Feb 17, 2018

Sunday Salon: Immigrant Stories and a Thriller

The snow has melted almost all the way, but wouldn't you know it. we're getting more precipitation tonight. Will it be snow or sleet? We'll wait and see.

New books:

Number One Chinese Restaurant

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
Publication: June 19, 2018, Henry Holt
Genre: contemporary fiction
Setting: Maryland
A novel about a restaurant family, with themes of "youth and aging, parents and children, and all the ways that our families destroy us while also keeping us grounded and alive." (publisher)

Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad
Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad by Krystal A. Sital
Publication February 20, 2018; W.W. Norton Company
Genre: literary fiction,
 Set on the island of  Trinidad's plantations, in its growing cities, and in the family’s new home in America, this is a story of ambition and cruelty, endurance and love, and most of all, the bonds among women and between generations that help them find peace with the past. (publisher)

Let Me Lie
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
Publication March 13, 2018, Berkley
Genre: thriller
Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents’ deaths, unable to comprehend why they chose to end their lives. Now with a young baby herself, she feels her mother’s presence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. (publisher)

My review: https://bookdilettante.blogspot.com/2018/03/book-review-let-me-lie-by-clare.html

What have you been reading during this wintery February?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Feb 16, 2018

Book Beginning: A Brush With Shadows by Anna Lee Huber

A Brush with Shadows (Lady Darby Mystery #6)

A Brush With Shadows by Anna Lee Huber
Published March 6, 2018, Berkley
Genre: historical mystery
Setting: 1831, England

Book beginning:
July 1831 Dartmoor, England
The first time I laid eyes on Langstone Manor, I could not blame my husband for having stayed away for over fifteen years. I'm sure it didn't help that the weather was far from hospitable. Heavy grey clouds filled the sky, releasing sheets of rain that obscured the horizon, all but concealing my view of the infamous moors rising to the east. But even on a bright, sunlit day, I struggled to imagine the house being more inviting. In truth, it appeared downright foreboding, even without the painful memories that plagues Gage. 
Page 56:
"I hardly think he climbed up here to put a snake in our bed."
Book description:
Sebastian Gage's cousin Alfred has suddenly vanished. He wandered out into the moors and never returned. The Viscount is convinced someone or something other than the natural hazards of the moors is to blame for Alfred's disappearance. Kiera and Gage set out to solve this mystery. (publisher)

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

Feb 11, 2018

Sunday Salon: New Books This Month plus a Review

New arrivals:
Plum Tea Crazy (A Tea Shop Mystery #19)
Plum Tea Crazy
 by Laura Childs, Tea Shop Mystery #19 set in Charleston, March 6, 2018, Berkley.
Genre: cozy mystery

How to Walk Away
How To Walk Away by Katherine Center, May 15, 2018, St. Martins Press.
Genre: romance, contemporary fiction

I finished and enjoyed reading the historical WWII novel set in Milan and the Italian Alps.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan, published May 1, 2017 by Lake Union.
Genre: historical novel based on the real life experiences of Pano Lello during WWII in Italy.
My comments/review on goodreads: 

This was an intriguing WWII story based on the real life experiences of Pano Lello, who worked with the Catholic underground and the Italian resistance, in Milan and the Italian Alps during the Nazi occupation.

Pano Lello was 17 when he first started leading fugitives across the Alps into Switzerland. He later became the driver to a German general so that he could report German movements (the slave camps and what they were working on, munitions locations, etc.) to the insurgents.

I found the book important as I know of few books written by the Italians who went through the ordeal, about the partisans and other WWII insurgents in Italy. As they say, the Italians don't like to talk about the war but prefer to forget about it. Engrossing and suspenseful and full of historical information, this book was rated five stars by this reader.

What have you been reading during this wintery January-February?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Feb 4, 2018

Sunday Salon: Venezuela, New York City, and Korea

The snow is back after a short respite, though just a heavy dusting on the ground so far. More to come, I bet! How is the weather where you are?

I got three new books last week, hooray! The first is set in Venezuela, the second in NYC, and the third in Korea and Japan. All are historical novels or begin as historical novels.
Black Sugar
Black Sugar
The Wicked City
The Wicked City

I finished reading Fools' River by Timothy Hallinan, a pretty suspenseful mystery set in Bangkok. Read my brief review, here,
I also read the Man Booker prizewinner, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. My comments are here.
Other books I've read recently that I can recommend are The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon, and 
Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee 

What are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Jan 31, 2018

First Chapter: Fools' River by Timothy Hallinan

Fools' River

Title: Fools' River by Timothy Hallinan
Published November 7, 2017; Soho Crime
Genre: mystery, thriller
Setting: Bangkok, Thailand

First paragraphs:
The blinds are drawn the way they've been drawn forever, with the inside edges of the slats tilted to block his view of the sky and the fall of sunlight through the window, which means he has no idea what time it is. Not that knowing would do him any good. 

He had a watch once, a gold one, French or Swiss or something like that, European, but he hasn't seen it since he got here. 

Wherever he is. 

Why are the blinds angled that way?

Book description:
The two most difficult days in Bangkok writer Poke Rafferty's life begin with an emergency visit from Edward Dell, the almost-boyfriend of his teenage daughter, Maiow. The boy's father, Buddy, a late-middle-aged womanizer who has moved to Bangkok for happy hunting, has disappeared, and money is being siphoned out of his bank and credit card accounts. (publisher)

Would you continue reading based on the opening paragraphs and other info?
MEME: Every Tuesday Vicki @ I'd Rather Be at the Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon

Jan 28, 2018

Sunday Salon: March Books

The Other Mother
The Other Mother by Carol Goodman, March 27, 2018, William Morrow,
"a gripping novel about madness, motherhood, love, and trust."
Setting: the Catskills
Genre: thriller, suspense

The Baby Plan

The Baby Plan by Kate Rorick, March 20, 1018, William Morrow
Genre: contemporary fiction, comedy
Setting: Santa Barbara, CA
"Three women jump headlong into the world of modern day pregnancy -  gender reveal parties (with tacky cakes and fireworks); where every morsel you eat is scrutinized and discussed; where baby names are crowd-sourced and sonograms are Facebook-shared. And where nothing goes as planned...

Claws for Concern (Cat in the Stacks, #9)
Claws for Concern by Miranda James, February 20, 2018, Berkley
Genre: cozy mystery, Cat in the Stacks series #9
Setting: small town, Mississippi
" a mysterious man with a connection to an unsolved murder starts visiting the library" where librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat Diesel preside. 

Currently reading, library books:
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy; winner of the Man Booker Prize
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, long listed for the Man Booker Prize

What are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Jan 25, 2018

Book Review: The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

The Confusion of Languages
Title: The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon
Published June 27, 2017, Putnam
Genre: contemporary fiction
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 5/5
A novel about jealousy, the unpredictable path of friendship, and the secrets kept in marriage, all set within the U.S. expat community of the Middle East during the rise of the Arab Spring. (publisher)

I really enjoyed this novel about the friendship and conflicts between two wives of American military personnel stationed in the Middle East during the Arab spring, with its uprisings and unrest. Besides describing the challenges of living in a new and mainly unfamiliar culture, the story focuses on two very different women, Cassie and Margaret, brought together by their husbands, Dan and Click's, military careers and by their need for friendship away from home.

Problems arise because the women have different backgrounds, personalities, and emotional needs. Their marriages are far from perfect and they both look for different things during their stay in Jordan. Cassie Hugo sticks to the rules of the embassy regarding travel safety and the ways women must be conservative in behavior and dress and in interacting with others, in particular men. Margaret Bradshaw, younger and more free spirited, disregards almost all the rules in wanting to experience the people and the culture in her own way. Cassie becomes upset and resentful when Margaret wants to branch out on her own to travel around the city and make friends with local people of all classes, relying on Cassie less and less and only to babysit her young toddler on occasion. This friendship comes to a head when something unexpected happens that creates serious conflict. Who, if anyone, is to blame?

The story was very interesting from a cultural point of view; it was also a revealing study in friendship that has some component of jealousy. Well written and engrossing, the book also left me appreciating some of the difficulties faced by families in the military living abroad.

Book beginning:
May 13, 2011
We are close, so close to Margaret's apartment, and I feel myself sink deeper into the passenger seat, relieved that I have succeeded in my small mission of getting Margaret out of her home, if only for a few hours. The day is a success. Sure, I had to let her drive something I usually avoid. Margaret is always too nervous, too chatty, looking around at the pedestrians forgetting to put on her signal, stomping on the brakes too late. But today I actually managed to snap her out of her sadness.I have done everything a good friend should.
Page 56:
Unlike me, Crick cannot tell a lie. For him, there is only one truth, and he tells it. 
Library book
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

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...