Tuesday, December 12, 2017

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . .


                                                      

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.

Today I'm featuring my current read, Every Breath You Take by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, borrowed from the library.  

Every Breath You Take (Under Suspicion, #5) 

Prologue
Three Years Ago
 
On an unusually cold and wintery Monday evening, sixty-eight-year-old Virginia Wakeling was making her way slowly through the costume gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  As she wandered through the exhibitions, she had no premonition that the glamorous evening would end in tragedy.
 
Or that she had only four hours to live.
 
What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
I'm a huge Mary Higgins Clark fan, and this book follows her signature style of drawing readers in immediately.  The New York City setting is an added bonus for me.


This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are appreciated.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings

16
It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring a recent read, Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner.  The excerpts shared are from a library copy.
 
 Heather, the Totality 

Beginning:  
Mark and Karen Breakstone got married a little late in life.  Karen was nearly 40 and had given up on finding someone as good as her father and had begun to become bitter about the seven-year relationship she'd had after college with her former Art teacher.  In fact, when she was set up with Mark, she nearly turned the date down because Mark's only prominent quality was his potential to be rich.

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Page 56: "Mark and Heather's sleepy sipping and nibbling was routine and wordless but they were at peace together and this seemed to bring out an energetic pettiness in Karen."
 
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My thoughts: This short novel presents an interesting window into modern urban life and relationships, both intimate and random.  Weiner offers insight into how far some individuals will go to protect their interests and fulfill their desires.

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From Goodreads:  The Breakstone family arrange themselves around their daughter Heather, and the world seems to follow: beautiful, compassionate, entrancing, she is the greatest blessing in their lives of Manhattan luxury. But as Heather grows-and her empathy sharpens to a point, and her radiance attracts more and more dark interest-their perfect existence starts to fracture. Meanwhile a very different life, one raised in poverty and in violence, is beginning its own malign orbit around Heather.

Matthew Weiner-the creator of
Mad Men-has crafted an extraordinary first novel of incredible pull and menace. Heather, The Totality demonstrates perfectly his forensic eye for the human qualities that hold modern society together, and pull it apart.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . .

                                                      

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.

Today I'm featuring a recent read, Etched on Me by Jenn Crowell, which I read for one of my book clubs.  
 
Etched on Me


1

Have you ever wanted something so much, it's not a desire so much as a beacon? Have you ever prayed for it so hard, your fingernails curl into your palms and your eyes squinch shut and your whole body just hums?


What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
This coming of age story was a difficult read for me because of the subject matter.  The novel touches on mental health issues, abuse, and victimization, although it also highlights the capacity for healing, hope, and the strength of the human spirit.


This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are appreciated.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday Thoughts: Happy Thanksgiving

I'm taking some time away from blogging for grateful reflection and time with family and friends . . .


Image result for free clipart thanksgiving
Source: clipartbest.com

. . . I'll be back to the blogosphere in early December.

Image result for free clipart thanksgiving
Source:sweetieskiz.com 
Until then, enjoy all the wonderful things this season has to offer . . .
Image result for free clipart thanksgiving
Source: cliparts.co 



  
        


Image result for free clipart books 

. . . and Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate this holiday in November.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . .


                                                      

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.

Today I'm featuring an upcoming read, The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.  The excerpt comes from the hardcover version, borrowed from the library.
 
 
 The Rooster Bar 

1
 
The end of the year brought the usual holiday festivities, though around the Frazier house there was little to cheer.  Mrs. Frazier went through the motions of decorating a small tree and wrapping a few cheap gifts and baking cookies no one really wanted, and, as always, she kept The Nutcracker running nonstop on the stereo as she gamely hummed along in the kitchen as though the season was merry.
 
Things were anything but merry.  Mr. Frazier had moved out three years earlier, and he wasn't missed as much as he was despised.  In no time, he had moved in with his young secretary, who, as things developed, was already pregnant.  Mrs. Frazier, jilted, humiliated, broke, and depressed, was still struggling.
 
 
 
What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
I've read many a John Grisham novel over the years, and I've never been disappointed with his books.  He's one of those masterful storytellers who creates interesting characters and scenarios with perfect pacing.  I'm looking forward to starting this latest one.
 
 
This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are appreciated.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings


It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring my most recent read, Death at the Emerald by R.J. Koreto.  The excerpts shared are from an advance copy.  (The book was published on November 7, 2017.)

Death at the Emerald  (Lady Frances Ffolkes #3) 

Beginning 
Lady Beatrice Torrence, widow of Sir Arnold Torrence, reflected wryly that she knew all the names of everyone at the party but none of the faces.  She had been abroad with her husband, from one posting to another, for so long and had come back to find that London was populated by the children and even grandchildren of those she had known a lifetime ago.
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56% of eBook: "Perhaps sensing that Frances was digging for more information, she now looked a little tense at the mention of the vicar's name."
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My thoughts:   This was a most enjoyable read for me in what has become one of my favorite historical mystery series.  Koreto's Lady Frances Ffolkes series features a Downton Abbey feel and lead character who is an unconventional woman determined to blaze her own trail -- despite her privileged birth -- in a world on the brink of change.  Read my review here, which includes a link to enter a giveaway of this book.


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From Goodreads:  An elderly family friend commissions Frances to find Helen, a stunningly beautiful actress who vanished 30 years ago. Taking on the role of the Lady Sherlock, with her loyal maid Mallow drafted as her Watson, Frances immerses herself in the glamorous world of Edwardian theater and London's latest craze—motion pictures.

Frances' first stop is the venerable Emerald Theatre, where aging actors are still in love with the memory of the beguiling Helen. It seems like a dead end—but one of Helen's old suitors is suddenly murdered. Frances and Mallow beat both the police and killer to a box of subtle clues. However, a stalker, another old suitor of Helen's long presumed dead, threatens them. Will Frances' latest hobby, a study of Japanese martial arts, be enough to save them?

Undaunted, Frances and Mallow follow their leads, and along the way get some advice from George Bernard Shaw, star in a motion picture, and joke with King Edward VII. Clues eventually lead them to a forgotten grave outside of London, which contains a mysterious biblical inscription--and a shocking secret. Frances finally assembles the pieces, and with Mallow as stage manager, produces her own play to uncover a decades-old conspiracy, reveal a killer—and find the remarkable Helen.


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This Friday Focus post was originally written and published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are appreciated.  


Thursday Thoughts: Blog Tour/Review and Giveaway--Death at the Emerald by R.J. Koreto



Today I'm participating in the Death at the Emerald Blog Tour.  In this post you will find book and author information along with my review.

About the Book . . .
Death at the Emerald: A Frances Ffolkes Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313373
EBook ASIN: B06XWF3K5Z
Synopsis . . .
One-named stunning actress Helen mysteriously vanished 30 years ago. An elderly family friend is unable to bear not knowing any longer and commissions Lady Frances Ffolkes to track her down. Taking on the role of Lady Sherlock, with her loyal maid Mallow drafted as her Watson, Frances finds herself immersed in the glamorous world of Edwardian theater and London’s latest craze—motion pictures.
As Frances and Mallow make their way through the theaters, they meet colorful figures such as George Bernard Shaw and King Edward VII. Tracking the theaters seems like a dead end. That is until one of Helen’s old suitors is suddenly murdered. With the stakes raised, Frances and Mallow work quickly to uncover a box of subtle clues to Helen’s whereabouts. But someone unexpected wants that box just as badly and is willing to kill to keep it shut.
The stage is set for murder and Frances and Mallow are determined to unravel the decades-old conspiracy in Death at the Emerald, R. J. Koreto’s third installment in the captivating Lady Frances Ffolkes mysteries.
My review . . .
With two solved cases to her credit and deductive skills that rival the great Sherlock Holmes, Lady Frances's reputation as London's first female consulting detective is firmly established.  In this latest installment, Franny is retained by Lady Beatrice Torrence to investigate the fate of her daughter who disappeared in 1875 after leaving home to join the Green Players theater group rather than become the companion to an officer's widow abroad.  Seeking peace of mind about her beloved rebellious child, the aging Lady Torrence asks Frances to either find her daughter or proof of her death.

Lady Frances, accompanied by her loyal maid June Mallow, begins the investigation at the Emerald Theater, home to the Green Players, where she interviews actors and theater workers, some of whom were in the theater's employ thirty years ago and knew the actress.  Several had harbored romantic feelings and were unsettled when the actress married someone not connected to the theater and left to pursue a life abroad.  Although the information initially shared isn't particularly enlightening to the case, there is a hint of secrets yet to be revealed.  And when one of the men recently questioned is found dead in an alley behind the theater, Lady Frances delves deeper into the past, leading her on an at times dangerous path to uncover the truth.  She and Mallow work tirelessly and creatively to solve the mystery of Miss Torrence's disappearance and give closure to her family.

Death at the Emerald is an engaging, entertaining mystery with a fascinating cast of characters. In addition to colorful theater folk, clergy, and people from different levels of society, there are cameo appearances by historical figures including the playwright George Bernard Shaw: King Edward VII and his mistress Alice Keppel (the real life great-grandmother of Camilla Parker Bowles); and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first female British doctor. There are also amusing references to Sherlock Holmes and a Downton Abbey flair, and I commend the author for his creative detail and historical accuracy. Although the book can be read as a stand alone, once readers make the acquaintance of the high-spirited Lady Frances, they will surely want to follow her adventures by reading the previous two books in the series.

Koreto's Lady Frances Ffolkes series features a lead character who is an unconventional woman determined to blaze her own trail -- despite her privileged birth -- in a world on the brink of change.  A titled member of the aristocracy, Franny refuses to be defined by accepted social norms, much to the admiration of her fiance, the solicitor Henry Wheaton and the dismay of her brother, the marquess of Seaforth, Undersecretary for European Affairs in the Foreign Office.  Unlike her peers, Franny is an alumna of Vassar College and a suffragist.  In contrast to other single young women of the time who live with their families, Lady Frances lives with her maid at Miss Plimsoll's, a residential hotel intended for elderly widows.  She takes classes in juyutsu and rides about town on a bicycle.  Comfortable in her own skin, Frances is considered "eccentric," "odd," and "mad" by those in her own social circle, but this memorable character is anything but that to me. And while each book in the series has a different gem in its title, the real gem is Lady Frances herself.  I look forward to her continuing escapades in the books to come.

Anglophiles, fans of stories with strong female protagonists, cozy mystery readers, and historical fiction aficionados are sure to be delighted by this series.

For my thoughts on the first book in the series, Death on the Sapphire, which I read in August 2016 and a description of the second book, Death Among Rubies, which I will be reading soon, click here.


Giveaway . . .
Enter for a chance to win a copy of Death at the Emerald by R.J. Koreto by visiting this Rafflecopter link

About the author . . .
R.J. Koreto is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes mystery series, set in Edwardian England, and the Alice Roosevelt mystery series, set in turn-of-the-century New York. His short stories have been published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.

In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Like his heroine, Lady Frances Ffolkes, he’s a graduate of Vassar College.

With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Author links . . .
Website: www.ladyfrancesffolkes.com (contains sign-up form for my weekly newsletter)
Purchase links . . .
Amazon  


Tour Participants . . .
November 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
November 7 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 9 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 10 – The Editing Pen – INTERVIEW
November 11 – My Reading Journey – SPOTLIGHT
November 11 – Deal Sharing Aunt – REVIEW
November 12 – Christa Reads and Writes – GUEST POST
November 13 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
November 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
November 15 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
November 15 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW
November 16 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
November 17 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
November 19 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW
November 19 – Nadaness In Motion – CHARACTER GUEST POST



Note:  I received a complimentary advance copy of Death at the Emerald  in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday Thoughts: Blog Tour/Review and Giveaway--Death at the Emerald by R.J. Koreto was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com. This post cannot be republished without attribution.  Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are appreciated.