Nov 11, 2019

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

It's Monday: What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Date.


Brewed Awakening

Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle

December 3, 2019, Berkley Books

Theme: Temporary amnesia. Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi awakens on a bench in Washington Square Park and has no idea she's been missing for the past week. Clare's missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed.

A Time for Murder (Murder She Wrote #50)

A Time for Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land

November 26, Berkley

Theme: Jessica Fletcher returns to high school to investigate the murder of an old colleague, while we also go back in time to meet Jessica as a young teacher solving her very first murder

Also reading:


Harry's Trees
Harry's Trees

Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen, June 12, 2019, Mira Books. 


Theme: A sort of modern-day magical fairy tale about a Forest Service employee who decides to follow his dream to live outdoors and find "Harry's Trees.This, to heal grief after the sudden death of his wife. Harry also helps a ten-year-old child deal with her own grief after the death of her father. 


What books are you reading this week? 

Nov 10, 2019

Sunday Salon: Cozies for November

Shot Through the Hearth (A Fixer-Upper Mystery, #7)

Shot through the Hearth by Kate Carlisle, October 31, 2019, Berkley

Contractor Shannon Hammer tries to clear the name of her tech billionaire pal who is accused of murder at a conference on eco-living

The Dog Who Knew Too Much (Paws and Claws Mystery #6)

The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Krista Davis

November 26, 2019, Berkley Books

There are several books by different authors with the same title as this one, but this is the most recent, the 6th in the Paws and Claws Mystery series
Inn owner Holly Miller has to prove that her dog Trixie is really hers, when a stranger claims he is the rightful owner.

Lady Takes the Case (Manor Cat Mystery #1)

Lady Takes the Case by Eliza Casey

November 26, 2019, Berkley Books

A new historical mystery case featuring Lady Cecilia Bates and  her intuitive Manor House cat Jack, in England, 1912

The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Monday and the Sunday Salon

Nov 1, 2019

Sunday Salon: The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand

New arrival:

The Hidden World of the Fox

The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand, October 22, 2019, William Morrow

Genre: nonfiction, ecology
"Brand has studied foxes for twenty years across four continents—from the Yucat√°n rainforest to India’s remote Thar Desert, from subarctic Canada to metropolitan London. Her observations have convinced her that the fox is arguably the most modern of all wildlife, uniquely suited to survival in the rapidly expanding urban/wild interface."

Currently reading:

In the Shadow of Power (Sandhamn Murders #7)

In the Shadow of Power by Viveca Sten, October 22, 2019, Amazon Crossing

The new summer house on Sandhamn Island in the Swedish archipelago is an architectural dream for its owner, Carsten Jonsson. It’s a nightmare for the locals. When a body is found, Detective Inspector Thomas Andreasson isn’t sure if it’s murder or a tragic accident.
~~~
On the home front, it's been raining for a few days now and windy and cold. We took a walk this afternoon in the park when it warmed up to the mid 40s, dressed in our winter clothes, of course. I may not be quite ready for winter!

The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Monday and the Sunday Salon

Oct 28, 2019

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

It's Monday: What Are You Reading is hosted by The Book Date. Visit  Mailbox Monday.

Alexander Von Humboldt: How the Most Famous Scientist of the Romantic Age Found the Soul of Nature

Alexander von Humboldt by Maren Meinhardt

Published July 1, 2019, book from BlueBridge

Scientist and explorer. From Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California to Humboldthain park in Berlin, from South America’s Humboldt Current to Greenland’s Humboldt Glacier, numerous places, plants, and animals around the world are named after him. Nature and travel, my favorite topics. 

The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleury, October 8, 2019, Flatiron Books

Juliet, a dedicated book lover, is hired as a passeur, one who takes used books out into the world and matches them with likely readers.  My lovely library find. 

What books are you enjoying this week?

Oct 25, 2019

Review: Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell


Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know
Talking to Strangers

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell, September 10, 2019, Allen Lane. Personal copy. 

INTRODUCTION"Step out of the car!"
In July 2015 a young African American woman named Sandra Bland drove from her hometown of Chicago to a little town an hour west of Houston, Texas. She was interviewing for a job at Prairie View A&M University, the school she had graduated from a few years before. She was tall and striking with a personality to match....
The chapter goes on to describe the verbal exchange between Sandra and a Texas police officer who had pulled her over for failing to signal a lane change. The end result is that upstanding, educated, and blameless Sandra was arrested, handcuffed and thrown into jail. Three days later, she took her own life in prison.

And so begins this book, Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell, on strangers meeting and the misunderstandings and false assumptions that can sometimes result in  tragic outcomes. 

Misreading strangers can lead to a guilty Bernie Madoff being trusted by duped investors, to an innocent Amanda Knox being incarcerated for years and tried for a crime for which she was later exonerated. Spies high up in government have been misread by the CIA and trusted with secrets the spies regularly leaked to a foreign power. And it goes on...

A fascinating book that I read cover to cover in just a few days, intrigued by the facts the author presented to make his case. People are not as transparent as they may seem to us. They may be something completely different.

Most people will give suspicious people the benefit of the doubt, which is good for society to run smoothly, in general, but which can be disastrous when their judgment is wrong. This is part of Gladwell's conclusions on this topic, and just a part of what the book has to say about how we interact with and interpret the actions and behavior of a variety of strangers. 

Page 57:
The next three chapters of Talking to Strangers are devoted to the ideas of a psychologist named Tim Levine, who has thought as much about the problem of why we are deceived by strangers as anyone in social science.... 
The book is persuasive, well researched, and thought-provoking. It will make you think twice or three times about the validity of your initial reaction to a stranger, positive or negative, whoever they may be.

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

Oct 19, 2019

Sunday Salon: Memoirs and Cozies

First in a new mystery series:

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders (A Woman of WWII Mystery #1)

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by

Tessa Arlen, November 5, 2019, Berkley.
Genre: WWII historical mystery series, with Air Raid Warden and sleuth Poppy Redfern.
Location: Remote English village, 1942

Four cozy mysteries:

Mumbo Gumbo Murder (A Scrapbooking Mystery #16)

Mumbo Gumbo Murder: A New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery

by Laura Childs, October 1, 2019, Berkley Books
Carmela and Ava solve a murder during Jazz Fest in New Orleans


The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans

The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans by JoAnna Carl,

November 5, 2019, Berkley Books. 
House flipping turns deadly in this Chocoholic Mystery.

City of Scoundrels (Counterfeit Lady, #3)

City of Scoundrels by Victoria Thompson

November 5, 2019, Berkley
Historical mystery set during the Great War.

A psychological thriller:

The Nanny

The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan, September 10, 2019, William Morrow

A seven-year-old grows up wondering why her nanny left without a trace, and why. 


Current library books:

The Right Sort of Man (Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery #1)
The Ungrateful Refugee
The Ungrateful Refugee

This is How I Save My Life: A True Story of Finding Everything When You are Willing to Try Anything

This Is How I Save My Life by Amy B. Scher, April 10, 2018, Gallery Books

Genre: memoir of a woman who travels from California to India in search of a life saving medical procedure to cure her Lyme disease.

What have you been reading this month?

Memes: 
The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You ReadingMailbox Monday and the Sunday Salon

Oct 5, 2019

Sunday Salon: The End of Summer

sedum
Sedum

Still reading:

My Coney Island Baby by Jonathan Cape, published January 17th, 2019 


The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake, a Canadian author, April 2016, Doubleday


There are no new books on my desk but quite a few ebooks on my Kindle, thanks to Kindle Unlimited and First Reads. 

Other stuff:

It's very cool tonight but warm tomorrow. We have had a roller coaster of temperatures this summer and fall and never know what to expect from week to week. I have hibiscus blooming in the yard for the second time this year, while all the other flowers have died off, including the sedum above. 

I have been enjoying ice cream mochi from Whole Foods. Sweet rice dough made into balls filled with ice cream. I love the vanilla and the green tea ice cream fillings.

Memes: 
The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Reading, and the Sunday Salon

Sep 30, 2019

It's Monday: Books of Love and Loss

Books I'm reading this week:

My Coney Island Baby

My Coney Island BabyPublished January 17th 2019 by Jonathan Cape

I am finally getting into this novel about two married lovers who, for years, have been meeting once a month at Coney Island for an overnight assignation. Real life back home happens and they are dealing in the first chapters with the serious illness of the man's wife at home. The book is basically character-driven, though I am interested in the outcome of this unusual love situation.

The Translation of Love

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake, a Canadian author, April, 2016, Doubleday

Here is story of family love, and love and loss of home and country.  Fumi is searching for her older sister in post-war Japan, during the MacArthur era and the American occupation in Japan, and her unlikely helper is a displaced Japanese-Canadian who is in Japan with her father, a Canadian sent back to Japan after the war, rather than be sent to unknown parts of Canada away from the west coast that had been their home.  
I am eager to see how this story unfolds.

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Reading, and the Sunday SalonMailbox Monday

Sep 22, 2019

Sunday Salon: Poems and Two Cozies

New books on the shelves:

Almost Home: Poems

Almost Home: Poems by Madison Kuhn

October 1, 2019; Gallery Books
Illustrations and poems of "home"

A Killer Carol (An Amish Mystery #7)

A Killer Carol by Laura Bradford, September 24, 2019; Berkley

Gift shop owner Claire tries to solve the murder of an elderly Amish couple in Pennsylvania.

A Night's Tail (Magical Cats Mystery #11)

 A Night's Tail by Sofie Kelly, September 3, 2019; Berkley

Librarian Kathleen and her two cats try to catch the killer of a visiting businessman in town.

Currently reading:

I was reading too many books to finish even one last week. Going from book to book, print to ebook and back, means that a book doesn't get read all the way through. Not a good habit, I am finding out.

I finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion for our book club early next month, but that's about it. 

How about you? Do you find yourself doing this too?

Memes: 
The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Reading, and the Sunday Salon,  Mailbox Monday.

Sep 20, 2019

The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate: Book Beginning


The Bodies in the Library (First Edition Library Mystery, #1)
The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate, October 2019, Berkley/Penguin Random House


Book beginning:
"I'll be leaving now, Ms. Burke."
I leapt up from the desk at this announcement -  knocking the phone on the floor in the process - and hurried out of my office.
"Yes, Mrs. Woolgar," I said, tugging on my jacket. "Have a lovely evening."

Page 56:
"Yes, that's right. I saw her late one afternoon -- running."

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

Sep 8, 2019

Sunday Salon: Autumn Line-Up of Books

Word to the Wise (Library Lover's Mystery, #10)
Word to the Wise (Library Lover's Mystery, #10)

Word to the Wise (Library Lover's Mystery, #10) by Jenn McKinlay, September 3, 2019, Berkley

In this Library Lover's Mystery, librarian Lindsey must clear her fiancee Sully from suspicions of murdering an unwelcome suitor.

Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel (Mrs. Jeffries #38)
Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel (Mrs. Jeffries #38)

Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel (Mrs. Jeffries #38), September 24, 2019, Berkley

In this Victorian mystery series, Mrs. Jeffries investigates the death of a wealthy widow. 

Elevator Pitch
Elevator Pitch

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay,  September 17, 2019, Willliam Morrow

In this suspenseful thriller, two detectives and a reporter must discover why elevators across New York City are plunging with their victims to the bottom of the shafts, terrorizing the city. 

Those are the new books on my shelves. How about yours?


In the middle of reading:

Gun Island  by Amitev Ghosh
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, our book club selection
Singapore Sapphire by A.M. Stuart is the first Harriet Gordon Mystery


I bought the ebooks:

On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Memes: 
The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Reading, and the Sunday Salon,  Mailbox Monday.

Sep 6, 2019

Review: The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

The Dragonfly Sea
The Dragonfly Sea

The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, March 12, 2019, Knopf Publishing Group


Book beginning:
To cross the vast ocean to their south, water-chasing dragonflies with forbears in Northern India had hitched a ride on a sedate "inbetween seasons" morning wind, one of the season's introits, the matlai. One day in 1992, four generations later, under dark-purplish-blue clouds, these fleeting beings settled on the mangrove-fringed southwest cove of a little girl's island.... 
And so we are introduced to that little girl, Ayaana, whose life on the Kenyan island of Pate is described in the first sections of the novel. It's a life full of her love for the sea, her rescued little white kitten, and the man she adopts as her father who teaches her at home because of bullying and bias in her island school,

The next sections of the book sees an older Ayaana in China, which has claimed her as a Descendant, one with Chinese ancestry, and sent her to study in a college, a way to help cement her and Kenya's ties to China.

Aayana struggles with all the changes in her life, the new faces, languages, places, while searching to find out who she really is, who she truly loves, and where she truly belongs.

Written in a poetic style, with multiple plays on language and imagery and symbols, The Dragonfly Sea is a literary novel about a girl's universal search for meaning and belonging in a complex and diverse world. I gave it an enthusiastic five stars.

Location: 56 %

Ayaana walked as one condemned. She ached for a return to life aboard the ship.
Ni shi shei? the sea still called out to her. Who are you? She ignored it. 

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

Sep 1, 2019

Sunday Salon: The Memory Police/ Tahoe Deep/Gun Island

Currently reading:

The Memory Police

The Memory Police

by Yoko Ogawa
August 13, 2019, Pantheon 

What would it be like to lose memory of things and not miss them? And what if you do remember the things you lost, but were not allowed to, what then?  

I'm in the middle of this fascinating dystopian-like novel where Memory Police make things disappear and make the memories of them also disappear. The people who resist and do and can remember are also made to disappear. 

A study in memory and what a suppressed memory or lost memories can mean for a group of people as well as for the individual.

In this novel, a young woman hides her book editor, one of those whose memory of things that have disappeared make him a target for the Memory Police, who make sure no one stays who remembers what have been taken from them.

See my goodreads review.

Finished reading:

Tahoe Deep (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller Book 17)
Tahoe Deep

Tahoe Deep by Todd Borg, August 1, 2019, Thriller Press

Genre: mystery, thriller set around Lake Tahoe
Source: review copy from publisher/author

Review: I have been following Todd Borg's Owen McKenna Mystery series for quite a while and enjoy reading his thrillers set in this lovely mountain, lake, and ski resort area in California and Nevada.

When a 90-year-old man is found beaten in his home and a body washes up on the beaches of Lake Tahoe, PI Owen McKenna is called on to investigate. His sidekick Spot, a giant Great Dane, is always there to help, as is his girlfriend and entymologist Street. The mystery involves the scuttling years before of the SS Tahoe Steamer, which lies under the lake's deep and cold waters.

A boy saw people board the steamer before it was sunk, and this becomes dangerous for him, even though this boy is now a 90-year-old man.

McKenna takes us on an investigative ride with thrills, suspense, and danger, especially involving diving or free diving (diving without equipment) in Lake Tahoe. 

The author has made Lake Tahoe and its surroundings the setting for his series, and it is still a magnificent and unusual place, lending its aura and uniqueness to the mystery novel. Highly recommended.

Other reading:

I am in the middle of another fascinating book, a literary novel about a young traveler in a new place, who must find out who she really is and where she really belongs. 

The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, March 12, 2019, Knopf Publishing Group


I'm also reading Swedish crime writer Viveca Sten's Guiltless,  Sandhamn mystery #3,  and plan to finish the entire series of 9 books. A new one, the 10th,  comes out later this year. 

E-Books borrowed:

Gun Island
Gun Island  by Amitev Ghosh
September 10, 2019, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The novel is described as a "globetrotting, folkloric adventure novel" involving family and heritage.  A young man leaves India and takes a trip of discovery from India to Los Angeles and then Venice. Seems like the book for me!

What are you reading this week?
Memes: 
The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Reading, and the Sunday Salon,  Mailbox Monday.

Aug 27, 2019

First Chapter: Hope Is Our Only Wing by Rutendo Tavengerwei


Hope Is Our Only Wing

Hope Is Our Only Wing by Rutendo Tavengerwei

September 10, 2019, Soho Teen
Setting: Zimbabwe 2008

A fifteen-year-old girl and her new friend find courage in the face of terrible personal losses during a time of upheaval in Zimbabwe

First chapter, first paragraph:

Shamiso's heart broke into a shudder of beats. She could hear the jazzy trails of the mbira spiraling in the air. Her father would have loved that sound. She glanced at her mother, who stood next to her, fanning her sweaty neck. She seemed preoccupied. The music played on, painful and familiar.

Meme: Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book they are reading or that they plan to read. 

Aug 17, 2019

Sunday Salon: Books Reviewed and Books Not Yet Read

Finished reading:

Closed Circles by Viveca Sten

Closed Circles by Viveca Sten, borrowed from Amazon Unlimited.

Genre: mystery, police procedural

I really enjoy the books in this series, and will be reading the next, #3, Guiltless soon. The setting of the Swedish archipelago and the touristy island of Sandhamn adds much atmosphere to the story. 

This is part mystery, part police procedural, cleverly written to always keep you on your toes. 

The sailing regatta organized by the Royal Swedish Yacht Club is the starting point for this excellent murder mystery. 


The Blue Hour
The Blue Hour

The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy, February 16, 2019, Atria Books

Genre: travel adventure, family drama, contemporary fiction
Setting: Morocco
Source: library book

A couple take their troubles with each other all the way to Morocco, at the insistence of the husband, Paul. His wife Robin goes along but finds out soon that all is not what it seems and that Paul seems to be living a double life, having a past that he never revealed to her.

This dramatic thriller involves accountant Robin and her talented but enigmatic artist husband Paul, in Morocco. Their relationship begins to deteriorate  on this trip, their actions drive them further apart. 

The realism of the novel, while telling a lot about traveling in this North African country,  made me wish for a more artistic and less stark telling of the story, however.

New books:

Cookies and Clairvoyance (Magical Bakery Mystery #8)
Cookies and Clairvoyance, Magical Bakery Mystery by Bailey Cates, August 27, 2019, Berkley

Baker Kathie Lightfoot makes cookies with magical properties. She also acts as an amateur sleuth. 

Silent Night, Deadly Night (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery, #4)
Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany, August 27, 2019, Berkley 
In this Year-Round Christmas series, Merry, the owner of a Christmas shop, must solve a murder to keep the spirit of the holiday going.



Memes: 
The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Reading, and the Sunday Salon,  Mailbox Monday.

Aug 16, 2019

Book Beginning: The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter, August 20, 2019, William Morrow

The Last Widow (Will Trent, #9)

The Last Widow

Description: A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor. 

A devastating explosion
A diabolical enemy
Book beginning:PROLOGUE 
Michelle Spivey jogged through the back of the store, frantically scanning each aisle for her daughter, panicked thoughts circling her brain: How did I lose sight of her I am a horrible mother my baby was didnapped by a pedophiole or a human trafficker should I flag store security or call the police or --
Ashley.
Michelle stopped so abruptly that her shoe snicked against the floor....
Page 56: 
Maggie said, "I'll briefly run down the SWAT Bible on transport from the APD perspective. We're all following the Active Shooter Doctrine. No negotiation. Just pop and drop....
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