May 31, 2016

First Chapter: Murder in Morningside Heights by Victoria Thompson

Murder in Morningside Heights: A Gaslight Mystery
Author: Victoria Thompson
Published May 3, 2016 by Berkley
Genre: historical mystery
Former police sergeant Frank Malloy and his wife adjust to life in New York high society as they investigate a death in the field of higher learning.

First chapter:
Frank Malloy, Confidential Inquiries.
Frank hesitated a moment to admire the sight of his name in gilt letters on the frosted glass of the office door. The "Confidential Inquiries" had been his mother-in-law's idea. Elizabeth Decker felt that "Detective Agency" was somehow undignified and might attract the wrong type of client. Frank wasn't sure what the wrong type of client might be for a private detective agency, but he was more than willing to give his new business at last a hint of respectability. 
Would you keep reading based on the opening paragraph of the book?

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

May 30, 2016

It's Monday: Light Women's Fiction and Others

I have just started this book and others in my new TBR pile as I'm in the mood for some light women's fiction.
By the Numbers

The Memory of Lemon
And an historical fiction title:
The Woman in the Photo
The Woman in the Photo is timely as it begins on Memorial Day, but in 1889.

Can't forget the nonfiction:
Why the Dutch Are Different
What books are on your desk this week?
Visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date.

May 28, 2016

Armchair Travel on a Cruise

Armchair and actual travel this weekend for me, but not on a cruise. Too bad!
Title Wave: Booktown Mystery #10  by Lorna Barrett
Bookstore owners and authors and their readers are on an ocean cruise. There is a troublesome, disagreeable crime writer on board and I have picked her out to be the likely victim of the inevitable crime for this cozy mystery. We will see if that proves true! 

Happy reading, traveling this weekend!

May 27, 2016

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig: Book Beginning

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig, published June 2, 2015

Book beginning:
Chapter 1: Dark Chocolate and Rich Coffee
I didn't know until I licked the mocha buttercream from my third devil's food cupcake that this was the flavor of starting over -- dark chocolate with that take-charge undercurrent of coffee.

I could actually taste it, feel it. And now I craved it.

Slowly, I was coming back to myself. 

Novel by an award-winning cookbook author.
Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.

Page 56:
The girls had milk for breakfast, Grace told herself, and she couldn't let this hollow-cheeked boy go hungry. She just couldn't. 
What do you think about this novel?  Are you a cake person?

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.

May 25, 2016

New Cozy Mystery Series And an Old Favorite

If you are a regular cozy mystery reader, you probably are interested in new series as they come out. Here are two new ones this spring.
Eclair and Present Danger by Laura Bradford, to be released June 6, 2016, Berkley
The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.
Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower, published April 5, 2016
From Amanda Flower—who writes the national bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries as Isabella Alan—comes the first in the new Magical Bookshop Mystery series.

And an old favorite has a new book in the series by Hazel Holt:
Mrs. Malory and Death is a Word by Hazel Holt, published May 3, 2016
This is the 23rd in the series set in the English countryside. 

I'm reading a Dream Club Mystery by Mary Kennedy right now, titled A Premonition of Murder, where dream club members share their dreams and solve murders. Cute idea!
I often have to be in the mood for cozies, as I often like reading other genres too. They are light fillers in between my regular reading.  How about you? 

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted weekly by Jill at Breaking the Spine. What new releases are you eagerly waiting for?

May 22, 2016

Sunday Salon: Books Celebrating the Bicentennial of Charlotte Bronte's Birth

A relative is taking a trip to Yorkshire, England where a friend's choir will perform this summer. When he mentioned that there might not be much to see and do, I reminded him that Charlotte Bronte and her sister Emily Bronte lived in a Yorkshire village at the edge of the moors. I imagine the moors to be still an atmospheric place, one that gave rise to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. In any case, I would love this kind of trip, especially in the bicentenary of Charlotte's birth.

Once I had started reading the short stories inspired by Jane Eyre, Reader, I Married Him written by contemporary women authors, I seemed to find articles and books about Charlotte Bronte everywhere.  There is a reason for this.
"This year the Brontë literary-industrial complex celebrates the bicentennial of Charlotte’s birth, and British and American publishers have been especially busy." (from "The Bronte's Secret" in The Atlantic Monthly)
The most recent Atlantic Monthly article by Judith Schulevitz:
The Atlantic Monthly 

The Brontës’ Secret

The sisters turned domestic constraints into grist for brilliant books. (The Atlantic Monthly)
The article lists some of the biographies and other books that have been published recently about or inspired by the Brontes:
 In the U.S., there is a new Charlotte Brontë biography by Claire Harman (A Fiery Heart); a Brontë-themed literary detective novel; a novelistic riff on Jane Eyre whose heroine is a serial killer; a collection of short stories inspired by that novel’s famous last line, “Reader, I married him”; and a fan-fiction-style “autobiography” of Nelly Dean, the servant-narrator of Wuthering Heights. Last year’s highlights included a young-adult novelization of Emily’s adolescence and a book of insightful essays called The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects, which uses items belonging to Charlotte, Emily, and Anne as wormholes to the 19th century and the lost texture of their existence. (Schulevitz, The Atlantic Monthly)
The article also references Lucasta Miller in The Brontë Myth, her 2001 history of Brontëmania. 

The article also discusses the Bronte sisters as writers. They were "quiet subversives" pointing out injustices in the treatment of teachers and governesses, jobs that they themselves held for a time, and making use of their narrow lives at home to write.

After re-reading Jane Eyre, I am getting a better sense of how the short stories in Reader, I Married Him relate to the novel. 
Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre, edited by Tracy Chevalier, published March 22, 2016 

The next Bronte book I plan to tackle is a novel, pure fiction, but another inspired by the Brontes:
The Mad Woman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell, published March 1, 2016. "...the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family's long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind." (publisher)
Visit the Sunday Salon, where bloggers share their reading each week, and The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date.

May 21, 2016

Book Review: Flight Patterns by Karen White

FLIGHT PATTERNS by Karen White, to be released May 24, 2016 by NAL
The New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Glass and coauthor of The Forgotten Room tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind—and to the woman she always wanted to be...

Georgia Chambers has spent her life sifting through other people’s pasts while trying to forget her own. But then her work as an expert of fine china—especially of Limoges—requires her to return to the one place she swore she’d never revisit...

It’s been ten years since Georgia left her family home on the coast of Florida, and nothing much has changed, except that there are fewer oysters and more tourists. She finds solace seeing her grandfather still toiling away in the apiary where she spent much of her childhood, but encountering her estranged mother and sister leaves her rattled. 

Seeing them after all this time makes Georgia realize that something has been missing—and unless she finds a way to heal these rifts, she will forever be living vicariously through other people’s remnants. To embrace her own life—mistakes and all—she will have to find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past and the secrets she was forced to keep...(publisher)

My comments: 
Georgia returns home to Florida to search for a soup bowl with an unusual Limoges pattern that she had found in her grandmother's closet many years ago. She hopes to match it up with china in the same pattern that a client has asked her to research and to find missing pieces to complete his set.

The history of this piece of Limoges china that Georgia had at home is tied to a family secret that had died with her grandmother years before. But when a surprise visitor arrives from France with a piece from the same set of porcelain, her grandfather reveals truths that affect Georgia and her sister profoundly and ties her history to that of her client, the man who now owns the full set.  

Suspenseful and heart wrenching, Flight Patterns is an expertly written story combining people and the past, the history of WWII in Europe, to the present. 

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...