Jul 12, 2015

Sunday Salon: The Social Elite in Books

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 went into the bookstore only to browse, started to read this book, then bought it. Seems I've been doing this recently, to the detriment of my pocketbook.
China Rich Girlfriend: A Novel by Kevin Kwan, published June 16, 2015 by Doubleday.
I read the previous novel, Crazy Rich Asians, and enjoyed reading about the antics and manners of the crazy filthy rich in Asia. The author lives in New York, but was raised in Singapore, so it seems he knows of what he writes. Now he tackles the crazy newly rich from mainland China and their interactions with the ones from Southeast Asia.  I am having fun reading it, being relatively poor myself :)

The mailman brought a few interesting books:
A Gilded Grave: A Newport Gilded Age Mystery by Shelley Freydont, to be released August 4, 2015; Berkley
First in a new series... a setting that was America's answer to Downton Abbey? 

In 1895, the height of the Gilded Age, the social elite spend their summers in Newport, Rhode Island. Within the walls of their fabulous “cottages,” competition for superiority is ruthless … and so are the players.  
During her first Newport season, Deanna Randolph attends a ball given in honor of Lord David Manchester, a Barbadian sugar magnate, and his sister, Madeline. But on the nearby cliffs, a young maid lies dead—and suspicion falls on Joseph Ballard, a member of one of the town’s most prestigious families. Deanna and Joe must navigate a world of parties, tennis matches, and séances to find the real murderer. (publisher)
Malice at the Palace: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen, to be released August 4, 2015; Berkley Lady Georgiana Rannoch won’t deny that being thirty-fifth in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately, money isn’t one of them.  

While my beau Darcy is off on a mysterious mission, I am once again caught between my high birth and empty purse. I am therefore relieved to receive a new assignment from the Queen. The King’s youngest son, George, is to wed Princess Marina of Greece, and I shall be her companion at the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace.

George is known for his many affairs with women as well as men—including the great songwriter Noel Coward. But when I search the Palace for a supposed ghost only to encounter an actual dead person: a society beauty said to have been one of Prince George’s mistresses.
The Queen wants the whole matter hushed. But as the investigation unfolds—and Darcy, as always, turns up in the most unlikely of places—the investigation brings us precariously close to the prince himself. (publisher)

The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton, to be released August 11, 2015; Harper
A dynamic World War II novel about two American journalists and an Englishman, who together race the Allies to Occupied Paris for the scoop of their lives. Based on daring, real-life female reporters on the front lines of history like Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Miller, and Martha Gellhorn—and with cameos by other famous faces of the time.

These books are all fabulous! I can't wait to review them!

What do you have in your mailbox this week? 

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. 

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...