Jan 28, 2017

Sunday Salon: Winter is Finally Here

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.

The rain has stopped and the snow has started; flurries have left a thin layer of snow, but it seems real winter has arrived.

A novel with magic and fantasy by Laurent Gaude, Hell's Gate, in translation, arrived for review from public relations for Gallic Books. A Neapolitan taxi driver tries to bring his son back from the dead by searching for the entrance to the underground. This theme reminds me of the Italian poet Dante as well as Asian beliefs.
Great Books of China: From Ancient Times to the Present by Frances Wood, published December 13, 2017,  gives an account of the books, poetry, and important literature of China that describe the history and culture.
The title of this cozy, Twelve Angry Librarians, caught my eye. I can't imagine twelve angry librarians, at least not in the same space. The book is the eighth in the Cat in the Stacks series.

What's on your reading desk this week?  

Jan 27, 2017

Book Beginning: The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop, July 7, 2015 by Harper Paperbacks.
"...a saga of survival set during the 1974 coup d'etat in Cyprus that tells the intersecting stories of three families whose lives are decimated when ethnic tensions erupt into conflict." 

Book beginning:
Famagusta 15 August, 1972

Famagusta was golden. The beach the bodies of sunbathers and the lives of those who lived there were gilded by warmth and good fortune.

Fine, pale sand and a turquoise sea had together created the most perfect bay in the Mediterranean and pleasure-seekers came from all around the world to soak up its warmth and to enjoy the sensual pleasure of the calm waters that gently lapped around them. Here was a glimpse of paradise.

Page 56:
The (water polo) teams were mostly made up of Greek Cypriots, but some of the strongest players were Turkish Cypriot, and he often tried to persuade his youngest brother, Ali, to come down to the beach for a game.  

Victoria Hislop read English at Oxford, and worked in publishing, PR and as a journalist before becoming a novelist. She is married with two children.

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.

Jan 24, 2017

First Chapter: The Oxford Inheritance by Ann A. McDonald

The Oxford Inheritance: a Novel by Ann A. McDonald, November 15, 2016.
Genre: suspense, mystery
First chapter:
Oxford in the summertime was a city under siege. They came from across the oceans, from Norway and Brazil, India and Japan: civilizations old and new alike, descending on the dreaming spires and neat, lush quads as a single invading army, sounding their battle cry in the chatters of foreign tongues, faces painted with warlike stripes of sunscreen zinc. Uniting to traipse the well-worn trail from the peaceful floral walkways of the Botanic Garden to the vast, soaring dining hall at Christ Church College, divisions of race and nationality blurred beneath the Union Jack baseball caps and souvenir sweatshirts....

Book description: "At prestigious Oxford University, an American student searches for the truth about her mother’s death in this eerie, suspenseful thriller that blends money, murder, and black magic."

MEME: Every Tuesday Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two, from a book you are reading or will be reading soon.
 

Jan 22, 2017

Sunday Salon: Rain in January

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

It's been raining the past few days. Not that I'm complaining about the lack of snow.
 
 I'm reading Krazy: The Black and White World of George Herriman by Michael Tisserand, December 6, 2016, Harper in slow stages, reading carefully. 

An interesting biography of the creator of the Krazy Kat comic strip. I recommend it. 

I'm also half-way through Beasts and Children: Stories by Amy Parker, February 2, 2016, Mariner Books.
 
Excellent short stories of children with absent, neglectful, dysfunctional, or preoccupied parents, and the animals the children love or come in contact with.

Two new books arrived, one for a tour coming up.
Abby's Journey by Steena Holmes, February 14, 2017. A young woman's travels in search for answers.
Saving Abby by Steena Holmes is the book that precludes Abby's Journey. They can be read separately.

What are you reading this week?
 

Jan 20, 2017

Book Beginning: Beasts and Children by Amy Parker

Beasts and Children: Stories by Amy Parker, February 2, 2016, Mariner Books
Source: library
First story beginning: "The White Elephant"

Carline and I sat at the breakfast table dressed as the dancing ostriches from Fantasia. It was Halloween morning, 1967 - the last year of my family's unbroken life - and my older sister and I were having a fight with our mother. She had made these outfits for our schools' costume parade.

There are ten stories in the book.

Page 56 from the story, " Rainy Season."

Maizie gets away with familiarity because she's young and cute.

About the author: Amy Parker is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and was a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas, Austin. She spent her childhood overseas among the diplomatic corps and is ordained in the Soto Zen monastic lineage. She lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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.

Jan 18, 2017

Choosing a Cozy by its First Lines

I have several cozy mysteries and I must choose which to read first. How to do this? By the cover, the title, the author, the series? I often choose by reading the first line. The one that grabs me quickest gets the first read. Here are a few first lines of some cozies. Which would you choose? 
Blown Away: A Kite Shop Mystery #1 by Clover Tate
The first rule about flying kites is that when the wind lifts them skyward, you give them line, not reel them in.

War and Peach: A Georgia Peach Mystery #3
by Susan Furlong
"I do say this election business has folks as divided as the states during Mr. Lincoln's war," one of the Crawford sisters was saying.
 
Mission Impawsible: Paws and Claws Mystery #4
by Krista Davis
By six o'clock on Thursday afternoon, one Gustav Vogel had failed to check into his room at the Sugar Maple Inn.
 
No Cats Alowed: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery #7
by Miranda James
"He's out there again, Charlie." Melba Gilley made the announcement as she strode hurriedly into my office at the Athena College Library. "Do you think we should call the campus police?"


A Wee Homicide in the Hotel: ScotShop Mystery #3
by Fran Stewart
Nobody expected to die attending Hamelin's third annual four-day Highland Festival.
 
Bookman Dead Style: A Dangerous Type Mystery
 by Paige Shelton
"It's my good luck you're here. I saw your shop last year but didn't have time to stop in. You have the best selection of this kind of stuff I've ever seen...." 
 
Which opening lines appeal to you?  

 

Jan 17, 2017

Krazy: The Black and White World of George Herriman by Michael Tisserand: First Chapter


Krazy: The Black and White World of George Herriman by Michael Tisserand, December 6, 2016, Harper

First paragraph, first chapter:
The San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle landed on doorsteps on August 22, 1971, on what would have been George Herriman's ninety-first birthday. Inside the paper was a story by San Francisco State University professor, Arthur Asa Berger, detailing his attempt to write an entry on Herriman for the Dictionary of American Biography. In his research, Berger had obtained information from the New Orleans health department about a child of that name born in 1880. But, Berger decided, the child had to be a different George Herriman. The reason? The birth certificate was marked "col." for "colored." The cartoonist George Herriman, Berger believed, was white.

Krazy is the biography of the cartoonist George Herriman (1880-1944), creator of the successful comic strip, Krazy Kat. "Michael Tisserand brings this little-understood figure to vivid life, paying homage to a visionary artist who helped shape modern culture."

The book reveals that the cartoonist did not disclose his African-American ancestry in order to be able to continue his art and his work for a newspaper syndicate in the early 20th century.

A timely post to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, yesterday.

Meme: Every Tuesday First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros are hosted by Bibliophile By the Sea. 
 

Jan 16, 2017

It's Monday: What I'm Reading and Watching

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

I'm reading a new arrival,
The Sun King Conspiracy by Yves Jego and Denis Lepee, a novel in translation from the French, April 4, 2016, sent by a publicist for Gallic Books.

The book became more vibrant and interesting after I had watched several episodes in the Versailles TV series, which features the Sun King Louis IV of France and the intrigue surrounding building his beloved palace in Versailles, 17th century.

Another book arrival:
Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang, January 10, 2016, courtesy of William Morrow. In early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

I also am reading a library borrow,
Sarong Party Girls, a novel by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, July 12, 2016 by William Morrow, about three girls in Singapore who hatch a plan to catch a foreign husband before they become too old, in Singapore terms, to be deemed eligible for marriage. 

The book is culturally revealing as well as entertaining so far.

Jan 11, 2017

First Chapter: Find Her by LIsa Gardner

Find Her,  novel by Lisa Gardner, February 9, 2016
Genre: thriller
Source: library
First chapter:
These are the things I didn't know.
When you first wake up in a dark wooden box, you'll tell yourself this isn't happening. You will push against the lid, of course. No surprise there. You'll beat at the sides with your fists, pummel your heels against the bottom. You'll bang your head again and again, even though it hurts. And you'll scream. Snot will run down your nose. Tears will rain from your eyes....

It's hard to read the rest....and you will wonder if you want to read the book!
What do you think? Would you read on?

Every Tuesday Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two, from a book you are reading or will be reading soon.

Jan 9, 2017

It's Monday: My New Reads

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

My current read is another library borrow,
First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, August 23, 2016.
A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this long-awaited new entry in the Chicago Stars football series. (publisher)

"Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy." Sounds promising.

In my mailbox a week or two ago:
The Joy of Love by Pope Francis, May 4, 2016, came from a friend encouraging my speedy recovery after surgery.
The Road ot Ithaca by Ben Pastor by Bitter Lemon Press, March 2017.
The fifth in the Martin Bora WWII mystery series. In May 1941, Wehrmacht officer Bora is sent to Crete, recently occupied by the German army, and must investigate the brutal murder of a Red Cross representative befriended by SS-Chief Himmler. (publisher)

Sounds intriguing, especially since it's fifth in the series.

What are you reading this week?
I've just finished The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon, a mystery set in Venice, and gave it 5 stars in Goodreads.

Jan 6, 2017

Book Beginning: The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon

The Waters of Eternal Youth, a novel by Donna Leon, March 8, 2016.
Genre: mystery set in Venice
Source: library
Book beginning:

He had always hated formal dinners, and he hated being at this one. It made no difference to Brunetti that he knew some of the people at the long table, nor was his irritation lessened by the fact that the dinner was being held at the home of his parents-in-law, and because of that, in one of the most beautiful palazzi in the city. He had been dragooned into coming by his wife and his mother-in-law, who had claimed that his position in the city would add lustre to the evening.

Page 56:

....'There's a man who keeps asking Chiara and some of her friends for money. Over near her school. She says he's very insistent.'

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.

Jan 4, 2017

Athenian Blues by Pol Koutsakis.

The first in the Stratos Gazis mystery series, Athenian Blues,  will be published April 11, 2017.
Athenian Blues by Pol Koutsakis. The author was born in Crete in 1974, writes novels, plays, and screenplays. Athenian Blues is his first novel to be translated into English. Baby Blue, the sequel to Athenian Blues, is expected to be published by Bitter Lemon Press in 2018.

The main character, Stratos, is a hit man who goes to length to make sure victims truly "deserve their fate." He is helped by childhood friends: a homicide cop, a transsexual hooker, and Maria, the love of his life.

An unusual plot with unusual characters. I am eager to see how well this book will go down with mystery readers.  

Jan 3, 2017

First Chapter: The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

The Golden Son: A Novel  by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, October 20, 2015.

The Golden Son is an immigrant story, set in the U.S. and India, about immigration, tradition, and cultural clashes and difficulties.

Publisher description: Anil Patel, the golden son, leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas. When his father dies, Anil inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties in adjusting to a new culture and a new job.

Back home in India, Anil’s childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice.


First paragraph:

Anil Patil was ten years old the first time he witnessed one of Papa's arbitrations.
Children usually were not allowed at these meetings, but an exception was made for Anil since he would, one day, inherit his father's role....

Based on the first paragraph, would you keep reading?

Every Tuesday Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two, from a book you are reading or will be reading soon.

Sunday Salon: Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay

I have never appreciated books so much as this year, a difficult year on so many counts. I've finished re-reading  A Gentlema...