Dec 31, 2013

My Life in Books 2013

Got this meme from a couple of bloggers, from Books and Movies in 2012 -  My Life in Books, My Life According to Literature. Think I'll try it again using books read in 2013. Join in if you wish!  It can be pretty amusing!

Which book (titles) read in 2013 describe your life so far?

Describe myself:
The Girl Who Married An Eagle
Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy 

How do I feel:
Me Before You 
Bend Not Break
I Am Venus

Describe where I currently live:
The Orchid House
Beautiful Ruins
The Valley of Amazement

 If I could go anywhere, where I would go:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane 
The Nine Fold Heaven

My favorite form of transportation:

My best friend(s) is/are:
Five Star Billionaire
The Aviator's Wife
The Woman From Paris

My friends and I are:
Crazy Rich Asians (not!)
Birds in Paradise 

What’s the weather like:
Prague Winter

Favorite Time of Day:
 A Tainted Dawn

What is life to you:
A Whisper to a Scream
An Incurable Insanity 

You fear:
The Illusion of Separateness
A Cold and Lonely Place 

What is the best advice you have to give:
How to Be a Good Wife 
Bend Not Break
Have Mother, Will Travel

Thought for the day:
Brady Needs a Nightlight
The Comfort of Lies 

How I would like to die:
Speaking from Among the Bones
Going Through the Notions

My soul’s present condition:
The Yoga Face 

Click on each book title to see the review or information about the book.

I picked these books almost at random and could have given completely different answers as well. What titles have you read in 2013 that could answer these questions?

Here is last year's meme: My Life in Books 2012

First Chapter: SACRE BLEU by Christopher Moore

 First Chapter, First Paragraph is a weekly meme hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea.

Prelude, first paragraph:
This is a story about the color blue. It may dodge and weave, hide and deceive, take you down paths of love and history and inspiration, but it's always about blue.
First chapter, first paragraph:
On the day he was to be murdered, Vincent Van Gogh encountered a Gypsy on the cobbles outside the inn where he'd just eaten lunch. "Big hat," said the Gypsy.
"Well, that explains it, said the woman. "The Louvre's a little pious, isn't it? Can't throw a round of darts in there without scoring three Madonnas and a baby Jesus. And Raphael was a lazy little fop." (ch. 5) 
Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art by Christopher Moore
Published April 12,2013; Harper Collins
Genre: historical fiction, satire
Source: publisher
"Moore’s Sacre Bleu is part mystery, part history (sort of), part love story, and wholly hilarious as it follows a young baker-painter who joins the dapper Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the supposed suicide of Vincent van Gogh."

Dec 29, 2013

Mailbox Monday:The Last Post for 2013.

Thanks to Rose City Reader for the final Mailbox Monday in December! Beginning January, check out Mailbox Monday at it's permanent home. The Story Siren also has an In My Mailbox meme.

A few review books came in, some a surprise and some expected. They are all very welcome, of course!

Thanks to author Tracy Weber for her new yoga cozy mystery, Murder Strikes a Pose.
And to author James Zerndt forThe Korean Word for Butterfly, to be reviewed for a book tour.
To Workman Publishing for Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors by Susanna Hoffman and Victoria Wise

To Harper Collins for ARCs of Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley and The Fishing Fleet by Anne de Courcy.
To William Morrow for an ARC of  The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson.

What other books shall I read the first few weeks of 2014? Probably the dog walking memoir, Short Leash by Janice Gary, for a book tour mid-January. I have already read the children's book, Brady Needs a Nightlight, for its January 8 tour.

Come back then! What's in your mailbox?

Dec 28, 2013

Sunday Salon: Books Read in 2013: 100+ Books in a Year Reading Challenge

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.

Last year, I signed up with Book Chick City for the 100 Books in a Year challenge to read 100 or more books from January 1, 2013 to the end of the year. I joined the challenge again as I did the past two years. The books I don't finish don't get on the list and not all the books I read were reviewed. Click on the titles to see reviews or information about the books. 

1. A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson, humorous women's fiction
 2. Merciless by Lori Armstrong, mystery *
 3. The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, mystery *
4. A Whisper to a Scream by Karen Wojcik Berner, contemporary women's fiction *
5. Absolute Liability: Southern Fraud Suspense by J.W. Becton, mystery
6. Rally 'Round the Corpse by Hy Conrad, mystery
7. The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley, historical fiction
8. The Woman From Paris by Santa Montefiore, contemporary fiction
9. Birds in Paradise by Dorothy McFalls, Hawaiian mystery novella
10. Shimura Trouble by Sujata Massey, Hawaiian mystery *

11. The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas, historical mystery
12. The Blood Gospel by Rollins and Cantrell, sci-fi/fantasy
13. A Tainted Dawn: The Great War, Book 1 by B.N. Peacock, historical fiction
14. Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley, mystery *
15. The Lost Soul by Gabriella Pierce, paranormal, fantasy
16. The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin, historical fiction *
17. Perfect Hatred by Leighton Gage, police procedural, mystery
18. Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards, by Kit Brennan, historical mystery
19. The Doctor of Thessaly by Anne Zouroudi, mystery
20. The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers, contemporary fiction
21. The Secret of the Nightingale Palace by Dana Sachs, historical romance
22. The Burning Air by Erin Kelly, psychological suspense
23. A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry, mystery
24. The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg, thriller
25. Seven Locks by Christine Wade, historical fiction

26. The Woman Who Wouldn't Die by Colin Cotterill, mystery
27. Murder Below Montparnasse by Cara Black, mystery
28. Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright, memoir
29. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruis Zafon, literary fiction
30. The Missing File by D. A. Mishani, mystery
31. When Maidens Mourn by C. S. Harris, mystery
32. Undercurrents by Pamela Beason, mystery
33. The Boreal Owl Murder by Jan Dunlap, birding mystery
34. Rocamora by Donald Michael Platt, historical fiction
35. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, fiction
36. Have Mother, Will Travel by Claire and Mia Fontaine, memoir
37. Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh, fiction
38. The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks by Gillian Royes, mystery
39. The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, romance
40. Tiger Babies Strike Back by Kim Wong Keltner, memoir
41. Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd, historical fiction

42. Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans by Joanne DeMaio, women's fiction
43. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein, historical fiction
44. The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott, cozy mystery
45. A Half Forgotten Song by Katherine Webb, fiction
46. Mayhem at the Orient Express by Kylie Logan, cozy mystery
47. The Wonder Bread Summer by Jessica Anya Blau
48. Lethal Outlook: A Psychic Eye Mystery by Victoria Laurie
49. Running With the Enemy by Lloyd Lofthouse, Vietnam historical novel, suspense
50. The Original 1982 by Lori Carson, fiction

51. Gaijin Cowgirl by Jame DiBiasio, adventure
52. I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert, memoir
53. The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines by Shohreh Aghdashloo, memoir
54. Slingshot by Matthew Dunn, thriller
55. Blind Curves by Linda Crill, travel memoir
56. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, fiction
57. The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy, literary fiction
58. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley, historical fiction
59. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, fantasy
60. Snapper by Brian Kimberling, fiction
61. Candy and the Cankersaur by Jason Sandberg, illustrated picture ebook
62. Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura, thriller
63. This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila, literary fiction
64. The Translator by Nina Schuyler, fiction
65. The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio, historical mystery

66. The Nine Fold Heaven by Mingmei Yip, historical novel
67. The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March, women's fiction
68. Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw, fiction
69. Bend Not Break by Ping Fu, memoir
70. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, fiction
71. The Third Son by Julie Wu, historical fiction
72. Redemption (A Conspiracy of Faith) by Jussi Adler-Olsen, Scandinavian thriller
73. Mystery Girl by David Gordon, fiction
74. The English Girl by Daniel Silva, thriller

75. The Girl Who Married An Eagle by Tamar Myers, mystery
76. Going Through the Notions by Cate Pric, cozy mystery
77. The Sound and the Furry by Spencer Quinn, mystery
78. Reese's Leap by Darcy Scott, mystery
79. Moonrise by Cassandra King, mystery
80. Murder by Syllabub by Kathleen Delaney, mystery
81. The Shogun's Daughter by Laura Joh Rowland, historical mystery
82. The Case of the Love Commandos by Tarquin Hall, mystery
83. I Am Venus by Barbara Mujica, historical fiction
84. A Secondhand Murder by Leslie A. Diehl, mystery
85. An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao, fiction
86. Cartwheel by Jennifer DuBois, fiction, suspense
87. A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry, mystery
88. The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris, fiction, historical
89. Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, Scandinavian crime
90. Itsy Bitsy Spider by Willow Rose, thriller/horror
91. The Detachment by Barry Eisler, thriller
92. The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan, historical fiction
93. Paws for Murder by Annie Knox, cozy mystery

94. Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen, women's fiction
95. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny, crime fiction
96. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom, literary fiction
97. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, historical fiction, romance
98. Brady Needs a Nightlight by Brian Barlicks and Gregory Burgess Jones, children's book
99. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, women's fiction
100. Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford, literary fiction
101. The Yoga Face by Annalise Hagen, yoga, health
102. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, women's fiction
103. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout, fiction
104. Larry's Kidney by Daniel Asa Rose, memoir
105. Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem, YA novel
106. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella, contemporary romance
107. Tahoe Chase by Todd Borg, thriller, suspense
108. How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman, women's fiction, suspense
109. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Books almost all read, but not quite...
1. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
2. The Death of Yesterday by M.C. Beaton, mystery

I began to star books I really liked, but then thought I'd have to star just about every one I read in 2013, so...the starring stopped. I don't normally finish books I don't like, unless they are for a book tour, and I don't recall hating any of those. So, you can just assume I loved all these books! (I keep adding to this list as I realize I didn't include all the books I read this year.)

Louise Penny, Amy Tan, Laura Joh Rowland, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Spencer Quinn, Ruth Ozeki, are among the many authors whose novels I enjoyed. And there are others I have not listed here - I'd have to include way too many!

Don't ask me to choose....but I do ask you. What were your favorite books in 2013?

I'm sending this list to semicolon's special edition of the Saturday Review of Books, a wrap up of books for 2013 by bloggers. Note that my list is of Books Read, as most, but not all, were reviewed. 

Dec 26, 2013

QUILT TRIP a Novel by Elizabeth Spann Craig

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:
Depending on whether she was having a good day or a bad one, Miss Sissy's surprises could be various levels of extraordinary.
Book beginning:
Beatrice Coleman looked in horror at her neighbor Meadow Downey. "You mean we're not even invited? We're gate crashing?"
Book description:
"Beatrice has never crashed a party but now her fellow quilt guild member, Meadow Downey, is driving them to a Victorian mansion in the mountains beyond Dappled Hills, North Carolina. Muriel Starnes, an elderly eccentric, has organized a meeting of quilters to pick someone to administer a quilting scholarship.

But once the quilters arrive at the mansion, an ice storm leaves them stranded for the night. And by the next morning, they are one fewer—for Muriel has been sent to meet her maker. It’s up to Beatrice and the Village Quilters to figure out who has a guilty conscience."(goodreads)

Title: Quilt Trip by Elizabeth Spann Craig
Published December 3, 2013; Signet
Genre: cozy mystery

I guess it can snow in North Carolina in the winter. See the snow on the book cover?

Dec 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to everyone. Thanks for visiting and reading Book Dilettante. Hope to see you again in the New Year!
(graphic courtesy of Webweavers Free Clip Art)

Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Title: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
Published August 20, 2013
Source: library book
Rating: 4.5/5
It was then I realized he was still looking at the painting....
He kept staring at it. Behind him, his men had begun to leave, their voices loud and harsh, bouncing across the empty square. I shivered a little ever time the door opened.
"It looks so like you."
(ch. 3)
A painting of Sophie, done by her husband who is a prisoner of the Germans during WWI, hangs in her hotel  in a small French town. It is being admired by the German commandant who has requisitioned the hotel dining room and ordered Sophie and her sister to cook for his men. This painting being marveled at by the commandant causes no end of trouble for Sophie in 1916 and continues to create problems later in modern London, ninety years later, when the newest owner of the painting, Liv, fights to keep possession of it.

The arresting quality of the woman in the painting reminds me of Vermeer's 17th century painting, "Girl with a Pearl Earring."  Liv, in the 21th century, is entranced by the woman in her own painting, "The Girl You Left Behind," and must fight to prove that her ownership is valid and that the painting is not a spoil of war that must be returned to the painter's family.

The novel focuses on restitution, especially in the art world, when lost and stolen art are being reclaimed and returned to their original owners, and where current owners of art are required to provide a history of its ownership or its provenance.

Well written and engrossing, the novel is part historical fiction and part romance. I read the book in about two days, caught up in the story, the characters, and the issue of stolen art, provenance, and recent history. I'd recommend this as an excellent book for readers.

Any particular book caught your interest lately?

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