Review of ‘One Station Away’ by Olaf Olaffson

in Fiction by

Knowing the author of One Station Away: A Novel, Olaf Olafsson, is a successful businessman, the Executive Vice President of Time Warner and responsible for introducing Sony PlayStation, this book was not what I had expected, but I was pleasantly surprised  how well written and engaging it was. One Station Away is the thoughtful story of Magnus, a Yale neurologist who conducts research on head trauma patients who appear to have no mental capabilities but in fact may be conscious and communicative. The story takes us through his relationships with the three most important women in his life: his patient, his fiancée, and his mother. With his comatose patient, he spends many evenings holding his her hand and feeling powerless to…

Keep Reading

Tragic, Praiseworthy and Monumental: Review of Tara Westover’s ‘Educated’

in Non-Fiction by

Tara Westover’s coming-of-age story in her memoir Educated, is incredible, tragic, praiseworthy and monumental.  From a young girl loving and believing everything her parents tell her, to questioning their logic and actively pursuing different answers and other ways of thinking, Westover has always had the inherent desire to know more. Reminiscent of Jeanette Walls’s The Glass Castle, Tara lives with her survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, and similar to Leah Remini’s account of her time as a scientologist in Troublemaker, she begins to realize that everything she has been told may not be the truth, and though fiercely loyal to her parents and siblings, she feels trapped and begins to question their unconventional way of life. Growing up working in a…

Keep Reading

‘The Last Suppers’ by Mandy Mikulencak Weaves a Complicated Story about Food and Sacrifice

in Fiction by

Set in a 1950s Louisiana penitentiary, The Last Suppers is a captivating novel. Ginny, the young daughter of a murdered prison guard, is now all grown up and cooking for the inmates at the jail.  She meets with the prisoners on death row to find out what they want for their last meal and does her best to create the requested dishes. The drama began two decades prior, when Ginny’s father was killed and his supposed murderer was put to death while she and her mother were present.  Her dad’s best friend, Roscoe, promised to take care of Ginny and her mother; now Ginny and Roscoe, currently the jail warden, work together and are a couple, intimately involved.  Despite the age difference, their…

Keep Reading

Dirty Little Secrets Between Friends Revealed in Rebecca Drake’s ‘Just Between Us’

in Fiction by

Suspense/thriller author Rebecca Drake takes us to a suburban town, where four close friends each hide dirty secrets that are slowly revealed as the fast-paced Just Between Us unfolds. This domestic drama, similar in some ways to Big Little Lies, showcases their perfect, small town existence, but behind the public facade there is a deep darkness. Three friends believe that their other friend is in an abusive marriage and when the husband is found dead, they all agree to cover up the murder.  As the investigation proceeds, nothing is what it seems, and each friend must come clean as the authorities get closer and closer to the truth.  Though at times decisions the friends make are a bit far fetched, the story is…

Keep Reading

‘Green’ by Sam Graham-Felsen Explores Friendship and Diversity in 1990s Boston

in Fiction by

It is the 1990s and Dave, son of Harvard educated hippies, is one of only a few white kids in his Boston middle school.  Having a difficult time connecting with the other students, he becomes drawn to Marlon, a black kid from the projects who seems to have similar interests: video games, the Boston Celtics and getting into the better high school.  They become friendly but both are ashamed of their home lives and there is always a distance between them even as they become closer.  Still, they spend hours watching vintage basketball games and have conversations about lots of subjects. I felt compassion for both Dave, as he struggled to fit in, got pushed around on the bus, wanted…

Keep Reading

Review: ‘Hum If You Don’t Know the Words,’ is a Powerful Expression of Love and Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

in Fiction by

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words is one of my favorite debut novels in the last year.  Bianca Marais has created a rich story line that is unique in how the well developed characters navigate very sensitive issues of the time: racism and apartheid in South Africa. In 1976, racism and apartheid was a way of life in South Africa. Here, we meet Robin, a nine-year-old white girl, the daughter of a miner and his wife. Robin’s father did not always treat black South Africans fairly and, tragically, he and his wife were murdered, leaving their daughter alone. Young Robin exhibits incredible coping skills she has developed since she was a baby and despite the culture of the country’s…

Keep Reading

Family Conflicts Ignite in Celeste Ng’s ‘Little Fires Everywhere’

in Fiction by

In Little Fires Everywhere, Author Celeste Ng skillfully weaves together two unlikely families as they hide secrets to pursue a good life.  Elena Richardson, born and bred in Shaker Heights,  is a buttoned up, mother of four.  The relationships she has with her husband and children seem typical and normal, yet, as she is continually trying to do the right thing, she struggles with her own expressions and tendencies and unknowingly distances herself from her family.  Free spirited, single mother, artist, Mia Warren and her obedient teenage daughter, Pearl, move to town and quickly become intertwined in the lives of the Richardsons. For Pearl, the Richardsons represent a typical, happy family; a family she would love to be a part…

Keep Reading

Jesmyn Ward’s Beautiful but Sorrowful ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

in Fiction by

Sing, Unburied, Sing is a beautifully written, character driven, heartfelt novel that takes place in the steamy Mississippi Gulf Coast. The story is about a young black girl, Leonie who has two children, Jojo who is thirteen and Kayla, who is a toddler. The children’s father, Michael, is white and in prison. Michael’s family is hopelessly racist and rejects Leonie and the children, so they live with Leonie’s parents. Leonie is a drug addict and she is rarely around so Mam and Pop have stepped in to raise the kids. However, Mam is dying of cancer and a broken heart due to her son’s death and spends all of her time in bed, and Pop is quiet, strong, and teaches Jojo…

Keep Reading

Jewish History is Revisited in Martha Hall Kelly’s ‘Lilac Girls’

in Fiction by

If you missed the release of Lilac Girls, now is the time to buy the paperback. It is historical fiction based on true and harrowing events during World War II. For me, the Holocaust has always been mostly about how the Jews were prosecuted; a devastating time in our history across the world. But of course the Jewish people were not the only ones who were affected. Author Martha Hall Kelly gets up close and personal with Kasia, a young Polish girl with Jewish ancestry who is completing secret missions for the underground anti-war efforts and is captured by the Gestapo with her sister and her mother. One of these unforgettable characters is Herta, an out of work, German doctor…

Keep Reading

1 2 3 4
Go to Top