May 30, 2017

2017 Big Book Summer Challenge

The 2017 Big Book Summer Challenge is held by Sue Jackson at Book By Book. Click here to read the rules and join up. I have a book in mind that is over 400 pages long - 
Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato, March 7, 2017, St. Martin's Press is my choice for this challenge. It's 526 pages long. 
"...a stunning examination of family love and betrayal. Eight-year-old Edgar Fini remembers nothing of the accident people still whisper about. He only knows that his father is gone, his mother has a limp, and his grandmother believes in ghosts ."

The challenge runs through Labor Day, so I will begin reading very soon! It's open to everyone, even those who don't have a blog but are goodreads members. 

May 29, 2017

Sunday Salon: How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee

How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee was a lucky find at the library, informative, revealing, and easy to read. The story involves a Korean-American student Danny who returns to his parents' former hometown in China, partly to run away from his separated parents and partly to escape the bullying in his California high school.

Danny meets runaways from North Korea who have crossed the river separating their country from China, and he tries to become one of them, befriending them while living as one of them, refugees in fear of discovery by the authorities. When Christian Koreans offer them shelter and food, Danny continues his subterfuge, unwilling to tell the pastors he is not a North Korean orphan, as his father is in America and his mother in China.

The novel reveals the plight of many North Korean refugees who make it across the river to China, but are there illegally, in fear of being returned to their oppressive home country. They often live in pitiful conditions in their newfound "freedom" and are taken advantage of by unscrupulous people while they wait and hope to be repatriated to either South Korea or another welcoming country.

The novel is written by South Korean writer, Krys Lee. I gave her intriguing and eye-opening novel five stars.

Other new books: a few cozy mysteries are also on my reading list.
Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle, June 6, 2017, Berkley Books

San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright stumbles through the looking glass in a tale of murder, rare books, and a quest for the perfect pie 
Only Skein Deep by Maggie Sefton, June , 2017, Berkley

Kelly Flynn and her boyfriend and The Lambspun Knitters are eagerly awaiting the birth of Kelly's bouncing baby boy but find themselves having to solve a crime instead. 
A Just Clause by Lorna Barrett, June 13, 2017, Berkley

Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, is in for a surprise when her ne er-do-well father, John, comes to town and becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with a scandalous past. 

I got a galley of an historical mystery for a TLC book tour coming up.
Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann, July 11, 2017 by Seventh Street Books.

Book description: Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro's ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.

What books are you 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.

May 26, 2017

Book Beginning: Everybody's Son by Thrity Umrigar

Everybody's Son by Thrity Umrigar, June 6, 017, Harper
When adopted son Anton discovers the truth about his life, his birth mother, and his adoptive parents, this man of the law must come to terms with the moral complexities of crimes committed by the people he loves most. (publisher)

Book beginning:
The room where he was to meet the boy was painted a cheery blue, its walls covered with posters promoting the county's foster care program, but David Coleman barely noticed any of it as he walked in, escorted by the social worker. He was too nervous. The two men made their way to the maroon couch, and David eased his lanky frame onto it. They made small talk for a few seconds, and then the social worker looked at his watch and stated the obvious: The boy was late. 
Page 56:
In reply, Anton said, "Can I just go to my old apartment and get my things?""Afraid not, son.":
The excerpts are from an uncorrected proof and may differ from the final publication. 
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.

May 21, 2017

Sunday Salon: Diets, Books, and Gardening

A few new books this week:

The Destroyers,  a thriller by Christopher Bollen, June 27, 2017, Harper is an interesting read so far. 
Arriving on the Greek island of Patmos broke and humiliated, Ian Bledsoe is fleeing the emotional and financial fallout from his father’s death. His childhood friend Charlie—rich, exuberant, and basking in the success of his new venture on the island—could be his last hope.

Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani, June 20, 2017, HarperCollins
... the story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change in 1949 South Philadelphia.

I recently finished 

Crosstalk by Connie Willis, Sept. 20, 2016, DelRay

My comments: 
A clever fantasy novel about the idea of mental telepathy as an inherited trait, the pros and cons, and the implied dangers of over-communication in our technical world. An engrossing book that ran a little long. But it was an enjoyable and innovative book, nevertheless. 

I also finished The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman, a light but enjoyable romance about gardening helping a woman looking for a new life in a small town.

I am now also reading Today Will Be Different by Maria Sempe, contemporary women's fiction. There are at least 10 other ebook borrows from the library that I have to get to soon! Speed reading?

In other news, I am trying to follow a high fiber diet and have lost three pounds, eating only legumes, oatmeal, beans, veggies, and fruit. My favorite dish so far has been a papaya salad with tomatoes, green beans, and lots of hot pepper. And also a Thai red curry with prawns and pineapple chunks and a coconut milk base.  

What books are you reading and what are you snacking on while you read? 
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.

May 19, 2017

Book Beginning: Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato

Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato, published March 7, 2017, St. Martin's Press
"...a stunning examination of family love and betrayal. Eight-year-old Edgar Fini remembers nothing of the accident people still whisper about. He only knows that his father is gone, his mother has a limp, and his grandmother believes in ghosts "

Book beginning:

Having a life meant having a story. Even at eight, Edgar knew this. 
What he didn't know was his own beginning. Newborn brains were mushy. If you wanted to know how your life had started, you had to get this information from other people.
But what if these people were liars?

"I kept falling asleep," said Lucy. She was speaking of Edgar's birth. The boy liked this particular story, and so he made sure to roll his head in feigned boredom.

Page 56:

Florence had dropped her watering can and nearly fallen into the tomatoes. She'd clutched her chest, fearing she might be dying. Just this morning she'd thought of her childhood friend - and now the spastic girl was chanting Nelly's name like a mob about to burn down a building. 

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.

May 16, 2017

First Chapter: White Lies by Susan Barrett

White Lies by Susan Barrett, August 31, 2016.
White Lies explores the joys and hazards of adoption, told from the perspectives of three women over half a century.

First chapter:
Beth: The Beginning 
Through the white light of pain Beth sees Joe. He stands at the foot of her bed, a forlorn, useless figure. Why did they let him in? Do they think he's the father? Six purple flowers flop their heads from a bunch clutched in his hand. Flowers are the last things she needs. Their name hovers in the gust of her pain. They'll need water, but what can she do about that? She cannot think of anything beyond the present colossal pain of agony. It overwhelms her. She is a single, screaming universe, pelvic bones pushed to their limits. Bodies are not designed for this. Her unwanted baby's head is stuck, it will kill her. Nothing gives. There is no release. 
"Daisies," Joe says, kneeling beside her. "From your mom's balcony."

Author SUSAN BARRETT has had seven novels published in UK and USA. Other work includes travel writing, television drama, and wildlife and children’s books illustrated by her husband Peter. They have two adopted children, now middle-aged. She has mentored new writers, held creative writing workshops, established a website for the writers and readers of quality fiction, and continues to write while practising as a counsellor.

May 8, 2017

First Chapter: An Honest House by Cynthia Reyes

An Honest House: A Memoir Continued by Cynthia Reyes, May 10, 2016 publication.
This is the continuation of A Good Home: A Memoir published in 2013. See the guest review by Philip Young.  

Book description 
"Picking up from the early days of her recovery from a car accident, as told in her first book, "A Good Home," Reyes shares intensely lyrical stories of life with her husband in her historic farmhouse north of Toronto. 
You will be challenged as the author immerses you in the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and the courage it takes to live with chronic pain. And you will say a wrenching farewell to the farmhouse as she opens a new chapter in a life ...." (publisher)

First chapter:
"Ambercroft Farm", the sign out front said. Hamlin was on a first-name basis with the grand old farmhouse, right from the start, calling it Ambercroft. For years, I didn't call it anything at all.The tall, two-storey Victorian house on the northern edge of Toronto seemed sealed off from the rest of the neighborhood. Within a solid wooden fence and gates, massive maples waved big leafy arms. Pines and dense blue-green spruces soared. A cedar hedge ran the length of the property on one side. This was a private place, sure of its personality and power. 

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.

Author: Cynthia Reyes

Goodreads Author



Member Since
September 2013


May 7, 2017

Sunday Salon: Goodreads Reading Goal Reached!

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.

I have reached my goal of 50 books in the Goodreads Reading Challenge! I am now expanding my goal to 80, and hope to reach even 100! I have at least ten library ebooks on loan through Overdrive, and hope I can get to them before the loans expire! There are two historical mystery novels by Barbara Cleverly, the newest book by Lisa See, another book by Kate Atkinson,  and a few literary fiction and other mysteries. 

An ARC arrived:
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling, September 5, 2017, Sterling Children's Books
Book description:
“Whoa! What happened to your arms?”

Aven Green gets that question a lot. She loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them.

It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms. (goodreads)

I finished only one book last week, though I have started on others.

When Will There Be Good Newsa mystery by Kate Atkinson, September 2008.
My introduction to author Kate Atkinson and to her Jackson Brodie, a very likeable policeman turned private eye. Set in Scotland, this book is intriguing - the setting as much as  the plot and characters, in particular the remarkable main character Joanna, and young Reggie, a budding sleuth herself. Definitely a five-star read.

Re my gardening news, he rain has stopped, it's sunny out, and I'm waiting for frosty nights to be over before I plant the annuals and herbs - oregano, basil, thyme -  I bought last week. 

What's on your reading plate this week? 

May 5, 2017

Book Review: The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman, May 2, 2017, Berkley

Lil, widowed for three years with two young children, is a school text illustrator in Southern California. Her boss signs her up for a vegetable growing class at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden, to prep for the next project - illustrating a series of vegetable guides the company is planning.

Lil attends the six-week class, held on Saturdays and led by gardening professor Ed Bloem. She not only benefits from gardening and meeting new people, but sees the benefits to her sister and Lil's two young children who also participate in the class. 

Lil's sister-in-law Maggie arrives broken hearted by a cheating hubby and somehow the setting and the new arrangement in Lil's life help everyone around her. In the end, Lil finds a new occupation and new love, and a new acceptance of her widowhood.

I liked the story, as I love gardening, and found the vegetable growing tips in the book interesting and useful. Though parts of the plot are predictable, the reading is easy and pleasant, not only for readers who garden but anyone who like a good romance.

My rating: 4 stars

Empresses of Seventh Avenue by Nancy MacDonell: Historical Novel

 Fashion in Paris and New York City during WWII   Empresses of Seventh Avenue World War II, New York City, and the Birth of American Fashion...