Apr 7, 2015

Book Review/Tour: BITTERSWEET by Susan Wittig Albert

First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted weekly by Bibliophile by the Sea. Share the first paragraph of your current read. Also visit Teaser Tuesdays meme hosted by Jenn.
Bittersweet: China Bayles #23 by Susan Wittig Albert
Published April 7, 2015; Berkley
Genre: mystery

First paragraph:
The blue and white Cessna 172 dropped out of the gray November sky. The pilot banked sharply, slowing to eighty knots, then turned on the carburetor heat and powered back to 1500 rpm. When he made the field, he extended another ten degrees of flaps, dropped his airspeed to seventy, and corrected for the crosswind that blew off the cliff to the west. He powered back, leveled off, and touched down at the end of the grassy north-south strip  The landing was bumpy but no rougher than usual...
Book description:
It’s Thanksgiving in Pecan Springs, and China Bayles is planning to visit her mother, Leatha, and her mother’s husband, Sam, who are turning their former game ranch into a vacation retreat for birders. But Leatha calls with bad news: Sam has had a heart attack.

How will Leatha manage if Sam can’t carry his share? She does have a helper, Sue Ellen Krause. But China discovers that Sue Ellen, who is in the process of leaving her marriage to the assistant foreman at a large trophy game ranch, is in some serious trouble. Before Sue Ellen can tell her full story, her car veers off a deserted road and she is killed.

Meanwhile, when a local veterinarian is shot, China's friend Mack Chambers believes his murder could be related to fawns stolen from a nearby ranch. China wonders if Sue Ellen’s death may not have been an accident, and if there’s a connection to the stolen animals. But their search for the truth may put their own lives in danger…

My comments and recommendations: 
The only part of Texas I have ever visited is Brownsville on the border with Mexico, so it was very interesting to read more about that state in this novel, Bittersweet. The birding is glorious, but also interesting are other events, such as the craze for game hunting on special ranches that import and breed deer for this sport.

More than invasive species of plants is at stake here. Deer and fawn are being imported from other states, which is illegal. A fascinating story and an equally fascinating mystery that is tied in to game hunting in Texas. I assume that this importing and breeding of deer is factual and incorporated into the mystery. A great read on many levels.

Objective rating: 5/5

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

First Chapter: AN UNCOMPLICATED LIFE by Paul Daugherty

First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted weekly by Bibliophile by the Sea. Share the first paragraph of your current read. Also visit Teaser Tuesdays meme hosted by Jenn.
An Uncomplicated Life: A Father's Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter by Paul Daugherty
Published March 17, 2015; William Morrow

First paragraph:
"I wide bike."
This is a story about a dream and a child and the progress of each. It starts on our driveway in early spring. Jillian Daugherty straddles a comically tiny two-wheeler that, against considerable odds and long-held perceptions, she intends to ride. She is 12 years old and prone to doing what all kids do. She's going to try to ride it. 
Book description:
A father's exhilarating and funny love letter to his daughter with Down syndrome whose vibrant and infectious approach to life has something to teach all of us about how we can better live our own.

Would you continue reading based on the opening paragraph and the book description?

Apr 5, 2015

Mailbox Monday: Mixed Genres

Visit Mailbox Monday to see what books bloggers are featuring.

Thanks to the publishers for the following books and ARCs for review: 

Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson; publication May 5, 2015

Second Chance Friends by Jennifer Scott; publication May 5, 2015

An Uncomplicated Life by Paul Daugherty; publication March 17, 2015

When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi; publication July 21, 2015

In the Dark Places by Peter Robinson; publication August 11, 2015

Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner; publication April 14, 2015

Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper; publication May 19, 2015

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain; publication July 28, 2015

What's new in your mailbox?

Currently reading:
Rock With Wings by Anne Hillerman, publication date May 5, 2015; Harper

Easter Sunday!

Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

photo by Harvee Lau
I'm reposting a photo from last year, April 20, 2014, the day on which Easter Sunday fell.
By that time, the daffodils had sprung up and shown their yellow heads.
This year, April 5, they are still hibernating.

The cottontail rabbits have been running around the lawns, however, the only sign of spring apart from my valiant purple crocus.

Happy Easter! Enjoy spring colors wherever you are!
If you celebrate Passover, happy celebrations as well!

Apr 4, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Crocus

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Out of the detritus of winter
A sign of new life 
Tentative, but sure.
Bright green, a hint of violet,
a new bloom.

- Harvee 

Apr 3, 2015

Book Beginning: ON GOLD MOUNTAIN by Lisa See

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.

On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family by Lisa See
Published February 7, 2012 by Vintage, Reprint Edition
Genre: memoir

Book beginning:
Chapter 1: The Wonder Time 1866-71 
Fong Dun Shung hoisted his God Mountain bag on to his shoulder and nodded one last time to his wife, daughter, and Number One and Number Four sons.He turned, and began the half-day's walk to Fatsan where he would board a sampan and float east through the Pearl River Delta to the big city of Canton. Then south to Hong Kong, where he would board a ship for Gam Saan, the Gold Mountain. Fong Dun Shung and his second and third sons padded single file among the raised pathways that divided the pale green rice fields that lay just outside the protective wall of Dimtao. How long, he wondered, would it be before they returned home?  
page 56:
Letticie supposed it was natural that one thing would lead to another. Hard work to success. Loneliness to happiness. Friendship to love. On January 15, 1897, Letticie Pruett of Central Point, Oregon, and Fong See, the fourth son of a Chinese herbalist, were wed. They went to a lawyer to draw up the papers for a contract marriage. Their union would be recognized by the state as a contract between two individuals, since California forbade interracial marriages. 
Book description:
In 1867, Lisa See's great-great-grandfather arrived in America, where he prescribed herbal remedies to immigrant laborers who were treated little better than slaves. His son Fong See later built a mercantile empire and married a Caucasian woman, in spite of laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Lisa herself grew up playing in her family's antiques store in Los Angeles's Chinatown, listening to stories of missionaries and prostitutes, movie stars and Chinese baseball teams. 
With these stories and her own years of research, Lisa See chronicles the one-hundred-year-odyssey of her Chinese-American family, a history that encompasses racism, romance, secret marriages, entrepreneurial genius, and much more, as two distinctly different cultures meet in a new world.  (amazon)

Fascinating history and memoir. This book started the author on her road to writing many more books on China, historical fiction. 

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...