Aug 31, 2018

Book Beginning: The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall

The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall, June 19, 2018, Gallery Books
"a moving coming-of-age tale set in the tumultuous sixties"

Book beginning:
I kneel in front of the small black-and-white television, my face close to the screen, breathless at the newscaster's words,. A mug shot appears. Blood rushes hot, and my head goes fuzzy. Now grown and far too thin, that face still holds a distant echo of the boy I once so loved. My brother Walden ..... lost to me for years, now labeled a killer.
Page 56:
"There's no medicine for what ails him. Granny steps beside me and thumps her bags on the table. "You just take off, leaving him with four children... it's too much... too much heartbreak."
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

Aug 28, 2018

First Chapter: The White Mirror by Elsa Hart

Each week, Vicki at I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers share the beginning paragraph(s) of a book they are reading or plan to read.  

The White Mirror (Li Du Novels #2)
The White Mirror
The White Mirror by Elsa Hart, September 2016, Minotaur Books
Genre: historical mystery
Setting: 18thC China

First chapter, first paragraph:
In high places, a single storm takes many forms. A wise traveler knows to be wary of what the clouds and the mountains are saying to one another. So when Li Du observed a raindrop strike his mule's bridle and bounce into the air instead of slipping quietly down the leather, he stooped and looked up with some trepidation. Through dripping branches, the sky was like rough silk stretched tight across a frame. 
Book description: 
Li Du, an imperial librarian in 18th century China, is now an independent traveler. He is journeying with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa when he discovers the body of a monk, a painter in the valley, and sets out to discover the secrets behind the murder. 

Do you like the writing? Would you continue reading?

Aug 25, 2018

Sunday Salon: Book Reviews and New Reads

America for Beginners
America for Beginners
I picked up America for Beginners by Leah Franqui from the library after seeing and liking the William Morrow Facebook Group promotion. I was not disappointed; in fact, I was delighted with the story of a Bengali widow from Bangladesh (complex situation here) who comes to America to take a guided tour but who in reality aims to find out about her son, disowned years before by his father. 

For me, there was pathos as well as laughter. I was in tears by Chapter 28 and laughed and cried in Chapter 29. This is a book that covers a lot of topics - immigrants from India and Bangladesh, culture differences, NYC versus LA, homophobia, mother-son relationships, relationships between diverse individuals, cross-country travels in the U.S.  I would recommend that everyone read this for an eye-opening experience.The book was a little slow-going in the beginning, but the story soon picked up and was well worth the wait. 

I also read an ebook:
Fromage à Trois
Fromage a Trois
Fromage a Trois by Victoria Brownlee is a travel novel as well as a romance, with lots of information about the cheeses of France. In fact, the author says there are 356 different kinds in France, and her heroine makes a bet to try every one of them during the course of a year.

Ella lands up in Paris after she buys a one-way ticket to France after her heart is broken by her boyfriend, who flies off to other parts, leaving her at a loss. She gets a job in Paris, becomes friends with a cheese seller or fromager, and falls in love with a "real" Frenchman. I enjoyed learning more about Paris, its food culture, about some of the many different nationalities who live in that city, and of course, its cheeses.

This was an enjoyable and informative romance and story about travel escape.

New books on my desk:

The Cold Summer (Pietro Fenoglio)
The Cold Summer
The Cold Summer by Gianrico Carofiglio is from Bitter Lemon Press, published May 17, 2018
This is a novel about organized crime and gang wars and is set in Southern Italy in 1992.

The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories
The First Prehistoric Serial Killer
The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories is by Teresa Solana, Spain's well-known crime writer. Publication is September 5, 2018 by Bitter Lemon Press.translated.

Every Wicked Man (The Bowers Files: The New York Years #3)
Every Wicked Man

Every Wicked Man by Steven James, September 4, 2018,  Berkley Books, features an FBI Special Agent in this thriller.
Idyll Hands (Thomas Lynch, #3)
Idyll Hands
Idyll Hands by Stephanie Gayle is a police procedural set in a small Connecticut town. A police officer's sister had disappeared two decades ago and they are now determined to find out what happened and if that case is linked to a more recent discovery!

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. Also, Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews

Aug 23, 2018

Book Beginning: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, June 5, 2018, Berkley:
"Stella Lane has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan."

Book beginning:
"I know you hate surprises, Stella. In the interest of communicating our expectations and providing you a reasonable timeline, you should know we're ready for grandchildren."
Stella Lane'e eyes jumped from her breakfast up to her mother's gracefully aging face. A subtle application of makeup drew attention to battle-ready, coffee-colored eyes. That boded ill for Stella... 
Page 56:
"Actually, I think it's a good thing. Now that she thinks I have a boyfriend, she should stop trying to arrange blind dates for me."
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 18, 2018

Sunday Salon: August Reads

Marigolds for Malice (Enchanted Garden Mystery, #3)

I am the cozy queen this week. Here are two more new cozy mysteries to whet my reading appetite!

Marigolds for Malice by Bailey Catttrell, August 28, 2018, Berkley
Elliana Allbright is happy running her perfume shop, Scents & Nonsense, in Poppyville, California. And she's even happier when she can use her inherited abilities to infuse her perfumes with an extra special something that eases woes or solves problems for her customers. But she'll need those abilities and more when murder comes to town. (publisher)

Hitting the Books (Library Lover's Mystery, #9)

Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay, September 11, 2018, Berkley. A hit and run, borrowed books, attempted murder are all mixed together in this Library Lover's Mystery.  

I finished The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown, and am now interested in reading her other romances/contemporary fiction. 

Currently reading from the library:


Less by Andrew Sean Greer is about a middle-aged, minor novelist whose lover has decided to marry someone else. How he copes by running away from the problems and the people and traveling the world. 

You Were Always Mine

You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart is a thriller, about a husband's mysterious death and the wife's attempts to cope with the loss and raising her two children alone, one adopted. 

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 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

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

Travel Can Be Fun or Not: Sunday Salon

Books read and to-be-read The Trip by Phoebe Morgan, May 25, 2024; HQ, NetGalley Genre: mystery, adventure, travel fiction, adult fiction B...