Apr 30, 2015

Book Beginning: The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
Paperback published May 12, 2015; St. Martin's Griffin
Hardcover first published in 1987
Genre: fiction

Book description: 
Penelope Keeling's prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer...and it lies in her heart. (publisher)
Book beginning: The taxi, an old Rover smelling of  old cigarette smoke, trundled along the empty country road at an unhurried pace. It was early afternoon at the very end of February, a magic winter day of bitter cold, frost, and pale, cloudless skies. The sun shone, sending long shadows, but there was little warmth in it, and the ploughed fields lay hard as iron. From the chimneys of scattered farmhouses and small stone cottages, smoke rose, straight as columns, up into the still air, and flocks of sheep, heavy with wool and incipient pregnancy, gathered around feeding troughs, stuffed with fresh hay.  
Sitting in the back of the taxi, gazing through the dusty window, Penelope Keeling decided that she had never seen the familiar countryside look so beautiful.  
page 56:
"It's just that...this is the sort of place where I think I could stay. I wouldn't feel trapped or rooted here. I don't know why." She smiled at him. "I don't know why."
 This book was first published in 1987 and has been a bestseller since then. I have never read it but have heard about it, and now have the chance to read the new paperback edition to be published in May, Thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

The Friday 56: *Grab a 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 Beginning at Rose City Reader.

Apr 27, 2015

Memoir: FINDING SAMUEL LOWE by Paula Williams Madison

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.

A friend sent this book to me and I'm so glad she did. It was a terrific and inspirational read, about a woman's determination to find her mother Nell's paternal family, a family her mother had lost contact with at age 3, when she was separated from her Chinese father, Samuel Lowe, and hidden away in the countryside by her Jamaican mother, Albertha. Years later, Nell's daughter. Paula Williams Madison has traced her mother's family lineage to a village in Guangdong, China and found relatives she never knew she had.  

Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem by 
Published April 14, 2015; Amistad Press
Genre: memoir
Rating: 5/5

First chapter, first paragraph:
He gave me one of his serious, twenty-four karat, all-Roosevelt looks. "Baby," he asked, "do you know you're Black?"I looked at him, puzzled and defensive. "Yes, I know I am Black." He looked a little hesitant, as if he were afraid to say any more, afraid to make the next point. He was worried about the unknowns. He worried that I might indeed find this family of mine, of Samuel Lowe's - find whomever might still exist. 
Teaser: (page 174)
In a few weeks, my world had been expanded by another continent - a huge continent where one corner houses my family. I have a place, a village, elders, cousins. They know me and they know my name....
I am Hakka.
I am Lowe Ding Chow's granddaughter.
I am Nell Vera Lowe's only daughter.
I am a Lowe.   
My comments: Very impressive research went into this memoir about a woman's determination and success in finding and reuniting with her mother's paternal side of the family in Jamaica, the U.S., and in China. Moving and inspirational, it's a must read for all who value the importance of family, tradition, and culture. I admired the author's frankness and her sharing her family's complex history. 

Book descriptionSpanning four generations and moving between New York, Jamaica, and China, a powerful memoir that is a universal story of one woman's search for her maternal grandfather and the key to her self-identity. Finding Samuel Lowe includes a 16-page black-and-white photo insert and photos in the text. (publisher)

The author, Paula Williams Madison, and her husband Roosevelt Madison, live in Los Angeles. 

Apr 25, 2015

Sunday Salon: Awkward Silences

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit Mailbox Monday 

A memoir and a mystery that came in the mail: 
A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri
To be released June 2, 2015; NAL
Genre: memoir, humor

But Petri is here to tell you: Everything you fear is not so bad. Trust her. She’s tried it. And in the course of her misadventures, she’s learned that there are worse things out there than awkwardness—and that interesting things start to happen when you stop caring what people think. (publisher)
Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark
Published April 28, 2015; Simon and Schuster
Genre: short stories, mystery
A collection of short stories from the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark, including the never-before-published novella Death Wears a Beauty Mask.

Finished reading:

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain was a terrific read.  I gave this five stars for writing, characters, historical research. Book review to come in July; published July 28, 23015 by Ballantine Books. Genre: historical fiction set in Kenya, 1920s

Currently reading:

Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem by 

What's new on your reading shelf?

Saturday Snapshot: Mourning Doves

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Photo © Harvee Lau

Two mourning doves doing their morning grooming, their heads under their feathers....

Apr 24, 2015

Book Beginning: Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs

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.
Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs
To be released May 5, 2015; Berkley
Genre: cozy mystery

Book beginning, first paragraph:
With drums banging and the sweet notes of a Chinese violin trembling in the air, the enormous red-and-gold dragon shook its great head and danced its way across the rotunda of the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the opening-night celebration for the reconstruction of a genuine eighteenth century Chinese tea house, and the creme de la creme of society had turned out in full force for this most auspicious occasion. 
Page 56:
"Which means, now that Webster is dead, Cecily really isn't obligated to pay the money back."
"That's right," said Greaves. "She's free and clear."
Maybe not that free and clear after all, Theodosia thought as she walked to her car.
Book description:
Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning normally wouldn’t attend a black tie affair. But she can hardly say no to her boyfriend, Max, who has organized a gala opening for an exhibit of a genuine eighteenth century Chinese teahouse, and the crème de la crème of Charleston society is invited.
But Theodosia makes a grim discovery: the body of museum donor Edgar Webster. This case is difficult to ignore—especially after Max becomes a suspect. 

I love this series and can't wait to read this one. 
Thanks to the publisher for a review/feature copy of the book.

Apr 22, 2015

A September to Remember by Carol Bumpus: Review and Giveaway

  Premier Virtual Author Book Tours  presents A September To Remember by Carole Bumpus Posted on  January 27, 2021 A September to Remember:...