Oct 23, 2016

Sunday Salon: Nonfiction Books

New nonfiction books are on my desk this week:
Moonglow by Michael Chabon, November 22, 2016, Harper.

In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. (publisher)
I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb, November 22, 2016, Harper.

...tapestry of one Baby Boomer's life—Felix Funicello, introduced in Wishin’ and Hopin’—and the trio of unforgettable women who have changed it, in this radiant homage to the resiliency, strength, and power of women. (publisher)

I finished reading and reviewed The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan, a novel that moves from the present to the past and recounts the massive flooding of a town in Pennsylvania in 1889.  I've also finished A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny, another five star novel.

My current read is going slowly because of other things I have to do. My reading has slowed down quite a bit.  Murder in the Secret Garden  by Ellery Adams. I really like a lot of things about it - the themes of medieval herbs, healing gardens and their counterparts - poisonous plants ,  the mystery plot,  and the setting. 

What are you reading this week?
Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.
Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date, and Mailbox Monday

Oct 22, 2016

Book Review: The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan

The Woman in the Photo, a novel published June 14, 2016, begins on a Memorial Day in present time and flashes back to Memorial Day in 1889. 
The Woman in the Photo
Synopsis: A modern day adoptee tries to find her birth parents and finds only a picture of her 19th century ancestress, the woman in the photo, which she uses to try to trace her family. The opening paragraphs foreshadow the terrible flood that is to wash away the town of Johnstown, Penn. in the as yet unknown future.

My thoughts: The disastrous flooding of Johnstown in 1889 is brought to light with harrowing detail in this historical/modern novel. The story of the flood is told by Elizabeth, a young woman who escaped but took part in helping the victims and survivors. The modern story is told by an adopted woman, a biological descendant of Elizabeth, who researches the flood to find her roots.

The novel was intriguing and so detailed, I felt the disaster happening all around me. The characters are believable and engrossing in their responses to their situations. I recommend the book. 
First chapter:  
The previous day Memorial Day May 30, 1889
"Elizabeth, please!"  Mother looks away from the train window long enough to eye me sharply. "Why do you test me?"
I frown as she grips the gloves in her lap and returns her gaze to the branches flickering past. It's Memorial Day. Yet the weather matches my mood: stormy. It rained all morning. More is on the way. 
Thanks to William Morrow for a galley of this book for review.

Oct 16, 2016

Sunday Salon: New Branch Library

I went on opening day to our newest branch library in Sylvania and found this book that in other branches must be on a very long waiting list. The new branch had almost all new books laid out for readers to pick up. My new library find and current read:

A Great Reckoning, the 12th in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series, August 30, 2016, Minotaur. It's intriguing because of the main character and the police force, whose detecting techniques and thinking processes are fascinating to follow.

In my mailbox this week,

A galley of When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz, November 29, 2016, from Berkley
A modern day thriller about a woman searching for her step-sister and helped by a PI.

What's on your reading list this week?

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.
Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date. 

Oct 14, 2016

Book Beginning: The Chocolate Falcon Fraud by JoAnna Carl

The Chocolate Falcon Fraud: A Chocoholic Mystery by JoAnna Carl, November 3, 2016, NAL
After reading the first paragraph, I decided I wanted to read more.....

Book beginning, Chapter 1

When Jeff Godfrey came in the door of TenHuis Chocolade, I didn't know if I should shake his hand, kiss him, or call the cops. 

Page 56:
 Joe and I looked at each other and shrugged. I whispered, "This place is full of strange people."

Book description:

... Lee Woodyard is a chocolatier whose love of old crime films plunges her into a real-life murder where the motives aren’t so black and white…What Lee isn’t prepared for is a face from the past: Jeff Godfrey, her former stepson.

Memes: 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.

Oct 10, 2016

Mailbox Monday: Mister Monkey by Francine Prose

Mister Monkey: A Novel  by Francine Prose, October 18, 2016 by Harper

Book description: ...the exploits of characters affiliated with an off-off-off-off Broadway children’s musical....  effervescent comedy from the viewpoints of wildly unreliable, seemingly disparate characters 

Visit Mailbox Monday for a look at bloggers' mailboxes the previous week. 

Oct 3, 2016

The Gilded Chalet: Off-piste in Literary Switzerland by Padraig Rooney: Mailbox Monday

The Gilded Chalet: Off-piste in Literary Switzerland,  by Padraig Rooney, November 19, 2015.
This is a book to be read at leisure and savored in small bites.

The Gilded ChaletSwitzerland has always provided a refuge for writers attracted to it as an escape from world wars, oppression, tuberculosis - or marriage.

 While often for Swiss writers from Rousseau to Bouvier the country was like a gilded prison or sanatorium. The Romantics, the utopians (Wells, D. H. Lawrence) and other spiritual seekers (Hesse), viewed Switzerland as a land of milk and honey, as nature's paradise. In the twentieth century, spying in neutral Switzerland, spawned espionage and detective fiction from Conan Doyle to Maugham, Fleming, and Le Carré. 

Literary detective work and treasure chest, history and scandal, The Gilded Chalet will make you strap on your skis and come off-piste to find out the real Swiss story.  (publisher)

My Mailbox Monday features a wonderful literary history set in Switzerland!

Oct 2, 2016

Sunday Salon: Inside Out and Back Again, a verse novel by Thanhha Lai

A novel in verse, Inside Out and Back Again, a coming-of-age debut work by  is available as an ebook, paperback, or hardcover, and was published 2011 by HarperCollins. 

Book description: Inside Out and Back Again is a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor Book, and a winner of the National Book Award! Inspired by the author's childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child's-eye view of family and immigration.

My comments: I followed this young girl's impressions of her home in Vietnam before having to flee with her family when the North invaded the South at the end of the war. She loved papaya and planted her own tree, watching the formation and growth of the tiny papaya fruits that she eventually had to leave behind. 

We follow her on the boat heading for Thailand, her family's rescue, her relocation to and settlement in Alabama with the help of the local people, and finally her school days enduring bullying and teasing, and her rescue and protection by her older brothers from the mean kids. 

There is humor and pathos in the account, and the voice of a young girl comes through clear and strong in this relatively short and easy to read novel in verse.

I can see why it has won awards. It's for those who read poetry and even for those who do not.  

My rating: 5
Source: ebook bought for my Kindle

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.
Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date. 

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...