Apr 28, 2018

Shot in the Dark by Cleo Coyle

Shot in the Dark (Coffeehouse Mystery #17)
Shot in the Dark by Cleo Coyle
April 17, 2018; Berkley
Genre: Coffeehouse Mystery #17

A new smartphone dating game turns the Village Blend into a hookup hot spot, until one dark night, when a gunshot leaves a dead body behind and the landmark coffeehouse becomes the center of a whole new scene--a crime scene. (publisher)

Book beginning:
"Shot down again..."My ex-husband dropped his hard body onto the soft stool of our crowded coffee bar, the thorny end of a long-stemmed rose still pricking his hand. "Three strikes in one night," I said. "Does that mean you're out?""No, Clare. That's another kind of ball game."
Page 56:
 "Yeah, sure, but do you think she's the jumper they're looking for upriver?"
The 17th in the series! We're following coffee house manager Clare Cosi and her ex-husband at the Village Blend in NYC, the setting of the mystery series where Clare helps solve crimes that crop up during their busy daily activities. 

This time Clare gets the help of her ex, coffee hunter Matteo Allegro, whose mother owns the coffee shop. The Village Blend becomes the meeting place for a dating app named Cinder, but a corpse lands up in the mix of would-be, hopeful young people looking for dates. Clare has to try and clear one of her customers of the murder charge and protect her other customers. 

Another mystery with intrigue, suspense, and recipes too. One of my favorite foodie mystery series!

Thanks to Berkley for a review copy of this 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

Apr 20, 2018

Queen Anne's Lace, a novel by Susan Wittig Albert

Queen Anne's Lace (China Bayles #26)

Queen Anne's Lace: China Bayles #26 by Susan Wittig Albert
Published April 3, 2018; Berkley Books
Genre: mystery
Setting: Pecan Springs, Texas  - tearoom

Setting: The Thyme and Seasons tearoom has long been the pivotal point in many China Bayles mystery novels set in the Texas hill country. An herbalist as well as a caterer too, China plays sleuth in the books and solves crimes in and around her neighborhood, as well as provides readers with recipes for dishes that include everything from jelly, cobbler, soup, quiche, to muffins. 

Plot: Antique lace and old photographs found in a loft puzzle and intrigue China, especially when she hears ghostly humming and the fragrance of lavender along with it. A touch of the magical in this novel lends it charm to add to the handcrafted lace from times gone by. Things get complicated when China tries to solve the mystery of the lace and the story of the lacemaker, Annie Laurie. 

A very attractive cover and an intriguing plot makes this book another in the China Bayles series to add to mystery lovers' bookshelf. 

Thanks to Berkley Books for a review copy of this novel.

Book Review: The Light-Keeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol

The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol, July 4, 2017, HarperCollins.
Setting: Lighthouse on Porphyry Island, Lake Superior, Canada

Between 1918 and the early 1930s, a lighthouse keeper on an island in Lake Superior kept journals that would later be read by an orphan teenage girl, Morgan, to a blind woman in a retirement home. 

The blind woman is Elizabeth, one of the twin daughters of the lighthouse keeper and his wife on Porphyry Island. Elizabeth and her twin Emily lived in the lighthouse until the death of their parents, when they were taken in by old friends.  Now an old woman, Elizabeth becomes interested in her father's newly found notebooks, as she has unanswered questions about all that occurred to their family so many years ago on the lighthouse island.  

The novel reveals the  complicated lives of Elizabeth and Emily, the twin girls, and their older brother Charles, growing up largely isolated on an island in Lake Superior, especially during the long harsh winters.  

There are secrets in the family, and Morgan, who reads the lightkeeper's journals to the aged Elizabeth in the present time, is curious about the twin Emily's nature drawings. Morgan has copies of Emily's drawings, which she found long ago in her grandfather's violin case. What the connection is, between her grandfather and the twins, is what drives Morgan to read the notebooks carefully. 

Comments: The book was very suspenseful at times, and I could not wait to find out more about the intriguing characters and their lives. The story makes for excellent reading. I was curious about the similarities of parts of the plot to another lighthouse novel, The Light Between Oceans, published in 2013. However, this novel's added complexity makes up for that coincidence that readers of both books might notice. Overall, I gave The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughters  5 stars.

Book beginning:
Arnie Richardson
The black Lab is aging. His arthritic legs stiffly pick their way along the well-worn path, stepping carefully over roots and carrying his stout form between the trunks of spruce and poplar. His muzzle, flecked with gray, tracks close to the ground, gathering the scent of his master's trail. 
Page 56:
....I pause for a moment, and I hear her whisper,"Oh, dear God. It was him. All those years later. Grayson." She isn't talking to me. 
Thanks to Harper Collins for providing a proof of the 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

Apr 14, 2018

Sunday Salon: Mysteries and a Literary Novel

The Waters & The Wild

The Waters and the Wild by DeSales Harrison
Published April 3, 2018; Random House
Genre: literary, mystery
With lyrical prose and masterful plotting, The Waters & The Wild is a sophisticated and surprising literary mystery about passion, betrayal, and redemption. (publisher)

Murder on Union Square (Gaslight Mystery, #21)

Murder on Union Square by Victoria Thompson 
Publication: May 1, 2018; Berkley
Genre: Gaslight Mystery #21
Frank finds himself in an unusual position--the prime suspect in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight Mystery series...(publisher)

The above are the two new books on my desk, and I am eager to read them! 

I  finished reading:
Sold on a Monday by Kristing McMorris; see my review.
The Lost Family by Jenna Blum
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Flat Broke With Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia by Jennifer McGaha;
see my review on Goodreads.

Burning Ridge (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4)

Burning Ridge: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4 by Margaret Mizushima. The author's husband is a veterinarian, so this must help her write about a deputy sheriff and her police search and detect dog, Robo. A five star mystery, in my mind!

What books 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.What books are you reading this week?

Apr 13, 2018

Book Review: Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Sold on a Monday

Title: Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
Publication: August 28, 2018, Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: historical fiction
Objective rating: 5 stars

Lily, a secretary with a newspaper in 1930s Pennsylvania, gets caught up in the story of a photo taken by young reporter Ellis, who snapped a picture of two boys in front of a For Sale sign. The sign was not for the sale of produce or other items, but for the sale of the two boys, a grim indication of the hardship and privation of the times. Scandalized by the implications, Lily takes the photo to the newspaper editor, who assigns Ellis to write the story behind his revealing photo.

Complications arise about the original two children in Ellis's photo, and Ellis makes do by taking another photo, but of different children. Barely bothered by the lie, Ellis makes a name for himself in the newspaper world with the photo and story and rises rapidly in his career.

Lily,  however, gets involved in sorting out fact from fiction as she later helps Ellis to go after the truth of the four children in the two photos, some of whose lives may have been severely affected by Ellis's photos and newspaper story.

The novel is based on a real life photo and its story of children up for sale in 1948, researched by the author, which became an inspiration for her historical novel, Sold on a Monday. Poverty, desperation, and the plight of poor children during those hard times are among the book's themes. Add to that the investigative skills of Lily and the reporter Ellis, who track the story to its conclusion in a suspenseful and heartfelt plot. Well written and researched, with details that bring the characters and the story to life, Sold on a Monday is a novel I would recommend for history buffs and for those interested in a well told tale. 

Book beginning:
Chapter 1
August 1931
Laurel Township, Pennsylvania
It was their eyes that first drew Ellis in.
Seated on the front porch of a weathered gray farmhouse, among the few homes lining the road surrounded by hayfields, two boys were pitching pebbles at a tin can. Ages six and eight at most, they wore no shoes or shirts. Only patched overalls exposing much of their fair skin tinted by grime and summer son The two had to be brothers.... (from an advanced readers copy; final copy may differ

56 percent: 
...She considered the disparity of fortunes between bankers and too many of their patrons, those with little choice but to live in shantytowns or to beg on the street. 
Thanks to the author and Netflix for an advance readers copy of the book, for review purposes. 

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

Apr 8, 2018

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction, Travel, and a Memoir

New books for spring!

Why Travel Matters: A Guide to the Life-Changing Effects of Travel

Why Travel Matters: A Guide to the Life-Changing Effects of Travel by Craig Storti, published April 18, 2018

A Date with Murder (Murder, She Wrote, #47)
A Date With Murder: Murder, She Wrote by 
Publication: May 1, 2018, Berkley Books

The Lost Family: A Novel
The Lost Family by Jenna Blum
Publication: July 3, 2018, Harper
Marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s. (publisher)

 Another Side of Paradise
Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow
Publication: May 29, 2018, Harper
Theme: the romance between legendary gossip columnist Sheilah Graham and F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Perfect Mother
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Publication: May 1, 2018, Harper
Genre: psychological thriller

Finished reading:
Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia

Flat Broke with Two Goats: a Memoir by Jennifer McGaha
Published Jan. 23, 2018; Sourcebooks
Source: library ebook borrow
My comments: A five star book for just being such an unusual memoir about a couple going from being city dwellers to becoming farmers in a run-down cabin surrounded by forest and wildlife in Appalachia, the couple making their own goat cheese, rearing chickens and goats, and growing agricultural products for a living. The change from resisting the move with its hardships to accepting and loving her new life in the woods is the main theme of the author's memoir. Loved it! 
Sold on a Monday

Also finished Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
Publication: August 28, 2018, Sourcebooks Landmark

From bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.
The scrawled sign, peddling young siblings on a farmhouse porch, in 1931. 
Review to be posted soon.

Currently reading:
The Lost Family by Jenna Blum (see above); I'm enjoying the easy storytelling of the author's and the fascinating novel of a man surviving WWII to becoming a successful restaurateur, only to continue to be haunted by his past. 

What books 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.

Apr 2, 2018

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig: It's Monday, What Are you Reading?

Miss Burma

Miss Burma tells the story of modern-day Burma through the eyes of Benny and Khin, husband and wife, and their daughter Louisa.

Based on the story of the author’s mother and grandparents, the book is a portrait of how modern Burma came to be, and of the ordinary people swept up in the struggle for self-determination and freedom. It is a powerful novel of love and war, colonialism and ethnicity, and the ties of blood. (publisher)

Publication date: May 2, 2018.
Thanks to Grove Press for a review copy.

Memes: Visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date, and Mailbox Monday. 

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...