Apr 9, 2016

Sunday Salon: Winter's Last Hurrah

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, and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date. 

Snow surprised us this morning, as almost eight inches fell overnight. It was very picturesque while it lasted, but the sun came out later and melted much of it from the trees and sidewalks. It may have been winter's last hurrah, at least we hope so. 

New books for review, a variety of genres:

Wedding Girl by Stacey Ballis, to be released May 3, 2016 by Berkley
Top pastry chef Sophie Bernstein and her sommelier fiancé were set to have Chicago’s culinary wedding of the year…until the groom eloped with someone else in a very public debacle, leaving Sophie fifty grand in debt on her dream wedding and then losing her job and her home…. Sophie moves in with her grandmother, Bubbles, and looks for a new career.
The Kingdom by Fuminori Nakamura, to be released July 12, 2016; advance uncopyedited edition from Soho Press. A noir novel about a freelancer in the Tokyo underworld who blackmails for an unknown organization for her living, until someone discovers her secrets. 
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, published April 5, 2016 by Simon & Schuster. 
Ani FaNelli is the woman you love to hate. The woman who has it all. But when Ani's immaculate façade begins to crack, she soon realises that there's always a price to pay for perfection.
And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer, to be released May 3, 2016 by Harper.  A novel inspired by historical events—about two women, one European and one American, and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both their lives.
The Summer Guest, historical fiction by Alison Anderson, tp be released May 24, 2016 by HarperCollins. Blinded by a fatal illness, young Ukrainian doctor Zinaida Lintvaryova is living on her family’s rural estate in the summer of 1888. When a family from Moscow rents a cottage on the grounds, Zinaida develops a deep bond with one of their sons, a doctor and writer of modest but growing fame called Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.
LaRose by Louise Erdrich, to be released May 10, 2016 by Harper. A contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in indigenous culture.

Contemporary fiction, thrillers, and historical fiction - a lot to read this spring!
What's on your reading desk this spring? 

Apr 8, 2016

Book Beginning: White Ghost by Steven Gore

The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice.
Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.
White Ghost: A Graham Gage Thriller by Steven Gore, published March 29, 2016 by Berkley

Book beginning:
The slug's impact wasn't anything like in the Hong Kong movies. It didn't throw Peter backward or knock him off his feet or send him twisting and flailing. No, it wasn't like that at all. His body just...went...limp. And it made no sense. He'd known for certain nobody would get hurt....
Page 56:
"Lester," Gage said. "I know you're just a guy trying to get along, support yourself, and stay out of trouble." 
Book description:
For over thirty years Graham Gage has faced down enemies both near and far, but now he faces one from within. Diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, Gage must delay treatment in order to repay the woman who saved his life in San Francisco's Chinatown thirty years earlier when he was homicide detective. (publisher)

Apr 5, 2016

Book Review: Blood Orange by Susan Wittig Albert

Bibliophile By the Sea hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph every Tuesday. Share the first paragraph(s) of your current read or book interest, with information for readers
Blood Orange by Susan Wittig Albert, published April 5, 2016 by Berklely
In the newest China Bayles Mystery in the New York Times bestselling series, China comes to the aid of a nurse who ends up in the hospital... (publisher)

First chapter, first paragraph
Today's commercial beers are almost exclusively brewed with hops, the female flowers of the hop plant (Humulus Iupulus).The result is a uniform, easily controlled flavor... 
Every chapter in this novel, in fact in all of the China Bayles mysteries if I remember correctly, begins with a brief treatise or description of plants and plants in the garden or used for food or drink. And all of the books include recipes, an added bonus.
First paragraph of the novel itself:
"Excuse me." I put down my teacup. I don't think I heard that right, Ruby. "I thought you said that Ramona has bought a brewery."
"That's exactly what I said," Ruby sank into the chair opposite mine at her kitchen table and ran her fingers through her frizzy red hair.... 
China tries to find the person who forced a hospice nurse, Kelley, off the road in a car accident, critically injuring her. Things slowly come to light that someone wants to keep his/her other crimes a secret, and the mystery plot gets on the way......
What I like most about the series is the setting - the Hill Country in south Texas, which the author describes in such excellent detail, as well as the interesting main characters, and the detailed information on plants in every book. Not to mention delicious and unusual recipes.

Here are the ingredients for my favorite recipe in Blood Orange, one I am bound to try:

Blood Orange Liqueur
4 blood oranges
1 lemon
Fresh ginger, about 2" long, peeled and sliced
2 cups vodka
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

In brief, add the ginger and vodka to the de-pitted oranges and orange and lemon peel in a quart jar. Add the simple water and sugar syrup and store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least a month. (The complete detailed recipe is on pages 308-309 of the book). 

It sounds absolutely delicious to me! 
Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book for their book tour of Blood Orange. 

Apr 3, 2016

Sunday Salon: Indoor Reading Weather

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, and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date. 

The weather, an endless source of commentary, was very weird yesterday, no other word for it. 

The day started out sunny and relatively warm, then the temps dropped and snow in fat flakes fell, turning into sleet and then heavy rain. The sun came out again, briefly, and then the flaky snow came back. Soon after, little balls of white, like tiny hail stones started to salt the grass, then more heavy rain. It was something to behold, from behind the safety and warmth of a wide window! 

Only two new books last week, one for a tour, a suspense novel which I have just finished!
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, to be released May 3, 2016 by Berkley. 
Jenna Gray moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past. (publisher)
Imagine my surprise as I read on and found things are not what they seem and people are not who you think ....My review will be posted on May 10.
The Drafter by Kim Harrison, a sci-fi thriller in the Peri Reed Chronicles, paperback to be released April 19, 2016 by Pocket Books.
Detroit 2030. Double-crossed by the person she loved and betrayed by the covert government organization that trained her, Peri Reed is a renegade on the run. She is a drafter, possessed of a rare, invaluable skill for altering time, yet destined to forget both the history she changed and the history she rewrote. 

I am not a sci-fi fan, but this one sounds interesting nevertheless. 

What is new on your reading desk? 

Apr 1, 2016

Book Beginning: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls, a novel by Martha Hall Kelly,  released April 5, 2016 by Ballantine Books
A story told by three women caught up in WWII whose lives collide as the war rages on: 
  • New York socialite Caroline Ferriday working at the French consulate until Hitler invades Poland and sets his sights on France; 
  • Kasia Kuzmerick, a teenager and courier for the resistance movement in Poland; 
  • Herta Oberheuser, a young German doctor trapped in a government medical position. 
Here are their first chapters:
Caroline, September 1939 - Chapter 1
If I'd known I was about to meet the man who'd shatter me like bone china on terra cotta, I would have slept in. 
Kasia, 1939 - Chapter 2
It really was Pietrik Bakoski's idea to go up to the bluff at Deer Meadow to see the refugees. Just want to set straight the record. Matka never did believe me about that. 
Herta, 1939 - Chapter 3
At midnight, father and I walked six blocks from our basement apartment to a nicer part of Dusseldorf, to the white stone townhomes where servants swept the streets and pinched back geraniums in window boxes. It was late September, but the air was warm still, "fuhrer weather" they called it, since it permitted Hitler success in his campaigns. It had certainly worked with Poland.
Page 56:
"Since Washington changed immigration quotas in '24, everything's harder now," Roger said.
The book is based on the life of Caroline Ferriday, one of many "forgotten" heroes of the war. Looks like a book I'll enjoy reading. 

The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice.

Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.

Mar 30, 2016

Book Review: Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron

Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron, published December 8, 2015 by William Morrow Paperback. A tale of domestic noir, infused with old Hollywood folklore and glamour, set in a town rife with egotism and backstabbing and where fame and infamy are often interchangeable. Los Angeles 1986. (publisher)
My comments: 
In this mystery novel, compromise, in the most extreme case, allows famous Hollywood and Beverly Hills residents to preserve their reputation, enhance their fame, and hide their sins. That is, until Deidre, injured in an accident some twenty years ago in a car driven recklessly by her well-known screen writer father, decides to unearth some secrets. 

First, there is the mystery of her father's sudden death in his pool, a fire that destroys the papers in his garage office, and some puzzling photos and items that Deidre finds among her father's things before the fire. She gets to the bottom of the mystery, but at a price. A Hollywood price of compromise and cover ups.

I liked Ephron's book, There Was An Old Woman, and gave this one four stars as well. Suspenseful, the plot leads you on to follow to the very end, to it's less than perfect but perfectly acceptable Hollywood-style ending. 

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

Mar 29, 2016

First Chapter: The Last Goodnight by Howard Blum

Bibliophile By the Sea hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph every Tuesday. Share the first paragraph(s) of your current read or book interest, with information for readers
The Last Goodnight: a World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure & Betrayal by Howard Blum, to be released April 12, 2016 by Harper. The book is described as a "biography of Betty Pack, the dazzling American debutante who became an Allied spy during WWII and was hailed by OSS chief General “Wild Bill" Donovan as “the greatest unsung heroine of the war.” 

First paragraph, first chapter:
Betty Pack had planned her escape from the castle with great care. Too often impulsive - her greatest fault, she would frequently concede - she had deliberately plotted this operation with the long-dormant discipline acquired during her dangerous time decades ago in the field. Yet on the blustery morning of March 1, 1963, Betty, otherwise known in the tiny village in the French Pyrenees that lay just beyond the stone walls of the ancient castle as Mme Brousse, the American-born chatelaine of Castelnou, and who in a previous life had been known to an even smaller circle as the agent code-named Cynthia, was having doubts. 
Based on the opening paragraph, would you read on?

Sunday Salon: Always Currently Reading

  Currently reading:  Missing and Endangered   by J.A. Jance, February 16, 2021, William Morrow Genre: thriller, suspense Source: library Ab...