If you’re looking for a great spring break read, award-winning author William Landay has written a novel of an embattled family, a suspenseful character-driven mystery that is also a captivating tale of guilt, betrayal, and the speed at which our lives can spin out of control.
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next. His 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent and Andy believes him. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as his marriage crumbles and the trial intensifies, a crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son. Defending Jacob, by William Landay, Delacorte Press, $26. —SB
Can’t have just one! Hinsdale’s Tortilla Chips ($6.99/lb.) are made fresh in-house daily at Whole Foods, with the purest all-natural ingredients. Just the right amount of oil, salt, and crunch make these chips addictive. Pair with Whole Foods Caliente Salsa ($4.99/lb.), and you’ll feel like you’ve died and gone to Mexico. Available at Whole Foods Market in Hinsdale, 630-986-8500, or visit wholefoodsmarket.com. —EDS
This truly authentic beer will transport your taste buds to Ireland. Milk Stout Nitro, a craft beer made by Left Hand Brewing Company (lefthandbrewing.com) recently debuted its new nitrogen bottles in two test markets—and Chicago is one of them! “It’s a full-bodied sweet dark stout that gives you a cascading pour like a Guinness,” says Ryan Jansky, General Manager of Hinsdale Wine Shop. “But it is so much better.” Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day at $11.99 per six-pack. Available at Hinsdale Wine Shop, 630-654-9862, or visit hinsdalecellars.com —EDS
I stumbled across Emily Holtz’s blog, Emphasis Added!, early last year and have been hooked ever since. Emily’s joie de vivre immediately leaps off of her pink and orange Tumblr page and is quite inspiring, as are the occasional quotes she posts. She invites you into her Chicago life and introduces readers to her adorable daughter, Hazel, and equally adorable husband, Simon. Emily chronicles everything from her joy as a new mom to her fabulous fashion finds to her undying love of show tunes. Her creative ideas and posts about enjoying our fair city of Chicago are fabulous and have inspired many a weekend’s plans for me. While Emily’s blog is almost always upbeat, effusing enthusiasm, she has the occasional “off” day as well (because who doesn’t?), and I appreciate her honesty. She also has a real knack for food writing—I was recently caught salivating at my desk while reading her post about Next Restaurant and her experience with their “Childhood” themed food. If you’re looking for a daily dose of happy, I highly recommend Emphasis Added! Visit the site at, emphasisadded.tumblr.com —KM