Thursday, July 19, 2018

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 a recent read,  I've Got My Eyes on You by Mary Higgins Clark.  The excerpts shared are from the hardcover version I borrowed from the library.

I've Got My Eyes on You 

Beginning:  Jamie was in his room on the second floor of his mother's small Cape Cod house in Saddle River, New Jersey, when his life changed.

Page 56: "I know he's got a temper, Brenda often thought to herself, but I swear those two drive him to it."
My thoughts:  When popular high school student Kerry Dowling is found dead from a blow to the head in her family's backyard pool, the most logical suspect is her boyfriend, Alan Crowley, who had had a very public fight with her at a party on the premises hours earlier. As the police investigation proceeds, several other persons of interest are identified. Who wants Kerry permanently out of the picture, and why?

Mary Higgins Clark applies her tried and true suspense formula in this latest novel. Although I strongly suspected the right person as the killer, the motive caught me by surprise. I've Got My Eyes on You is a good vacation read.

From Goodreads:   A new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark.

After a party when her parents are away, eighteen-year-old Kerry Dowling is found fully dressed at the bottom of the family pool.

The immediate suspect is her boyfriend who had a bitter argument with her at the party. Then there is a twenty-year-old neighbor who was angry because she didn’t invite him to the party.

Or is there someone else who has not yet been seen on the radar?

Kerry’s older sister Aline, a twenty-eight-year-old guidance counselor, is determined to assist the Prosecutor's Office in learning the truth. She does not realize that now she is putting her own life in danger...


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

Thursday Thoughts ~ Books from the Backlog

Happy Thursday . . .  aka, Happy Almost Friday!!

It's time for Books from the Backlog, hosted by Carole's Random Life in Books.  It's a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks . . . or on your eReader.


This week's neglected book is . . .

 The Mothers
Release Date:  October 11, 2016
Publisher:  Riverhead Books

From Goodreads:  Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season."

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose,
The Mothers asks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

Why I selected it: This was a buzz book back in 2016 that made its way onto many recommended reading lists.  I'm drawn to the themes mentioned in the synopsis of this debut novel and its west coast setting.

This Thursday Thoughts ~ Books from the Backlog post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated. 

Wednesday, July 18, 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 . . . 

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter: A Novel 
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date:  October 9, 2018

From Goodreads:  “They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

My Thoughts:  I am a huge historical fiction fan, and it seems time I make room on my reading list for Hazel Gaynor, who comes very highly recommended by reading friends and bloggers.

This Can't Wait Wednesday post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated. 

Tuesday, July 17, 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 my most recent read and the book I am blog-touring today, The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto.  The excerpt shared is from an eBook version I received from Partners in Crime, the tour host.

The Body in the Ballroom: An Alice Roosevelt Mystery 

Chapter 1

St. Louis wasn't half bad.  I met some fine people there, but my job being what it was, I met a lot of bad ones, too. The Secret Service said they had found some funny business with money, and as St. Louis was a lively town, it was as good a place as any to plot something like that.  Mr. Wilkie, the Secret Service chief, said I could make myself useful in St. Louis, and I suppose I did.  Alice wrote me one letter from Washington, filled with backstairs gossip along with complaints about her stepmother and cousin Eleanor.  She told me not to write back because it was too hard to hide, and she didn't want to make it difficult to get me back home, but I was in her thoughts, and she hoped to see me again soon.  In the small hours, when I was really honest with myself, I admitted I sometimes missed her. 

What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
This is the second book in the Alice Roosevelt Mystery Series, and I am completely hooked.  The book and series feature both historical and fictional characters and offer a glimpse into New York society and the city itself at a very significant time in American history.  

I hope you will visit my blog tour post for a review of The Body in the Ballroom and my review of Alice and the Assassin, the first book in the series, as well.

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

Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tour/Review: The Body in the Ballroom



The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto
Today I'm participating in the Partners in Crime virtual book tour of The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto . . .

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: June 12th 2018
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1683315774 (ISBN13: 9781683315773)
Series: Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads

Synopsis . . . President Teddy Roosevelt’s daring daughter, Alice, leaps into action to exonerate a friend accused of poisoning a man just about everyone hated.
Alice Roosevelt, the brilliant, danger-loving daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, has already risked an assassin’s bullet to solve one murder. She never expected to have to sleuth another, but she’d never pass up the opportunity, either. Anything to stave off boredom.
And such an opportunity presents itself when Alice is invited to a lavish ball. The high-society guests are in high spirits as they imbibe the finest wines. But one man, detested by nearly all the partygoers, quaffs a decidedly deadlier cocktail. An African-American mechanic, who also happens to be a good friend of former Rough Rider-turned-Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, is suspected of the murder-by-poison, but Alice is sure he’s innocent and is back on the scene to clear his name.
From downtown betting parlors to uptown mansions, Alice and Agent St. Clair uncover forbidden romances and a financial deal that just might change the world. But neither Alice nor her would-be protector may survive the case at hand in The Body in the Ballroom, R. J. Koreto's gripping second Alice Roosevelt mystery.

My Review . . . After a short stay in Washington, D.C., eighteen-year-old Alice Roosevelt returns to New York City to engage in political and social events on behalf of her family, and Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair is again called upon to act as bodyguard for the President's daughter.  Alice's aunt, Anna Roosevelt Cowles is more determined than ever to keep a watchful eye on the fearless Alice, and St. Clair has promised to do his best to steer Alice clear of situations unsuitable for her social stature.   This is, of course, much easier said than done . . .
Alice is attending the debutante ball for Philadelphia Rutledge, one of her contemporaries, when a guest collapses and dies after drinking a cup of the Rutledge's famously detestable punch. The victim is Lynley Brackton, a society man feared and hated by many.  When it is determined that the punch was poisoned with wolfsbane taken from the Rutledge greenhouse, an investigation is launched to find the person or persons responsible.  Because of Brackton's social standing, the police feel pressured into making a quick arrest and closing the case.  As a result, Peter Carlyle, a black auto mechanic is accused and arrested.  This doesn't sit well with Alice, who overheard Brackton heatedly arguing with another gentleman earlier in the evening, or St. Clair, who knows Carlyle isn't capable of such an act.
Alice's quest for justice leads the duo on a highly adventurous and dangerous investigation from the mansions of New York's elite to the impoverished neighborhoods of immigrants.  It is a tumultuous time in New York City history, and the story touches on the journalistic, political, ethnic, class, and race issues of the day.  Alice and St. Clair discover secrets, prejudices, rivalries, and emotions that ultimately lead them to uncovering the truth and seeing justice served.
Koreto's well-drawn characters and fascinating plot make this a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable story.  While The Body in the Ballroom can be read as a stand-alone, I encourage anyone who likes historical mysteries to treat themselves to Alice and the Assassin, the first book in the series.  I recently read it, and you can find my review here.

Excerpt from The Body in the Ballroom . . . President Roosevelt and I were just finishing our talk when a moment later, the office door opened, and Mr. Wilkie, the Secret Service director, walked in.  I stood to greet him.

"St. Clair.  Glad to see you're back.  Very pleased with the way it went in St. Louis."  He turned to the president.  "Have you spoken to him yet, sir?"

"Yes, and he's agreed."  Wilkie looked relieved, too.

"Very good then.  If you're done, sir, I'll take St. Clair to her.  My understanding is that arrangements have been made for Miss Roosevelt to leave tomorrow afternoon."

"Exactly.  We're all done then.  St. Clair, thanks again.  And I'll be up in the near future, so I expect to see you again soon."  We shook hands, and I followed Mr. Wilkie out the door.

"Is she smoking on the roof again, sir?" I asked.  That's what happened the first time I met Alice in the White House.

He grimaced.  "No.  My understanding is that she is in the basement indulging a new hobby of hers.  But you'll see."  He led me downstairs, and that's when I heard the unmistakable sounds of gunfire.  Mr. Wilkie didn't seem worried, however.  "Miss Roosevelt somehow got hold of a pistol and has set up her own private firing range in a storage room.  We launched an investigation to figure out how Miss Roosevelt obtained such a weapon but were unable to reach a formal conclusion, I'm sorry to say."

No wonder they wanted me back.

And just as when Mr. Wilkie had sent me to get Alice off the roof, he once again cleaned his glasses on his handkerchief, shook my hand, wished me luck, and departed.

I heard one more shot, and that was it.  She was probably reloading.  The sound came from behind a double door at the end of the hallway.  I carefully opened it, and she didn't notice at first.

I watched her concentrating on the pistol, her tongue firmly between her teeth as she carefully focused on reloading.  It was an old Smith & Wesson single-action, and she was damn lucky she hadn't blown her own foot off.  She was shooting at a mattress propped against the far wall, and from the wide scattering of holes, it was clear her marksmanship needed a lot of practice.

"A little more patience, Miss Alice.  You're jerking the trigger; that's why you keep shooting wild.  And that gun's too big for you."

It was a pleasure to see the look of shock and joy on her face.  She just dropped the gun onto a box and practically skipped to me, giving me a girlish hug.  "Mr. St. Clair, I have missed you."  She looked up.  "And I know you have missed me.  They say you're back on duty with me.  We're heading to New York tomorrow, and we'll have breakfast together like we used to and walk to the East Side through Central Park and visit your sister Mariah."

I couldn't do anything but laugh.  "We'll do all that, Miss Alice.  But I'm on probation from your aunt, so we have to behave ourselves.  You have to behave yourself."

"I always behave."  She waved her hand to show that the discussion had ended.  "Now there must be a trick to loading revolvers because it takes me forever."

"I'll teach you.  Someday."  I made sure the revolver was unloaded and stuck it in my belt.  Then I scooped up the cartridges and dumped them in my pocket.

"Hey, that's my revolver," said Alice.  "It took me a lot of work to get it."

"You're not bringing it to New York, that's for sure, Miss Alice."

She pouted.  "I thought you'd relax a little after being in St. Louis."

"And I thought you'd grow up a little being in Washington. You want to walk into the Caledonia like a Wild West showgirl?  Anyway, don't you have some parties to go to up there?"

"Oh very well.  But promise me you'll take me to a proper shooting range in New York and teach me how to load and fire your New Service revolver."

"We'll see.  Meanwhile, if you don't upset your family or Mr. Wilkie between now and our departure tomorrow, I'll buy you a beer on the train."  That made her happy.

We walked upstairs as she filled me in on White House gossip.

"Oh, and I heard you were in a fast draw in St. Louis and gunned down four men."  She looked up at me curiously.

"A little exaggeration," I said.  I hadn't killed anyone in St. Louis, hadn't even fired my revolver, except for target practice.

"You didn't kill anyone?" she asked, a little disappointed.

"No.  No one."

But then her face lit up.  "Because your reputation proceeded you, and they knew there was no chance of outdrawing you."

"That must be it," I said.

"But look on the bright side," she said, still full of cheer.  "New York is a much bigger city.  Maybe you'll get a chance to shoot someone there."
Excerpt from The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto. Copyright © 2018 by R.J. Koreto. Reproduced with permission from R.J. Koreto. All rights reserved.

About the Author . . .
R.J. Koreto
R.J. Koreto has been fascinated by turn-of-the-century New York ever since listening to his grandfather's stories as a boy.
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. He’s a graduate of Vassar College, and like Alice Roosevelt, he was born and raised in New York.
He is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes and Alice Roosevelt mysteries. He has been published in both Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. He also published a book on practice management for financial professionals.
With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Catch Up With R.J. Koreto on: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

Giveaway . . . Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.J. Koreto is hosting a giveaway that you can enter here.  Three winners will receive an gift card.  The giveaway began on 7/01/18 and runs through 8/01/18, and is open to U.S. addresses only.  Void where prohibited.

Tour Participants . . .
07/01 Showcase @ tfaulcbookreviews
07/02 Interview @ CMash Reads
07/04 Guest post @ Jane Reads
07/05 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
07/06 Interview @ Teresa Trent Author Blog
07/07 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
07/09 Review @ Lauras Interests
07/10 Review @ Its All About The Book
07/11 Showcase @ Bound 2 Escape
07/12 Interview @ Mythical Books
07/13 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods
07/15 Showcase @ Stacking My Book Shelves!
07/17 Review @ Book Club Librarian
07/18 Showcase @ BooksChatter.
07/19 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
07/20 Review @ Life at 17
07/21 Review @ The Bookworm
07/22 Review @ Buried Under Books
07/23 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf.
07/24 Review @ sunny island breezes
07/25 Showcase @ 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News
07/26 Showcase @ Quiet Fury Books
07/30 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty
07/31 Showcase @ Teatime and Books
09/05 Blog Talk Radio w/Fran Lewis
09/05 Review @ Just Reviews

Disclaimer . . . I received an eBook version of The Body in the Ballroom in exchange for an honest review.

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

Mmm--Mystery Monday 

Happy Monday!!

Time for the relatively new meme hosted by Ms. M. It's the opportunity to share a mystery you're reading or planning to read sometime soon.  Since mystery is one of my favorite genres, it's a perfect fit for me.  I'm hoping to see many of my blogger friends posting here as well.


Today I'm featuring a recent read, Alice and the Assassin, the first book in the Alice Roosevelt Series . . .

My thoughts:  A thoroughly entertaining historical mystery featuring the unconventional 17-year-old first daughter Alice Roosevelt, whose father Teddy has just become president after the assassination of William McKinley. In Koreto's imaginative novel, the highly inquisitive Alice takes it upon herself to investigate the vile act, and in the process finds herself drawn into the company of anarchists and other dangerous characters as she pursues conspiracy theories.

The story is told in the voice of Alice's Secret Service bodyguard Joseph St. Clair, himself a colorful character. A former Rough Rider who served with Teddy Roosevelt, the fictional St. Clair favors Stetson hats, cowboy boots and long riding coats, which make him stand out in Alice's social circle. The Wyoming lawman is a perfect match for young Alice, however, and the only one with a chance to keep her rambunctious spirit in check. 

Their adventurous investigation is action-packed, and even though they bring it to a successful conclusion, they must answer to the Roosevelt family for Alice's unorthodox behavior and St. Clair's role in aiding and abetting it. Will this dynamic duo survive the consequences? Book two in the series, The Body in the Ballroom, is sure to provide some answers.

This new mystery series delivers a solid whodunit, and a glimpse into the life of a famous historical family, New York society, and national affairs at a very significant time in American history.


From Goodreads:  In 1902 New York, Alice Roosevelt, the bright, passionate, and wildly unconventional daughter of newly sworn-in President Theodore Roosevelt, is placed under the supervision of Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, ex-cowboy and veteran of the Rough Riders. St. Clair quickly learns that half his job is helping Alice roll cigarettes and escorting her to bookies, but matters grow even more difficult when Alice takes it upon herself to investigate a recent political killing--the assassination of former president William McKinley.

Concerned for her father's safety, Alice seeks explanations for the many unanswered questions about the avowed anarchist responsible for McKinley's death. In her quest, Alice drags St. Clair from grim Bowery bars to the elegant parlors of New York's ruling class, from the haunts of the Chinese secret societies to the magnificent new University Club, all while embarking on a tentative romance with a family friend, the son of a prominent local household.

And while Alice, forced to challenge those who would stop at nothing in their greed for money and power, considers her uncertain future, St. Clair must come to terms with his own past in Alice and the Assassin, the first in R. J. Koreto's riveting new historical mystery series.

This Mmm--Mystery Monday post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.