Nov 29, 2015

Sunday Salon: Christmas Lights Up!

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit Mailbox Monday.

Got some multi-colored lights put up on the tree in front. Let the holiday festivities begin!

A few new books to share:
The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown, published October 13, 2015 by William Morrow
Genre: fiction
Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale. (goodreads)

Lone Star by Paullina Simons, published November 24, 2015 by William Morrow paperbacks
(T)he unforgettable love story between a college-bound young woman and a traveling troubadour on his way to war—a moving, compelling novel of love lost and found set against the stunning backdrop of Eastern Europe.

The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown, published September 22, 2015 by William Morrow
Genre: historical fiction
In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of emigrants led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.

What are you reading this week? 

Nov 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday:Two Mystery Novels

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted weekly by Jill at Breaking the Spine. What new releases are you eagerly waiting for. Link your post to Breaking the Spine.
These books are to be released in a week, December 1, 1015. They do look good!

Pouncing on Murder by Laurie Cass, the fourth in the Bookmobile Cat Mystery.
Springtime in Chilson, Michigan, means it's librarian Minnie Hamilton's favorite time of year: maple syrup season! But her excitement fades when her favorite syrup provider, Henry Gill, dies in a sugaring accident. 

On the bookmobile rounds with her trusty rescue cat Eddie, Minnie meets Adam, the old man's friend, who was with him when he died. Adam is convinced Henry’s death wasn’t an accident, and fears that his own life is in danger. (publisher)
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan, William Morrow Paperback.
Gilly Macmillan explores a mother’s search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller. Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.  (publisher)
What books are you waiting for to be published?

Nov 24, 2015

First Chapter: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

Bibliophile By the Sea hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph every Tuesday. Share the first paragraph(s) of your current read or book interest, with information for readers. Also share a teaser from the book with Teaser Tuesday at A Daily Rhythm.

My choice this week is a library book:
Playing with Fire: A Novel by Tess Gerritsen, published October 27, 2015 by Ballantine
Genre: thriller
Source: library
A beautiful violinist is haunted by a very old piece of music she finds in a strange antique shop in Rome.

The first time Julia Ansdell picks up The Incendio Waltz, she knows it’s a strikingly unusual composition. But while playing the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her young daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. And when she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a dark secret that involves dangerously powerful people—a family who would stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light

First chapter, first paragraph:
From the doorway I can already smell the scent of old books, a perfume of crumbling pages and time-worn leather. The other antiques stores that I've passed on this cobblestoned alley have their air conditioners running and their doors closed against the heat, but this shop's door is propped open, as if inviting me to enter. It's my last afternoon in Rome, my last chance to pick up a souvenir of my visit. Already I've bought a silk tie for Rob and Lily, but I haven't found anything for myself. In the window of this antiques shop, I see exactly what I want. 
"Beware the ignorant, Lorenzo. They're the most dangerous enemy of all, because they are everywhere."
I have just gotten the book from the library and am looking forward to reading it, having read a few of her other books.

Tess Gerritsen's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), and The Bone Garden (2007). (goodreads) 

I guess her space thriller, Gravity, was published before the movie with a similar plot was made. Here's a description from goodreads of her 2004 book: An experiment on micro-organisms conducted in space goes wrong. The cells begin to infect the crew with deadly results. Emma Watson struggles to contain the deadly microbe while her husband and NASA try to retrieve her from space, before it's too late. Sounds thrilling.

What are you reading this week, and would you read Playing with Fire based on the beginning and teaser? 

Nov 22, 2015

Sunday Salon: Snow in November and some New Mysteries

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit Mailbox Monday.

It's snowing in November, and it's quite pretty outside, but.....too soon, I am thinking. But it doesn't matter if it's colder, we are still painting that bedroom today. 

Two books came in. One a drama set in a newsroom, always good fodder for a novel. The other is a South American crime novel.
Betty Boo by Claudia Pineiro, to be published February 9, 2016 by Bitter Lemon Press
Genre: crime fiction set in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Source: publisher
When a Buenos Aires industrialist is found dead in an exclusive gated community called La Maravillosa, the novelist Nurit Iscar (once nicknamed Betty Boo owing to a resemblance to the cartoon character Betty Boop) is contracted by the editor of a national newspaper, to cover the story. Nurit teams up with the paper’s veteran crime reporter. Soon they realize that they are falling in love, which complicates matters deliciously.

The murder is no random crime. Five members of the Argentine industrial and political elite have died in apparently innocent circumstances. The Maravillosa murder is just the last in the series and those in power in Argentina are not about to allow all this brought to light. (publisher)

The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl, to be published January 19, 2016 by Thomas Nelson
Genre: mystery
Source: publisher
Television reporter Erica Sparks has just landed her dream job at Global News Network. Erica moves to Manhattan to join GNN, leaving Jenny, her adored 7-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband. Erica witnesses a horrific Staten Island ferry crash. Then she lands a coveted interview with presumptive presidential nominee Kay Barrish. During the interview Barrish collapses. Erica valiantly tries to save her with CPR. The footage rivets the world—GNN’s ratings soar and Erica is now a household name.

What a strange coincidence that both events should happen on her watch. It’s almost as if they were engineered. Erica’s pursuit of the truth puts her life and that of her daughter in danger. 

Both of these novels sound riveting. Hoping to read them before they are published next year.

Current reads from the library: 
Am still reading that thick novel, The Bone Tree by Greg Iles, and glad to say I'm a little more than half way through. 

Picked up another crime novel, this one set in Thailand, The Hot Countries by Timothy Hallinan.

From my shelves, I've found I had overlooked this crime novel by Camilla Lackberg, 

The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg, published September 15, 2015 by Pegasus
Genre: crime novel
Source: ARC from publisher

Christian Thydell’s debut novel, The Mermaid, is published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?
When crime writer Erica Falck learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates the messages and the author’s mysterious past…Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian and those around him become a disturbing reality. But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. And what is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed?  (publisher)

I seem to have all mystery novels this week. I guess they are still among the books I prefer reading, though women's fiction comes in a close second. 

What are your reading preferences this week/month?

Nov 20, 2015

Book Beginning: The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

The Friday 56: *Grab a 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, visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.
The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith, hardcover published 2014 by Harper
Genre: historical fiction
Source: ARC
Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this 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. (publisher)

Book beginning:
On days in August when sea storms bite into the North Carolina coast, he drags a tick mattress into the hall and tells his daughter stories, true and false, about her mother. The wooden shutters clatter, and Tabitha folds blankets around them to build a softness for the storm. He always tells of their courting days, of her mother's shyness. She looked like a straight tall pine from a distance; only when he got close could he see her trembling. 
page 56:
Above decks he takes his plate of meat and bread and accepts the stares of the seamen, who know he carried the fever onto their ship. 
I haven't read many books on this time period, the days at the end of the American Revolution and right after, The writing captured my attention and I'm eager to read it though I got the ARC about a year ago.

What book are you sharing this week?

Nov 15, 2015

Sunday Salon: Vive la France!

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit Mailbox Monday.

Devastated by the vivid news on CNN and other channels of the tragic events in Paris. Just a few days ago, I was thinking of that city, seeing very vividly the Seine at night, flanked by trees, calmly lit up by lights and barges on the water and thinking I'd love to have an apartment in Paris with that exact view. Thinking of the people in that beautiful city....

I am still reading The Bone Tree by Greg Iles, the second in the trilogy based on the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, the murders of civil rights workers in the south, and theories linking a New Orleans Sicilian mobster and the death of President John F. Kennedy. 

I also have three nonfiction books that I''m slowly getting through. 

New books that arrived:

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, a novel published September 1, 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks. 
I have read this one before but am eager to reread it. Du Maurier wrote such wonderful romantic suspense, such as this one set on the Cornish coast. 

The Witch's Market by Mingmei Yip, to be released November 24, 2015 by Kensington.
Set in the Canary Islands, the novel deals with a research project on witches by a San Francisco professor. It involves a journey of intrigue, romance, and self-discovery.
The book was sent by the author for review. I am looking forward to reading it.

What's on your reading desk this week? 

Nov 12, 2015

Book Beginning: The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

The Friday 56: *Grab a 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, visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty, published June 14, 2012 by Penguin Adult.
Genre: contemporary fiction, women's fiction
Source: library

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk. 

It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has. (publisher)

Book beginning:
I had never been hypnotized before.I didn't really believe in it, to be honest. My plan was to lie there and pretend it was working, and try not to laugh.
Page 56:
He said, "She's calling off the wedding? Because of you?"

I've read three of Moriarty's other books and really liked What Alice Forgot  (review) and Big Little Lies. I hope this one will be just as good.  

Nov 8, 2015

Sunday Salon: End of Year Reading

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit Mailbox Monday.

A few books came in the mail last week, after a spell of "empty mailbox." The new arrivals are two ARC non-fiction and mysteries from the publisher for review. 
The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wooton, published September 15, 2015 by Harper
(T)he Scientific Revolution, and how it came to change the way we understand ourselves and our world.
Curtains Up: Agatha Christie, A Life in the Theatre by Julius Green, to be released December 1, 2015 by Harper
Julius Green raises the curtain on Christie’s towering contribution to popular theatre, an element of her work previously disregarded by biographers and historians.
Dead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery #15 by Cleo Coyle, to be released December 1, 2015 by Berkley
After the White House asks coffeehouse manager and master roaster Clare Cosi to consult on the coffee service for a Rose Garden Wedding, she discovers a historic pot was used as a CIA “dead drop” decades before. Now long-simmering secrets boil over, scalding Clare and the people around her…

The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle: A Book Club Mystery #2 by Laura DiSilverio, to be released December 1, 2015  by NAL
Agatha Christie is on the book club’s reading list in the latest from the author of The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco. This time, Amy-Faye and her friends might have to read between the lines to catch a killer.

I could consider myself a readaholic, as do most book bloggers, and was drawn to the title of this new series!

Currently reading: I am now listening to an audio book, Big Little Lies, women's fiction by Liane Moriarty and finding the three main characters very interesting. 
Finished: I have just finished Greg Iles's suspenseful Natchez Burning and want to read the next in this trilogy of the southern states during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, The Bone Tree. 

The weather is getting cooler and so the flannels are coming out. Reading weather! How about your reading? 

Nov 6, 2015

Book Beginning: Hunters in the Dark by Lawrence Osborne

The Friday 56: *Grab a 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, visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.
Hunters in the Dark by Lawrence Osborne, to be released January 12, 2016 by Hogarth,
Genre: fiction, literary suspense
Source: publisher

Book beginning( from an ARE; final copy may differ):
He came over the border as the lights were about to be dimmed, with the last of the migrants trailing their stringed boxes. With them came gamblers from the air-conditioned buses, returning short-time exiles tumbling out of minivans with microwaves and DVD units. The border forced them all into a defile in the rain. The gamblers complained about their summary treatment while opening plastic umbrellas provided by the tour company. It seemed a shame to them that the casinos on the other side could not manage it better. Their Bangkok shoes began to suffer in the coffee-colored mud. Between the two posts the ground was already filled with pools and the dogs waited for the money. The hustlers and drivers were there, silently smoking and watching their prey. The officer ripped away his departure card in the Thai hut and his passport came back to him and he set off for the further side lit up by the arc lamps. 
"Adrift in Cambodia and eager to side-step a life as a small-town teacher, 28-year-old Englishman Robert Grieve decides to go missing. As he crosses the border from Thailand, he tests the threshold of a new future.

A small windfall precipitates a chain of events--  a bag of “jinxed” money, a suave American, a trunk full of heroin, a hustler taxi driver, and a rich doctor’s daughter-- that changes Robert’s life forever.

Hunters in the Dark is a game of cat and mouse, where identities are blurred, greed trumps kindness, and karma is ruthless; suffused with the steamy heat and superstition of the Cambodian jungle, and unafraid to confront questions about fate..." (publisher)

Page 56:
"I know a place you could go. Right on the river."
I am eager to read this novel of escape and suspense - a young man having quite an adventure while looking for a different kind of life. 

Nov 3, 2015

Book Review: The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted weekly by Bibliophile by the Sea. Share the first paragraph of your current read. Also visit Teaser Tuesdays meme hosted by Jenn.
The Edge of Lost: A Novel by Kristina McMorris, to be released November 24, 2015 by Kensington
Objective rating: 5/5
Source: advance uncorrected proof for review

First paragraph: (taken from an uncorrected proof. The final copy may differ)
Alcatraz Island October 1937
Fog encircled the island, a strangling grip, as search efforts mounted. In the moonless sky, dark clouds forged a dome over the icy currents of San Francisco Bay. 
"You two check the docks," shouted Warden Johnston, his voice muffled by rain and howling wind. "We'll take the lighthouse. The rest of you spread out." 
More people traded directives, divvying up territory. They were off-duty guards and teenage sons who called Alcatraz their home, an odd place where a maze of fencing and concrete kept families of the prison staff safe from the country's most notorious criminals.
At least in theory.  
My summary and comments: Young Shanley Keagan travels in the mid-1930s from Ireland to New York and finds himself alone after the death of his uncle on board ship. He is unofficially adopted by an Italian-American family until he is grown and can fend for himself. However, Shanley, now known as Tommy Capello, unwillingly and unwittingly becomes embroiled in a crime, trying to save his Italian brother, and finds himself jailed on the infamous Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. 

The second half of the novel details Shanley's  life on Alcatraz and life in general for other inmates as well as prison guards and their families who live on the island. Shanley's friendship with the young daughter of a prison guard and attempts to escape provide suspenseful reading toward the end of the book. 

I enjoyed the story of a young Irish immigrant and his travails as a newcomer to America. The book is well researched and gave me a good look at the hardships of immigration at that time for several ethnic groups, among them the Irish and the Italians. Life on Alcatraz, for inmates as well as the prison staff is fascinating in its detail. 

The story kept me in suspense as you root for Shanley trying to cope with prison life and then deciding to plan escape through the shark-infested and cold waters around Alcatraz, an almost impossible attempt that many had tried unsuccessfully. 

Recommendation: If you have ever wondered about Alcatraz and its history, and you like a good historical novel with a suspenseful plot and interesting characters, read this. 

What do you think of the opening paragraphs?

Nov 1, 2015

Sunday Salon: More Books From My Shelves

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.

Pulling books again from my shelves, I found two goodies. So, along with reading (slowly) the three nonfiction books I started, I'm into these historical fiction books:
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles, published April 9, 2014 by William Morrow
Genre" historical thriller
Source: publisher
...the first installment in an epic trilogy that interweaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present in a mesmerizing thriller featuring Southern lawyer and former prosecutor Penn Cage (publisher)

This novel  is set with the backdrop of Mississippi in the 1960s during the time of the Civil Rights murders and the activities of the KKK and its offshoots. Fascinating story, based on fact, I assume, though the particular incidents and characters are fictional.

I didn't realize that the author Iles has written other novels featuring his main character Penn Cage. The second novel in this trilogy, The Bone Tree, was published April 21, 2015, and the third is due next spring. I am finding Natchez Burning very well written and engrossing and look forward to the sequels.

The Fountain of Saint James Court by Sena Jeter Naslund, published September 17, 2013 by William Morrow
Source: publisher
Naslund's novel presents the reader with an alternate version of The Artist: a woman of age who has created for herself, against enormous odds, a fulfilling life of thoroughly realized achievement.  The novel deals with an older woman from the present and with the real painter Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun, a French Revolution survivor hated for her sympathetic portraits of Marie Antoinette. (publisher)

The goodreads readers didn't take to this novel, but I'm eager to see how I will like it. I have only read two chapters so far.

There are more goodies on my shelves that I hope to share with you over the course of the winter. What are you reading these days? 

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