Jul 10, 2015

DARING MY PASSAGES: A MEMOIR: by Gail Sheehy, Book Beginnings

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.

Daring My Passages: A Memoir by Gail Sheehy, published June 23, 2015 by William Morrow
Chapter 1 
Do I Dare?
It felt like the longest walk of my life. Sneaking down the back stairs from the flamingo-pink precinct of the Women's Department on the fourth floor of New York's Herald Tribune to march across the DMZ into the all-male preserve of the city room. I was on a mission. I just had to pitch a story to the man who was remaking journalism. I could get fired for this. 
Page 56: 
I wore beatnik sandals and occasionally love beads, and I treasured the album Rolling Stones: Now. But with a four-year-old child, I was too responisible to spend any time being stoned.  
Book description:
Gail Sheehy became one of the premier practitioners of New Journalism at the fledgling New York magazine, along with such stellar writers as Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, and Jimmy Breslin. 

Daring: My Passages is also the love story of Sheehy's tempestuous romance with Clay Felker, the charismatic creator of New York magazine and the mentor who inspired her to become a fearless journalist who won renown for her penetrating character portraits of world leaders.

Sheehy reflects on desire, ambition, and wanting it all—career, love, children, friends, social significance... and her ongoing passion for life, work, and love. (publisher)

Thanks to the publisher for a review/feature copy of this book. I am interested in her experiences in journalism, having worked, besides teaching, at a local newspaper. 

Jul 8, 2015

Cozy Mysteries in July

Quite a variety of cozy mystery books are out this month:

Wound Up in Murder: A Yarn Retreat Mystery by Betty Hechtman, July 7, 2015; Berkley
Dessert chef Casey Feldstein  is looking forward to running her third yarn retreat at Cadbury by the Sea’s Vista Del Mar hotel on the Monterey Peninsula, where she continues to develop her hidden talents for knitting…and solving murders.
Death Under Glass: A Stained Glass Mystery by Jennifer McAndrews, July 7, 2015.
Georgia Kelly has made a home for herself and her stained glass business in Wenwood, New York. But not everything in the sleepy Hudson River town is as transparent as it seems…
Death of an English Muffin: A Merry Muffin Mystery by Victoria Hamilton, July 7, 2015
Baker Merry Wynter returns with a fresh tray of muffins and a case that has authorities stumped…Merry takes in tenants to her Wynter Castle, but a mysterious death and tragedy strikes. 
The Book Stops Here: A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle, May 5, 2015
You never know what treasures can be found in someone’s attic. Unfortunately for bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright, some of them are worth killing for in the latest Bibliophile Mystery series.
Fatal Reservations: A Key West Food Critic Mystery by Lucy Burdette, July 7, 2015
Hayley Snow’s beat is reviewing restaurants for Key Zest magazine. But she sets aside her knife and fork when a dear friend is accused of murder…

Which one(s) appeal to you? 

Jul 7, 2015

Review: Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle by J.A. Lang


Visit Teaser Tuesdays meme hosted by Jenn.

Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle (Chef Maurice Culinary Mysteries #1) by J.A. Lang, published April 7, 2015 by Purple Panda Press

from chapter 5:
Chef Maurice looked up, as if noticing Arthur for the first time. "I think," he said, beaming, "that I have found my truffle dog."  
"It's a pig, Maurice. A micro-pig."  
"Then, I have found my truffle pig!" 
Book description: It’s autumn in the Cotswolds, and Chef Maurice is facing a problem of mushrooming proportion. Not only has his wild herb and mushroom supplier, Ollie Meadows, missed his weekly delivery—he’s missing vital signs too, when he turns up dead in the woods near Beakley village.
Soon, Chef Maurice is up to his nose in some seriously rotten business—complete with threatening notes, a pignapping, and an extremely well-catered stake-out. Can he solve Ollie’s murder before his home-made investigation brings the killer out for second helpings? (publisher)

My comments: A clever, witty and humorous mystery set in the Cotswolds. The first in the series featuring the eccentric but lovable Chef Maurice. The chef likes to do things his own way. and he and his truffle hunting pig, Hamilton, steal the show, and the mystery. A fun read in a delightful setting. 

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

Waiting on Wednesday: French Concession by Xiao Bai

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

French Concession: A Novel by Xiao Bai, published July 7, 2015 by Harper. 
Genre: historical fiction

Book opening:
Prelude: May 10, Year 20 of the Republic.2:24 A.M.  
The walls of the cabin were trembling. A steam whistle piped two shot blasts. Hsueh opened his eyes. He still had the covers pulled over his head, and the ebb and flow of waves sounded like thunder in a distant world. 
Publisher description:
"A literary noir, a tale of espionage and international intrigue, set in Shanghai in 1931—a decadent world of love, violence, and betrayal filled with femme fatales, criminals, revolutionaries, and spies

A boat from Hong Kong arrives in Shanghai harbor, carrying an important official in the Nationalist Party and his striking wife, Leng. Amid the raucous sound of firecrackers, gunshots ring out; an assassin has shot the official and then himself. Leng disappears in the ensuing chaos.

Hseuh, a Franco-Chinese photographer discovers that his lover Therese is secretly an arms dealer, supplying Shanghai’s gangs with weapons. His investigation of Therese eventually leads him back to Leng, a loyal revolutionary with ties to a menacing new gang, led by a charismatic Communist whose acts of violence and terrorism threaten the entire country.

His aptitude for espionage draws Hseuh into a dark underworld of mobsters, smugglers, anarchists, and assassins. Torn between Therese and Leng, he vows to protect them both. As the web of intrigue tightens around him, Hsueh plays a dangerous game, hoping to stay alive."

I find this period of time in China's history fascinating and am looking forward to reading it.

I received a proof of this book for review. 

Jul 4, 2015

Sunday Salon: Fireflies on the Lawn

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.

I was distracted from the fireworks on TV tonight by the natural fireworks going on outside my window - fireflies on the lawn. I actually enjoyed them just as much as the televised show. 

I finished reading these two books last week:
1.  Scents and Sensibility: A Chet and Bernie Mystery  by Spencer Quinn, to be released July 14, 2015, ARC compliments of Atria Books.
My comments: Humor, mystery, suspense, pathos in Arizona. Chet the dog and his human partner Bernie nearly broke my heart in this latest novel. I'd like to see at least one more adventure before the two retire from the PI business, if they do.....in London, maybe. Five stars to this mystery novel!
2.  X (Kinsey Millhone #24) by Sue Grafton, to be published August 25, 2015; a win - ARC compliments of Putnam. 
My comments: Kinsey tackles three problems at the same time, all three unrelated. This means the reader works at keeping the characters and situations separate, but the novel, as all her others, comes out as far more realistic than many mystery books. In this one, she tries to bust some stereotypes about the wealthy and about the elderly. I gave this 4 stars!
Arrived in the mail:
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E.Reichert, to be released July 21, 2015; novel compliments of Gallery Books.
YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

I'm eager to start this one, but first......books for tours, which I am also enjoying..!
Bum Rap by Paul Levine, July 13 book tour
The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera, July 16 book tour

What are you reading? 

Jul 3, 2015

Book Review: The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

Visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader. 

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango, published June 23, 2015; Viking.
Genre: literary thriller

Book beginning, first paragraph:
No getting away from it. A quick glance at the image was enough to give shape to the dim suspicions of the past months. The embryo lay curled up like an amphibian, one eye looking straight at him. Was that a leg or a tentacle above the dragon's tail? 
My comments:
A famous and wealthy author hides the fact that his reclusive wife, a prolific writer, is the true author of all his books. When his lover, the editor of the publishing company for his books, becomes pregnant and demanding, he must decide between the wife who has made his fortune and continues to do so, and the woman who is to bear his child. 

A flawed hero who nevertheless has likable and charitable qualities, Henry Hayden made me dislike him and then like him, and dislike him again. I didn't know whether to root for him or condemn him. What did I finally decide?  I didn't mind how the book ends. 

I gave this book five stars, for its unusual main character and the dilemma he presented for the reader. Told well, it's a book I'd recommend for those thriller lovers who also have a literary bent.

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

Jun 30, 2015

Book Tour: HOTEL MOSCOW by Talia Carner

Hotel Moscow by Talla Carner, published June 2, 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: fiction

Book description: From the author of Jerusalem Maiden comes a novel that tells the riveting story of an American woman—the daughter of Holocaust survivors—who travels to Russia shortly after the fall of communism, and finds herself embroiled in a perilous mafia conspiracy that could irrevocably destroy her life.

Brooke Fielding, a thirty-eight year old New York investment manager and daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, finds her life suddenly upended in late September 1993 when her job is unexpectedly put in jeopardy. Brooke accepts an invitation to join a friend on a mission to Moscow to teach entrepreneurial skills to Russian business women, which will also give her a chance to gain expertise in the new, vast emerging Russian market. Though excited by the opportunity to save her job and be one of the first Americans to visit Russia after the fall of communism, she also wonders what awaits her in the country that persecuted her mother just a generation ago.

Inspired by the women she meets, Brooke becomes committed to helping them investigate the crime that threatens their businesses. But as the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Boris Yeltsin turns Moscow into a volatile war zone, Brooke will find that her involvement comes at a high cost. For in a city where “capitalism” is still a dirty word, where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men, nothing Brooke does goes unnoticed—and a mistake in her past may now compromise her future.

A moving, poignant, and rich novel, Hotel Moscow is an eye-opening portrait of post-communist Russia and a profound exploration of faith, family, and heritage. (publisher)

My comments:
An intriguing story about a woman who returns to the home of her parents, comparing the past history of her family with the present - Russia after the fall of communism. Things are far from perfect. There is corruption, discrimination, crime. A seeming lawlessness. Makes you wonder about the future of the country, even today.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for an ARC of this book for review. 
For more reviews of Hotel Moscow, visit the tour schedule

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...