Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sorry I’m running late this week!!

The winner for the April 9 giveaway is – drum roll please – Rachele!! Yay! Congratulations Rachele and thank you to all of those who stopped by and left comments. There were actually only 4 of you, but that’s ok, it is a cozy group! Lol

Rachele, just send me an e-mail with your address and I will get the books out to you.

Alright, this week’s giveaway…

The Last Kashmiri Rose
By Barbara Cleverly

Set in Calcutta in 1922, this is the first in a mystery series featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Joe Sandilands. The Inspector is a survivor of the Great War and he has been stationed in India for six months. He is about to head home when he is asked to investigate a suspicious death. His inquiries find there is probably a connection to a series of mysterious deaths that have occurred over the preceding decade. All the vicitms have been offiecer’s wives and they have all died experiencing what has been known to be their greatest fear.

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, this is a well written and memorable story with an unusual twist in the solution to the mystery.

The Thirteenth Tale

By Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale contains all the Gothic elements: a reclusive writer with a secret, a young writer with a troubled past, the unraveling of a long ago mystery. I found it a bit long, but it was a huge hit in 2006 when it was published, becoming the number one bestseller on the New York Times list within a week.

The New Yorkers

By Cathleen Schine

This book follows five people who live on the same block in New York City and end up being connected by their dogs. Over the course of a year, we follow their ups and downs, falling in and out of love and learning about each other and themselves. A really nice story about engaging people, set in one of my favorite places in the world.

Water for Elephants
By Sara Gruen

A huge bestseller, I resisted this book for over a year. I am so contrary. For one thing, I hate going along with the crowd. For another, I hate, hate, HATE circuses. Even when I was a kid.

So I was really shocked when I started reading and couldn’t put it down. Not your typical circus story, it is mostly a story about love and loss and devotion. And it has pictures! It is wonderfully illustrated with archive photos. Simply wonderful.

So there you have it. Leave a comment between now and Sunday, April 24 and you will be entered in a drawing for these books.

For those of you who don't win but are interested in these titles, I added links to Amazon.

(Because the pool of entrants is so small, I am going to apply an amendment, borrowed from the radio station I listen to, WQXR in New York. To give everyone a chance, winners will be limited to once every four weeks.)

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

This Week's Giveaway

Congratulations Nicky! You won this week’s drawing!! Four fabulous books will soon be wending their way to your hands. Just e-mail me with your address and I will get them out to you.

Thank you to those of you who stopped by and left comments! I really appreciate your readership and your kindred love of books. Jeremy, don’t worry about missing the cutoff, I have four more books for this week!

Second Violin: An Inspector Troy Thriller
John Lawton

Set in England and Europe in the days leading up to World War II, this novel tells the converging stories of several people. The Troy family in England, with their enigmatic patriarch, is prominent and powerful. The youngest son has chosen a different path, that of an ordinary London policeman. While he is investigating what he believes is a serial killer murdering rabbis in London, there are parallel plots about the situation in Germany and internment camps in England. There is a lot going on, but the author ties everything together and, at the end, even gives a brief run down of how the characters fare through the years.

The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler Crime Novels)

Susan Hill

The first in the Simon Serrailler series, a demented killer is targeting victims in a small cathedral town in England. The author makes the characters very real and it is ultimately a very sad story.

The Girl She Used to Be
David Cristofano

In the Shadow of Gotham
Stephanie Pintoff

Both reviewed 2/12/11

Leave a comment through Friday, April 15 and you will be entered in the drawing.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Too Many Books

Did I say that?!?!

I am someone who believes you can never have too many books. But I am up to my eyeballs and have nowhere left to put them. I have bookcases in my living room, bedroom, den and upstairs and books are still double and triple stacked. While I have a pathological love for an overabundance of books, my practical side realizes that I really should weed some out.

Pant. Pant. Pant. I’m hyperventilating.

So after taking some deep breaths and a boatload of Xanax, I have decided to do some giveaways. Every week or so I will offer a few books, drawing a name from anyone who leaves a comment that week.

These are second hand books, but they are in good shape, read only once and FREE to the lucky winner. Yay!

So here are this week’s books:

The Alibi Club by Francine Mathews (reviewed 4/1/11)

I didn't love it, but maybe you can keep track of the action better than I could.

The Fate of Katherine Carr by Thomas H. Cook

Writer George Gates is haunted by the unsolved murder of his son. He becomes involved in the case of Katherine Carr, a woman who went missing years earlier and has never been found. Is her disappearance linked to his son’s death? An interesting novel about justice.

Missing by Karin Alvtegen

Sybilla is a 30-something woman living by her wits on the streets of Stockholm, occasionally fleecing a businessman out of a meal and a hotel room. When one of her marks is murdered, she goes on the run and tries to prove her innocence. The novel goes back and forth in time, telling the story of how and why she chose the life she leads.

Birth Marks by Sarah Dunant

Hannah Wolfe is a London based private investigator. She is asked to find a missing ballet dancer who is later found, pregnant, drowned in the Thames. She continues to follow the case, not believing the woman was a suicide. Written in 1993, the book's premise is dated by current science, primarily DNA testing. But it is still a tolerable mystery.

Leave a comment from now until Friday, April 8 and you will be entered in the drawing. Good luck!

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Recent Reads

Kate Atkinson was a tall act to follow, so I am not surprised that the other books I’ve read since were just ok to really good, but not nearly as wonderful as Started Early.

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf is told chapter by chapter from different character perspectives. Not my favorite technique, especially when some of the chapters were only a few paragraphs long and some of the individuals sound exactly same.

The premise is a crime committed by a teenage girl, previously considered to be a paragon. While the story is slow in building and coy, you guess right away, correctly, that it has something to do with a baby and an unwanted pregnancy. It develops that she gave birth unattended and disposed of the baby girl in a river behind her house. She is subsequently convicted of murder, but as a juvenile is out in five years. She is sent to a halfway house in her hometown, tries to reconnect with her sister and start over.

The plot was pretty predictable, but there were a few twists, one I expected and some I didn’t. The ending makes it worthwhile.

I have enjoyed most things I’ve read by Penelope Lively. Her prose is elegant and spare, which makes even a commonplace plot worth reading. Although most of her stories are pretty original. I did not love Family Album, her newest. I felt like I was reading something I had already read. The characters seemed stock and the story, two disparate parents, six children and an au pair over the years in a huge Edwardian house, was just as expected. It picked up a little towards the end, but by that time I was tired of slogging through everyone’s Life Review. However, the writing itself is marvelous. She just has a perfect way of wording something or describing something that makes it wonderful.

A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell is the first in a series that is set in Germany in the 1930’s. Hannah Vogel is a newspaper reporter barely eking out a living as the Weimar Republic ends and the Third Reich begins. Her younger brother is murdered and, heartbroken, she vows to find the killer. A good story, nicely written and interesting historical perspective.

Francine Matthews is a pseudonym for Stephanie Barron, who writes the Jane Austen mysteries. The Alibi Club couldn’t be more different from the Austen books. Set at the beginning of the German occupation of France (I’m going through a WW II kick), it is violent and confusing. Filled with real life characters and fictional characters based on real people, it revolves around stolen material for creating an atom bomb. I think. I found the dozens of characters distracting and hard to follow. And the murder that opens the book is gratuitously violent and grotesque.

I was really looking forward to The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. Beginning in 1940, it tells the parallel stories of Iris, the postmistress of a small Cape Cod town, Frankie, a war correspondent based in London during the blitz and Emma, the young wife of the town doctor. One of these three has a letter in her possession that she is supposed to deliver, but never does. The plot revolves around these women and how they are affected by war. The quote that introduces the book is by writer Martha Gellhorn, who covered conflicts from WWII to Vietnam: “War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say, and it seems to me I have been saying it forever.” Well written and thought provoking.

If any of these interest you, just click to purchase from Amazon!

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