Jul 24, 2016

Mailbox Monday: Romance and Fantasy

A new romance novel and a children's fantasy novel are among my new reads this week.

Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all too human characters, “It Ends with Us” will be published August 2, 2016. It is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price. (publisher)
When the Sea Turned to Silver is a children's fantasy written and illustrated by Newbery Honor author Grace Lin. It will be published October 16, 2016. A breathtaking, full-color illustrated fantasy inspired by Chinese folklore, a companion to the Newbery Honor winner Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (publisher)

What is new in your mailbox this week?
Visit Mailbox Monday to see what new books other bloggers have received the past week. 

Jul 23, 2016

Sunday Salon: Novels and Oral Storytelling

An Amish mystery novel, In the Land of Milk and Honey by Jane Jensen arrived this week, and I began reading it right away, interested in the setting in an Amish farming  community in Pennsylvania. The book is fiction but is written by an author who grew up in and lives in Lancaster County in Pa.
In The Land of Milk and Honey is the second in the Elizabeth Harris mystery series to be released August 2, 2016. Elizabeth Harris is a homicide detective who used to work in the NYPD, but who now works in Pa., living with her boyfriend, a former member of the Amish community.

Elizabeth is called in to help solve the mystery of the overnight death of an Amish family who seemed to have succumbed to the flu, but whose milk cows are also found to be sick and dying. I am in the middle of the novel and can't wait to find out what  and who is causing the deaths and sickness that is spreading in the Amish community.

A new galley on my desk, PhDeath, is a thriller by an author who has recommendations from writers and critics such as Pico Iyer and the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig. This is making me very anxious to read the book, the first of the Puzzler Murders by James P. Carse. It will be released September 15, 2016 by Opus Books.

The Kingdom: a Novel  by Fuminori Nakamura was published July 12, 2016 by Soho Press. I posted a review on July 16. I enjoyed this noir thriller, set in the Tokyo underground, that had me rooting for its unconventional main character.

It has been so hot these past few weeks! We spend four days in Kansas City where it was just as hot as here at home, if not more. The highlight of the trip for me was not only the perfect air conditioned room with its brand new furniture and decor in the renovated hotel, but attending a pre-conference "concert" of the National Storytelling Conference held at the hotel by the National Storytelling Network. We listened to five experienced storytellers, at least two of whom brought us to tears with their stories and dramatic performances. Storytelling certainly is a very creative artform.

Are any of you oral storytellers as well as readers and writers?

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.
Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date.

Jul 17, 2016

Sunday Salon: Nursing, Knitting, and a Healing Garden

A needlecraft mystery novel and an historical mystery set in old San Francisco are my newest books.

No Pity for the Dead by Nancy Herriman is the second in the Mystery of Old San Francisco series. It will be released August 2, 2016.
Main character and sleuth: British-born nurse Celia Davies, who runs a free medical clinic for the poor women of San Francisco.
Setting: San Francisco, 1807.
Knit Your Own Murder is the 19th in the Needlecraft Mysteries by Monica Ferris. This one will also be released August 2, 2016.
Main character and amateur sleuth: Betsy Devonshire, needleshop owner, finds out what's behind the death by poisoning of a local businesswoman.
Setting: the meeting of a knitting group called the Monday Bunch.

I am also reading a cozy involving plants and gardening, Murder in the Secret Garden  by Ellery Adams, third in the Book Retreat Mysteries. I loved the idea of a Healing Garden mentioned in the novel, an old idea that entailed elaborate and detailed planning. But I think any garden that is "visually pleasing" can be termed "healing" if it brings joy or relieves stress in the gardener and also neighbors and others passing by.

How many of you find puttering in the garden relaxing? Here is a list of cozy mystery writers compiled by the Cozy Mystery Blog List

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.
Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date.

Jul 16, 2016

Noir Novel: The Kingdom by Fuminori Nakamura, a review

The Kingdom: a Novel by Fuminori Nakamura was an excellent, shorter read. A noir novel with a young woman in dangerous circumstances who nevertheless has you rooting for her. I read it over a month ago and plan to read it again in the future. It was published July 12, 2016 by Soho Press.

Book description: Yurika is a freelancer in the Tokyo underworld. She poses as a prostitute, targeting powerful and high-profile men whom she drugs and takes incriminating photos to sell for blackmail purposes. She knows very little about the organization she’s working for, operates alone and lives a private, solitary life.

But when a figure from Yurika’s past emerges, she realizes there is someone out there who knows all her secrets. Yurika finds herself trapped in a game of cat and mouse. Is she wily enough to escape one of the most sadistic men in Tokyo?

First paragraphs:
When did I realize I would never get what I wanted most? 
Maybe I was in my twenties. Or maybe I was a child, just old enough to make sense of the world. Back when I did nothing but glare at everyone around me, what I wanted most was far away. It was not something tangible.It made my skin burn. It ignored all the rules. It went beyond morals and reason. It was something that could overturn the foundations of everything I thought my life would become. I wonder if I still want it. What would I do if I get it?
My comments: Yurika is a sympathetic character in spite of her job entrapping well-known or wealthy men in sexual situations for blackmail purposes. Though she is not directly involved in the blackmail per se, she makes her living by following orders as a free lance character working for a criminal underworld.

When things begin to catch up with her and her life becomes dangerous because of Kizaki, who comes into her life, we easily root for Yurika to save herself and get out of danger, to even thrive and come out on top of the underworld that wants to keep her in.

An excellent read, a likeable character, and an intriguing plot. I've also enjoyed Nakamura's other noir novels, The Thief and Evil and the Mask. 

Jul 15, 2016

Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen: Book Beginning

The tenth mystery novel in the series by Rhys Bowen, set in the 1930s,  is getting good reviews.
Crowned and Dangerous: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen, to be released August 2, 2016 by Berkley. Thirty-fifth in line for the British crown and with plans to elope, Lady Georgiana Rannoch and her beau Darcy O’Mara hope to bypass a few royal rules... But news that her future father-in-law has just been arrested sops thoughts of marriage, for the moment. It seems a rich American was murdered and Darcy’s father had more than enough motive. With the elopement postponed,  they head for Ireland where Darcy's father insists he’s innocent. (amazon)

Book beginning:
I was in a motorcar, sitting beside Darcy, and we were driving northward, out of London. He had whisked me away earlier that day, after we had both attended Princess Marina's wedding to the Duke of Kent. I first thought I was being taken for a romantic dinner. Then, as we left the streets of London behind, I began to suspect it may not be a dinner we were going to but a hotel in a naughty place like Brighton. But we were heading north, not south, and I couldn't think of any naughty places to the north of London. Surely nobody goes to the industrial grime of the Midlands to be naughty? I suppose in a way I was relieved. Much as I wanted to spend the night with Darcy, and heaven knows we had waited long enough, there was also that element of worry about the consequences. 
Page 56:
"Then he will need friends to stick by him," I retorted. "And fortunately Darcy seems to have plenty of friends, including me."

The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.

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