#100DaysofGreatBooks – Oh My Stars


#100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove


Day 15 – Lorna Landvik, OH MY STARS


Hi friends ~

Just a reminder that from May 24th through the end of August (Read-A-Romance Month) I’ll be spotlighting one book a day.

On Fridays through July, I’ll be including an author answering the Q&A from RARM 2018.

Have you all discovered Lorna Landvik? She was a recent guest author on the Romance of Reading page (you’re all on there, right?).

I love all her books, but I have to choose one for #BookADay, so I’ll use this one…


I am convinced that at birth the cake is already baked. Nurture is the nuts or frosting, but if you’re a spice cake, you’re a spice cake, and nothing is going to change you into an angel food cake.

Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates (“Hey, Olive Oyl, where’s Popeye?”), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she’s hired by the town’s sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell.

Realizing that she has only one clear choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that Fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet’s expense. This time though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, whom Violet is certain is the blackest man to ever set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet never before has felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve, and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together.

OH MY STARS is Lorna Landvik’s most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you’ll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery, as Violet, who’s always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you’ll laugh with, cry with, and, most important, cheer for all the way.

OH MY STARS came out in 2005, but Landvik’s books hold up. I’m very excited to read Landvik’s newest release, CHRONICLES OF A RADICAL HAG, but I haven’t yet. So I’ll technically recommend OH MY STARS, but really, I’ll recommend you read everything she writes. Because I have never disliked anything I’ve read by her, and I’ve read almost all of it.

Landvik is a favorite author, and I hope you’ll pick her up.

You’ll get a peek of her warmth and sense of humor in the Q&A below.

Enjoy! xoxo

#HappyReading  #100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove


2018 RARM Questions:

Why do you write books? 

I write books because I love to read books.  I love the transformative power of story, of being taken out of my own life and into the lives of others.

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Probably going on the Great Peace March for Nuclear Disarmament.  I, my husband and our then-toddler daughter joined 1,000 people in a nine-month walk across the country.  When we weren’t putting in our miles, we’d work on the day care bus (there was a caravan of support buses and vehicles, food and equipment trucks, etc.).  Having home be a tent and walking up to twenty-six miles a day was exhilarating and exhausting and everything in between.  I might have heard ‘Kumbaya’ sung too many times in camp, but that’s a small price to pay in the quest for a nuclear-free world.

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

Love is a pretty mighty fuel and it’s an exciting/frustrating puzzle to figure out the lives and loves of characters.  To me, there’s a real romance to comedy as well, and my goal is to infuse my novels with laughter

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.)

Years ago, I was feeling blue and decided to submerge (literally) my melancholia in a long bubble bath.  Knowing I was feeling down, my husband came into the bathroom and climbed into the tub with me.  That he was fully clothed made me laugh hard, my gloominess evaporating like so many bubbles.

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

Stand up for yourself.  Don’t apologize for your work or yourself — it’s not your job to make sure everyone’s all right, at the expense of not being all right yourself.

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

In my novel OH MY STARS, the bulk of which takes place in the Great Depression and whose main characters are white and black, I was shocked to learn about the long-lasting and widespread enforcement of miscegenation laws.

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? 

My creative mind wavers between being strong and fragile and it’s the strong part that has to assert itself, bossing the fragile part — the one that is easily distracted and wants to work on this story or that story —  to ‘settle down!’   Also, I might jot down a short paragraph of characters who suddenly appear in my head and who have no place in a current project. Then, like a host trying to wrangle too many party guests, I’ll promise them I’ll get back to them in a minute. (In this case a ‘minute’ is very subjective.’)

If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

I could mull this question over for hours, but if I have to pick one, I’ll pick the one that jumped into my head:  Central Norway, in the region where my mother’s family was from, in the 1800s, when my ancestors were about to emigrate to America.  I’d like to experience not only the ruggedness of physical farm life, but all those emotions felt by those ready to leave behind all they’d ever known. 

Lorna recommends:

I’ll read anything by Elizabeth Berg and Anne Tyler, who always create compelling characters and worlds and I just read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and look forward to what she writes next. 

Elizabeth Berg – www.elizabeth-berg.net@Amazon

Anne Tylerwww.annetyler.com@Amaz

Delia Owenswww.deliaowens.com@Amazon

Lorna Landvik is the author of twelve novels, the most recent being CHRONICLES OF A RADICAL HAG (WITH RECIPES).  She is also an actor, public speaker and playwright and performs a one-woman all-improvised show called PARTY IN THE REC ROOM. 

Buy Lorna’s books:


*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#100DaysOfGreatBooks – Bird By Bird



#100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove



Day 14 – Bird By Bird by Ann Lamott


BIRD BY BIRD: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

One of my two favorite writing books.

Advice on writing and on life from an acclaimed bestselling author: 

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our  family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

Love, love, love this book. I love what it says about writing, and what it says about life, and what it says about the writing life.

So what about you? Do you have favorite writing books or life manuals?

#HappyReading  #100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove


Buy Ann Lamott’s books @ Amazon *

*Affiliate link. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#100DaysofGreatBooks – The Tempestuous Affair



#100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove



Day 13 – The Tempestuous Affair by Caroline Courtney



In 2012, I wrote a piece for NPR called In Defense of Romance, and in it I mentioned the first romance I ever read, which was The Fortunes of Love, by Caroline Courtney.

I’d go on to read every CC book. The Tempestuous Affair was my favorite.

A sexy Russian prince. A naive young English woman left in the care of his family.

He escorts her from England to Russia just before winter, and once she’s settled, she’s the belle of society. But Napoleon is threatening the country and she might falling in love with her Russian prince, which leaves her vulnerable in a number of ways.

When I was in eighth grade, in Catholic school, the library bookmobile would make a stop at our school once a week. I tried to check out this book, but my (school) librarian wouldn’t let me. Having read CC a few times already, I knew that the book would have none of the things she was worried it would. Back in the day, Regency Romance novels pretty much had no sex in them if the plot didn’t include marriage.

But somehow the words “Tempestuous” and “Affair” made her fear for my young Catholic sensibilities. ;o)

I managed to get my hands on it – I think I requested it at my branch – and I was right. There was no sex. But yum! Lots of sexual tension!

To this day, the hero in this book remains a favorite. (Think Lisa Kleypas’ Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent in The Devil in Winter, except he’s not redeemed until closer to the end of the book. Yeah, it was the ’80s. It was somehow still really sexy.)

I reread the book a few years ago, and I have to say, I still loved it. I was a bit more aware during the parts that were *slightly* disturbing—jealousy, possessiveness, Lucy’s occasional moments of, ummm, cluelessness—but they were relatively mild, and Nikolai was supremely sexy, heroic and capable, so it still hit the sweet spot for me.

It also made me remember my disapproving librarian and my Catholic school with affection.

When her father dies without leaving a male heir, Miss Lucy Stanton is forced to leave her ancestral home and live with her grandfather, Prince Virinsky. The late Sir Charles Stanton had written to his estranged father-in-law Prince Kuragin in Russia — entrusting him with the care of his daughter Lucy. The prospect of traveling to St. Petersburg-far away — was frightening and exciting. Though without a chaperone, Lucy did not fear for her virtue, one look at her escort, cousin Nikolai, revealed a nature as frozen as the Russian steppes.

Apparently, Caroline Courtney was Penny Jordan, but she remains one of my favorite authors of all-time, mainly because she was my favorite when I was discovering romance novels and was the first author I actively sought. I read every one, and loved them all. (Though some more than others.)

#HappyReading  #100DaysofGreatBooks  #SummerOfBookLove


No links today, because these books aren’t in print, so only second hand copies are available.

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

Books, Friends and Memories

An extension of my Kirkus blog post from October 19.


THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin    a feminist classic.

The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and on the Louisiana Gulf coast at the end of the 19th century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women’s issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating a mixed reaction from contemporary readers and critics. The novel’s blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.


SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.

What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .

Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.



The timeless spiritual classic and international bestseller by Richard Bach—a fable featuring a seagull learning about life and flight and the notion of self-perfection.

This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.

Support Bobbi

Hi friends!

Many people have asked how they could help support my work (thank you!)

A few people have asked if there was some way to contribute to me directly to help expand my programs. (Again, thank you, thank you!) I have a PayPal account that a friend suggested I make available, so here it is:



A great way to help me and the page is to use my Amazon links – covers, icons, etc. – to shop.

Below are some 2018 titles I’ve really enjoyed in case you’d like some recommendations.


MY OXFORD YEAR by Julia Whelan


THE SUMMER WIVES by Beatriz Williams

I’LL BE YOUR BLUE SKY by Marisa de los Santos


NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA by  Chanel Cleeton

NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT by Kristan Higgins