Author

Jennifer Blankfein - page 3

Jennifer Blankfein has 63 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.

Gabriel Tallent’s Literary Debut is an ‘Absolute Darling’

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Wow! My Absolute Darling is literary fiction at its finest! This vividly written debut is rich in language with full descriptive prose and incredibly complex characters. Turtle, a motherless teenager living with her reclusive and resourceful survivalist dad, has an unusual existence. Some of her days begin with raw eggs and a sip of beer before she goes on the bus to middle school. With little interaction amongst her classmates and not much interest in academics, her attendance is haphazard. Not the typical northern California fourteen-year-old, she spends lots of time wandering around alone outside in nature and is often busy cleaning her gun. Her large and physically imposing father, Martin, provides sparse supervision and motivation, yet he is all she has,…

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Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, a Life-Changing Friendship

in Non-Fiction by

Heartbreaking, inspiring and a tribute to dedication, Reading With Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship is the memoir of an Asian American ‘Teach For America‘ teacher and her friendship with a poor black student in Helena, Arkansas. Their special relationship is in the forefront of the story with race relations, education and the legal system the backdrop for setting. Michelle had always been encouraged by her traditional Taiwanese parents to get an education, settle down and get married. But Michelle found the job of teaching troublesome kids in the Delta extremely rewarding. She stuck with it for a couple of years during which her student, Patrick, attended on occasion. His home life was less than perfect and his family was not…

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Abduction and Raw Emotion in ‘The Atlas of Forgotten Places’

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Don’t let this exceptional new novel fall under the radar! Based on war-torn Africa and the innocent people caught in the middle, the stunning debut of The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams takes us to Uganda where a young girl, Lily, goes missing. The authorities are hard to come by and disorganized, so her aunt Sabine, a former aid worker, travels from Germany to the village where she was last seen. She intends to trace Lily’s steps and try to understand if she was in danger and kidnapped, or if she had a motive to disappear. At the same time a Ugandan woman, Rose (who was previously kidnapped and abused by the Lord’s Resistance Army but now back in…

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Cultures Clash in Ayobami Adebayo’s Debut, ‘Stay With Me’

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Stay With Me is a story about a Nigerian young couple, Yejide and Akin, who married for love as they faced the challenges of infertility. In their culture, having children is expected, and they are desperate to become parents. Yejide’s mother died when she gave birth so she hopes her feelings of belonging to no one will be rectified once she has a baby. Akin’s mother is relentless and goes behind her daughter-in-law’s back to present other women to her son so he can become a father. The couple had agreed polygamy was not for them but the mother persisted and they unwillingly accepted another wife. Desperation to become pregnant leads Yejide, a modern, working woman, to superstition and ritual and…

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Familial Relationships Gone Awry in ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie

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An emotional and timely novel, Home Fire is a compelling story about Muslim families in crisis. Isma is the responsible older sister of twins Aneeka and Parvaiz. Their mother and grandmother have passed away and the twins are now 18 years old, so Isma, having previously put her ambitions on the back burner to look after her siblings, is leaving her home in London to travel to America for a work opportunity. Aneeka is beautiful and intelligent and will be studying law in London, and Parvaiz vacates the country on a quest to learn about his father, a known Jihadist, who fought in Chechnya and Afghanistan. In the US, Isma meets Eamonn, the son of a British politician who has a…

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Art Imitates Life: A Book Talk with author Alisyn Camerota

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Hilarous and smart, Alisyn Camerota gives us a behind-the-scenes peek at how politics and journalism interact in the newsroom.  Inspired by real-life experience on network television, this charming, this debut novel, Amanda Wakes Up, follows an ambitious cable news journalist, Amanda Gallo, as she struggles with the concept of unbiased reporting, always being available to report breaking news and remaining professional and respected in the workplace. On the home front, Amanda also finds herself managing her mother’s expectations along with challenging boyfriend issues.  As an anchor at FAIR News, Amanda sees things heat up during the election season when the political candidates have air time.  If you follow politics and watch the news, you will thoroughly enjoy this humorous story that…

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Author Fiona Davis Shares the Secrets to Her Writing Success

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Last year, author Fiona Davis published her wonderful debut, The Dollhouse, rich in history about the Barbizon Hotel in NYC. Keeping with iconic Manhattan landmarks, her fabulous new release, The Address is set in alternating timelines; in the late 1800s during the building of the Dakota, the architecturally stunning residence on the upper west side of Manhattan: Sara, a housekeeper at a fancy London hotel meets Theo, the talented NYC architect. He takes a job at the newly built Dakota, and craziness ensues. Their budding relationship remains hidden from his wife and children as they bond, it turns passionate and a crime is committed. In 1985, fresh out of rehab and penniless, designer Bailey, a descendant of the wealthy Dakota architect,…

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Science and Humor Explode in Weike Wang’s ‘Chemistry’

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I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the book Chemistry! Author Weike Wang’s unnamed narrator, a Chinese-American Ph.D. student, lives with her redheaded boyfriend behind her traditional parents’ backs. Despite the high expectations for their daughter to become a chemist, she is unable to be successful in her research, losing interest in her male dominated field and having difficulty making decisions regarding her career and her relationship. The boyfriend proposed but she is just not feeling it enough to say yes, yet she doesn’t immediately say no. Caught in ambiguity, with nonscientific questions of the heart on her mind, and confusion about her future hanging in the balance, she searches inside herself to understand who she is, flaws and…

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Sybil’s List: Publishers Weekly Book Reviewer Sybil Steinberg’s List of Reads

in Potpourri by

We love a good booklist to peek our interest and inspire us to read more. Westport Connecticut resident Sybil Steinberg, contributing editor and former book review section editor for Publishers Weekly puts together a list of her favorites several times a year and recently she presented her July 2017 picks to a standing room only crowd at the Westport Library. I had a chance to catch up with Sybil and ask her a few questions… BookTrib: Your list of recommendations is so long, what is your favorite genre and how much do you read? Steinberg: Books are my passion. I read three or four books a week. I try to keep a balance between fiction and nonfiction. I’m an avid…

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NY Times Editor Pamela Paul’s ‘My Life with Bob’ is a Treat for Book Lovers

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I received multiple copies of My Life with Bob as a gift for my birthday; evidently several people believed I would enjoy it and of course, they were right! As a reader, what’s not to like about a book about someone who loves books. Author Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review kept a record of everything she read in her Book of Books (Bob) for almost 30 years. Her memoir takes us along her life journey with the list of everything she read along the way from her teen years to adulthood. This journal, Bob, is synonymous with her, representing a diary with hopes and dreams, the good, the bad and the ugly. The books she…

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

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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’

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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

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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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