Aug 19, 2017

Sunday Salon: End of Summer Reading

Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date. Also visit Mailbox Monday. 

A nice selection of books arrived on my desk last week. I'm getting ready for historical fiction, literary fiction, plus a psychological thriller.


Whispers of Warning by 

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, October 17, 2017, HarperLuxe
Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss, September 12, 2017, Harper
What have you been reading this summer?

Aug 18, 2017

Book Beginning: On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen, August 1, 2017, Berkley Books
Genre: Royal Spyness mystery #11
Description: Royal sleuth, Lady Georgiana Rannoch, juggles secret missions from the Queen, Darcy, and her mother. Set in the Italian lake country. 

Book beginning:
Monday April 8, 1935
Kilhenny Castle 

Darcy has gone. Not sure what to do next.

I should have known it was too good to last. 
I had spent the last two months a Kilhenny Castle, Darcy's ancestral home. I had experienced the merriest Christmas I had ever known, with Darcy, his family, and the eccentric Polish princess Zou Zou Zamanska. ...

Page 56:
I must have drifted into sleep because I was awakened by the smallest of sounds. The click of a door latch. It can't be my door, I thought. I remember locking it....

About the book: An Italian villa, a pregnant friend, the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Simpson, and other intrigues. 

Memes: 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.

Aug 14, 2017

It's Monday: Here's What I'm Reading

Visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date. Also visit Mailbox Monday. 


The Resurrector, author Layton Green
Published June 29, 2017
Genre: thriller, fantasy
A Dominic Gray novel, #6
A modern day Dr. Frankenstein, a secret society spawned by the greatest evil the world has ever known, two men racing against the clock to stop the spread of a horrific virus. 


Written in Blood, ARC, author Layton Green
Publication: November 7, 2017, Seventh Street Books
Genre: police procedural, crime fiction
Detective Joe -Preach- Everson, a prison chaplain turned police officer, tracks a literate killer of a bookstore owner in North Carolina. 
A tale of two kitties by Sofie Kelly
Publication: September 5, 2017, Berkley
Genre: cozy mystery in a series
Two magical cats have powers of detection that prove indispensable to librarian Kathleen Paulson…

I am still reading Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, 
                            Skeleton God by Eliot Pattison
                            Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
and a borrow from NetGalley, 
                            Walking With Peetey: The Dog Who Saved My Life by Eric O'Grey

What are you reading this week?

Aug 11, 2017

Book Review: Tahoe Payback by Todd Borg

Title: Tahoe Payback, August 1. 2017 by Thriller Press.
Source: author, for review
Objective rating: 5/5
The mystery features Owen McKenna, private investigator, and his harlequin Great Dane, Spot, with Owen's girlfriend, the entomologist Street. 

The novel tell much about the beautiful Lake Tahoe area and also deals with self defense methods, especially for women; search and rescue dogs, scams such as fake charities, and more. Add likeable, interesting personalities and a killer plot to the mix and you have another great Todd Borg thriller - suspenseful and unpredictable.  

Not only does McKenna have to solve an unusual murder or murders, but he has to protect Street from her homicidal father, now out of prison, who blames her for having him incarcerated in the first place.  McKenna and Spot do an admirable job of finding the killer as well as protecting Street. 

Book beginning: 
The person with the gun said,"Get out of the boat." The woman hesitated.
"Go!"
The woman's hands were tied behind her back. She had no way to catch herself if she lost her balance....

Page 56:
"Sergeant Bains calling. I was talking to Santiago at Placer County, and he said you and he have talked about a missing woman. I thought I'd give you a courtesy call."


Memes: 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.

Aug 4, 2017

Review: Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann

Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann, July 11, 2017 by Seventh Street Books.
Setting: Kyoto, Japan in the 16th century
Genre: historical mystery
Source: book tour
Rating: 5/5

This is the fifth in the Shinobi mystery series set in 16th century Kyoto, Japan, and featuring the ninja/shinobi Hiro Hattori and the Portuguese Jesuit priest, Father Mateo.

About the book: The mystery novel shows the danger and tension between different samurai clans, their perilous way of life as warriors, and the violence that could erupt between and among them at any time. Hiro has to navigate in this setting and climate, carefully leading his charge, the Portuguese priest, around traps and keeping Fr. Mateo from making life threatening mistakes of protocol in his action or speech.

The plot: In Betrayal at Iga, Hiro takes Fr. Mateo to refuge in Hiro's home village with his clan in the mountains, Iga province. But there is no certain safety here, as a rival clan has arrived for peace talks with Hiro's clan. When the visitor clan's leader is found murdered, tensions and suspicions ratchet up and no one is safe, including Hiro himself, his mother, or even his former lover.

Hiro and Fr. Mateo, through interviews, detection, and observation, are hard pressed to solve the murder or risk the loss of innocent lives.

My review: This is one of the best in the series. The book has a compelling plot, in addition to the intriguing characters and the unusual setting of time and place.

I enjoyed learning about samurai culture, its dangers and its uniqueness in history. The author is able to immerse us in the culture, while giving us a suspenseful murder mystery that keeps us on edge.

Her love of the historical subject is evident in her writing and meticulous research into the time and place. I highly recommend the book, which can be read as a stand-alone novel, as well as the preceding ones, and look forward to the next in the series.
Book beginning: Autumn 1565
Hiro Hattori leaned into the wind that swept down the hill and across his face. He pulled his kimono tighter and glanced at the Portuguese priest beside him. "Remember you must eat everything set before you -."
"- because leaving food on the plate offends the host," Fr. Mateo smiled. " I have attended Japanese feasts before." 

Susan Spann is a transactional publishing attorney and the author of the Shinobi Mysteries, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo. Her debut novel, CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, 2013), was named a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month. 
Susan has a degree in Asian Studies from Tufts University, where she studied Chinese and Japanese language, history, and culture. Her hobbies include cooking, traditional archery, martial arts, and horseback riding. She lives in northern California with her husband, son, two cats, and an aquarium full of seahorses.

Connect with Susan: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the author for a review copy of this novel. For other reviews of the book see the tour schedule

Meme: visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.

Jul 31, 2017

It's Monday: Tahoe Payback and A Paris Apartment

Visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date.

Thanks, Todd Borg, for a review copy of Tahoe Payback, August 1. 2017 by Thriller Press.
I'm half way through the book and loving it, learning so much about the beautiful Tahoe area geography, about self defense, fake charities, search and rescue dogs, and so much more. Add a killer plot and you have a great thriller.  
I am also reading the ebook version of A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable, April 22, 2014.
A young antiques appraiser is asked to evaluate a Paris apartment, closed for seventy years, that contains a fortune in valuable art and furniture. Clever plot, a mix of history and art intrigue.

What are you reading this week? 

Jul 27, 2017

Review: When the Future Comes Too Soon by Selina Siak Chin Yoke

When the Future Comes Too Soon by Selina Siak Chin Yoke, July 18, 2017, AmazonCrossing
Genre: historical novel set in Malaya, 20th century
Rating: 5/5

I learned a lot about the occupation of Malaya by the Japanese during WWII, the difficulties for the Malayan people, and especially for women raising families during a time of  war and scarcity. The Chinese-Malayan women in the Malayan Series, two novels, show their strength and resilience during times of change and conflict and are well drawn characters in the novels.

I recommend the book for history buffs of the era as well as for those who enjoy novels featuring strong women who must adhere and be subject to multiple cultural traditions and changes at the same time.

Jul 23, 2017

Sunday Salon: The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds by Selina Siak Chin Yoke


My newest read is an ebook, The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds , an historical novel by , the first of two in the Malayan series. 

Goodread's description of the book: 
"Chye Hoon, of mixed Malayan-Chinese descent, begins to appreciate the richness of her traditions, eventually marrying Wong Peng Choon, a Chinese man. Together, they have ten children. At last, she can pass on the stories she has heard—magical tales of men from the sea—and her warrior’s courage, along with her wonderful kueh (cakes).

But the cultural shift towards the West has begun. Chye Hoon finds herself afraid of losing the heritage she so prizes as her children move more and more into the modernising Western world.
 "

I have just started but find this period of time in Southeast Asia very interesting. 

I finished the Kindle edition of Man Overboard by J.A. Jance, and loved it.

Here's what I said on goodreads:

Two computer experts battle each other on the web in a murder mystery, one trying to find the other to put a stop to him, the other evading, with evil intent. Their struggle is complicated by a third party - an AI, an artificial intelligence online created by one of the men, which develops its own reasoning powers independent of its owner and acts on its own accord during the conflict. The three interact in compelling ways, in a suspenseful and intriguing novel.

The themes of cyber bullying, suicide, and artificial intelligence and it's possible consequences, good or bad, are meshed in an intriguing and clever plot. I gave the book five stars!


Weatherwise: The days are hot and muggy, with occasional rain. The garden looks good as a result but time outside is limited for me because of the heat. Luckily, we don't have the 100 degree weather of other parts of the country!

What are you reading this week?

Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date , and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews..

Jul 21, 2017

The Child by Fiona Barton: Review

The Child by Fiona Barton, June 27, 2017, Berkley
Genre: psychological thriller, suspense
The Child by Fiona Barton
Book description: 
"As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?  As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier." (publisher)

Book beginning:
Emma
March 20, 2012

My computer is winking at me knowingly when I sit down at my desk. I touch the keyboard, and a photo of Paul appears on my screen. It's the one I took of him on our honeymoon, eyes full of love across a table in the Campo Dei Fiori. I try to smile back at him but as I lean in, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the screen and stop. I hate seeing myself without warning. Don't recognize myself sometimes. You think you know what you look like and there is this stranger looking at you. It can frighten me.

My comments: 
I read and enjoyed the author's previous novel, The Widow, which was almost a purely psychological study in the setting of a mystery. The Child is more plot centered, with an intriguing twist at the end. The action however was a bit slow for a suspense novel and it did not have the fiercely character-driven aspect of The Widow.

I enjoyed it however, and can recommend both books, both as stand-alone novels.

Page 56:
She had already looked at the messages on her phone, but she hoped that in the ten minutes since she'd last glanced at them, there'd have been some reaction to the baby story.

Memes: 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.

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

Jul 15, 2017

Sunday Salon: On the Cozy Side

Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date , and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews..

After four days of rain, today was gloriously sunny and pleasantly cool. I even spent dusk and early evening in the yard, and happily there were no mosquitoes to ruin the evening!

A few new cozy mysteries on the shelf:
On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen, August 1, 2017, Berkley Books


Wrong Side of the Paw by Laurie Cass, July 27, 2017, Berkley


Dressed to Confess by Diane Vallere, August 1, 2017, Berkley


Chime and Punishment: A Clock Shop Mystery by Julianne Holmes, August 1, 2017, Berkley

I am still reading Skeleton God by Eliot Pattison and The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry and have a few ebooks as well on my reader.

After downsizing by giving many boxes of books to charity and friends, I now have book shelf to spare, thank heavens.

How is your summer?

Jul 13, 2017

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman: Book Beginning

Memes: 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.



Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman, February 14, 2017, William Morrow, a modern day twist of To Kill a Mockingbird. 

Book beginning:
When my brother was eighteen, he broke his arm in an accident that ended in another young man's death. I wish I could tell you that we mourned the boy who died, but we did not. He was the one with murder in his heart and, sure enough, death found him that night. Funny how that works. 

It happened at the lake. Wilde Lake....

Page 56:
Summer, usually our dullest season, flew after we met Noel. 

I plan to read the book late summer, when this takes place! By the way, it's on Stephen King's list of books to read this summer! See his list of new book recommendations. 

Jul 10, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry: Book Feature

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry, July 11, 2017, Berkley
Genre: contemporary, women's fiction

Description: The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it...

Bonny Blankenship's most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Water's End, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Until the night that Lainey's mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career and her marriage crumbles. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. They reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide. (Goodreads)

My take: A book for summer -  an idyllic setting, with mysteries from the past to unravel and problems of the present to resolve. 

Jul 8, 2017

Sunday Salon: Downsizing

Thanks to Meryl Zegarek and Rachel Hundert for a review copy of Salt Creek, a debut novel by Lucy Treloar, published February 28, 2017 by Picador Australia. This is an historical novel about the Finch family who move from Adelaide, Australia during hard times to a remote part of the South Australian coast. The award-winning book covers "colonialism, race relations, social expectations on women, love, family, and duty."

My recent five-star reads, ebooks in different genres:

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, August 23, 2016, Random House. A novel of a Cameroon immigrant family to Harlem and their search for a place to call home. See my goodreads comments/review.

The Runaway Wife by Elizabeth Birklund, a dreamy tale of a runaway wife, told in poetic language and set in a magical and often dangerous place, the high, rocky Swiss Alps in autumn-winter. 

Woof and Arf, two Bowser and Birdie novels by Spencer Quinn, feature an 11-year-old girl and her dog Bowser who have adventures while solving mysteries in the swampy lands of Louisiana. 



I am now reading a lucky find at the library:

Skeleton God by Eliot Pattison is the 9th in the Inspector Shan mystery series set in remote Tibet. It depicts Tibetans under Chinese rule, the cultural and political clashes that can occur, and also has an intriguing murder mystery plot. Unusual places and circumstances. 

I have been giving dozens of my books to charity and a box of them to my neighbor! I am trying to downsize without feeling as if I am giving away my most cherished possessions.  

The weather is wonderful today, but we are prepping for four days of storms next week! 
What are you reading this week?

Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date 

Jul 3, 2017

It's Monday: Here's What I'm Reading

Visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date 

Today feels like a Friday, as I know we have another holiday tomorrow! Happy Fourth of July!

I finished reading Murder in Saint-Germaine by Cara Black and have a brief review/commentary on goodreads. I also finished Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann, an historical mystery set in 16th century Japan. I will have a review on an online book tour the end of this month.

E-books: Reading Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, a borrow from the library.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, August 23, 2016, Random House.
This is a timely novel about a Cameroon immigrant in New York trying to get his green card for himself and his wife and child. He is lucky enough to get a job as a chauffeur to a Wall Street bigwig, but this is just before the stock market and banking crash that could affect his employer. down the road. It's an easy and interesting read so far.
 Three Souls by Janie Chang is also on my ereader. A young woman, recently deceased, returns to memories of her life to reach an understanding that will ease her into the afterlife. With the help of three souls - scholarly, romantic, and wise - she relives the past. I am eager to learn more about 1935 Shanghai, a time of turmoil and war that changed China forever. 

Also on my ereader is The Runaway Wife by Elizabeth Birklund, a lighter read.
"Three beautiful French sisters entrust an American hiker with the mission of rescuing their mother high in the Alps." But no one is sure she wants to be found! Sounds like a fun novel.

What's on your reading list this week?