Jun 12, 2015

Book Review: The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall

Meme: Visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader
The Wolf Border: A Novel by Sarah Hall, published June 9, 2015, Harper.

Book beginning, first paragraph:
It's not often she dreams about them. During the day they are elusive, keeping to the tall grass of the Reservation, disappearing from the den site. They are fleet or lazy, moving through their own tawny colourscape and sleeping under logs - missable either way. Their vanishing acts have been perfected. At night they come back. The cameras pick them up, red-eyed, muzzles darkened, returning from a hunt. Or she hears them howling along the buffer zone, a long harmonic. One leading, then many.At night there is no need to imagine, no need to dream. They reign outside the mind.
My comments:
Zoologist Rachel Caine leaves the wildlife park in Idaho where she has worked with and studied its sizable wolf population. She returns home to Cumbria in England where she reconnects with her mother and her younger brother, having secured a job with a wealthy Earl to reintroduce the grey wolf to the British Isles. Two wolves would be imported from Romania, a breeding pair, and confined in a large enclosed and self sustaining park in the Lake District area.

The novel makes the assumption that Scotland wins independence from Great Britain and becomes an independent nation. It also makes the assumption that a wealthy Earl has received government permission to use parts of Great Britain's nature preserves for the proposed wolf enclosure.

The story is compelling with the "What Ifs" that it proposes. Of course, not everything goes as the Earl assumes, and humans and nature have a way of interfering with best laid plans. Can there really be a border when it comes to wildlife? This leads to some suspenseful events that kept me reading.....

I also liked the character of Rachel, the reluctant zoologist, who at first had turned down the Earl's offer to work with his wolf project, but accepted it later on under duress when she has to leave Idaho for very personal reasons. How Rachel copes with her personal life, her formerly estranged family, and her love interests add a lot to the whole story of her involvement in the wolf project.

Rating: Excellent plotting, characterization, and writing made me easily give this novel five stars.

About the author:
Sarah Hall was born in 1974 in Cumbria, England. She received a master of letters in creative writing from Scotland’s St. Andrews University and has published four novels. Haweswater won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (overall winner, Best First Novel) and a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award. The Electric Michelangelo was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Eurasia Region), and the Prix Femina √Čtranger, and was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Daughters of the North won the 2006/07 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction. How to Paint a Dead Man was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Portico Prize for Fiction. In 2013 Hall was named one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists, a prize awarded every ten years, and she won the BBC National Short Story Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Purchase Links: Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble
Author Links: Website and Facebook

Check the TLC tour schedule for other reviews of the book.

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for a review galley of this novel.

Jun 10, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis, to be published July 7, 2015; Simon and Schuster
Genre: contemporary women's fiction
The Herington girls - Maggie, Jess, and Virgie -  are together again, with their husbands and kids, for another summer in the family’s old Cape Cod house.
When their mother, Gloria, announces she’s coming for an unscheduled visit—with her new boyfriend—no one is more surprised than their father, Arthur, who has not quite gotten over his divorce. 
Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret that brings everyone together in heartbreak… and then healing. (publisher)

Is this a book you would wait for? It will be released in about a month.

Jun 9, 2015

First Chapter: MURDER IN MERINO by Sally Goldenbaum

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.
Murder in Merino: A Seaside Knitters Mystery #8 by Sally Goldenbaum
Published May 5, 2015 by NAL

First chapter:
Late September,  Sea Harbor, Massachusetts 
The wind was coming out of the northeast, blustery and heavy with salt. It stung the woman's cheeks, turning them the color of her bright red Windbreaker. Thick strands of hair flew about her face, wild and free - like the sea she was beginning to call home.
After days of warm sun and soft breezes, the weather had suddenly turned. But she loved it in all its guises - foamy surf crashing against the rocks or water smooth as silk, a chilly wind or sun-warmed sand. Each day was new and amazing and comfortable, as if she'd been born to this place. It had been fortuitous to travel halfway across the country to this strange little town where she knew no one, yet she felt as if she'd finally come home. 
Finally Jules turned toward them and managed a sad smile. "Who was he?" she asked. "Why was he wanting to be in my life? Why did...?" Her words dropped off. (ch. 12)
Book description: Autumn brings a mysterious new guest to Sea Harbor, and when she’s implicated in a crime, it’s up to the Seaside Knitters to search out a motif for murder.

Based on the first paragraphs and teaser, would you keep reading?

Jun 7, 2015

Sunday Salon: Four Books in a Week and a Half

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 

New books for review:

A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax, to be published June 23, 2015; Berkley
Genre: contemporary fiction
 ...to heal their friendship and their broken lives, the three women will have to return to the lake that once united them, and discover which relationships are worth holding on to.
Watch the Lady: The Tudor Trilogy #3 by Elizabeth Fremantle, paperback to be published June 9, 2015; Simon and Schuster
Genre: historical novel
The daughter of the Queen’s nemesis, Penelope Devereux, arrives at court. She and her brother, The Earl of Essex, are drawn quickly into the aging Queen’s favour. It seems The Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen but as his influence grows so his enemies gather and it is Penelope who must prevent the unthinkable from happening. We see the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the scramble for power in a dying dynasty. (publisher)
A Study in Death: A Lady Darby Mystery  by Anna Lee Huber, to be published Jly 7, 2015, Berkley
Genre: historical mystery
Scotland, 1831. Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fianc√© in Sebastian Gage. 
Commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, Kiera is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness’s eyes. Kiera isn’t sure how to help, but when she finds Lady Drummond prostrate on the floor, things take a fatal turn. (publisher)
Sense of Deception: A Psychic Eye Mystery #13 by Victoria Laurie, to be published July 7, 2015 by NAL. 
Genre: cozy mystery
Abby Cooper senses a convicted killer is innocent, but she’ll need hard evidence to save the woman before it’s too late… Abby's finely honed intuition tells her this woman doesn’t belong behind bars.
 I finished reading 
The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall for a June 12 book tour.
Slated for Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan, a mystery set in Wales that I gave five stars!
The Cat Sitter's Whiskers by Blaize and John Clement, a cozy that I also rated five!
Love May Fail by Mathew Quick, a novel that started out as a five for me but then went to three stars for wandering off into another story altogether before getting back to the main one.

What have you read last week?

Jun 5, 2015

Book Beginning: SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS by Jennifer Scott

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
Second Chance Friends by Jennifer Scott,  published May 5, 2015 by NAL
Genre: contemporary women's fiction

Book beginning, Chapter One
Karen gazed through the plate-glass window, her eyes wandering over the divots In the ground where the bus had crashed a month ago. She rubbed the side of her cell phone absently, her fingers bumping over the volume buttons, her fingernail scratching up against the SILENCE switch. Oh, how she'd love to "accidentally" flip that switch. If she never heard the phone ring, she wouldn't have to talk to anyone, right? She wouldn't have to answer the next time Kendall called. But she knew even if she did silence it, the peace would be short-lived. Kendall would only show up at her house or, worse, at her job, expecting her to pull strings she didn't have to make things easier for a son whose hide she wasn't sure she wanted to save anymore. 
Page 56: 
If she'd been out of the shower before he'd left, he would have planted those kisses right in the middle of her forehead. He would have pulled her in close, whispered into her hair something positive and encouraging - something about them getting answers today.  
Book description:  Karen Freeman, Melinda Crocker, and Joanna Chambers have never met—but every morning they get their coffee at the Tea Rose Diner. Their paths may have never crossed. 
But one morning, on the lawn of the Tea Rose, the three women collide during a searing event in the life of twenty-something Maddie Routh. In the nine months that follow, they return to the spot over and over. To discover what it means to be a mother, a wife, a lover, a friend. To find Maddie Routh. Despite the challenges they’ve faced, these four women unite to show us second chances do exist, if only we have the courage to see them.
I'm looking forward to reading this one this summer!

Jun 4, 2015

Currently Reading: Slated for Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan

I often like trolling the library for new books and new-to-me writers.
I found Slated for Death, set in Wales in the old slate mines that are now closed except to tourists and school groups.Though the slate industry ran for a couple centuries in north Wales, this mystery novel is set in the present time.
Slated for Death: A Penny Brannigan Mystery #6 by Elizabeth J. Duncan
Published April 14, 2015 by Minotaur
Genre: mystery set in north Wales
Teaser from the page I'm on right now: They are planning to hold the St. David's Day concert down the mine this year and Glenda was organizing it so she was on a site visit. (ch. 4)
 Book description: When the body of well-liked Glenda Roberts is discovered at the bottom of a former slate mine, now a busy tourist attraction, pandemonium erupts in the North Wales town of Llanelen. Penny Brannigan finds herself drawn into the investigation .... A visit to Glenda’s mother deepens her conviction that a hidden family secret is the real reason for the murder.
I'm enjoying it so far - the setting and the characters.

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:...