Thursday, December 13, 2018

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings

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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 an upcoming read, Teetotaled by Maia Chance.  The excerpts shared are from a hardcover version borrowed from the library.
 
 Teetotaled (Discreet Retrieval Agency, #2) 

Beginning:  July 14, 1923
The afternoon Sophronia Whiddle offered us the diary job, it was so hot, you could've sizzled bacon on the sidewalk.  Which wasn't a half-bad idea, come to think of it, except that I was out of funds for bacon.  I'd been living on shredded wheat for days.  All right, hours.
 
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Page 56: "Hermie will be going to the swimming pool soon, and we wished to learn if he has come into big money as the result of his sister's death."
 
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My thoughts:  As I learned by reading Come Hell or Highball, the first book in the Discreet Retrieval Agency Mystery Series, protagonist Lola Woodby and her sidekick Berta may be destitute, but they are witty and resourceful.  I'm looking forward to catching up with their next escapade.


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From Goodreads:  In Maia Chance’s follow-up to her acclaimed Prohibition-era caper Come Hell or Highball, Lola Woodby is hired to find a diary, but soon the diary owner’s future mother-in-law is murdered.

After her philandering husband died and left her penniless in Prohibition-era New York, Lola Woodby escaped with her Swedish cook to the only place she could—her deceased husband’s secret love nest in the middle of Manhattan. Her only comforts were chocolate cake, dime store detective novels, and the occasional highball (okay, maybe not so occasional). But rent came due and Lola and Berta were forced to accept the first job that came their way, ultimately leading them to set up shop as a Discreet Retrieval Agency, operating out of Alfie’s cramped love nest.

Now they’re in danger of losing the business they’ve barely gotten off the ground—they haven’t had a job in months and money is running out. So when a society matron offers them a job, they take it—even if it means sneaking into a detox facility and consuming only water and health food until they can steal a diary from Grace Whiddle, a resident at the “health farm.” But barely a day in, Grace and her diary escape from the facility—and Grace’s future mother-in-law is found murdered on the premises. Lola and Berta are promptly fired. But before they can climb into Lola’s red and white Duesenberg Model A and whiz off the property, they find themselves with a new client and a new charge: to solve the murder of Grace’s future mother-in-law.

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This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.
 
 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . . 

                                                      
 

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, now hosted by Vicki at I'd Rather Be At The Beach, 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 current read, Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal.  The excerpts shared are from a trade paperback version I received at last week's Random House December Open House.


Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery, #1) 

Prologue

Half an hour before  Diana Snyder died, she tidied up her desk in the typists' office of the Cabinet War Rooms.

****************

One

"I would say to the House, as I've said to those who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.  We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind.  We  have before us many, many long months of struggle and suffering," intoned Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill to the House of Commons and the British nation in his first speech as the new Prime Minister.


What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
This novel is the first book in the Maggie Hope Mystery Series, a series I have been meaning to start since it first appeared in the book world in 2012.  It's a natural fit for me because I love the historical mystery genre, particularly series which are set in war-time London.

It would probably have taken several more months (or longer) for me to gravitate to the series had it not been for an historical fiction author panel at the recent Random House Open House I attended.  Not only was it a treat to listen to Ms. MacNeal in conversation with authors Amy Bloom and Elizabeth Letts (and moderated by Reading with Robin's Robin Kall), I also came away with a copy of Mr. Churchill's Secretary in my gift bag.  While it might take a while to catch up (The Prisoner in the Castle, the eighth book in the series, was published this year), I anticipate it will be a wonderful reading journey.








This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.
 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

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 Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble, which I read for a recent blog tour.  The excerpts shared are from an eBook I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Ask Me No Questions (A Lady Dunbridge Mystery #1) 

Beginning:  England 1907
Lady Philomena Dunbridge's father slammed the newspaper on the tea table.  "This is an outrage."

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1

"Ay, Dios mio."

Philomena Amesbury, Lady Dunbridge, glanced at her lady's maid, who stood beside her, clutching the rail of the SS Oceanic, her eyes wide.

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56% of eBook:  The men's mouths fell open just like those mechanical banks that flipped pennies into a tank.
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My thoughts: The opening lines hint at the start of an adventure. And, indeed, Lady Philomena takes fate into her own hands by leaving the bleak prospects of widowhood behind in search of brighter prospects across the pond.  Eager to begin a new life chapter, she sets sail for America, where she reunites with Bev Reynolds, her former school friend and prominent member of New York's elite. But before Phil gets a formal introduction to New York Society, she is caught up in a murder investigation . . .

You can read my review of Ask Me No Questions, the first book in the Lady Dunbridge mystery series set in Gilded Age Manhattan, and enter a giveaway here.

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From Goodreads:  Murder and scandals abound in Noble's fresh look at the dazzling world of 1907 Manhattan, from the decadence of high society balls to the underbelly of Belmont horse racing, with an amateur sleuth as scandalous and sparkling as Old New York itself.

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This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Great Escapes Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble


Today I'm participating in the Ask Me No Questions Blog Tour.  In this post you will find book and author information along with my review.

About the book . . .

 Historical Cozy Mystery
New Series
Forge Books (October 16, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 0765398710
ISBN-13: 978-0765398710
Digital ASIN: B078X2BSDR


Synopsis . . . From New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble, Ask Me No Questions is the first in the Lady Dunbridge Mystery series featuring a widow turned sleuth in turn-of-the-twentieth century New York City.

A modern woman in 1907, Lady Dunbridge is not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She’s ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm.

From the decadence of high society balls to the underbelly of Belmont horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.


My review . . . Life has been very limited thus far for Lady Philomena (Phil) Dunbridge, whose parents married her off at age 17 to an older titled man of means. When her husband, the Earl, dies suddenly of a heart attack after years in an unfulfilling marriage, Phil's future seems bleak.  Her family expects her to either return home or live nearby with a chaperone.  Longing for independence and excitement, Phil is determined to leave England and begin her life anew.  She sets sail on the SS Oceanic for New York City, where she will reunite with Beverly Reynolds, a dear friend from her finishing school days in Paris.

Bev is from a wealthy, well-established New York family and the plan is for the girlhood friend to introduce the young widow to New York Society and brighter prospects.  But things go terribly wrong from the very start when Bev's husband Reggie, who is at the pier with Bev to meet Phil's ship, is shot and killed in his car. Beverly is considered a prime suspect in Reggie's murder, and after a second murder victim turns up in the library at the Reynoldses' Manhattan brownstone, Phil feels compelled to clear her friend's name. Her inquiries reveal that Reggie was a bit of a rogue, and his associations and activities are most likely what led to his death.  As the list of suspects grows, so does Phil's focus on unravelling the truth.

Set in New York's Gilded Age and brimming with delicious society scandals, illicit affairs, losses of fortune, corruption, and falls from grace, Ask Me No Questions introduces readers to a lively cast of upstairs and downstairs characters revolving around a clever amateur sleuth.  Lady Philomena Dunbridge is an astute observer with a flair for piecing together clues and forming working relationships at all levels of the social strata.  Phil's further introduction into New York Society and the identity of a mystery man whose subtle hints were integral to solving the case heighten the interest for further installments in this series.


Giveaway . . . Enter the Ask Me No Questions giveaway by clicking on this link.



About the author . . .
SHELLEY NOBLE is the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author of women’s fiction (BEACH COLORS, WHISPER BEACH, LIGHTHOUSE BEACH).
 
As SHELLEY FREYDONT she writes cozy mysteries (CELEBRATION BAY FESTIVAL MYSTERIES, THE SUDOKU MYSTERIES), and the NEWPORT GUILDED MYSTERIES, beginning with A GILDED GRAVE, an RT Reviewer’s Choice nominee for Best Historical Mystery of 2015 and Macavity Finalist.

ASK ME NO QUESTIONS is the first of a Manhattan Gilded Age series and written as Shelley Noble.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore and loves to discover new lighthouses and vintage carousels.


Author links . . .
Website:  https://www.shelleyfreydont.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyNobleAuthor
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ShelleyNoble3
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/shelleynobleauthor/


Purchase links . . .

Amazon     B&N     Kobo     Google Play     IndieBound 



Tour participants . . .

November 26 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  
November 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
November 27 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
November 29 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 29 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
November 29 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW*, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 1 – The Power of Words – REVIEW*
December 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW*, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 5 – Laura s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
December 6 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
December 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW*


Note . . . I received a complimentary copy of Ask Me No Questions from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



 
This Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.
 






 







Thursday, November 22, 2018

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

 
. . . for my blogger friends, publishers, authors
and books I've discovered along the way . . .


Image result for free clipart thanksgiving
Source:sweetieskiz.com 
 
I'll be back to the blogosphere in early December.  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 



This Thursday Thoughts post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday

  
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tessa at Wishful Endings which spotlights and discusses forthcoming books that bloggers are looking forward to reading. Generally it's about books that haven't been released yet. This meme is based on Waiting on Wednesday, formerly hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

There are so many exciting new books on the horizon, so without further adieu, this week's Can't Wait For book is . . .  


Restoration Heights 
Release Date:  January 22, 2019
Publisher:  Hanover Square Press



From Goodreads:  A debut novel about a young artist, a missing woman, and the tendrils of wealth and power that link the art scene in Brooklyn to Manhattan's elite, for fans of Jonathan Lethem and Richard Price

Reddick, a young, white artist, lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a historically black Brooklyn neighborhood besieged by gentrification. He makes rent as an art handler, hanging expensive works for Manhattan's one percent, and spends his free time playing basketball at the local Y rather than putting energy into his stagnating career. He is also the last person to see Hannah before she disappears.

When Hannah's fiance, scion to an old-money Upper East Side family, refuses to call the police, Reddick sets out to learn for himself what happened to her. The search gives him a sense of purpose, pulling him through a dramatic cross section of the city he never knew existed. The truth of Hannah's fate is buried at the heart of a many-layered mystery that, in its unraveling, shakes Reddick's convictions and lays bare the complicated machinations of money and power that connect the magisterial town houses of the Upper East Side to the unassuming brownstones of Bed-Stuy.
 
 
Restoration Heights is both a page-turning mystery and an in-depth study of the psychological fallout and deep racial tensions that result from economic inequality and unrestricted urban development. In lyrical, addictive prose, Wil Medearis asks the question: In a city that prides itself on its diversity and inclusivity, who has the final say over the future? Is it long-standing residents, recent transplants or whoever happens to have the most money? Timely, thought-provoking and sweeping in vision, Restoration Heights is an exhilarating new entry in the canon of great Brooklyn novels.
 
 
 
My thoughts:  I'm intrigued by the plot themes--class, race, gentrification, and mystery set against the backdrop of New York City.
 
 
 
This Can't Wait Wednesday post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . . 

                                                      
 

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, now hosted by Vicki at I'd Rather Be At The Beach, 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, Becoming by Michelle Obama.  The excerpts shared are from the hardcover version on loan from a colleague and friend who is my best book buddy.

 Becoming 

Preface

March 2017
When I was a kid, my aspirations were simple.  I wanted a dog.  I wanted a house that had stairs in it--two floors for one family.  I wanted, for some reason, a four-door station wagon instead of the two-door Buick that was my father's pride and joy.  I used to tell people that when I grew up, I was going to be a pediatrician.  Why?  Because I loved being around little kids and I quickly learned that it was a pleasing answer for adults to hear.  Oh, a doctor!  What a good choice!  In those days, I wore pigtails and bossed my older brother around and managed, always and no matter what, to get As at school.  I was ambitious, though I didn't know exactly what I was shooting for.  Now I think it's one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child--What do you want to be when you grow up?  As if growing up is finite.  As if at some point you become something and that's the end.

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Becoming Me

1

I spent much of my childhood listening to the sound of striving.  It came in the form of bad music, or at least amateur music, coming up through the floorboards of my bedroom--the plink plink plink of students sitting downstairs at my great-aunt Robbie's piano, slowly and imperfectly learning their scales.  My family lived in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, in a tidy brick bungalow that belonged to Robbie and her husband, Terry.  My parents rented an apartment on the second floor, while Robbie and Terry lived on the first.  Robbie was my mother's aunt and had been generous to her over many years, but to me she was kind of a terror.  Prim and serious, she directed the choir at a local church and was also our community's resident piano teacher.  She wore sensible heels and kept a pair of reading glasses on a chain around her neck.  She had a sly smile but didn't appreciate sarcasm the way my mother did.  I'd sometimes hear her chewing out her students for not having practiced enough or chewing out their parents for delivering them late to lessons.


What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
I love the descriptiveness of these opening passages, which invoke my own memories of childhood--my home, my thoughts and plans, relatives who lived nearby, and being questioned often about what I wanted to be when I grew up. 






This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.