Friday, September 21, 2018

The Friday 56 (138) & Book Beginnings: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading.

36896898Synopsis from Goodreads...

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold. But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand....

Beginning: "The real story isn't half as pretty as the one you've heard."

56: "He put the bag down on the table. We all gathered around and stared at it as though it were a live coal that might at any moment set the whole house ablaze."

Comments: I finally read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I loved it. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ARC Review: The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell

37585026Title: The Lost Carousel of Provence
Series: n/a
Author: Juliet Blackwell
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC
More Details: Historical Fiction
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Books; September 18, 2018

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...

An artist lost to history, a family abandoned to its secrets, and the woman whose search for meaning unearths it all in a sweeping and expressive story from the New York Times bestselling author of Letters from Paris...

Present day, San Francisco. During her free time, professional photographer Cady Drake shoots local carousels, a hobby inspired by a gift that transformed her childhood: a wooden rabbit supposedly created by master French carver Gustave Bayol a century ago. And when she's offered a freelance assignment for a book on the antique merry-go-rounds of Paris, Cady can't refuse the opportunity to visit the famous carousels for the first time....

1900s, France. In a small town outside of Avignon, a husband and young wife struggle to keep up their ancestral chateau--and start the family they so desperately desire. For the children they hope to have, the Clements hire the famous Bayol to build a carousel, but as the carver and his apprentice work on the beautiful and whimsical creation, fate will entwine them all in unseen ways--for generations to come...

Present day, Provence. As Cady's research leads her to the dilapidated Chateau Clement and its fabled carousel that was lost to the ravages of World War II, she will uncover a shocking truth in a set of one-hundred-year-old photographs that could guide her in reuniting a family torn apart by petty jealousies over several generations.
In 2016, I read a book called Letters from Paris. Before then, I was unfamiliar with books by Juliet Blackwell. I loved Letters from Paris and was ecstatic to see that Blackwell was writing another book with dual storylines, and that it was also set in France. And, oh man, The Lost Carousel of Provence was as good as I was hoping it would be. It was a compelling story about found family, loss, tragedy, love, and second chances spanning across more than a hundred years from past to present.

Blackwell has a way with words. Right from the start, the writing was descriptive with the settings being rife with vividly described scenery. There were other little things too, details about everything from daily life to even the carousels the character, Cady, loved so much. Carousels were a big part of the story, and I liked the fact that the author included so much detailed information about them including how they were constructed—from concept to completion—with mention of work by Bayol and other notable carousels in France.

While the present storyline was good, I also liked the historical aspects of The Lost Carousel of Provence. Blackwell did a good job of setting the tone for these parts with a mix of fiction and historical fact. A loose image of the time period before, during, and after World War 2 in France was presented with the focus on people from one family. The dual storylines featured more than two perspectives, particularly the ones that took place in 1900 and around the 1940s. That being said, there was never a moment where the characters got muddled. The narrators were unique, their stories varied, and I loved how it all eventually connected in the present without being too or immediately obvious how everything was related. And the build up to the reveals and the ending was one of my favorite things about the story.

As I mentioned above, the characters were pretty unique. One of my favorites was Cady. She was a little rough around the edges and had few connections, but the ones she had were genuine. Her chapters were among my favorites. There was also little romance, but it was subtle, very slow burn.

All in all, I enjoyed The Lost Carousel of Provence. And I guess it’s time to read that copy of The Paris Key that’s been sitting on my shelf since 2016....
About the author....

Juliet Blackwell is the New York Times bestselling author of Letters from Paris and The Paris Key. She also writes the Witchcraft Mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover's Mystery series. A former anthropologist, social worker, and professional artist, Juliet is a California native who has spent time in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France....

Goodreads     Website     Twitter    Pinterest

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review, thank you!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Music Monday (57): Divide with FabvL, JT Music, & NerdOut + music by Lone and Carrie Underwood ft. Ludacris

  • Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren Stoolfire at Always Me that asks you to share one or two songs that you've recently enjoyed. For the rules, visit the page HERE 
Breana: My pick this week is a fan song for Ready Player One. It’s called Victorious by Divide with FabvL, JT Music, and NerdOut. I love this song. If you’re interested in giving it a listen, then head over to NerdOut’s youtube channel HERE.

Adri: I’ve already talked about this artist a lot –so for this Music Monday I’m jamming to Lone’s new song Oedo 808.

Andrea: Hi all, I hope everyone has had a great week. Over the past week, I've been listening to Carrie Underwood's song The Champion ft. Ludacris.

I've also been listening to Carrie Underwood's song Love Wins. The song seems a little sad in the beginning, but hey--Love Wins. And I love the overall message.

What are you listening to this week?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Music Monday (56) Janet Jackson & Miguel

  • Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren Stoolfire at Always Me that asks you to share one or two songs that you've recently enjoyed. For the rules, visit the page HERE 
Breana: My pick this week is Caramelo Duro by Miguel featuring Kali Uchis.

Andrea: Over the past week, I've been listening to Janet Jackson & Daddy Yankee's latest single Made for Now. I absolutely love this video. The song's upbeat tempo makes it the perfect addition to my workout playlist! You can check out the video below:


What are you listening to this week? 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

ARC Review: Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay

37585030Title: Hitting the Books
Series: Library Lover's Mystery 
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC
More Details: Cozy  Mystery
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Books; September 11, 2018

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...

It's murder by the book in the latest hit Library Lover's mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Death in the Stacks...

When a stack of library materials is found at the scene of a hit and run, library director Lindsey Norris finds herself dragged into the investigation as the police try to link the driver of the stolen car to the person who borrowed the books. Before Lindsey can delve into the library's records, the victim of the hit and run, Theresa Houston, suffers another "accident" and the investigation shifts from driver negligence to attempted homicide. A clue surfaces in the confiscated library materials that could crack open the case and it is up to Lindsey to piece it all together. But things are not as they seem in the sleepy town of Briar Creek and when the driver of the stolen car turns up dead, Lindsey, her staff and her library friends have to hit the books before the murderer gets the last word...
Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay is the third book I’ve read in the Library Lover’s Mystery series, and it’s by far one of my favorites. It’s been a while since I last thought about this series, but I still remember the previous book. I liked Death in the Stacks—it was one of my favorite books I read in 2017—but Hitting the Books just seemed like more of everything. I mean that in a good way.

The basic premise of the story is: Lindsey Norris, library director and avid fan of fiction, gets involved in yet another mystery, a hit-and-run that leads to a complicated case. In terms of cozy mystery novels, Hitting the Books was a solid read.

It had an excellent story. The opening chapters were a great setup for the mystery that the main character, Lindsey Norris, ends up involved in. Some parts I was able to guess. That being said, the build-up to the end had an excellent pace. The reveals came at the right time and were bolstered by some unexpected action that led to a continued sense of tension. There was more action due to the danger being posed to the characters, because of the kind of mystery Hitting the Books was. The subsequent implications and later ramifications raised the stakes and made the story seem more exciting. I liked it a lot.

The world-building was also nice. It’s kind of a typical setting for cozy mysteries—small, idyllic coastal town that’s portrayed as being a close-knit community. That being said, the characters were interesting—some were a little more unique than others—and the overall story was good.

The characters are worth noting here, because I liked a lot of them. Most of them were familiar faces from the previous books. There was a good deal of character development that took place alongside the mystery. I liked those scenes because it showed the usual cast of characters at varying stages of their lives including the newly married, new parents, budding romances, and long-term relationships that continued to develop.

Overall, Hitting the Books was good, and I’m looking forward to whatever McKinlay writes next....
About the author....

Jenn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series and will be debuting a new women's fiction series in June 2017, starting with the title About a Dog. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband's guitars.

Twitter     Goodreads     Website     Instagram

Disclaimer: This copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review, thank you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...