Mailbox Monday

 

 

April host: Cindy’s Love of Books

♦  ♦  ♦

For review:

Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas  (St. Martin’s; Goodreads First Reads)

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert  (Harper)

The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri  (Harper)

I bought:

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

   

What was in your mailbox?

An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd

An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd

Bess Crawford Mystery Series #2

Published: August 2011 – HarperCollins

Goodreads synopsis: In the early summer of 1917, Bess Crawford is charged with escorting a convoy of severely wounded soldiers from the trenches of France to England. Among them is a young pilot, burned beyond recognition, who carries a photograph of his wife pinned to his tunic. But later, in a crowded railway station, Bess sees the same woman bidding a heart-wrenching farewell to a departing officer, clearly not her husband.

Back on duty in France, Bess is shocked to discover the wife’s photograph in a newspaper accompanying a plea from Scotland Yard for information about her murder, which took place on the very day Bess witnessed that anguished farewell. Granted leave to speak with the authorities, Bess very quickly finds herself entangled in a case of secrets and deadly betrayal in which another life hangs in the balance, and her search for the truth could expose her to far graver dangers than those she faces on the battlefield.

My thoughts: Although it may seem that the synopsis is a spoiler, it isn’t. We learn that information in the first few pages.

I thought the second book in the Bess Crawford series had a different feel to it than the first. Much of it centers around upper class people. There’s an underlying uneasiness that made me think that’s how Bess felt. Bess finds out that murder actually can happen to “nice people”. She’s not as insulated from the world as she once was – even though she’s a nurse on the front she’s finding out that terrible things can and do happen close to home.

As in A Duty to the Dead Charles Todd put me in the atmosphere of the novel. I was in the crowd at the train station,  the fog in a small village, the medical tent in France. It’s one of the things I love most about the series. I can see, hear and feel the setting.

I had two possibilities for the murderer. One was right but I still wasn’t entirely certain. I’m really enjoying the series and look forward to the next book:  A Bitter Truth.

Note: I wonder if Simon will start to play a more personal role in Bess’ life.

Source:  HarperCollins via Book Club Girl for the Bess Crawford Read-Along.

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author.

♦  ♦  ♦

I’m reading Next to Love by Ellen Feldman. I’m about 50 pages in. I haven’t gotten to the real meat of the story yet but so far, I’m enjoying it.

For fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Postmistress, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave set during the years of World War II and its aftermath.  (from the Goodreads synopsis)

July 17, 1944

In the year and a half Babe Huggins has worked for Western Union, she has been late only once before. Maybe that’s why in the months to come she will occasionally persuade herself that some premonition delayed her this morning.

More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi

Title:  More Than You Know

Author:  Penny Vincenzi

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  April 2012 – Doubleday

My take:  The setting is (mostly) London. The time is late 1950s to early 1970s.  Eliza Fullerton-Clark is old money, Matt Shaw is no money. Matt is an old basic training buddy of Eliza’s brother Charles. They first meet when Charles and Matt are on leave. There’s an attraction but, given their different backgrounds, neither Eliza nor Matt take it seriously. They meet some time later and find the attraction cannot be ignored. They marry but, as much as Matt loves Eliza, he can’t get rid of the chip on his shoulder where the class difference is concerned. That remains an underlying issue in their marriage.

They start a family and get on with life. Given the time period, you can imagine the issues that pop up: women working outside the home, abortion, drugs, etc. Vincenzi works them all into the story of Matt and Eliza as well as the secondary characters.

More Than You Know is an emotional and entertaining story of the Fullerton-Clark and Shaw families and their friends during a time of great change.

Note: Vincenzi did a great service for her readers by providing a Cast of Characters at the beginning. Without it, it would have been easy to forget who each character was and how he/she fit into the story.

Source:  Doubleday

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Sunday Post #13

After a week off the Sunday Post is back. I wish I could say I’ve been reading a lot of books but I finished only one  in the past week. I’m in the middle of two and hope to finish both soon. The book I finished is Once Upon a List by Robin Gold. The review will post in a couple of weeks. It’s the second Avon Impulse title I’ve read and I think that will be a go-to imprint when I’m in the mood for a fun read. The first was Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by JB Lynn.

Currently reading:

More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi

An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd

I’ll leave you with a photo of granddaughter Grace. She spent about a minute looking at a book she pulled out of her toy basket. I think that’s a long time for a 9 month old 🙂

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author.

I’m reading An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd. It’s the second book in the Bess Crawford Mystery series. As you can see in the sidebar to the right, I’m reading the series as part of a Read-Along. I really enjoyed the first book in the series so I have high hopes for An Impartial Witness. I’m only a couple of chapters in and well on my way to finding out whodunit.

Early Summer, 1917

As my train pulled into London, I looked out at the early summer rain and was glad to see the dreary day had followed me from Hampshire. It suited my mood.

I had only thirty-six hours here. And I intended to spend them in bed, catching up on lost sleep. The journey from France with the latest convoy of wounded had been trying.

Back of the book synopsis:

In the early summer of 1917, Bess Crawford is charged with escorting a convoy of severely wounded soldiers from the trenches of France to England. Among them is a young pilot, burned beyond recognition, who carries a photograph of his wife pinned to his tunic. But later, in a crowded railway station, Bess sees the same woman bidding a heart-wrenching farewell to a departing officer, clearly not her husband.

Back on duty in France, Bess is shocked to discover the wife’s photograph in a newspaper accompanying a plea from Scotland Yard for information about her murder, which took place on the very day Bess witnessed that anguished farewell. Granted leave to speak with the authorities, Bess very quickly finds herself entangled in a case of secrets and deadly betrayal in which another life hangs in the balance, and her search for the truth could expose her to far graver dangers than those she faces on the battlefield.

Paris in Love: A Memoir by Eloisa James

Title:  Paris In Love: A Memoir

Author:  Eloisa James

Genre:  Memoir

Published:  April 2012 – Random House

My take:  Two weeks after her mother died of cancer Eloisa James was diagnosed with cancer. After coming through successful treatment the author and her husband decided to make some changes that involved getting rid of stuff and taking sabbaticals from their jobs. They sold their house and moved the family to Paris for a year.

While working on an academic book (EJ is Mary Bly in her academic/real life) and a historical romance novel James tweeted about daily life in Paris. Topics included French food, clothes, diet and exercise to offset the food, children’s school issues, and many other aspects of living in Paris.

James also included a few essays. One particularly touching essay titled Rose explained the motivation for the Paris adventure. I was caught off guard by the emotion it evoked.

At the end James compiled a list of recommended museums, places to eat, stores to buy food or clothing, etc. It would be helpful to anyone planning their own trip to Paris. I really enjoyed Paris In Love. The unusual style of short entries and essays worked for me and I think fans of memoirs will enjoy it. It’s going on my travel book shelf because Paris is on my bucket list!

Source:  Giveaway win from the publisher.

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Book Beginnings on Fridays

 Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author.

I’m reading More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi:

1971

It was nearly over then. By this time tomorrow it would be settled.

I’m only 22 pages in but I think I’ll enjoy this novel. It’s the first by Vincenzi I’ve read. If you’ve read any of her other books do you have a favorite?

Calico Joe by John Grisham

Title:  Calico Joe: A Novel

Author:  John Grisham

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  April 2012 – Doubleday

About:  (via the publisher) In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.  The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…

My take:  Fan that he is, John Grisham has always wanted to write a baseball novel. His offering is Calico Joe. At first glance, Calico Joe is a fast paced story of a baseball player’s career that ended way too soon. It’s also the story of a boy who loved the game. But the day his dad threw a beanball was the day young Paul stopped loving the game as well as his dad.

Fast forward thirty years and we find Paul with a family of his own and almost no contact with his father until he gets the call that his father has cancer and not long to live. Paul comes up with an idea that could help make things right between his dad and Joe Castle before it’s too late.

Grisham’s story is heartfelt. I really enjoyed Calico Joe and think it will resonate with other baseball fans as well. It would be a great Fathers Day gift.

Source:  Doubleday

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Mailbox Monday

 

 

April host: Cindy’s Love of Books

♦  ♦  ♦

   

I bought:

The Odds: A Love Story  by Stewart O’Nan (audiobook) – used an audible credit because so many book bloggers recommended this novel.

Murder On the Rocks by Karen MacInerney – a freebie for the Kindle.

Whole Latte Life by Joanne DeMaio – I hosted the author last month but didn’t have time to read the book so when I saw it on sale I picked up the eBook edition. I’ll read it this summer.

For review:

Once Upon A List by Robin Gold

What was in your mailbox?

Sunday Post #12

Happy Easter to all who celebrate. We’re having family over for dinner this afternoon. As promised last week, here are a few pics of Grace. I’m calling her Flash this week. She’s fast  – look, she’s even wearing track pants 🙂

Last week on Bookfan:

My review of Just Down The Road by Jodi Thomas

I changed my blog header photo to one I snapped of the river while on a walk a few days ago. The forsythia is so bright in contrast to the bare trees and the water. It’s fun to watch nature wake up in spring and I appreciate living in an area where I can watch the river change with the seasons. Have a great week!

Just Down The Road by Jodi Thomas

Title:  Just Down The Road

#4 Harmony Series

Author:  Jodi Thomas

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Publisher:  April 2012 – Berkley

About:  (back of the book)  Harmony, Texas is a place where dreams are born. As the townspeople face unexpected endings and new beginnings, they also come face to face with themselves—and what’s most important in life…

When Tinch Turner lost his wife, he gave up on living. Now he spends his nights brooding, boozing, and brawling. When one of his escapades lands him in the ER, he finds himself staring up at the beautiful new doctor in town. For the first time in years, he feels a spark, but Addison Spencer wants nothing to do with the unruly rancher—or any man for that matter. She’s only in Harmony four months, long enough for the trouble she left behind to be over. But then a vulnerable little boy barrels into both their lives, forcing them out of the past—and into a future where love is just down the road…

In the meantime, as Reagan Truman grieves her beloved uncle, she finds comfort in the makeshift family she’s made in Harmony—and in a new baby, the first born in the Wright Funeral Home in 45 years, proving that life does go on…

My take:  With each new book the Harmony series just gets better and better. I loved how Jodi Thomas continued the stories of characters we met in the first book. Reagan Truman finds herself on her own again and wondering just what the future has in store. The near future involves her in a drama that literally takes her by surprise. We also watch as Tyler Wright waits for Kate to return from her final mission. She’s put him off about marriage so long he wonders if a life together is still in the cards for them.

Now, in the fourth book, we meet Tinch Turner. He’s a young widower just hoping to find a way to die. When his latest attempt,  a violent bar brawl, lands him in the care of ER doctor Addison Spencer he’s not sure if she’s going to save him or put him out of his misery. He soon finds a reason to live in the little boy who is thrust upon him after his mother is found dead. It seems that Tinch’s wife was little Jamie’s aunt and Tinch is the only surviving relative. Soon it becomes apparent that Jamie is in danger. His mother stole something that some dangerous thugs want back. They think Jamie can tell them where to find it and won’t rest until they find him. It’s up to Tinch to keep Jamie safe.

Jodi Thomas is a wonderful storyteller. She uses just the right amount of drama, humor and romance to tell the stories of her small town characters. That’s what I love about her books. She always leaves me smiling as I turn the last page. I can’t wait for the next book in the Harmony series.

Source:  Berkley

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

You can read a guest post by Jodi Thomas at this link.

There’s a giveaway (US readers) at the end of that post.

GIveaway ends on April 5th

You must fill out the form which is found

at the giveaway link provided in the guest post.

Sunday Post #11

Wow, where did last week go?!?

Three days were spent with granddaughter Grace who is crawling so fast I spent more time chasing after her than anything else! She’s a speedy darling 🙂 I’ll try to get her to sit still for a photo next week.

Here’s a recap of what posted on the blog last week:

I read Jodi Thomas’ book Just Down The Road which will be published on Tuesday, April 3. It’s a wonderful addition to the Harmony series. My review will post on Tuesday. Jodi visited here last Wednesday. You can read here guest post here. There’s a giveaway!

Did you hear that a Hallmark movie based on Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series will air in August? I hear there’s a chance a series could be a possibility! You can read what Debbie included in her newsletter here.

My review of The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani posted on Friday. In case you missed it you can read it here. The book publishes on April 3.