May 27, 2018

Sunday Salon: Travel and Romance, Mystery


Mr. Flood's Last Resort
A book won from Atria books, for review, thanks to Bianca Salvant
Mr. Flood's Last Resort by Jess Kidd
Published May 1, 2018
Genre: literary fiction, contemporary fiction
The tale of a lonely caregiver and a cranky hoarder with a house full of secrets.

Other books on my shelf:
The Dying of the Light
The Dying of the Light by Robert Goolrick
Publication: July 3, 2018, Harper
Genre: gothic
...a glamorous Southern debutante who marries for money and ultimately suffers for love—a southern gothic. 

After the Monsoon
After the Monsoon by Robert Karjel, (Ernst Grip #2)
Publication: July 3, 2018, Harper
Genre: thriller
A Swedish army lieutenant drops dead on a shooting range in the desert. Was it an unfortunate accident—or something more nefarious? Ernst Grip, an agent of the Swedish security police, is sent to the Horn of Africa to find out.
Whistle in the Dark
Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey
Publication:July 24, 2018, Harper
Genre: thriller
The story begins with a lost daughter who has been found but who remembers nothing about the days she went missing. Working backwards, a couple tries to find answers.

Finished reading:

The Backpacking Housewife
The Backpacking Housewife by Janice Horton,
Publication: July 6, 2018, HarperImpulse
Genre: women's fiction, travel
This romance novel reads like a travelogue, with a backpacking runaway wife, who travels from the north of Thailand to the south islands and into Malaysia. Lori has run off with her passport and credit card to the farthest country from England she can find on the spur of the moment. Her discovery of her husband's year long affair with her best friend sends her heading to Southeast Asia, to a new adventure and to put distance between herself and her husband. She lands in Bangkok, heads to Chiang Mai, and from there goes south along the coast, from one beautiful beach and lovely island to another, hopping south till she reaches Malaysia. Needless to say, she finds friendships, adventure, independence, and a new romance - a whole new life.
The perfect fairy tale getaway romance. I enjoyed it.

Book borrowed from NetGalley
 
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
Published February 4, 2018; Sourcebook Landmark
Genre: romance, travel
Two romances are connected to this artisanal chocolate shop in Paris -stories involving the original owner and chocolatier, Thierry, and later his son. Two young English women travel to France at different times and find romance there, one unlucky, and the other about to be unlucky. Or is she? A nice romantic novel in a lovely setting - Paris and a chocolate shop! Book borrowed from NetGalley or Edelweiss.
 
Now reading:T'en souviens-tu, mon Anaïs? Et autres nouvelles
T'en souviens-tu, mon Anaïs? Et autres nouvelles by Michel Bussi
Published January 4, 2018; Presses de la Cite
Genre: romance, contemporary French novel

Hooray! My French is improving, after reading so many of Bussi's books in the original French. Thanks to the dictionary provided in the Kindle ereader, I can look up unknown words and phrases tout de suite! And either this book is written in simpler French, or my reading ability has noticeably improved!

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.

May 20, 2018

Review: Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

Two Steps Forward
Two Steps Forward
Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, May 1, 2018, William Morrow
Genre:travel, contemporary novel
Setting: The Chemin, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a centuries-old pilgrim route that ends in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. 

I loved this book, told from the point of view of a woman in her 40s or 50s and a man of the same age, walking from Cluny in France to Santiago in Spain on an old pilgrimage route. Though it's a novel, the book reads as if written by people who have travelled the Camino many times and know of what they speak! And in fact the authors are seasoned walkers of the pilgrim's route in Spain.

In the novel, the fictitious Martin and Zoe meet on the trail, traveling by foot from France and into northern Spain on the famous route. Martin pulls a cart he designed to hold his gear and hopes to sell the design to anyone who would buy it and manufacture it for public use. Zoe, using a backpack, is on the trail to try to escape memories of the very recent death of her husband, Keith. 

They have many setbacks along the Camino, meet interesting people from different countries, sometimes walking together and other times separately, and have varied experiences staying in hostels, hotels, pensions, and bed and breakfasts along the way. The narrators describe the terrain and each little town they enter, in detail. 

This is not only a travel story, about the experiences of walking over 2,000 kilometers, but also a love story of sorts. The book made me want to get into shape and travel along the Camino myself, and I've put the trail on my bucket list!

Objective rating: 5/5. Thanks to William Morrow for the review copy. 

Finished reading:
Sunburn
Sunburn
 The flawed main character in Sunburn didn't get my sympathy even though she endured a lot in order to get to her final goals. Interesting plot and character; the book was entertaining even though not memorable. I gave it four stars.
New books include
Once Upon a Spine (A Bibliophile Mystery, #11)
Once Upon a Spine
A Panicked Premonition (Psychic Eye Mystery, #15)
A Panicked Premonition
Bought the Farm (Farmer's Daughter Mystery #3)
Bought the Farm
A Just Clause (Booktown Mystery, #11)
A Just Clause
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.

May 13, 2018

Sunday Salon: Powell's Books in Chicago

On a trip to Chicago in April, we stopped at a favorite used books store in Hyde Park on the south side, Powell's Books. I came away with three books I'd not have bought anywhere else....such was the atmosphere of the place that it made me want to read them.

Fluke: The Maths and Myths of Coincidence
Fluke by Joseph Mazur, March 15, 2017,  paperback by Oneworld
A look at coincidences, their probability and frequency. The book tries to analyze how coincidences work, that they are not so unusual after all. So you meet your next door neighbor while you are both at the Louvre in Paris during the month of May. Surprise! Amazing! Or is it?

The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures
The Invisible History of the Human Race by Christine Kenneally, October 9, 2014, Viking
How the history of the human race shapes us as individuals

The third book I'd have bought anywhere -
Man's Fate

Man's Fate by Andre Malraux, September 3, 2009, Penguin Classics
Shanghai, 1927, and revolution is in the air. As the city becomes caught up in violence and bloodshed, four people's lives are altered inexorably....

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.

May 11, 2018

Book Beginning: The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet


The Seventh Function of Language
The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet, August 14, 2018, Picador USA
Genre: comedy, literary fiction
Source: library
Book beginning:
Life is not a novel. At least you would like to believe so. Roland Barthes walks up Rue de Bievre. The greatest literary critic of the twentieth century has every reason to feel anxious and upset. His mother, with whom he had a highly Proustian relationship, is dead. And his course on "The Preparation of the Novel"  at the College de France is such a conspicuous failure it can no longer be ignored; all year he has talked to his students about Japanese haikus, photography, the signifier and the signified, Pascalian diversions, cafe waiters, dressing gowns, and lecture-hall seating - about everything but the novel. And this has been going on for three years. He knows, of course, that the course is simply a delaying tactic designed to push back the moment when he must start a truly literary work....
Page 56:
Standing behind his massive desk, Giscard points to one representing a beautiful, severe-looking woman, arms outspread, dressed in a fine white dress....
Publisher: 
Paris, 1980. The literary critic Roland Barthes dies—struck by a laundry van. The world of letters mourns a tragic accident. But what if it wasn’t an accident at all? What if Barthes was . . . murdered? The hapless police detective Jacques Bayard, whose new case will plunge him into the depths of literary theory, soon finds himself in search of a lost manuscript by the linguist Roman Jakobson on the mysterious “seventh function of language.”

What new books are you reading this weekend? 
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

May 7, 2018

It 's Monday: New Books and New Reviews

New books on my shelf:
Two Steps Forward
Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, May 1, 2018, William Morrow
Genre: romance, contemporary novel
Setting: The Chemin, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a centuries-old pilgrim route that ends in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. 

Blood Orbit (Gattis File #1)
Bloody Orbit: Gattis File #1 by K.R. Richardson, May 2018
Genre: science fiction police procedural pairs an idealistic rookie with an officer who uses cybernetic implants to process forensics

This is not normally a genre I read, but since it's the first in a new series, I'm willing to give it a try.

Currently reading:
Whistling In the Dark
Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen, May 1, 2007, Berkley
Genre: thriller
Rating: 5/5

After the death of their father, young Sally takes care of her sister Troo while their mother is hospitalized long term for liver failure. There is a murderer on the loose who has targeted young girls in the area and Sally finds herself  alone in having to protect herself and her sister. Family secrets, a predator on the loose in a small community in Milwaukee, these are some of the themes of the book with two highly individualized young girls who must handle it all.

Books read last week:
Murder on Brittany Shores (Commissaire Dupin, #2)


Love the setting and descriptions of the people and the unusual Glenan islands off the Brittany shore. A complex mystery plot too, with a persistent and astute French detective.

I listened to the audio and loved the intonations in the voice of the narrator, who read the French novel in English.

Murder on Brittany Shores by Jean-Luc Bannalec, 
Published July 2016 by Minotaur
Genre: mystery 
Setting: Brittany, France



Killing Trail (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #1)
Killing Trail: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima,
Published December 8, 2015
Genre: K-9 mystery
Setting: Colorado

The first novel in the series, introducing Mattie Cobb and her K-9 police dog Robo. An entertaining, informative mystery. Loved the setting and details on police dog training.
Moo
Moo by Sharon Creech, August 30, 2016, HarperCollins
Cute story of city kids who move to Maine and learn, reluctantly at first, about farm animals and farm life from an Italian woman and her cow, Zora.

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 30, 2018

New Books for Summer

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by 


July 10, 2018; Penguin Press
Genre: contemporary literature...a young woman’s efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes. (publisher)
 The Secrets Between Us
The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
June 26, 2018; Harper
Genre: contemporary international fiction
...the former servant struggles against the circumstances of class and misfortune to forge a new path for herself and her granddaughter in modern India. (publisher)

The Word Is Murder
The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
June 5, 2018; Harper
Genre: mystery, thriller
SHE PLANNED HER OWN FUNERAL. BUT DID SHE ARRANGE HER MURDER? (publisher)

Books finished last week and reviewed on goodreads:
t was amazing
Chemistry



Chemistry by Weike Wang, 5 stars
The Chinese family in juxtaposition with Western culture, as well as family dynamics in general and how these affect children, their careers and their marriage choices.
An unusual "literary mystery" with emphasis on poetic writing and lots of psychoanalysis through the voice of the narrator. Surprises and "plot twists" at the end. Worth reading.
 Still Waters (Sandhamn, #1)
it was amazing
Still Waters (Sandhamn, #1)  by Viveca Sten, October 2015; Amazon Crossing
Rating: 5 stars
The first in the Sandhamn mystery series, the novel is set in the Swedish archipelago with its hundreds of islands, including Sandhamn. The main characters are a police officer and his childhood friend, a lawyer, who try to solve the mystery of a man found dead, tangled in a fishing net off the island. Atmospheric and suspenseful, the novel has a good plot, interesting characters, and a splendid description of the picturesque islands in this part of Sweden.
My current read was a free download from amazon:
The Question of Red
The Question of Red by 
, published 2013
...the story of two lovers, Amba and Bhisma, driven apart by one of the bloodiest Communist purges in the 20th century—the massacres that took place in Indonesia between 1965 and 1968, during which nearly one million people were killed. (publisher)

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 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

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...