Author

Jennifer Blankfein - page 3

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.

Steven Gaines is Insightful and Hilarious in ‘One of These Things First’

in Non-Fiction by

In the memoir One of These Things First, Steven Gaines, a gay 15-year-old boy from a conservative Jewish family in the 1960s, humorously shares a bizarre account of his teenage years in Brooklyn and a stint at Payne Whitney, a private mental institution in NYC. Steven recalls a multitude of childhood memories, some disturbing, many sexually charged (think Augusten Burroughs and Running With Scissors). Gaines’ memories include his fantasies about the lawnmower guy, agonizing time spent in his grandfather’s bra and girdle store where he spies on shoppers while hidden from view, befriending an aspiring actress at the empty theater in town, dealings with a claustrophobic cooped up in a small apartment with his parents, and the mean boys in the neighborhood who…

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Jillian Cantor’s ‘The Lost Letter’ is ‘Historical Fiction at its Best’

in Fiction by

Author Jillian Cantor truly knows how to draw a reader in, as she did with The Lost Letter…I could not put down this beautifully written book! At the end of every chapter my heart was pounding in anticipation. The Lost Letter is two compelling stories artfully woven together and destined to intertwine at the end. The first takes place in the late 1930s Austria, and is about the Fabers, a Jewish family. The father is an engraver and he has a young, non Jewish apprentice, Kristoff, living with them to learn the trade. Kristoff becomes smitten with the older daughter, Elena, a bit of a rebel, who is secretly learning to engrave stamps in the night. When the war reaches…

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Gail Honeyman’s ‘Eleanor Oliphant’ is an Unexpected Treasure

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An unexpected treasure; this surprisingly touching story is about Eleanor Oliphant, an odd character with traits reminiscent of eccentric and lovable Don Tillman from The Rosie Project and maybe even oddball Ove from A Man Called Ove. In Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, unknown tragic beginnings have shaped Eleanor’s life of monotony, resulting in her being an outcast. Days have been peppered with bouts of depression and have lead to her acceptance of the most basic existence. Socially anxious and at times delusional, Eleanor’s inner struggle shows itself on the outside with an obvious clue; she has a scar on her face…often times the elephant in the room. Eleanor develops a casual friendship with Raymond, the slightly offensive IT guy at work,…

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Fenton and Steinke Turn Up the Suspense in ‘The Good Widow’

in Thrillers by

There is nothing wrong with a quick departure from reality with a good suspense novel at your heels. As you become wholeheartedly absorbed in the suspense of The Good Widow, you will find that reality isn’t what it seems. Jacks answers her front door to find two police officers telling her the shocking news that her husband is dead. She knew he was on a business trip in Kansas… or was he? The plot thickens when they tell her he was in an accident in Maui, Hawaii. With another woman.  And so it begins… the unravelling of the truth behind their rocky marriage, the mother in law, fertility issues and unmet expectations. Then there’s a visit from Nick, the fiancé…

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‘A House Among the Trees’ is Chock Full of Eccentric, Detailed Characters

in Fiction by

In author Julia Glass’s latest character-driven novel, A House Among the Trees, Mort Lear, a famous children’s author, vaguely reminiscent of Maurice Sendak, unexpectedly falls to his death off the roof of his Connecticut home in a fluke accident. His longtime, live-in assistant Tomasina (Tommy) is left to pick up the pieces, address his fortune, complete unfinished business and come to terms with their co-dependent relationship. In addition, surprising details of Morty’s past surface, causing Tommy to question how well she actually knew him. When Tommy was a child she saw an eccentric man sketching pictures of her little brother as she watched over him on the playground. She gave the man the O.K. to continue as long as her…

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Bonding Over Books with Actress Sarah Jessica Parker

in Non-Fiction by

The book world can be a kind and caring place. Authors are supportive to each other and many enjoy engaging with their readers. Book groups connect people to each other allowing them to discuss the stories authors write, current events and personal life. Books can bring people together from all over the world, highlighting issues, relationships and perspectives, binding us to each other. This appreciation of literature and the excitement over reading is what created an opportunity for me to spend some time bonding with Sarah Jessica Parker. I was thrilled to have the unique opportunity to discuss authors and books with her earlier this month and there was no shortage of words between us once we got down to…

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Emily Carpenter’s ‘The Weight of Lies’ Brings us on a Thrilling Adventure

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How well do you really know someone? Do you know their life, their sorrows… their secrets? After reading Emily Carpenter’s newest novel, The Weight of Lies, you may ask yourself that question! Meg Ashley, daughter of Frances Ashley, the cult classic horror novelist, is fed up with the neglect and lack of interest her mother has had in her for so many years. For revenge, she agrees to write a tell-all book that details the truth about her mother, the famous author. She also writes about her troubled childhood as she prepares to rid her life completely of her self-centered mother. While conducting research and digging into the past, Meg begins to uncover some information that has to do with a murder…

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Dina Nayeri’s ‘Refuge’ Follows One Woman’s Struggle to Find Her Roots

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In Refuge, Author Dina Nayeri follows Niloo, a young, married, Iranian woman on a journey to find herself and establish roots in a new land. Concurrently, through her father, Bahman’s experiences, we gain an understanding of their relationship and his attachment to home. In her early 30s, Niloo is living in Amsterdam with her French husband. Meanwhile, in Iran, her father is at the courthouse filing for a divorce from his third wife. Niloo hasn’t seen her father in many years, having left Iran with her mother and brother when she was 8 years old. Although she feels betrayed and disappointed by him, Niloo thinks of their few visits and the precious time they had together when she was a…

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Deception, Turmoil, and Heroism in Kate Moore’s ‘The Radium Girls’

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NPR has stated, “Radium Girls spares us nothing of their suffering; though at times the foreshadowing reads more like a true-crime story, Moore is intent on making the reader viscerally understand the pain in which these young women were living, and through which they had to fight in order to get their problems unrecognized… The story of real women at the mercy of businesses who see them only as a potential risk to the bottom line is haunting precisely because of how little has changed; the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still.” Have you ever read an entire book shaking your head at the subject matter? That’s what happened when I picked up The Radium Girls – and ultimately,…

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How ‘A Horse Walks Into a Bar’ Sheds Light on Advocacy

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A Horse Walks Into a Bar, the 2017 Man Booker International Prize Winner, is a stunning account of a middle aged, washed up comedian’s stand up show, but there is so much more. Taking place in the Israeli city of Netanya, Dovaleh Greenstein has invited a high school friend from military camp, Avishai Lavar, to watch the performance and then let him know what he sees…the person he really sees. In the audience, in addition to Lavar, now a retired judge, there is an unusual woman from Dov’s old neighborhood in attendance; a little person who endured bullying all her life, and throughout the show interjects comments and contributes her recollections from childhood. This book takes a hard look at…

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Oprah Book Club Pick: Reviewing Imbolo Mbue’s ‘Behold the Dreamers’

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Behold the Dreamers, this debut novel by Imbolo Mbue, is a must-read for all! Jende and Neni, from Cameroon, are striving to achieve the American Dream. They have an apartment in Harlem, Jende is working hard as a cab driver, Neni is studying long hours, and they struggle to prosper while raising their 6 year old son.  They have high hopes and aspirations, and with good energy and a positive outlook, they work together toward their goals. Clark and Cindy Edwards are American, rich and live a lavish lifestyle. Clark, a Lehman Brother’s executive, hires Jende to be his personal chauffeur. The men become close and Clark expects Jende’s loyalty. Cindy hires Neni to help around the house and she confides in her…

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ABC’s ‘American Housewife’ Writer Sarah Dunn Delivers Laughs in ‘The Arrangement’

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Suburban young couple, Lucy and Owen are looking to feel energized and happy in their relationship as well as bring back the butterflies, so their exciting but not so well thought-out solution was The Arrangement. An open marriage for six months; Break all the rules; Do what you want, with whomever you want. No discussing anything with each other. They wrote out a handful of rules and agreed to follow them. This could be just what they need, right? The freedom is refreshing — no trapped feelings; a reason to get dolled up and a feeling of less responsibility. So Owen gets caught up with Izzy, a crazy woman who’s husband cheated on her. She regularly seduces him and then asks…

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Author Lisa Duffy Hits a Home Run with Debut Novel, ‘The Salt House’

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the salt house book review

In The Salt House, author Lisa Duffy masterfully takes us deep into the layers of emotions of the Kelly family as they work through feelings of guilt, responsibility and pain following a tragic family loss. The story is set in a small coastal fishing town in Maine where the Kelly’s are struggling. After losing their baby, Hope is paralyzed with grief; she is having trouble moving forward and is unable to return to work. She refuses to scatter the ashes and has been reluctant to continue with the renovation of the Salt House, the home the family loves and plans to move in to. Jack, a lobster fisherman, throws himself into his work on the boat, is rarely home with his wife and…

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Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Option B’ is a Heartbreaking Story and an Inspirational Guide to Living

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option B sheryl sandberg review

Sheryl Sandberg suffered a tragic and unthinkable loss when her husband died on vacation, and just like anyone else, she had to develop coping strategies and solutions to problems in order to work through her grief, comfort her children and get back to living. Her personal story is honest, devastating and inspiring as she, along with her friend and co-writer, Adam Grant, present a lot of great information and ideas for those who have experienced a loss, also providing advice and suggestions for friends, family and coworkers on how to be supportive and understanding in Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. The book has expertly woven Sandberg’s personal stories with a more technical approach to grief. Based on research, Sandberg and Grant suggest…

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Randy Susan Meyers Writes the Woman Behind the Criminal in ‘The Widow of Wall Street’

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widow of wall street review

Inspired by the 2008 Bernie Madoff scandal, author Randy Susan Meyers takes us on an emotional journey inside a fictional Wall Street investment firm to witness how a Ponzi scheme could actually play out and the destruction of lives it could leave in its wake. The Widow of Wall Street begins when Phoebe is visiting her incarcerated husband, Jake, in jail. We then start at the beginning, when the couple meets as teenagers, and follow their relationship as they get married, raise children and grow a successful business and a nonprofit. Phoebe is a hardworking mother of two and a trusting wife of her high school sweetheart. Jake dreamed of financial success and dedicated himself to have the means to provide the…

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Infidelity, Corruption and Love Abound in Michele Campbell’s ‘It’s Always the Husband’

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it's always the husband review

Aubrey, Jenny and Kate are college roommates who come from very different backgrounds and instantly develop strong friendships. Kate is the bad girl who leads them to trouble and Jenny is the good girl who is always there to get them out of it. While in college, Aubrey loses her mother to cancer and feeling distraught, she proceeds to make some questionable decisions. Jenny laments over a past relationship with Lucas but Lucas is getting caught up with Kate. There are some disagreements among the friends and a horrific tragedy occurs; things will never be the same again. Fast-forward 20 years and the three friends are all back in the same town. Aubrey is married to a cheating husband, Jenny is…

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