Oct 30, 2013

TATIANA: A Novel by Martin Cruz Smith

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted weekly by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Let us know what new releases you are eagerly awaiting. Link your post to Breaking the Spine.

Title: Tatiana: An Arkady Renko Novel by Martin Cruz Smith
Expected publication: November 12, 2013; Simon and Schuster
Genre: suspense, crime fiction
Source: publisher

Book description:
One of the iconic investigators of contemporary fiction, Arkady Renko—cynical, analytical, and quietly subversive—has survived the cultural journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find the nation as obsessed with secrecy and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship. In Tatiana, the melancholy hero finds himself on the trail of a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia herself.

The fearless investigative reporter Tatiana Petrovna falls to her death from a sixth-floor window in Moscow the same week that a mob billionaire, Grisha Grigorenko, is shot and buried with the trappings due a lord. No one makes the connection, but Arkady is transfixed by the tapes he discovers of Tatiana’s voice, even as she describes horrific crimes hidden by official versions. The trail leads to Kaliningrad, a Cold War “secret city” and home of the Baltic Fleet, separated by hundreds of miles from the rest of Russia. Arkady delves into Tatiana’s past and a surreal world of wandering dunes and amber mines. His only link is a notebook written in the personal code of a translator whose body is found in the dunes. Arkady’s only hope of decoding the symbols lies in Zhenya, a teenage chess hustler.

Sounds like a book about post-Communism Russia that would be fascinating.
What new books are you waiting on?

Oct 28, 2013

Book Review: An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao

Title: An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao
Published October 8, 2013; Tate Publishing
Genre: fiction
"Tell me, what have I done to deserve this? To marry you, be ready to spend the rest of my life with you, then suffer rejection not once but twice. Do you know how humiliating it is? How many nights have I spend wondering what sins I was being punished for?"
"No, Ruhi, you've done nothing wrong!" The words came out in a rush as he  folded her tenderly in his arms. (p. 172)
Synopsis: Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled, he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind. (publisher)

My comments: An interesting story of an arranged marriage of two people who settle in Los Angeles after their marriage ceremony in India. It's a love story of how the reluctant husband eventually comes to cherish his rebuffed wife. I learned a lot about the Indian culture and was taken behind the scenes of some traditional unions, what a couple might have to go through before they settle into the inevitability of an arranged marriage. In this novel, the final outcome is predictable, and the characters a bit stereotypical. The wife Ruhi, for example, seemed at the beginning just too perfect; Shaan later becomes just too love struck. These points could be the main drawback for a reader, though I did appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at potential problems and potential happy outcomes for this type of marriage.

Simi K. Rao was born in India and lives in Denver with her family. This book is her first. The inspiration for the story came from the immigrant community. Some of the experiences are her own; some are from friends and conversations with acquaintances. She also writes poetry, is an avid photographer, loves to travel, and is a practicing physician. Connect with Simi on her website, Twitter, Facebook.

For other reviews, visit the book tour schedule organized by TLC Book Tours
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the author for a review copy of this book.  If you have difficulty leaving a comment, click on Book Dilettante and try again.

Oct 27, 2013

Sunday Salon: Autumn Honey, Apples, and Pumpkins

The Sunday Salon.com Welcome to the Sunday Salon! Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; Showcase Sunday at Books, Biscuits, and Tea; and It's Monday: What Are You Reading? at Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday at Book Dragon’s Lair this month.

Image by Johnston Fruit Farms
We drove over to a fruit farm the other day and bought some cooking pumpkins, Fuji apples, and their delicious honey. Honey on bread, yum! You get the real flavor of the honey this way, though my DH loves it to sweeten his coffee.

My splurge for the week was a leather Fossil mini wallet to replace my old vinyl fanny pack. I thought it a bit pricy for an itty-bitty purse, but in persuading me, the sales girl said her mother loves this brand, which "lasts forever."  I was persuaded.

This is a Scandinavian thriller I wish I had more time to read... found it on my shelves, but I'll get to it eventually.

Review books I received last week:

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman, ARC from William Morrow
Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd, ARC from William Morrow
The Sister Season by Jennier Scott, Penguin paperback
The Secrets She Carried by Barbara Davis, Penguin paperback

What came in your mailbox? Have a fantastic Sunday doing whatever you love best!
If you have difficulty leaving a message, click on Book Dilettante and try again.

Oct 25, 2013

Inherit the Dead,by twenty different thriller writers

Friday 56 Rules: *Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice.

Also Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.

Page 56:
"Could you tell me how well you know the family?" he asked her.
"We run in the same social circles," she said, as if that should explain all.
"So you don't really know her?" he asked.
Book beginning:
The call had been unexpected. The reference - a friend of a friend of a friend - too complicated to follow. But the job - if it turned into a job - was simple enough, a missing person. Or so the caller had said. But Perry Christo, former NYPD homicide detective turned private investigator, knew nothing was ever simple. (Jonathan Santlofer)

Title: Inherit the Dead: A Novel
Published October 8, 2013; Touchstone
Genre: mystery

Book description:
"Pericles “Perry” Christo is a former cop who lost his badge and his family when a corruption scandal left him broke and disgraced. When wealthy Upper East Side matron Julia Drusilla summons him one cold February night, he grabs what seems to be a straightforward (and lucrative) case. The socialite is looking for her beautiful, aimless daughter, Angelina, who is about to become a very wealthy young woman. But as Christo digs deeper, he discovers there’s much more to the lovely “Angel” than meets the eye.

This classic noir tale twists and turns down New York’s mean streets and along Hamp­tons’ beaches and back roads during a bitterly cold and gray winter where nothing is as it seems and everyone has something to hide. In an inventive storytelling approach, twenty different writers brings their distinctive voice to a chapter of Inherit the Dead, building the ten­sion to a shocking, explosive finale." (publisher)

Ever read a novel in which each chapter is written by a different author? Here is one!
If you have difficulty leaving a comment, click on Book Dilettante and try again.

Oct 23, 2013

Book Tour: A Secondhand Murder by Lesley A Diehl

Synopsis: Eve Appel moves from Connecticut to rural Florida to start a new life, free from her soon-to-be ex-husband. The town of Sabal Bay proves to be the perfect spot for her consignment store. Florida’s society matrons need a place to discreetly sell their stuff and pick up expensive-looking bargains. But Eve’s life and her business are turned upside down when a wealthy customer is found stabbed to death in a fitting room.

With the help of an unlikely bunch—including her estranged ex, her best friend, a handsome private eye, and a charming mafia don—she struggles to find answers and save lives. Through distorted half-truths, dramatic cover-ups, and unrequited passions, Eve learns just how far the wealthy will go to regain what they have lost. A Secondhand Murder is Book 1 of the Eve Appel Mysteries Series.

My comments: What starts out in the consignment shop ends up in a very different place. The story shifts from what seems a simple case to become one more complex.  I was hooked by the setting and the characters in the first half of the book but was led into a different direction later on, with new characters introduced, which meant the wrap up of the mystery took a longer time.  Overall, however, a good novel with appealing main personalities - Eve and her feisty Grandy (grandmother).

Title: A Secondhand Murder by Lesley Diehl 
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Camel Press, September 15, 2013
About the author: Lesley Diehl retired as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. She devotes afternoons to writing and, when the sun sets, relaxing on the bank of her trout stream, sipping tea or a local microbrew. In the winter she migrates to old Florida--cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle. 

Book tour organized by Partners In Crime Tours, which provided a review copy of the book.
If you have difficulty leaving a comment, click on Book Dilettante and try again.

Oct 22, 2013

First Chapter: The Edwin Drood Murders by Christopher Lord

Teaser Tuesdays  is hosted by MizB; choose sentences from your current read and identify author and title for readers.  First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea.

Title: The Edwin Drood Murders (A Dickens Junction Mystery) by Christopher Lord
Published September 24, 2013; Harrison Thurman Books
Genre: mystery
"So, having seen the Star of Stockholm years ago in Malmo, part of my interest in coming here was to see the Heart for myself," she said. "Gem cutters around the world comment on its perfect facets and the artistry of the diamond settings."

"My goodness," Osma said to Simon. "I feel as if I'm on Antiques Roadshow." (p. 76)
Opening paragraph:
Quilpy's Quill, April 2

I've been blogging for-EVAH bout the upcoming Droodist conference. I got my press pass and registration today!! Quilpy can't afford a Columbia River-view room at the fabulous Hotel Elliott in Astoria, but I'll be there with Dingley Dell bells on! Click below to learn how you can $upport Quilpy's Quest for a Queen (-size bed, that is).

Would you keep reading on? Here is the book description:
The Droodists have arrived in Astoria, Oregon, for their latest convention to discuss Charles Dickens's last uncompleted novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and local bookstore owner Simon Alastair has his hands full as co-chair. A movie star, a pesky blogger, dueling scholars, a stage hypnotist, and an old family friend (among others) all have claims on Simon's time. In addition, some Droodists are clearly more -or less- than they appear, including a mysterious young man by the improbable name of Edwin Drood.

When a priceless ring and a rare Dickensian artifact go missing, Simon and his reporter-partner Zach Benjamin learn that someone will do anything-including murder-to obtain an object of desire. The Edwin Drood Murders is the new mystery series that began with The Christmas Carol Murders.

If you have difficulty leaving a comment, click on Book Dilettante and try again. 

Oct 20, 2013

Sunday Salon: Rainy Days

The Sunday Salon.com Welcome to the Sunday Salon! Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; Showcase Sunday at Books, Biscuits, and Tea; and  It's Monday: What Are You Reading? at Book Journey. And Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Gina at Book Dragon's Lair.

It got colder, rained almost all day today, and washed out a day of events planned by local businesses in one area of town. The late night music scene was still going on though as the skies cleared at 4 p.m. though I didn't see many people around even at 5 p.m. Maybe we were spoiled by previous warm days and aren't used to the sudden drop in temperatures.

I finished reading a Soho teen novel, Dancer Daughter Traitor Spy by Elizabeth Kiem, and found it just so-so as a mystery novel. I was interested in it most of the way through but didn't like how the plot took you through several thrilling possibilities but then let you down at the end. This was Kiem's first novel.

My current read is Killer Librarian, the first in the mystery series by Mary Lou Kirwin, and plan to read the follow-up, Death Overdue, both in paperback to be released in November. I like the bookish setting.

Last week I received two ARCs for review:
The Bird Skinner by Alice Greenway, fiction: "the story of Jim Carroway, a World War II Vietnam Vet once called Jungle Jim, who has moved to a tiny island in Maine to seclude himself from his former life.  Once Jim was a noted ornithologist collecting and skinning birds as specimens he sent back to the Museum of Natural History in New York where he worked. Since his amputation, his lifelong work has become impossible. Now hiding out on Fox Island, away from his adult son and grandchildren in Connecticut and his colleagues in New York, he is depressed and in pain.

Jim’s slowly deteriorating mind unravels memories that take him back to the war in Guadalcanal, where he was with Naval Intelligence, spying on the Japanese for Admiral Halsey on a remote Solomon Island. There he became friends with a young native, Tosca, who taught him about the islands. Now in Maine, Jim finds out that Tosca, whom he hasn’t heard from in thirty years, is sending his daughter Cadillac to stay with him for a month before she starts Yale on a scholarship. Cadillac arrives to Jim’s consternation, but she is utterly captivating, totally original. She will capture his heart and the heart of everyone she meets."

The Girl With a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson, mystery
and two finished review books:
The Unidentified Redhead by Alice Clayton, romance
Unthinkable by Richard Cibrano, historical novel

A couple of these I requested and a couple were unsolicited.
As for book tours, I have a few left this year and scheduled a children's book for January. I hope to keep the number down to a minimum in 2014, one of my blogging resolutions for the new year!

What are you reading and what books arrived last week?

Why I Never Finished My Dissertation by Laura Foley: Poetry Book Tour

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