Jun 28, 2014

Book Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday each week. Also visit Tynga's Reviews at Stacking the Shelves.

Went to the outdoor pool at the gym today. Glorious, and not too busy. Got swim exercises and some reading done. Trying again tomorrow in between watching soccer games on TV.

I have finished reading the newest Jodi Picoult book, Leaving Time, to be released October 14. Thanks to the publisher for sending an Advanced Reader's Edition. Here are the comments I posted on Goodreads, which did not give away the crucial elements of the plot, as the author has requested:
My first Jodi Picoult book. How lucky to have read this one as my first. Part mystery, part science, it's mainly a novel about close but sometimes tenuous mother-daughter relationships that are mirrored in the animal world - among wild elephant herds, the bond between these animal mothers and daughters last all through their lives. Extremely moving on the human level, this novel is also a plea to help elephants abused in captivity or prevent their slaughter by poachers who sell their ivory. 
The novel is engrossing, with believable, sympathetic, and captivating human (and animal) characters. The plot has surprises as it goes along - one of the marks of  excellent writing.
I later realized I had read an earlier Picoult, Songs of the Humpback Whale, which I also liked. I gave Leaving Time a 5 star rating and highly recommend it. It caught my attention as soon as it arrived in the mail and I read it right away!

Also on my To Be Read list of new books are:

Once Upon a Time in Rio by Brazilian playwright, Francisco Azevedo, a novel about three generations of a family whose kitchen contains the secret ingredient for happiness. Published June 24, 2014 by Atria Books.

Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes - the inimitable Scotland Yard Superintendent Richard Jury returns in the 23rd in the detective series. This one has "literary references from Thomas Hardy to Yeats," a sure draw for lovers of mystery and literature. Published June 3, 2014 by Scribner.

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King goes in a new direction. This one is a thriller, not horror, in which three unlikely heroes "try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands." Since King is a master of the art of writing, I have high hopes for this one. Published June 3,2014 by Simon & Schuster.

I Stand Corrected: How TEaching Western Manners in China Became Its Own Unforgettable Lesson by Eden Collinsworth is "a fusion of memoir, manners, and cultural history from a successful businesswoman well versed in the unique challenges of working in contemporary China." I am also looking forward to reading this one. Publication October 7, 2014 by Nan A. Talese

I picked up a publishing mystery from my TBR pile and am reading

A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan. It's intriguing as a mystery involving literary agents and demanding and sometimes vengeful? unpublished writers.We'll see who the culprit of some nasty tricks turns out to be.....The book was published July 25, 2013 by Viking Adult.
I'll be reading The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson for a book tour early July.

Happy July 4th holiday coming up!

Jun 27, 2014

Book Review: The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin

 *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice Also Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.

The Beautiful American
Book beginning:
In the ornate doorway of Harrods' perfume hall people rushed past me as I stood, frozen.
A radio played somewhere, Churchill's voice rising over the crowd, commending the English again for surviving the storm-beaten voyage. The war was over; we were picking up the pieces and carefully, slowly putting out lives back together. But my daughter was lost, in her own way another war casualty. The grief struck me anew and I was immobile in a doorway, unable to go forward or backward, unmoored by grief. 
Page 56: 
A few times I thought I saw her. I'd glimpse the back of a tall blond strolling the Champs-Elysees, or a profile of a woman sitting in a cafe with Lee's long, elegant nose. 
My comments: Set in Paris in the 1920s and during WWII and after, the novel tells the story of two very different American women and how their lives interact. The fictional Nora Tours encounters her childhood playmate in Paris after WWII - Lee Miller, a photographer known for her war photos and her marriage to another famous photographer, Man Ray. At the time, Nora is searching for her teenage daughter Dahlia who has gone missing in Paris.

The Beautiful American, published June 3, 2014, gives us another taste of the 20s, and references to Lee Miller's WWII photos. In that sense, it is a successful historical novel. I saw the first half of the novel primarily as a showcase for 1920s Paris and its famous artists. Characters make cameo appearances and names are dropped here and there - characters such as Chanel, Diaghilev, Nijinsky. Even Pablo Picasso and his wife Olga have a part in the novel. I would recommend The Beautiful American for its setting and the historical people it includes.

I was unable to become caught up in the second half of the book, however, the fictional story of Nora's life with her husband Jamie and her daughter Dahlia. They were overshadowed by the real life Lee Miller and the personalities in the Paris of the first half of the book, I felt.

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book.

Jun 25, 2014

THE VISITORS by Sally Beauman

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Here's an historical novel of Egypt that will be published soon...

The Visitors: A Novel by Sally Beauman, to be published July 8, 2014 by Harper.
When I was in Cairo a week,  I was taken to the pyramids; it was there that I saw Frances for the first time. It was January 1922, and Miss Mackenzie, in loco parentis, my guardian for our travels in Egypt, planned our visit with great care. She believed that if I could see the pyramids, 'One of the greatest wonders of the ancient world, remember, Lucy, dear,' and see them in the most powerful way possible - at sunrise - they would effect a change. (ch. 1, uncorrected proof; final copy may differ)  
"Based on a true story of discovery, The Visitors is a recreation of the hunt for Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings—a blend of fact and fiction that brings to life a lost world of exploration, adventure, and danger, and the audacious men willing to sacrifice everything to find a lost treasure. (publisher)

In 1922, when eleven year-old Lucy is sent to Egypt to recuperate from typhoid, she meets Frances, the daughter of an American archaeologist. The friendship draws the impressionable young girl into the thrilling world of Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, who are searching for the tomb of boy pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings.

The Visitors retells the story of Carter and Carnarvon’s hunt and their historical discovery, witnessed through the eyes of a vulnerable child whose fate becomes entangled in their dramatic quest. As events unfold, Lucy will discover the lengths some people will go to fulfill their deepest desires—and the lies that become the foundation of their lives. The novel recalls the decadence of Egypt’s aristocratic colonial society, and illuminates the obsessive, daring men willing to risk everything—even their sanity—to claim a piece of the ancient past. The search for King Tut’s tomb is made vivid and immediate in a.... dazzling feat of imagination." (publisher)

What book are you waiting for, to be published? 

Jun 24, 2014

China Dolls by Lisa See

First Chapter, First Paragraph is a weekly meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea.
Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B; choose two teaser sentences from a random page of your current read.
China Dolls
First paragraph:
I traveled west - alone - on the cheapest bus routes I could find. Every mile took me farther from Plain City, Ohio, where I'd been a flyspeck on the wallpaper of small town life. Each new state I passed through loosened another rope around my heart, my legs, my arms, yet my whole body ached and I couldn't shake my vertigo. I lived on aspirin, crackers, and soda pop. I cried and cried and cried. On the eighth day, California. Many hours after crossing the boundary, I got off the bus and pulled my sweater a little more tightly around me. I expected sun and warmth, but on that October afternoon, fog hung over San Francisco, damp, and shockingly cold. 
Picking up my suitcase, I left the bus station and started to walk. The receptionists at the cheap hotels I visited told me they were full. "Go to Chinatown," they suggested. "You can get a room there." I had no idea where Chinatown was, so that didn't help me. 
The War Relocation Authority has your brother in an internment camp in Utah," Agent Parker went on. "If it were up to me, we'd keep you here until you told the truth -"
"I've told the truth," I said. (from an ARE; final copy may differ)
Book description:
Set in the "Chop Suey Circuit" of San Francisco right before World War II.
In 1938, Ruby, Helen and Grace, three girls from very different backgrounds, find themselves competing at the same audition for showgirl roles at San Francisco's exclusive "Oriental" nightclub, the Forbidden City. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family who have deep roots in San Francisco's Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. At times their differences are pronounced, but the girls grow to depend on one another in order to fulfill their individual dreams. 

Then, everything changes in a heartbeat with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly the government is sending innocent Japanese to internment camps under suspicion, and Ruby is one of them. But which of her friends betrayed her? (publisher)
Published June 3, 2014; ARE  from Random House

Based on the teaser and first chapter of the book, would you keep reading? 

Jun 22, 2014

Sunday Salon: New Galleys for Review

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; It's Monday: What Are You Reading? at Book Journey. Also, visit Mailbox Monday to see other bloggers' mailboxes each week.

Thanks to Harper Collins for sending the following galleys/uncorrected proofs for review:

The Story Hour
 "a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, family, secrets, forgiveness, and second chances"

The Story of Land and Sea
"Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love" 

Flings: Stories
 "a piercing collection of short fiction that illuminates our struggle to find love, comfort, and identity"
Eager to start these. What are you reading this week?

Jun 20, 2014

Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann

 *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice Also Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.

Claws of the Cat
Claws of the Cat (Shinobi Mystery #1), published July 16, 2013 by Minotaur Books, is an historical mystery set in 16th century Japan. It is the first in a new series featuring Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest, and his protector, the ninja warrior Hiro.

Book beginning:
Father Mateo strolled through the narrow yard, hands folded and face cast down in meditation. His shoulders bent against the predawn chill. The first two days of May had been warm in Kyoto, but this morning the switch to his summer kimono seemed just a bit premature. 
At the other end of the garden, a shadow snaked over the wall and into a cherry tree with no more sound than a spring wind rustling leaves. 
The priest walked on, unaware. 
Page 56:
Umeha looked from Hiro to the priest. She clasped her hands at her waist, the universal gesture of teahouse women trying to keep still. "I don't understand." 
"Nobuhide's father is dead."
Book description:
When a samurai is brutally murdered in a Kyoto teahouse, master ninja Hiro Hattori has just three days to find the killer before the dead man’s vengeful son kills both the beautiful geisha accused of the crime and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest that Hiro has pledged his own life to protect. The investigation plunges Hiro and Father Mateo into the dangerous waters of Kyoto’s floating world, where they quickly learn that everyone from an elusive teahouse owner to the dead man’s dishonored brother has a motive to keep the samurai’s death a mystery.

Thanks to the author for a complimentary review copy of this book. The next in the series, Blade of the Samurai, will be published July 15, 2014. 

Jun 18, 2014

Telegraph Hill by John F. Nardizzi: Book Review/Tour

Title: Telegraph Hill by John F. Nardizzi
Published May 2013 by Merrimack Media
Genre: crime fiction, suspense, mystery
Someone was watching. She opened her eyes. A black shape stood at the edge of the dell. One of the Triad soldiers. He peered through the trees, but he wasn't sure where to go. Locked his dark eyes on a clump of trees and undergrowth where she lay. He stepped toward Tania. (ch. 11)
Book description:  John Nardizzi's Telegraph Hill introduces private detective Ray Infantino searching for a missing girl named Tania. The case takes him to San Francisco, the city he abandoned years ago after his fiance was murdered. Thrust into his old city haunts, Ray finds that Tania may not be lost at all. Tania saw a murder; and a criminal gang, the Black Fist Triad, wants to make sure she never sees anything again. 

Ray enlists help from an old flame, Dominique, but now he has three women on his mind. Meeting with various witnesses-ex-cops, prostitutes, skinheads-he relentlessly tracks the evidence. But the hunt for Tania fires his obsession with avenging the murder of his fiance. When the triad retaliates, and blood begins to flow, Ray must walk the knife edge between revenge and redemption on the streets of San Francisco. (publisher)

My comments: Quick and fast trips from Boston to San Francisco into the haunts of the Triads who control much of the underbelly of the city. PI Infantino is hired to find a girl missing from her home for over ten years. Infantino's mission is dangerous and there is thrilling action and near escapes as he attempts to find and then hide the girl Tania.

Fast paced novel with good descriptions of San Francisco as Infantino traverses it to find the missing girl. A good plot with an alluring setting. I enjoyed this quick and exciting read.

About the author: John Nardizzi is an investigator, lawyer, and writer. His writings have appeared in numerous professional and literary journals, including San Diego Writers Monthly, Oxygen, Liberty Hill Poetry Review, Lawyers Weekly USA, and PI Magazine. His fictional detective, Ray Infantino, first appeared in print in the spring 2007 edition of Austin Layman’s Crimestalker Casebook. Telegraph Hill is the first crime novel featuring Infantino

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review through Partners in Crime Virtual Book 
Tours. For other reviews of the book, visit the tour schedule

Herbie's Game by Timothy Hallinan: Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Herbie's Game: Junior Bender Mystery #4 by Timothy Hallinan
To be published July 15, 2014; Soho Crime

Junior Bender, the clown prince of crime fiction, returns in his most hardboiled adventure yet—a tale that will take Junior Bender deep into a murderous conspiracy in present day Los Angeles and  uncover an increasingly confusing legacy of his burglar-mentor, Herbie Mott, who until very recently was always one-step-ahead of just about everybody.

It’s everyday business when Wattles, the San Fernando Valley’s top “executive crook,” sets up a hit. He establishes a chain of criminals to pass along the instructions and the money, thereby ensuring that the hitter doesn’t know who hired him. Then one day Wattles finds his office safe open and a single item missing: the piece of paper on which he has written the names of the crooks in the chain. When people associated with the chain begin to pop up dead, the only person Wattles can turn to to solve his problem is Junior Bender, professional burglar and begrudging private eye for crooks.

But Junior already knows exactly who took Wattles’s list: the signature is too obvious. It was Herbie Mott, Junior’s burglar mentor and second father—and when Junior seeks him out to discuss the missing list, he finds Herbie very unpleasantly murdered. Junior follows the links in the chain back toward the killer, and as he does, he learns disturbing things about Herbie’s hidden past. He has to ask himself how much of the life he’s lived for the past twenty years has been of his own making, and how much of it was actually Herbie’s game. (publisher)

What book are you waiting for? 

Jun 16, 2014

Mailbox Monday: Two Thrillers and The Art Thief

Visit Mailbox Monday, hosted by Vicki, Leslie, and Serena, to see other bloggers' mailboxes each week.

Thanks to the publishers for Advance Reader's Copies of the two thrillers:

Uncaged: The Singular Menace
Publisher description:
#1 New York Times bestselling Prey author John Sandford and Michele Cook debut a high-octane young adult thriller series.
Shay Remby arrives in Hollywood with $58 and a handmade knife, searching for her brother, Odin. 
Odin’s a brilliant hacker but a bit of a loose cannon. He and a group of radical animal-rights activists hit a Singular Corp. research lab in Eugene, Oregon. The raid was a disaster, but Odin escaped with a set of highly encrypted flash drives and a post-surgical dog. When Shay gets a frantic 3 a.m. phone call from Odin—talking about evidence of unspeakable experiments, and a ruthless corporation, and how he must hide—she’s concerned. When she gets a menacing visit from Singular’s security team, she knows: her brother’s a dead man walking.

What Singular doesn’t know—yet—is that 16-year-old Shay is every bit as ruthless as their security force, and she will burn Singular to the ground, if that’s what it takes to save her brother.

Remains of Innocence
Publisher's description:
Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery. 

An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner. 

Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out. 

 Bought at the library book sale:

The Art Thief
Publisher description:
In "The Art Thief," three thefts are simultaneously investigated in three cities, but these apparently isolated crimes have much more in common than anyone imagines. A dizzying array of forgeries, overpaintings, and double-crosses unfolds as the story races through auction houses, museums, and private galleries -- and the secret places where priceless works of art are made available to collectors who will stop at nothing to satisfy their hearts' desires.
What's new on your book shelves?

Jun 13, 2014


 *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice Also Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.

Cold Storage Alaska
I have loved all of John Straley's crime books, his prose often like poetry, his characters unusual and memorable; and I have no reason to think Cold Storage Alaska is any different. The setting is Alaska, a land of starkness, in people and place.
page 56:
"I'm sorry," Jake Shoemaker simpered in an uncommonly polite voice. "I know this must be inconvenient for you." Oscar sat on the couch, his hands tied behind his back. "I mean it's more than just inconvenient; this is frightening, I'm sure."
Book beginning:
Anabelle had put the tea kettle on just moments ago. Now it was whistling, yet she didn't get up to attend to it. Recently the past had become a hallucination constantly intruding into the present moment, so she wasn't certain what really needed doing. 
Book description:
"An offbeat, often hilarious crime novel set in the sleepy Alaskan town of Cold Storage from the Shamus Award winning author of the Cecil Younger series. 
Cold Storage, Alaska, is a remote fishing outpost where salmonberries sparkle in the morning frost and where you just might catch a King Salmon if you’re zen enough to wait for it. Settled in 1935 by Norse fishermen who liked to skinny dip in its natural hot springs, the town enjoyed prosperity at the height of the frozen fish boom. But now the cold storage plant is all but abandoned and the town is withering.

Clive “The Milkman” McCahon returns to his tiny Alaska hometown after a seven-year jail stint for dealing coke. He has a lot to make up to his younger brother, Miles, who has dutifully been taking care of their ailing mother. But Clive doesn’t realize the trouble he’s bringing home. His vengeful old business partner is hot on his heels, a stick-in-the-mud State Trooper is dying to bust Clive for narcotics, and, to complicate everything, Clive might be going insane—lately, he’s been hearing animals talking to him. Will his arrival in Cold Storage be a breath of fresh air for the sleepy, depopulated town? Or will Clive’s arrival turn the whole place upside down." (goodreads)

 What do you think? Is this a book you'd keep reading?
Thanks to Soho Crime for a review/feature copy of this book.

Jun 11, 2014

Book Review: THE MAP THIEF by Heather Terrell


The Map Thief
The Map Thief  by Heather Terrell links 15th century, Ming Dynasty, Admiral Zheng He with Portugal explorer Vasco da Gama, also of the 15th century. The two men sailed their ships on the same routes, perhaps 70 years apart. 

How a map of Zheng He's travels lands up in the hands of the Portugese navigator to Vasco da Gama is the mystery the novel tries to solve. In present day New York, Mara Coyne, antiques finder, hopes to solve the mystery after being called in to investigate and recover a priceless 15th century map stolen from an archaeological dig in China. How did a copy of this map reach Portugal so many years ago? And where is that copy now? 

The book takes you from New York, to China, and to Lisbon, and blends historical facts with fiction to explore an interesting theory regarding the first sailors to "discover" America and the New World.

This informative, well written and researched novel, printed in 2008 by Ballantine, presents some interesting and challenging historical questions for readers and scholars alike.

Jun 9, 2014

Mailbox Monday: A Bit of Magic

Visit Mailbox Monday, hosted by Vicki, Leslie, and Serena, to see other bloggers' mailboxes each week.

Thanks to Penguin for some delectable cozies for review, these with a magical, enchanted, or witchcraft theme:

Be Careful What You Witch For: A Family Fortune Mystery

Did you get anything spooky good in your mailbox last week?

Jun 7, 2014

Sunday Salon:Summer Reading

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; It's Monday: What Are You Reading? at Book Journey.

Books for summer reading: Southern fiction, a few mystery novels, and historical fiction.

The Hurricane Sisters

The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep in the heart of the magical Carolina Lowcountry--a sultry land of ancient magic, glorious sunsets, and soothing coastal breezes, where three generations of strong women wrestle with the expectations of family while struggling to understand their complicated relationships with each other.(goodreads)

In Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, there’s no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg…(goodreads)

and an audio win from Soho Press: 
The Blood of An Englishman by James McClure, a mystery set in South Africa.

I am currently reading a library book:

Fleur de Lies by Maddy Hunter has travel agency owner Emily Andrew-Miceli taking her band of tech-savvy seniors to France, cruising down the Seine River. But once a guest is found dead along Normandy's famed Alabaster coast, Emily bids adieu to the hopes of a fatality-free trip. (goodreads)

For a book tour by the publisher, I'm also reading

The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin:  From Paris in the 1920s to London after the Blitz, two women find that a secret from their past reverberates through years of joy and sorrow. (goodreads)

What books are on your summer reading list? 

Saturday Snapshot: June 2014

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Last year's yellow rose.
Waiting for this year's to blossom fully.

Also waiting for these multicolored daylilies to show up later in the summer.

And waiting for this round flowerbed to fill out again...

Jun 6, 2014

Margarita Wednesdays by Deborah Rodriguez

Friday 56 Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice.
Also Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.

Title: Margarita Wednesdays by Deborah Rodriguez
To be published June 10, 2014; Gallery Books
Genre: memoir, travel

page 56:
"Yes. I mean, no. Oh, Mom. I just don't know what's wrong with me. I'm miserable, and I have no right to be."
Book beginning:
The explosions seemed to have come out of nowhere, their familiar pop-pop-pop catapulting me from under the covers and onto my feet in a flash. I instinctively dropped down and covered my head with my arms, through knotted wool of the Afghan rug scraping my bare knees as I slid to the floor. The cool air from the open window did little to calm my racing heart. I tried to breathe, but couldn't. I tried to call out, but nothing came from my mouth My eyes were sealed shut against the flash of light still visible through the lids. 
Deborah Rodriguez is remembering in her dreams the drama of Afghanistan, where she had opened a beauty school for the local Afghan women, a story she told in her 2007 memoir, Kabul Beauty School: An American Goes Behind the Veil. But now she opens her eyes in Mexico, where she is attempting a new life after being forced to leave Afghanistan and her school behind.

Book description:
After returning from Afghanistan, Rodriguez finally packs her life and her cat into her Mini Cooper and moves to a seaside town in Mexico. Despite having no plan, no friends, and no Spanish, a determined Rodriguez soon finds herself swept up in a world where the music never stops and a new life can begin. Her adventures and misadventures among the expats and locals help lead the way to new love, new family, and a new sense of herself. (goodreads)

I haven't read Kabul School of Beauty but I think I can read Margarita Wednesdays without having read it. Her Mexican adventure sounds like a good alternative after the danger of her former life.
What do you think?

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review/feature.

Jun 4, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: In My Garden

Wordless Wednesday  for other photo submissions. Photos by Harvee Lau.

Finch at the birdbath
Baby cottontail rabbit

Jun 2, 2014

Armchair BEA Giveaway Winner

 Armchair BEA 2014 was an event for those who didn't attend Book Expo America or the BEA Bloggers Convention in NYC 

The winner of the giveaway of A Roux of Revenge: A Soup Loving Mystery by Connie Archer and
Ghost of a Gamble: A Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery by Sue Ann Jaffarian is

Carol N. Wong #14

Sending you an email. Congrats! 
Thanks for participating, everyone who entered the giveaway.

Voices of the Old and the New: Corky Lee and Julia Alvarez

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