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Archive for the ‘Blogfinger Book Review’ Category

Jersey-Girl-Book-Cover

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Donna Fox has always loved the beaches at the Jersey Shore.  She grew up frolicking in the surf at Wildwood Crest where her mom took many action photos, some of which are represented in Donna’s new book,  Jersey Girl.

These days, Donna takes her four year old son to the Ocean Grove beach where they explore this part of the Shore.  Donna, a teacher,  continues to see the Shore through a child’s eyes, relishing the treasures  and “gifts” to be found,  the smell of the ocean, splashing in the surf, and digging in the sand.

Author Donna Fox at Nagle's for Blogfinger interview. Paul Goldfinger photo. © Dec. 10, 2015.

Author Donna Fox, a Jersey Girl, at Nagle’s for Blogfinger interview. Paul Goldfinger photo. © Dec. 10, 2015.

She says, “Jersey Girl has grown up knowing and loving the sights, sounds, and feel of the Jersey Shore.  She appreciates and notices every gift a day at the beach brings. ”

The illustrations were done by Ocean Grove artist Sue Gioulis and by Maria Lynskey.

Donna and her husband Brad  have had a home in Ocean Grove since 2009 when they won a Beersheba award for their restoration.

The book is being launched on Saturday, December 12, with signings at the Comfort Zone on Main Avenue in the Grove (12 pm to 2 pm) and at Carla Gizzi’s gift shop in Convention Hall from 6 pm to 8 pm. Her book can be purchased at the signings , at her web site   Jersey Girl web site link  , or online at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com.

We first met Donna six years ago when BF interviewed her after she won the Beersheba.  This time we caught up with her at Nagle’s on Main Avenue, one block to the beachfront, where we took her portrait.   It was important to set this photo at a place where you can actually step outside and smell the Atlantic Ocean.

Donna had to get special permission to use a lyric from Tom Waits song “Jersey Girl”   (“Down the shore everything’s all right.”)  But that lyric sentence says what Donna’s book is all about.

Bruce Springsteen made the song famous, and so that is what we will use for this post. We wish Donna good fortune with her first book, and there will be more to come.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and the E STREET BAND   Live (album 1975-1985)

 

 

 

 

 

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book cover

By Paaul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Author Gayle Aanensen of Ocean Grove has written three books so far, and they all have a historic setting and  a main character who is a “sad child.”  That child usually winds up prevailing over obstacles that he confronts.

The first book is “A Little Rough Rider at the Jersey Shore,” about Theodore Roosevelt.   The second is “Summer of the Suffragettes.” Both of those books are set in OG.

Her most recent novel, just released, is a Christmas story called “Greater Than Gold.” She first had the idea for this book in 1988, but this year she was ready to publish it.

The story is set in Bethlehem when the Magi are on a journey toward a star. The lead character is called Omar the “camel boy ” and he is twelve years old, traveling with the kings, accompanied by a small camel named Amber.

 

Illustrations by Timothy Aanensen.

Illustrations by Timothy Aanensen.

But this is a work of fiction that doesn’t stand still. It takes us back and forth with time travel over 2,000 years from biblical Bethlehem to the present. The modern day hero is Oscar Olsen who is having problems getting enthused about his roll in the Christmas pageant because his soldier father is away in Iraq

Gayle has created a fast reading story for middle-grade (and up) readers. It is an adventure with camels, kings, deserts and dads—an inspiring Christmas book about the rewards of sacrifice. It is a message within a message.

The illustrator is Timothy Aanensen, an artist from Ocean Grove.

Gayle Annensen, author.  Photo by Paul Goldfinger © Ocean Grove, December, 2014.

Gayle Aanensen, author. Photo by Paul Goldfinger © Ocean Grove, December, 2014.

Gayle Aanensen is a former magazine editor and writer who has worked at three national magazines. For the last 14 years she has been active with the Jersey Shore Writers Group which meets at the JS Arts Center. They recently published a “noir’ anthology of short stories.

“Greater Than Gold ” is for sale at the Comfort Zone on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove, Amazon.com, or from Gayle by sending her an email. (gayleaanensen@aol.com ) The price is $11.00, tax included.

ETTA JONES:   (Houston Person on tenor saxaphone—delightful!)

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book one

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Sue Anderson Gioulis is an Ocean Grove based artist who has painted many images of our town and she regularly exhibits her work in the Galleria on Main Avenue. She wanted to display some of her OG paintings in a book, so she teamed up with Kathryn Hess, an artist from Brick Township whose family has been summering in the Grove for four generations.

Katheryn Hess (L) and Sue Anderson Gioulis, authors, in Ocean Grove,  at the Shawmont Hotel. Dec 13, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Katheryn Hess (L) and Sue Anderson Gioulis, authors, in Ocean Grove, at the Shawmont Hotel. Dec 13, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

The pair decided to create a summer tour of the Grove, featuring pictures by Sue and a poem by Kathryn who says that she wrote her part last winter ” while curled up in a ball.” She was inspired by all the summers she spent here as a child.

Image by Sue Gioulis from the book "Ocean Grove Summer.

Image by Sue Gioulis from the book “Ocean Grove Summer.  Text by Kathryn Hess.

 

“Ocean Grove Summer” appeals to adults or children, and the illustrations are very colorful and detailed featuring six OG Victorian homes, Days, Nagle’s and other town landmarks. Children who live and visit in the Grove will recognize the places shown in the book.

 

You can purchase “Ocean Grove Summer” in Gingerbreads. It was published this month by KFR Communications, Neptune, New Jersey.

FRANK SINATRA.   Album: Nothing But the Best

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Unknown-4

Review by Ross R. Anzaldi  (Special to Blogfinger)

Life for everyone changed on December 7, 1941.  World War II came as a shock to the American people.  Men and women responded.  Even those in Hollywood took up the task of helping defeat the Axis governments.  This book tells the tale of five famous Hollywood directors who enlisted to bring the true story of WW II to the servicemen and women and all those back  home.  Each could avoid service due to age or infirmities, but they sacrificed their time, health, wealth and families in order to meet their duty.  They also had other personal motives:

John Huston imagined that the war might finally slake his thirst for risk and danger.

John Ford believed that naval service represented his last chance to live the seafaring life he had always dreamed of and to measure his own bravery.

Frank Capra still saw himself as an immigrant who made good but who was still an outsider.  He responded to the call of duty as a chance to define himself as the most American of Americans and to win the respect that he felt still eluded him.

William Wyler was the only Jewish man among them and the only one with an imperiled family in Europe.

George Stevens, a skilled manufacturer of gentle diversions, hoped to trade fantasy for truth—-to record the world as it really was.

 

They each accomplished their goal.  In the process they brought the war to the people.  Not by making Hollywood movies, but by filming combat and creating documentaries.  Each man experienced the war at different places: the Battle of Midway; the African and Sicilian campaigns; D-Day and the liberation of the concentration camps.  Their documentaries told about the enemy and included their flying on combat missions on the real “Memphis Belles.”

 

They were impacted physically and mentally: Ford with his alcoholism; Huston with his lechery; Wyler became almost totally deaf; Capra with his loss of power; and Stevens became a man who saw too much and suffered emotionally for years.

 

Stevens was there at the liberation of Dachau and was told to film everything.  He did so.  His films were used as evidence at the Nuremberg Trials.

 

Yet, they survived and came back to make great films which were molded by their experiences: Wyler—The Best Years of our Lives; Capra—It’s a Wonderful Life; Huston-The Treasure of the Sierra Nevada; Ford—The Quiet Man; Stevens—The Diary of Ann Frank.

 

It was a different time.  A time when personal sacrifice was not shunned, but sought for the greater good. This book is a worthy read and I believe you will draw from it a recollection of a time and place that brought America together to survive—-even Hollywood.

Ross R. Anzaldi writes occasional articles for Blogfinger. He is a retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge.

RUBY BRAFF  and DICK HYMAN  with a song from the WWII era  “I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time”   The song was nostalgic for soldiers far from home and was popular during that era as performed by Vera Lynn and the Andrew Sisters:

“What a wonderful wedding there will be.What a wonderful day for you and me. Church bells will chime. You will be mine. In apple blossom time.”

 

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Ocean Grove author Wallace Stroby's latest book has just been published

By Mary Walton, Blogfinger literary editor

Crissa’s  back!

Fans of Wallace Stroby, Ocean Grove’s own crime noir author, will remember Crissa Stone from Cold Shot to the Heart, published last year. She is as sympathetic a killer as you are likely to find in the genre, a woman who thinks first, shoots afterward, and only murders bad guys.

The man behind this mayhem will be reading and answering questions about his newest and fifth book, Kings of Midnight, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in Neptune Library and again at 4:30 p.m. April 21 at Booktowne in Manasquan.

Kings opens with Crissa in a ski mask at the helm of a John Deere front end loader, scooping up an ATM stuffed with a weekend’s worth of cash. “She braked, pushed the steering column lever into first gear, stepped on the throttle pedal.”

Crissa knows a thing or two about front end loaders, and so does Stroby, thanks to a cousin “who is an expert in all forms of heavy equipment,” the author told Blogfinger in an interview this week. The cousin vetted the manuscript to make sure that Crissa operated the machine correctly.

The idea for the scene had been gestating since Stroby had lunch a couple of years ago in Florida with a friend who is both writer and cop. The friend’s partner was working a string of ATM thefts that employed a front end loader. Remembers Stroby, “I heard about it and I said ‘Wow!’” The ever helpful Internet provided articles for background and even a surveillance video.

Although the heist is successful, and a deadly shootout between Crissa’s two accomplices enables her to walk away with all the money, she is scammed by an unscrupulous money lender, and soon needs more cash. She is subsidizing a boyfriend locked up in Texas and a daughter being raised by relatives. Emotional complication is one of the advantages of having a female protagonist, Stroby said.  “She can’t be totally cold.”

The ATM job is just the opening scene of a suspenseful saga that plunges Crissa into the heart of an intriguing mystery: what ever happened to the $6 million in cash and jewels that was never found after a famous 1978 Lufthansa heist at JFK Airport? Crissa and a pickup partner named Benny are not the only bad guys looking for the money. The others will stop at nothing.

The plot, Stroby said, was a natural for Crissa. “I’m always looking for stuff for her to do.” The ATM theft aside, she has a penchant “for stealing illegal money.”

New Jersey, where Stroby grew up and worked as a journalist, usually plays a central role in his books. In Kings Crissa retreats to Avon where the soothing view of the ocean from a beachfront condo affords her solace and anonymity.

When it came time to choose a title, nothing compelling came to mind. But Stroby keeps on hand “a list of titles that don’t have books.” Kings of Midnight jumped out from the list.  If a title doesn’t quite match, not to worry. “It’s the title that draws people in,” he says. If people like the book,  “I’ve found that nobody gets disappointed.”
An early review in the Los Angeles Review of Books calls Kings of Midnight “remarkable for its stylistic rigor. There’s not a word out of place, no detail that isn’t essential to the story.”  Concludes the reviewer, “Over the course of two books in two years, Crissa Stone has become one of the most relatable and likable criminals in contemporary crime fiction. And in those same two books, Stroby has risen to the top of his field. Here’s hoping that Stroby and Crissa make it three-for-three in 2013.”

Stroby is seeking to oblige. The week he turned in the final draft of Kings, he started a new book, also featuring Crissa in her never ending quest for money.  Sure, she ended up with a million bucks after Kings, “but a million doesn’t go as far as it used to,” the man who created her says.  “She’s always worried about being poor.”

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Editor’s note: to read more about Wallace Stroby and his books, click here.

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