Nov 20, 2015

Book Beginning: The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

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.
The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith, hardcover published 2014 by Harper
Genre: historical fiction
Source: ARC
Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love. (publisher)

Book beginning:
On days in August when sea storms bite into the North Carolina coast, he drags a tick mattress into the hall and tells his daughter stories, true and false, about her mother. The wooden shutters clatter, and Tabitha folds blankets around them to build a softness for the storm. He always tells of their courting days, of her mother's shyness. She looked like a straight tall pine from a distance; only when he got close could he see her trembling. 
page 56:
Above decks he takes his plate of meat and bread and accepts the stares of the seamen, who know he carried the fever onto their ship. 
I haven't read many books on this time period, the days at the end of the American Revolution and right after, The writing captured my attention and I'm eager to read it though I got the ARC about a year ago.

What book are you sharing this week?

Nov 15, 2015

Sunday Salon: Vive la France!

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.

Devastated by the vivid news on CNN and other channels of the tragic events in Paris. Just a few days ago, I was thinking of that city, seeing very vividly the Seine at night, flanked by trees, calmly lit up by lights and barges on the water and thinking I'd love to have an apartment in Paris with that exact view. Thinking of the people in that beautiful city....

I am still reading The Bone Tree by Greg Iles, the second in the trilogy based on the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, the murders of civil rights workers in the south, and theories linking a New Orleans Sicilian mobster and the death of President John F. Kennedy. 

I also have three nonfiction books that I''m slowly getting through. 

New books that arrived:

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, a novel published September 1, 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks. 
I have read this one before but am eager to reread it. Du Maurier wrote such wonderful romantic suspense, such as this one set on the Cornish coast. 

The Witch's Market by Mingmei Yip, to be released November 24, 2015 by Kensington.
Set in the Canary Islands, the novel deals with a research project on witches by a San Francisco professor. It involves a journey of intrigue, romance, and self-discovery.
The book was sent by the author for review. I am looking forward to reading it.

What's on your reading desk this week? 

Nov 12, 2015

Book Beginning: The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

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.

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty, published June 14, 2012 by Penguin Adult.
Genre: contemporary fiction, women's fiction
Source: library

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk. 

It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has. (publisher)

Book beginning:
I had never been hypnotized before.I didn't really believe in it, to be honest. My plan was to lie there and pretend it was working, and try not to laugh.
Page 56:
He said, "She's calling off the wedding? Because of you?"

I've read three of Moriarty's other books and really liked What Alice Forgot  (review) and Big Little Lies. I hope this one will be just as good.  

Nov 8, 2015

Sunday Salon: End of Year Reading

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 few books came in the mail last week, after a spell of "empty mailbox." The new arrivals are two ARC non-fiction and mysteries from the publisher for review. 
The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wooton, published September 15, 2015 by Harper
(T)he Scientific Revolution, and how it came to change the way we understand ourselves and our world.
Curtains Up: Agatha Christie, A Life in the Theatre by Julius Green, to be released December 1, 2015 by Harper
Julius Green raises the curtain on Christie’s towering contribution to popular theatre, an element of her work previously disregarded by biographers and historians.
Dead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery #15 by Cleo Coyle, to be released December 1, 2015 by Berkley
After the White House asks coffeehouse manager and master roaster Clare Cosi to consult on the coffee service for a Rose Garden Wedding, she discovers a historic pot was used as a CIA “dead drop” decades before. Now long-simmering secrets boil over, scalding Clare and the people around her…

The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle: A Book Club Mystery #2 by Laura DiSilverio, to be released December 1, 2015  by NAL
Agatha Christie is on the book club’s reading list in the latest from the author of The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco. This time, Amy-Faye and her friends might have to read between the lines to catch a killer.

I could consider myself a readaholic, as do most book bloggers, and was drawn to the title of this new series!

Currently reading: I am now listening to an audio book, Big Little Lies, women's fiction by Liane Moriarty and finding the three main characters very interesting. 
Finished: I have just finished Greg Iles's suspenseful Natchez Burning and want to read the next in this trilogy of the southern states during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, The Bone Tree. 

The weather is getting cooler and so the flannels are coming out. Reading weather! How about your reading? 

Nov 6, 2015

Book Beginning: Hunters in the Dark by Lawrence Osborne

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.
Hunters in the Dark by Lawrence Osborne, to be released January 12, 2016 by Hogarth,
Genre: fiction, literary suspense
Source: publisher

Book beginning( from an ARE; final copy may differ):
He came over the border as the lights were about to be dimmed, with the last of the migrants trailing their stringed boxes. With them came gamblers from the air-conditioned buses, returning short-time exiles tumbling out of minivans with microwaves and DVD units. The border forced them all into a defile in the rain. The gamblers complained about their summary treatment while opening plastic umbrellas provided by the tour company. It seemed a shame to them that the casinos on the other side could not manage it better. Their Bangkok shoes began to suffer in the coffee-colored mud. Between the two posts the ground was already filled with pools and the dogs waited for the money. The hustlers and drivers were there, silently smoking and watching their prey. The officer ripped away his departure card in the Thai hut and his passport came back to him and he set off for the further side lit up by the arc lamps. 
"Adrift in Cambodia and eager to side-step a life as a small-town teacher, 28-year-old Englishman Robert Grieve decides to go missing. As he crosses the border from Thailand, he tests the threshold of a new future.

A small windfall precipitates a chain of events--  a bag of “jinxed” money, a suave American, a trunk full of heroin, a hustler taxi driver, and a rich doctor’s daughter-- that changes Robert’s life forever.

Hunters in the Dark is a game of cat and mouse, where identities are blurred, greed trumps kindness, and karma is ruthless; suffused with the steamy heat and superstition of the Cambodian jungle, and unafraid to confront questions about fate..." (publisher)

Page 56:
"I know a place you could go. Right on the river."
I am eager to read this novel of escape and suspense - a young man having quite an adventure while looking for a different kind of life. 

Nov 3, 2015

Book Review: The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

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.
The Edge of Lost: A Novel by Kristina McMorris, to be released November 24, 2015 by Kensington
Objective rating: 5/5
Source: advance uncorrected proof for review

First paragraph: (taken from an uncorrected proof. The final copy may differ)
Alcatraz Island October 1937
Fog encircled the island, a strangling grip, as search efforts mounted. In the moonless sky, dark clouds forged a dome over the icy currents of San Francisco Bay. 
"You two check the docks," shouted Warden Johnston, his voice muffled by rain and howling wind. "We'll take the lighthouse. The rest of you spread out." 
More people traded directives, divvying up territory. They were off-duty guards and teenage sons who called Alcatraz their home, an odd place where a maze of fencing and concrete kept families of the prison staff safe from the country's most notorious criminals.
At least in theory.  
My summary and comments: Young Shanley Keagan travels in the mid-1930s from Ireland to New York and finds himself alone after the death of his uncle on board ship. He is unofficially adopted by an Italian-American family until he is grown and can fend for himself. However, Shanley, now known as Tommy Capello, unwillingly and unwittingly becomes embroiled in a crime, trying to save his Italian brother, and finds himself jailed on the infamous Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. 

The second half of the novel details Shanley's  life on Alcatraz and life in general for other inmates as well as prison guards and their families who live on the island. Shanley's friendship with the young daughter of a prison guard and attempts to escape provide suspenseful reading toward the end of the book. 

I enjoyed the story of a young Irish immigrant and his travails as a newcomer to America. The book is well researched and gave me a good look at the hardships of immigration at that time for several ethnic groups, among them the Irish and the Italians. Life on Alcatraz, for inmates as well as the prison staff is fascinating in its detail. 

The story kept me in suspense as you root for Shanley trying to cope with prison life and then deciding to plan escape through the shark-infested and cold waters around Alcatraz, an almost impossible attempt that many had tried unsuccessfully. 

Recommendation: If you have ever wondered about Alcatraz and its history, and you like a good historical novel with a suspenseful plot and interesting characters, read this. 

What do you think of the opening paragraphs?

Nov 1, 2015

Sunday Salon: More Books From My Shelves

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

Pulling books again from my shelves, I found two goodies. So, along with reading (slowly) the three nonfiction books I started, I'm into these historical fiction books:
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles, published April 9, 2014 by William Morrow
Genre" historical thriller
Source: publisher
...the first installment in an epic trilogy that interweaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present in a mesmerizing thriller featuring Southern lawyer and former prosecutor Penn Cage (publisher)

This novel  is set with the backdrop of Mississippi in the 1960s during the time of the Civil Rights murders and the activities of the KKK and its offshoots. Fascinating story, based on fact, I assume, though the particular incidents and characters are fictional.

I didn't realize that the author Iles has written other novels featuring his main character Penn Cage. The second novel in this trilogy, The Bone Tree, was published April 21, 2015, and the third is due next spring. I am finding Natchez Burning very well written and engrossing and look forward to the sequels.

The Fountain of Saint James Court by Sena Jeter Naslund, published September 17, 2013 by William Morrow
Source: publisher
Naslund's novel presents the reader with an alternate version of The Artist: a woman of age who has created for herself, against enormous odds, a fulfilling life of thoroughly realized achievement.  The novel deals with an older woman from the present and with the real painter Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun, a French Revolution survivor hated for her sympathetic portraits of Marie Antoinette. (publisher)

The goodreads readers didn't take to this novel, but I'm eager to see how I will like it. I have only read two chapters so far.

There are more goodies on my shelves that I hope to share with you over the course of the winter. What are you reading these days? 

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...