Aug 12, 2018

Sunday Salon: Magical Cats and Marriage Secrets

The Cats Came Back (Magical Cats, #10)
In general, I'm not sure how I feel about magical cats that appear and disappear and walk through walls, but the cats in this series are delightful and clever. This is the 10th in the series, so this Magical Cats Mystery  series has staying power!

Title: The Cats Came Back by Sofie Kelly
Publication: September 4, 2018, Berkley Books
Genre: cozy mystery

Plot: Owen and Hercules, the two magical cats are looking forward to taking in some fabulous sardine crackers at a musical fest in town. But then with their owner Kathleen, the cats  stumble across a dead body by the river. The victim is a close friend of theirs and a look-alike for a cabaret singer who is to perform at the festival.

The trio use their magical and regular smarts to try to solve the mystery. 

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

Though I got only that one book in the mail last week,  I have plenty of library books and Netgalley ebooks on my TBR list.  

Finished last week were a couple of thrillers with a similar theme - a marriage with a dark mystery behind a secret life, the secret life of a lying spouse.
The Marriage Lie
The Marriege Lie

Under My Skin
Under My Skin
I expected both books to have twists in the plot and predicted to some degree what the twists would or could be. Under My Skin was an interesting read, though I found the plot convoluted in making its twists. Easy reading, nevertheless, for psychological suspense readers. 

Now reading: 
The Life Lucy Knew
The Life Lucy Knew
I have always liked plots that involve amnesia or memory distortions due to injury or head trauma. I luckily discovered a new book, The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown, at the library, about a woman who lost parts of her memory after a seemingly minor fall on the ice. She wakes up from a coma to find her domestic life is the opposite of what she remembers. She is not really married and has a live-in boyfriend whom she has always thought of as just a friend. The problem is, she wakes up still thinking of him as just a friend, much to his dismay. 

I can't wait to read on and see how this is resolved!

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday. Also, Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews

Aug 9, 2018

Book Tour: Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

Published August 7, 2018, Atria Books

"New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life. "(publisher)

The novel weaves a story of mystery, suspense and romance into the background of the famous Tiffany building, Laurenton Hall, Long Island. The building housed a variety of art including the famous stained glass windows and mosaics known as Tiffany glass. A mysterious fire in 1957 destroyed the building and much of the art. The author has tried to account for the fire in a fictional way, with her book, Tiffany Blues. 

Lovers of art, and especially those who know Tiffany stained glass, will enjoy this historical novel, and others will also enjoy a good romantic plot set in this fascinating environment.

Here's the  link to the complete schedule of reviews:

Connect with M. J. Rose: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Thanks to Lisa Munley of TLC Book Tours, and the publisher, for a review copy of this book. 

Aug 4, 2018

Sunday Salon: Contemporary and Historical Fiction

New books on my shelf:
The Stylist (Amber Green #1)

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon
Publication: September 4, 2018, William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: contemporary fiction, romance

When fashion boutique worker Amber Green is mistakenly offered a job as assistant to infamous, jet-setting 'stylist to the stars' Mona Armstrong, she hits the ground running, helping to style some of Hollywood's hottest (and craziest) starlets.

The Last Ballad

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
Published June 5, 2018, William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: historical fiction, literary fiction

... set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, 

The Lost Ones (Nora Watts #1)

The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal
Published July 25, 2017; William Morrow
Genre: thriller, suspense

A woman is told the baby she gave up for adoption years ago has gone missing. Nora Watts must decide if she wants to get involved in a past she thought she would not face again.

Just finished:
The Almost Sisters

Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson, published July 11, 2017, William Morrow
Genre: contemporary fiction, Southern fiction
I am enjoying the unusual plot. I haven't found any stereotypes so far among the characters, who are complex and interesting.

Finished review: A realistic look at the South, through the eyes of a Southern writer from Georgia, this novel shows the people, towns, and culture as it is, as it could be, as she would hope it will be in the future. The good and the not so good, or what she calls, the Second South. Eye opening novel that tackles history, race relations, and a hope for the future. Excellent plot and character development.

A Hero of France (Night Soldiers, #14)

A Hero in France by Alan Furst, published June 2016
Genre: historical fiction, spy fiction

I found the book suspenseful and informative. A novel that shows what it must have been like as a resistance fighter during the WWII Occupation of France by Germany. The French heroes, some of them unsung men and women who made sacrifices and risked their lives to help save downed British airmen and others hiding from the Germans.

Next on the reading list:
The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street, #5)

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White
Publication Jan. 10, 2018, Berkley Books

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday. Also, Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews

Aug 3, 2018

Book Beginning: The Guests on South Battery by Karen White

The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street, #5)

What new books are you reading this weekend? 

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White
Publication Jan. 10, 2018, Berkley Books

Book beginning:
There is no escaping the dead. On the slender peninsula that is Charleston, we cannot help being surrounded by them, packed as they are into ancient cemeteries behind ornate iron fencing. Beneath our streets. And under our homes and parking garages. Land is at a premium here, and it was inevitable that over the course of time the living and the dead would inevitably rub elbows. Most residents of the Holy City are blissfully unaware of those residents who have passed on but whose names and homes we share and whose presence lingers still. Others, like me, are not so lucky. 

Wow! What an opening paragraph! Makes me want to read on, for sure.

Page 56:
She stopped and faced me. "I don't like old houses, and seeing this hasn't really changed my mind. I'm ready to list it as it is."

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

Jul 29, 2018

Sunday Post: Murder on the Left Bank by Cara Black

Murder on the Left Bank (An Aimée Leduc Investigation #18)

I finished reading Murder on the Left Bank by Cara Black, the 18th in the Aimee Leduc Investigations series set in Paris. I was not disappointed in this new book and love that the author includes so much of Paris in her novel. People, places, streets, atmosphere are all here and would mean a lot to those who have walked these streets in that great city, and mean so much more to those who want to visit and travel in the main character's, Aimee's footsteps. 

A notebook holding secrets from the WWII past of Paris is stolen, and people are being killed by those who want to find and destroy the notebook's damaging evidence. Aimee makes it a point to follow up on these murders and find the incriminating evidence, even while putting her baby in harm's way. A mixture of danger and suspense blends the personal and the professional life of private investigator Aimee, as she goes about her duties while following her deep sense of justice. A five star READ.

Tahoe Skydrop (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller Book 16)

Tahoe Skydrop, the 16th in the Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller series, will be published August 6, 2018 by Thriller Press. Thanks to the author for a review copy. Review will be coming soon. I'm enjoying the book right now!

I haven't yet decided which of my library books and TBR books I'll tackle next. There are several on my ereader too that I have started andwant to finish!

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday. Also, Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews

Jul 22, 2018

Sunday Salon: A Few ARCs for Summer

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday. Also, Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews

Thanks to HarperCollins for these ARCs:
The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters
The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters
The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, September 25, 2018
A gossipy account of the two sisters, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill

News of Our Loved Ones
News of Our Loved Ones
News of Our Loved Ones by Abigail DeWitt, October 2, 2018. A novel of two generations in France and America affected by the D-Day bombings in Normandy.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits
The Labyrinth of the Spirits
The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, September 18, 2018.  The final book in the cycle of novels that began with The Shadow of the Wind.
I've also reviewed The Prisoner of Heaven, but missed The Angel's Game

Ongoing reading:
 The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney
A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk
Murder on the Left Bank by Cara Black

Finished reading: 
A River of Stars

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua, borrowed from NetGalley, August 14, 2018. What happens or could happen when a pregnant Chinese woman visits the U.S.  for "birth tourism" so that her baby can have U.S. citizenship? The novel gives us a fictional scenario when a naive young woman is persuaded by her wealthy lover to stay at a special maternity center in California. 

After the Monsoon by Swedish writer, Robert Karjel. This is an excellent thriller set in Djibouti, Africa, about pirates on the open ocean, kidnapped sailers, ransom demands, and the war on terror. 

What's on your desk this week? 

Jul 15, 2018

Sunday Salon: Mystery, History, Travel

I promised myself not to buy any more books, but this one was not available on NetGalley or at the library, so I bought the ebook!
The Girl from Oto (The Miramonde Series Book 1)
The Girl from Oto
I was interested in The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney, not only because it's an art history mystery, but because it also takes place on the Camino de Compostela in Spain, a new interest of mine, and a place on my bucket visit to visit and do.

New paper books on my shelf include:
Don't Eat Me (Dr. Siri Paiboun #13)
Don't Eat Me 
Don't Eat Me by Colin Cotterill is the most unusual mystery series set in Laos and featuring the fictional Dr. Siri Paiboon, former national coroner of Laos, The books reflect the country's people, their beliefs, superstitions, and interesting cultural slants and is written tongue in cheek, with a great deal of irony and humor.
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding (Her Royal Spyness Mystery, # 12)
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding  by Rhys Bowen is the 12th in the Royal Spyness Mystery series, Georgie, who is the queen's personal spy, is planning her own wedding but a murder intervenes to take time away from her planning.

I am almost finished reading a memoir, To Siri With Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of a Machine by Judith Newman, August 24, 2017, and am learning a lot about autism, how it manifests and how parents can cope. In this case, the boy Gus finds a "friend" in Apple's Siri, as she gives him all the information he asks for and responds to him in a somewhat personal way, as personal as as the AI can get.

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday. Also, Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews.

Jul 8, 2018

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

What am I reading this week?
After the Monsoon
After the Monsoon by Robert Karjel, (Ernst Grip #2). I'm almost finished with this one, set in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, a novel dealing with Somali pirates, a kidnapped family of four from the open seas, a murder of a Swedish lieutenant on Djibouti, and the fight against terrorism. Quite eye-opening and suspenseful.

Next on the list is a library book: 
Murder on the Left Bank (An Aimée Leduc Investigation #18)
Murder on the Left Bank by Cara Black, the 18th in the Aimee Leduc Investigations series set in Paris. 

New on my desk is this cozy:
A Dark and Twisting Path (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery)
A Dark and Twisting Path by Julia Buckley, the 3rd in A Writer's Apprentice mystery, features an apprentice to a suspense novelist, set in a small town in Indiana.

Meme:  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.

Jul 4, 2018

Trial at Mount Koya by Susan Spann: Book Review

Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann continues the travels of Hiro Hattori, a samurai and Shinobi assassin who is the bodyguard for Portuguese Jesuit priest, Fr. Mateo in Japan. The historical novel is set in 1565 in Japan,

Samurai spy and assassin, Hiro Hattori, accompanied by Fr. Mateo, travel to a Buddhist temple on Mount Koya, to warn another samurai spy from his clan of future danger and to send him to alert other samurai in their group.

Hiro and Fr. Mateo and the spy become trapped at the temple by horrendous snow storms. When sudden murder follows upon murder, Hiro fears for the life of Fr. Mateo and is determined to protect the priest from the unknown killer. The author says the murder situation, with an isolated setting, was inspired by one of Agatha Christie's well known novels.

The mystery gets the reader involved in the world of samurai codes of conduct and behavior, Buddhist principles and their similarities and differences with Christian beliefs, Buddhist temples and their priests and ceremonies of those days. One of the customs that stand out is the attitudes towards women, who were barred from entering the grounds of certain temples and holy places.

Follow Susan Spann on Facebook as she climbs Japan's mountains and tells about the mountain temples she is barred from entering, even today.

I was intrigued not only by Buddhist doctrine in Hiro's day, and the discussion of Fr. Mateo with Mount Koya priests, but also by the samurai codes and conduct that seem very real and plausible for those historical times.

The well planned plot of the book, the identity of the culprit is almost impossible to guess, plus well developed characters and good writing, come together for  a very enjoyable and enlightening mystery novel. I'm looking forward to the next of Hiro's adventures.

For more reviews on this tour, see the review schedule. Also see the author's guest post on visiting the temples for her book. 

Susan's Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for a review copy of this book. 

Book beginning:
"I question your judgement, Hiro." Father Mateo looked at the sky, which should have burned with the fiery colors of a mountain sunset.  
Instead, a menacing wall of greenish thunderclouds churned overhead. 
"We can beat the storm to the temple." Hiro Hattori increased his pace and tried to ignore the angry meow that arose from the basket in his arms. 
 "That's not what I meant and you know it."
Meme: visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader 

Jul 1, 2018

Sunday Salon: Hot Weather Reading

New books this week, and more....
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff, August 21, 2018, Harper
... a teenage girl’s intoxicating romance with a powerful older man and her discovery, decades later, that her happy memories are hiding a painful truth. 

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, September 11, 2018, Harper
One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.

A Knife in the Fog: A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle
A Knife in the Fog
A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper, October 7, 2018, Seventh Street Books
Physician Arthur Conan Doyle takes a break from his practice to assist London police in tracking down Jack the Ripper in this debut novel and series starter.

Scandal Above Stairs (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #2)
Scandal Above Stairs
Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley, July 3, 2018, Berkley
Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat's employer asks for help in clearing her friend's name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair's wealthiest families. 

Library book currently reading:
A Strangeness in My Mind
A Strangeness in My Mind
A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk, 2015, Knopf
   the unforgettable tale of an Istanbul street vendor and the love of his life. 
I love the way he writes. He makes simple people come alive and he easily pulls you into their lives, rural or otherwise. 

Enjoying also Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf. All readers will be enlightened about how our brain works, how the neurons light up when we read. The author also discusses how digital, fast reading, and skimming on the web, rather than deep reading, will change our brain circuits. Scary? 

I'm staying in and doing more reading during these very hot and humid days of 90 degrees. the heat index has gone up to over 100 on some days! Apart from watering the grass and flower beds, we have not gone out much.

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday. Also, Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews.

Jun 23, 2018

Sunday Salon: Digital versus Paper

Reader, Come Home: The Fate of the Reading Brain in a Digital World

My most intriguing new book is this ARC from Harper Collins.
Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf addresses what parents and educators are probably concerned or curious about - the overtaking of the printed word by digital and online media, its unforeseen consequences on children learning to read, the positive and the possible negative.

It was easy to start reading this book, being an avid reader.
I resisted ebooks for a long time, but then found them easier at times, especially in low light situations at night, or lying in bed. Now, I'm mostly back to reading paper, at least for now.
Sweet Little Lies

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Freat is due to be published August 14, 2018.  It's a crime novel that seems to be a thriller and police procedural, with a detective constable delving into the past and crimes that may involve her father.
The Woman in the Window

I admit I went out and bought this book, The Woman in the Window, not wanting to be on the very long waiting list for a library copy. It was quite an intriguing read, especially with the agoraphobic main character who swears she witnessed a murder from the window of her house. No one believes her as she is considered unreliable and delusional, and even her doctor admits that her medications can bring on hallucinations and  loss of a sense of reality.

I was caught up in the plot although toward the end, I guessed the truth. For me, it was not a surprise ending, but this didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

Trial on Mount Koya (Shinobi Mystery #6)
Add caption
Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann is the 6th Shinobi mystery set in medieval Japan and featuring a master ninja Hiro Hattori who solves crimes with his unusual sidekick, the Jesuit priest Fr. Mateo.  I enjoyed the first five and am eager to read this one for my book review on July 11, part of a book tour. Each of the books can be read as a stand alone novel.

Library book I'm currently reading:
The Red-Haired Woman

The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk was a lucky find at the library. I don't read enough books narrated by young men/teenagers and written by male authors. This is a literary novel about an adolescent falling in love and dealing, well or not so well, with an uncomfortable working situation, well-digging in the countryside under a demanding and obsessed well digger.  I've just now finished the book, a five star read definitely.

The writer is so good that his book made me begin to feel guilty too, as guilty as his young protagonist, although I had none of his experiences and did none of the things this young protagonist did.

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday. Also, Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews.

Jun 17, 2018

Sunday Salon: Reading Indoors in the Extreme Heat

Hot, hot day predicted, up to 98 degrees today and humid, with a real feel of over 100. Stay indoors, they tell me.

I have some books lined up for indoor reading, while others watch the World Cup.

New books:
Poisoned Pages (A Booktown Mystery, #12)
Poisoned Pages: Booktown Myste
Dyeing Up Loose Ends
Dying Up Loose Ends
Italian Iced (Ethnic Eats Mystery #3)
Read last week:
The Cactus
The Cactus
An independent 45-year-old single woman has her life turned around in The Cactuswith the unexpected death of her mother, a dispute over the will the mother left behind, and the antics of  her irresponsible younger brother Edward and his new friend Rob. This is a sort of romance, so be prepared to be charmed by the gradual change in the main character, prickly Sarah.

Shadow Child
Shadow Child
Shadow Child by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto was an engrossing read that held my interest all the way through. The story centers around identical twins, grandchildren of a couple who were incarcerated during WWII in a Japanese camp in California, and children of a mother who lived during the time of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The twins grew up in Hawaii, a land of ocean, flowers, and sunshine, but they are shadowed by the past, influenced in subtle and not so subtle ways by their grandparents and their mother's generation of Japanese who endured WWII. They must survive the past and the present in their own way. A five-star read. 

I am now trying to read Whistle in the Dark
Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey, even though the ARC has such fine print, I have to sit in the sun to read it easily. Wish me luck. It will soon get very hot outside!

Keep cool everyone!
What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Jun 8, 2018

Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle

Once Upon a Spine (A Bibliophile Mystery, #11)

Once Upon a Spine: A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle
Published June 5, 2018; Berkley/Penguin Random House
Brooklyn  and Derek, owners of the Brothers Bookstore, get ready to host Derek's British parents while trying to solve a murder and vandalism.
This is the 11th in the mystery series though each book can be read on its own.

Book beginning:
Lately, I've resorted to stalking. Not a person, but a book. For weeks now I'd been visiting the book almost daily. It was a little embarrassing to continually beg the bookstore owner to let me hold it, page through it, study it. I just wanted to touch it, stroke it, and once, when he wasn't looking, sniff it. But he didn't seem to mind my book fixation. He's as big a book nerd as I am.
Many readers can empathize with Brooklyn and her extreme love of books. The fact that she is a book binder and an amateur sleuth adds spice to this novel. The British in-laws- to-be add to the plot interest and the solving of the mystery.

Page 56:
The fact that I had walked in and found two unconscious people - one almost certainly dead - was something I should have been used to by now. 
The amateur sleuth gets some help later on from her future mother-in-law, a psychic.
This is definitely a book for readers, bibliophiles, and mystery lovers.

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