Dec 10, 2014

Book Review: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

Title: Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Anthony Horowitz
Published December 9, 2014; Harper
Genre: mystery

My review:
In the first Sherlock Holmes mystery by Horowitz, Moriarty dies in a confrontation with his enemy Sherlock at the Reichenbach Falls and is replaced by a new criminal mastermind. This new novel is told by Frederick Chase, a senior investigator with Pinkerton Detective Agency in New York. He it is who tries to trace the truth of what happened at the falls that day.

But what really did happen? The novel ends with a delicious twist that will have Sherlock Holmes fan waiting for the next in this series.
'We cannot be certain that this is Moriarty,' I suggested. 'You were quite correct when you said that I could not identify him. But can you?' (from ARE chapter 2; final copy may differ)
Lovers of Sherlock Holmes will love this new series that began with House of Silk. 

Publisher description:
The game is once again afoot in this mystery from the author of The House of Silk, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, which explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. A riveting tale of murder and menace, Moriarty breathes life into Holmes’s dark and fascinating world.

Anthony Horowitz of London s the author of  The House of Silk and the New York Times number one bestselling Alex Rider series for Young Adults. As a television screenwriter he created both Midsomer Murders and the BAFTA-winning Foyle’s War, both of which were featured on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery. In January 2014 he was awarded an OBE for his services to literature. Visit his website and connect with him on Twitter.

For more book reviews and the book tour schedule, visit TLC Book Tours.
I received an advance readers edition of this book for review. 

Dec 8, 2014

Book Review: Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat-Jones

Fog Island Mountains
Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat-Jones
Published November 4, 2014; Tantor
Genre: literary fiction

There are two dramatic stories going on in this novel set in the Fog Island Mountains in southern Japan: a mortally ill South African man waits in vain for his Japanese wife to return home so they can confront together the expected diagnosis of the doctor at the local hospital. Alec's wife, however, is unable to confront the reality of  the imminent loss of her husband and seeks escape in several ways.

The second story is that there is a massive typhoon heading towards the town and these mountains. The inhabitants of the small town must seek shelter at the same time as look for the missing Alec and his wife Kanae, both of whom disappear separately.

Interwoven into these two stories is the storyteller who describes the town's events as well as shows us a wild fox she rescued and healed, and the fox-spirit, the kitsune in Japanese folklore, that has cunning, stealth and other human qualities.

Engrossing literary novel - a moving story of love, fear, and reconciliation, beautifully written.

About the author:
Michelle Bailat-Jones is a writer and translator. Fog Island Mountains won the Christopher Doheny Award from the Center for Fiction in New York City. She translated Charles Ferdinand Ramuz s 1927 Swiss classic Beauty on Earth. She is the reviews editor at the web journal Necessary Fiction, and her fiction, poetry, translations, and criticism have appeared in a number of journals, including the Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Quarterly Conversation, PANK, Spolia Mag, Two Serious Ladies, and the Atticus Review. Michelle lives in Switzerland.

Publisher description:
What if you could rewrite a tragedy? What if you could give grace to someone's greatest mistake?
 Huddled beneath the volcanoes of the Kirishima mountain range in southern Japan, also called the Fog Island Mountains, the inhabitants of small town Komachi are waiting for the biggest of the summer’s typhoons. South African expatriate Alec Chester has lived in Komachi for nearly forty years. Alec considers himself an ordinary man, with common troubles and mundane achievements until his doctor gives him a terminal cancer diagnosis and his wife, Kanae, disappears into the gathering storm. Kanae flees from the terrifying reality of Alec’s diagnosis, even going so far as to tell a childhood friend that she is already a widow.

Narrating this story is Azami, one of Komachi’s oldest and most peculiar inhabitants, the daughter of a famous storyteller with a mysterious story of her own. A haunting and beautiful reinterpretation of the Japanese kitsune folktale tradition, Fog Island Mountains is a novel about the dangers of action taken in grief and of a belief in healing through storytelling.

For more reviews and for the book tour schedule, visit TLC Book Tours for Fog Island Mountains.
Thanks to the publisher and TLC for a review galley of this book.

Dec 6, 2014

Sunday Salon: A Post Without Pictures

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey.

I'm engrossed in reading The Visitors by Sally Beauman, a novel set in 19th century Egypt about the discovery of the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun. I am also reading a library find, Blood Rubies by Jane Cleland, an antiques mystery.

Book tours are coming up next week for Fog Island Mountains set in typhoon-prone northern Japan, and for Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz, a novel about the infamous archenemy of Sherlock Holmes.

Thanks to the publishers for the following review ARCs and books - fiction and nonfiction:

Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Book by Laura Lippman - private detective Tess Monaghan, introduced in the classic Baltimore Blues, in an absorbing mystery that plunges the new parent into a disturbing case involving murder and a manipulative mother.

Flesh and Blood: Kay Scarpetta #22 by Patricia Cornwall -  high-stakes series starring Kay Scarpetta—a complex tale involving a serial sniper who strikes chillingly close to the forensic sleuth herself.

Driving the King, a novel by Ravi Howard - A daring  new novel that explores race and class in 1950s America, witnessed through the experiences of Nat King Cole and his driver, Nat Weary

A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory by Sara Midda - From the author of the international bestseller In and Out of the Garden and the wondrous sketchbook Sara Midda’s South of France comes a long-awaited treasure of a book. Drawn from the artist’s wealth of impressions and memories, it is a book for lovers of food and art and fine gift books—a book for anyone who, upon arriving in a new town, seeks first the local market, or who believes the best thing to do on a given night is to share a table with friends. 

Russian Tattoo: A Memoir by Elena Gorokhova - An exquisite portrait of mothers and daughters that reaches from Cold War Russia to modern-day New Jersey, from the author of A Mountain of Crumbs—the memoir that “leaves you wanting more” (The Daily Telegraph, UK).

What books are new on your desk?

Dec 4, 2014

Book Review: Secrets of a Thousand Beauties by Mingmei Yip

The Friday 56: *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 visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.

Secrets of a Thousand Beauties by Mingmei Yip
Published November 25, 2014; Kensington
Genre: historical fiction
Book beginning:
It was my wedding day.
I was horrified.
Because my soon-to-be-lawful - and awful - husband was not even a man.
He was a ghost.
Page 56:
 "Now, watch carefully - I am going to use the 'wandering stitch' to show the mane of a galloping horse." 
My comments: On the day of her wedding as a ghost bride, Spring Swallow escapes from the family whose son she is betrothed to, a son who has died. Rather than live her life as as a widow in the home of a dead husband's family, she escapes to find a new life. She joins a group of embroiderers led by Aunty Peony, a woman who was once an embroiderer in the court of the Emperor.

The novel is told from Spring Swallow's point of view, but the story is also about Aunty Peony who once decorated the Emperor's robes with skillful and elaborate embroidery art, but who is now trying to piece together a living on her own. Aunt Peony's story is a sad one, reflecting the perilous and uncertain position of women during the Qing Dynasty and after its fall. In contrast, the younger woman Spring Swallow finds her way in a new era after the fall of the dynasty.

Intriguing historical setting and information about the centuries old art of embroidery in China. The author brings this art to life in her historical novel while telling the stories of these two women, Aunt Peony and Spring Swallow. An interesting novel, recommended for those interested in traditional culture and the arts in Chinese history.

Thanks to the author for a review ARC of this book.

Dec 3, 2014

Book Review: Meow If It's For Murder by T.C. LoTempio

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Meow If It's For Murder by T. C. LoTempio
Published December 2, 2014 Berkley
Genre: cozy mystery

My comments: A new series, A Nick and Nora Mystery, features Nick, a cat that nudges telltale books and Scrabble letters at the main character and helps solve crimes. Taken with a huge grain of salt, this cozy will work for serious cat lovers who are also mystery lovers.

Book description:
Nora Charles doesn’t believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she’s moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora’s not just reporting crimes again. She’s uncovering them…

Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too. 

Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger’s death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters—clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora’s wits, and maybe a few of Nick’s nine lives. (goodreads)

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

Dec 2, 2014

Book Review: Aground on St. Thomas by Rebecca M. Hale

Title: Aground on St. Thomas by Rebecca M. Hale
Published December 2, 2014; Berkley
Genre: cozy mystery

This was an unusual cozy as it involved local politics on St. Thomas Virgin Islands and St. Croix, a fictitious story, of course. The governor of St. Thomas is in hiding from U.S. forces which have landed to take over the government in the wake of massive island corruption. The story line is based on a true story of the British invasion of the Turks and Caicos Islands some time ago for similar reasons..

Interesting, unusual. I'd recommend it for a light read that takes you to the island setting and its atmosphere.

Book description:
The tropical paradise of St. Thomas is shut down as the FBI seizes control of the island to apprehend government officials on bribery charges. Tourists and locals are stranded until FBI agent Gabe “Friday” Stein can find the missing governor and two senators who have eluded capture.

 Innocent of any crime, Senator Julia Sanchez can only escape wrongful arrest with the help of eccentric Senator Bobo. As they try to blend in with increasingly hostile locals and make their trek across the island to safety, Senator Sanchez is only just beginning to realize the extent of the corruption behind the island’s idyllic façade. (goodreads)

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

Dec 1, 2014

We Have a Winner!

Congrats to Suko on winning a print copy of The Demon Who Peddled Longing. An email has been sent to you.

The Demon Who Peddled Longing
Title: The Demon Who Peddled Longing by Khanh Ha
Published November 21, 2014; Underground Voices
Genre: multicultural fiction, literary fiction

This is almost a coming of age story as much as an odyssey, and a story of a young man's unholy pilgrimage to seek retribution for the wrong done to the young woman, his cousin. How he changes and matures toward the end of his journey is an intriguing part of the novel. Set in postwar Vietnam.

For my full review, visit

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. Sorry there weren't books to give to everyone!

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...