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.
 

Tuesday, November 14, 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, Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller.  The excerpt comes from the Kindle version, borrowed from the library.  

Norwegian by Night 
 
CHAPTER 1
 
It is summer and luminous.  Sheldon Horowitz sits on a folding director's chair, high above the picnic and out of reach of the food, in a shaded enclave in Oslo's Frogner Park.  There is a half-eaten karbonade sandwich that he doesn't like on the paper plate cradled in his lap.  With his right index finger, he's playing with the condensation on a bottle of beer that he started to drink but lost interest in some time ago.  His feet twitch back and forth like a schoolboy's, but they twitch slower now at the age of eighty-two.  They achieve a smaller arc.  Sheldon will not admit it to Rhea and Lars--never, of course not--but he can't help wondering what he's doing here and what he's going to do about it before the wonderment passes.
 
 
What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
This debut novel has been getting an impressive amount of buzz.  The description of the scene and the inner thoughts of the narrator intrigue me and draw me into the story.
 
 
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 9, 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 my current read, Origin by Dan Brown.  The excerpts shared are from a library copy.

Beginning:  Prologue
As the ancient cogwheel train clawed its way up the dizzying incline, Edmond Kirsch surveyed the jagged mountaintop above him.  In the distance, built into the face of a sheer cliff, the massive stone monastery seemed to hang in space, as if magically fused to the vertical precipice.

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Page 56: "''What I showed him threatens his world, and I want to know if you think I'm in any physical danger from him.'"
 
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My thoughts:  This is the latest book in the Robert Langdon series, which began with The DaVinci Code.  I'm not very far into the story, but the plot seems to follow Brown's formula of fast-paced adventure centered around symbols, age-old institutions, and intrigue.  It promises to be the perfect weekend escapist read.

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From Goodreads:  Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.
As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.
Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.
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This Friday Focus post was originally composed and/or compiled and published for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are appreciated.     





Tuesday, October 31, 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, She Did It by Mel Sherratt.  The excerpt comes from the Kindle version, purchased from amazon.com.  
.She Did It

Today

I hardly dare open my eyes but I must.  I don't even know how long I've been here.  An hour, perhaps?  Two hours?  A minute?  Why is my watch broken?

I'm sitting on the floor, my back against the wall.  My knees pulled to my chest, my hands wrapped around them.  The kitchen tiles are cold on my feet.  A metallic smell is in the air.


What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
The narrator's opening questions and the metallic smell in the air don't bode well.  It has me curious, and I'm looking forward to finding out what's going on.
 
 
 
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.