Dec 31, 2018

Mailbox Monday: The Last of the Year

Two books arrived in the mail, one for a book tour by the publisher.

The Feed
The Feed
The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
Published March 13, 2018, William Morrow
Genre: sci-fi, fantasy
About: what could happen if technology should suddenly disappear or not be available.

In Dog We Trust (Black Dog Bay #5)
In Dog We Trust
In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick
Publication: January 8, 2019, Berkley
Genre; fiction
Setting: Black Dog Bay, Delaware
About: "When Jocelyn Hillier is named legal guardian for the late Mr. Allardyce's pack of pedigreed Labrador retrievers, her world is flipped upside down."

Visit Mailbox Monday to see what books others have on their reading list. 
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date

Dec 30, 2018

Sunday Salon: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year coming in a few days! Wishing everyone the best in 2019 and hoping it will be full of good surprises in books and reading and gardening, and, and......

I haven't been reading much over the holidays, what with decorating, visiting, sending cards and packages, and so on. I hope it was an equally festive time for you.

The library is my greatest source of  books these days, though I still welcome the galleys from publishers who wish for reviews. My TBR pile is waiting.

I bought Michele Obama's book, Becoming, and am reading it slowly but enjoying reading about her growing up in the city I lived in for so many years, south side Chicago.

I started the ebook of Murakami's Killing Commendatore, which I am enjoying even though it has magical elements. I don't always like these in books, but Murakami makes it work,
Killing Commendatore
Killing Commendatore
Then there is Harry Potter in French from the library, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, to improve my reading in that language.
A l'ecole des sorciers
I finished The Museum of Modern Love, based on fictional characters surrounding a real life art event at MoMa, when for 75 days Marina Abramovic's The Artist is Present was presented.  It confused me a bit as it was both surreal and true to life. 
The Museum of Modern Love
The Museum of Modern Love
I am also in the middle of  American By Day, a book whose title and author caught my attention. The novel is about a Norwegian woman who sets out to find her long lost brother in the U.S.A. and who confronts differences in culture and habits when she arrives here.
American by Day
American By Day
I have more than enough reading for the rest of the year and beyond. How about you?

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

Dec 16, 2018

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott: The Sunday Salon

The Missing Years
The Missing Years
Borrowed from Netgalley, The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott will be published  April 2019 by Corvus.

This mystery novel involves an old Scottish manse, with strange goings on and strange visitors that suggest the house is haunted. Ailsa inherits it from her mother and returns from London to the Scottish Highlands to either live in or sell the house. But there is a problem, as half of the house is still owned by her father, who has been missing for 27 years. 

I read it and gave it 4.5 stars because of the complex characters involved. 

A book to review soon:

The Affliction
The Affliction
The Affliction by Beth Gutcheon, paperback published November 27, 2018, William Morrow
Genre: murder mystery
Setting: girls boarding school, New York

Currently reading:
In the Woods by Tana French, the first in the Dublin Murder Squad series
The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose
Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia

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

Dec 14, 2018

The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd: Book Beginning

The Gate Keeper (Inspector Ian Rutledge #20)

The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd,
Paperback published by William Morrow, November 2018
20th in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series! Going strong.
"Ian Rutledge narrowly misses a motorcar stopped in the middle of a desolate road. Standing beside the vehicle is a woman with blood on her hands and a dead man at her feet.
She swears she didn’t kill Stephen Wentworth."
That's the setting for this latest murder mystery and police procedural, set in Suffolk, England.
Book beginning:
Ian Rutledge drove through the night, his mind only partly on the road unwinding before him. He was north of London, and a little to the east of it as well. But he had no particular destination in mind. 

At this late hour, he should have been asleep in his flat in London. He'd gone there with that in mind, but as soon as he had crossed the threshold it had felt different. Stuffy. Claustrophobic. Almost alien - it was where he lived, but it was not his home, had never really been his home....

Page 56:
"He wanted to come home, but he waited too long. The wonderful, foolish man."

Do these excerpts grab you as a reader or not?
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

Dec 3, 2018

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

One book came in the mail and hope my son will enjoy it too. He loved Wicked; this book is by the same author.
Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker
Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire
Published October 23, 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Maguire takes us to the realms of the Brothers Grimm and E. T. A. Hoffmann-- the enchanted Black Forest of Bavaria and the salons of Munich. Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker (publisher)

I am also reading several library books, my lucky library finds, among them:
The Museum of Modern Love
The Museum of Modern Love
And a borrow from NetGalley:
Last Boat Out of Shanghai
What books will you be reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday

Nov 30, 2018

Book Tour: Close Encounters of the Traveling Kind by Amanda Jayne

Extreme travel with near-death experiences

Close Encounters of the Traveling Kind by Amanda Jayne
Publisher:  Waldorf Publishing (July 1, 2018)
Category: Essays, Travelogues , Travel, Adventure
Tour dates: Oct-Nov, 2018
ISBN: 978-1642556797
Available in Print and ebook, 140 pages
This collection of near-death (and a few almost-near-death) stories take you on adventures in Africa, South America, Nepal, Japan and Thailand. Close Encounters with an angry snake, the edge of an abyss, an unfriendly African tribe, a fake guide or two, a mean Dutch man, a magic whirlpool, a nasty case of Typhoid and a severe case of mountain stupidity are told with the confidence of a traveler who has discovered that no matter what happens, everything works out in the end.
Amanda Jayne never wanted to live a normal life, which she has achieved with resounding success so far. She realized books were magic and could take you to other places, times and universes when she was very young and wanted to become an author immediately. However, she waited several decades so she could do other things first.
Her love for travel began with a six month South Africa trip at age 18 and continued with short jaunts in Eastern Europe during the years she worked in the mental health field.
As soon as she realized offices, rules and regulations were not her thing, she left her job and her native England to find out more about the world and the amazing array of people living in it. She spent 10 years living and travelling in various countries and finally returned to the UK in 2009 after gaining a masters in Spiritual Psychology in the USA and walking 1,200 km around the 88 temples pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan.
These days she teaches Jikiden Reiki, makes websites and writes books. She’s sometimes quite busy. Some of the things she loves are trees, art, being with friends, making up stories for her nephews, karaoke, cats and dark chocolate, not necessarily in that order. She lives in a quiet corner of Kent in the UK and tries, but usually fails, to stay there for long periods of time.

My comments:
I know people from South America and Thailand, so I was eager to read Amanda Jayne's experiences in those countries, among others. 

The stories from Bolivia, three of them to be exact, warns the traveler to be wary of eating street food and to watch out for unreliable tourist guides, of making sure you see a qualified doctor if you ever get something like typhoid or stomach problems, and being extra careful when biking or riding down the Road of Death, a narrow winding mountain road with fabulous views of the jungle but a harrowing ride if the road is crowded with trucks and/or other vehicles. 

The Thailand rafting experience on a small river in the north could be exquisite, a communion with nature, unless a rafting guide decides to hit a snake out of its resting place in a tree overhanging said river. In Jayne's experience, the snake tried to get out of the water and climb onto their raft, causing panic among the raft riders. 

There are other interesting survival stories: climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan with the wrong schedule, white water rafting in the Himalayas, getting on the wrong bus and landing up in the wrong place in Lesotho, Africa. 

None of the narrow escapes made me want to avoid most of these countries. In fact, the stories could whet the appetite of travelers who would swear they would be able to avoid the pitfalls Jayne experienced.

You can read the short essays in any order, which I did. It was fun, enlightening, and great even for armchair travelers.

Virtual Author Book Tours organized this book tour and provided a review copy of this book.

Page 56:
It had all been worth it despite the guide who wasn't a guide. 

Meme: 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. 

Nov 25, 2018

Sunday Post: Currently Reading

My current reads:

Malice by 4th in the Keigo Higashino
First published September 1996
Genre: crime fiction, police procedural, 4th in the Inspector K. Kaga series
Source: ebook, library

Written by the author of The Devotion of Suspect X and Salvation of a Saint, Malice has been translated and reprinted many times in English by different publishers in 2014.

Improvement by Joan Silber
Published November 14, 2017 by Counterpoint LLC
Genre: literary fiction, contemporary fiction
Source: library book

I am caught up in the intriguing, interlocking stories of differing characters whose lives intersect, if only on the periphery, moving from one situation into what is arguably some improvement.

What books will you be reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.

Nov 17, 2018

Sunday Salon: Books New and Books Borrowed

New books on my desk: 
Drops of Cerulean
Drops of Cerulean
Drops of Cerulean by Dawn Adams Cole, 
January 29th 2019, Greenleaf Book Group Press
Genre: family history with magical elements

Hunting Game
Hunting Game
Hunting Game by Helene Tursten
Publication: December 4, 2018; Soho Crime
Genre: Swedish crime fiction

Now reading:
Mr. Flood's Last Resort

A book won from Atria books, for review, thanks to Bianca Salvant
Mr. Flood's Last Resort by Jess Kidd
Published May 1, 2018
Genre: literary fiction, contemporary fiction

French Exit

Borrowed from the library, the book caught my eye because of the cover and the title!
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt
Published August 28, 2018 by Ecco
Genre: comedy

What books will you be reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday

Nov 16, 2018

Book Review: The Huntress by Kate Quinn

The Huntress

Book review of The Huntress by Kate Quinn 

February 26, 2019, William Morrow Paperbacks

Nina, a female Russian pilot, hunts a dangerous Nazi woman for her war crimes against children during the war. She has personal reasons for hunting down Lorelei, also known as The Huntress, who shot and killed an escaped American soldier in Poland and who tried to kill Nina as well.

Nina grew up in the wilds of Siberia near Lake Baikal, but has to flee Russia because of her father's politics. Just after the war ended, she meets Ian, a war correspondent in Poland, who marries her to get her out of Europe and into the safety of England. Nina later uses her skills and training as a former Red Army pilot to help Ian and his business partner Tony, bring The Huntress to heel.

The Nazi, Lorelei/Anna, changed her identity after the war and moved to Boston with her young daughter, Ruth, and blended in by marrying an American with a daughter. Ian and Tony are hunters of war criminals and go after The Huntress after they trace her to the U.S. They have personal as well as professional reasons for wanting The Huntress caught and charged. But the Huntress has a few more tricks up her sleeve.

Suspenseful, well-written and plotted, The Huntress kept me reading well into several nights. Its theme is on the lesser known war criminals, many of whom moved to other countries and blended in, never revealed or convicted of their crimes.

I gave the novel five stars.

Thanks to William Morrow for an ARC of this book.

Nov 12, 2018

It's Monday: Historical Novels

New books on my shelves:

The Huntress
The Huntress by Kate Quinn (see my review)
February 26, 2019, William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: historical thriller

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding
The Gown:A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
December 31, 2018, William Morrow
Genre: historical fiction
How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don't
How to Be Alone: If You Want to and Even If You Don't by Lane Moore
November 6, 2018; Atria Books
Genre: nonfiction, self-help

City of Secrets (Counterfeit Lady, #2)
City of Secrets by Victoria Thompson
November 13, 2018, Berkley
Genre: historical mystery

On the Same Page
On the Same Page by N.D. Galland
December 31, 2018, William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: romantic comedy

What books will you be reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday

Nov 5, 2018

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

Books I'm reading, on the e-reader, borrowed from the library, or from my shelves:

Little Darlings
Little Darlings

The Light of the Fireflies
The Light of the Fireflies

The Night Tiger
The Night Tiger

What books will you be reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday

Oct 30, 2018

Freefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie, book tour

Freefall: A Divine Comedy

Freefall:A Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie, January 1, 2019, Pen-L Publishing

The novel introduces Tillie Bloom, a wacky installation artist, who reconnects with three former friends—women she had hung out with in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s—in a four-day reunion at Whistler, B.C. The new intimacy they experience prompts them to celebrate their approaching sixtieth birthdays together, as well as the millennium, in Venice, Italy, (publisher)

This is a sentimental reunion of four friends in B.C., Canada and then on to Venice, prompting the title of the book, A Divine Comedy. We learn about the Toronto art underground, the semi-bohemian life, and their friendships since the 1950s. They revisit their youth in this reunion, and call themselves the Muskrateers in Venice, with only Tillie's mom's illness and looming death adding a damper to the atmosphere.

A book about friendship despite hardships in their lives along the way. The novel reads like a story close to the author, as if many of these events are based on her own experiences. Well worth reading. 

About the author, Lily Iona MacKenzieFreefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie

A Canadian by birth, Lily Iona MacKenzie has published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 155 venues. Her poetry collection All This was published in 2011. Fling!, her debut novel, was published in July 2015. Curva Peligrosa, another novel, was released in September 2017.
Currently, she teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute of Lifelong Learning. She also blogs about writing and reading.

Thanks to Premier Virtual Author Book Tours  and the author for a review copy of this book.
For other reviews, visit the Freefall Book Tour now underway. 

Submitted to the 12th Annual Canadian Book Challenge. 

Oct 25, 2018

Reviews: Three Tana French Novels

The Witch Elm
The Witch Elm
The Witch Elm by Tana French, October 9, 2018, Viking
Genre: psychological thriller
Source: library book

A little different from her Dublin mysteries, The Witch Elm features the upper or upper middle classes, those with privileges in looks and heritage. What happens when looks are taken away, however, and the advantages of birth and privilege no longer seem to count? This seems to be the theme of the new book by Tana French, in addition to a suspenseful mystery plot. A novel that is compelling yet disturbing, all at once.
I also finished:

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6)
The Trespasser
The Trespasser by Tana French, October 2016, Hodder and Stoughton
Genre: police procedural, thriller
Source: library book

This is the sixth in the Dublin Murder Squad Series, a book I gave five stars. The main characters Antoinette and Stephen are detectives on the Dublin murder squad and are portrayed as many-faceted and complex characters, which gives the crime novel an added advantage. Antoinette is fairly new on the squad and has had to put up with taunts and pranks from her fellow detectives that were meant to deride and harass her as not only a newbie but as female. Her instincts propel her forward in spite of everything and in the end, change her mind about leaving the force.

Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3)
Faithful Place
Faithful Place by Tana French, July 2010, Penguin Viking AdultGenre: police procedural, thriller
Source: library book

Comments: Frank Mackey, a detective, returns to his home, Faithful Place, to try to solve the mystery of the disappearance of his girlfriend Rosie Daly twenty-five years before. Had Rosy changed her mind about running away to London with him or had she been prevented from meeting him that fateful night when they were supposed to leave together but never showed up? The last time anyone ever saw her? Suspenseful plot, disarming detective, and plot twists that kept me reading.

I have read Broken Harbor and The Secret Place, both equally good books in the Dublin series, and have two others to read - The Listeners and Into the Woods. 

I must say I'm a fan!

Visit the Saturday Review of Books

Oct 22, 2018

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw, and Other Books

New books on the shelves.
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday

Forever and a Day
Forever and a Day
Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz, November 6, 2018, Harper
JAMES BOND: The story of the birth of a legend, in the brutal underworld of the French Riviera.
Kill For Me (Victor the Assassin, #8)
Kill for Me
Kill for Me by Tom Wood, November 6, 2018, Berkley Books
A patron of Guatemala's largest cartel is ready and willing to pay Victor to eliminate the competition--her sister. 

Finished reading a library book:
The Birdwatcher
The Birdwatcher

Review of The Birdwatcher by William Shaw, June 2017, Mulholland Books

Justice and delayed justice are the themes of this unusual crime novel set near Kent, England. A policeman on the force is asked to help with a murder investigation as he knew the victim, a fellow bird watcher. The policeman digs deeper than the murder task force wants to go, to find the true killer, and runs the risk of their discovering his own past crime.  Interesting twists in the  plot. 

What books will you be reading this week?

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

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