A Better Man: A Review

August 30, 2019

3 pines

A Better Man by Louise Penny

A Better Man Review

Genre/Categories: Mystery, Detective

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

A better man or a bitter man?

In #15 of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, A Better Man, a dangerous spring flood causes the river to rise, social media displays its cruel side, and the search for a missing woman intensifies. Meanwhile, life is complicated for Gamache who returns to the Surete du Quebec as second-in-charge and reports to Beauvoir.

Typical of Louise Penny’s stories, the setting of Three Pines is a safe haven, cases are complicated and sometimes morally ambiguous, and the character of leaders is explored and tested. Will Gamache return as a better man or a bitter man?

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: A Better Man

 August 27, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: A Better Man by Louise Penny

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share a passage from a book that’s been one of my highly anticipated August reads: A Better Man. This is #15 in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series….are you a Three Pines fan?

3 pines

From Amazon: Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Sûreté du Québec in the latest novel by New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny.
In the next novel in this “constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves” (New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question: What would you do if your child’s killer walked free?”

A Better Man by Louise Penny

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

A Better Man

Genre/Categories: Mystery, Crime Fiction

Selected Passage From Chapter One:

“Clara gave Myrna her phone, though the bookstore owner already knew what she’d find.
Before meeting Clara for breakfast, Myrna had checked her Twitter feed. On the screen, for the world to see, was the quickly cooling body of Clara’s artistic career.
As Myrna read, Clara wrapped her large, paint-stained hands around her mug of hot chocolate, a specialite de la maison, and shifted her eyes from her friend to the mullioned window and the tiny Quebec village beyond.
If the phone was an assault, the window was the balm. While perhaps not totally healing, it was at least comforting in its familiarity.
The sky was gray and threatened rain. Or sleet. Ice pellets or snow. The dirt road was covered in slush and mud. There were patches of snow on the sodden grass. Villagers out walking their dogs were clumping around in rubber boots and wrapped in layers of clothing, hoping to keep April away from their skin and out of their bones.”

I chose a passage from the early pages of Chapter One to demonstrate the setting that is like a character in these books. Three Pines is a safe haven for troubled souls. Does this passage entice you?



QOTD:

This series has its devoted fans. Are you a fan of The Inspector Gamache Series?

To read reviews of earlier titles in the series see HERE and HERE.



 Looking Ahead:

Return on Friday for my full review of A Better Man 
and on Saturday for my August Wrap Up.



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Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

The Huntress: A Review

August 23, 2019

Historical fiction with a generous serving of mystery, intrigue, suspense, and romance!

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

The Huntress Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction (post WW11), mystery, suspense, thriller, romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

An ex WW11 war correspondent, a former American soldier, and an extraordinary Russian woman pilot team up to hunt down a Nazi war criminal known as The Huntress. The duel timeline fills in the past and follows the present-day intrigue. The two timelines merge in a thrilling and suspenseful conclusion.

Early Amazon Rating (August): 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Review

August 16, 2019

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction, Book About Books, Racism, Prejudice, Poverty

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

In the 1930s, nineteen-year-old Cussy Carter and her father live in the isolated woods of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. They are the last of the “blue people” of Kentucky and endure racism and prejudice because of the blue hue of their skin. They are considered “colored.” Dad risks his life and health working long hours in the coal mines and Cussy takes a government job with the historical Pack Horse Library Project. As a “librarian,” she travels across treacherous mountains and dangerous creeks on her mule, Junia, to deliver books and other reading materials to the mountain folk who have few resources. She does what she can to meet their most dire needs. Incidentally, she doesn’t cuss! (She’s named after a town in France.)

Early Amazon Rating (August): 4.7 Stars

My Thoughts:

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Searching For Sylvie Lee: A Review

August 9, 2019

Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

searching for sylvie lee review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Asian-American Fiction, Family Life, Mystery, Sisters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

What happened to the eldest daughter, Sylvie Lee?

That is the mystery that drives the plot of this complicated family drama.

A Chinese immigrant family, the Lees were too poor to keep their firstborn, Sylvie, and the parents sent her to the Netherlands where she was raised by her grandmother until she was nine. When Sylvie rejoined the Lee family in New York City, Amy was four years old. Sylvie helped raise Amy while their parents worked long hours to support their family.

Sylvie marries and during a recent solo trip she takes to the Netherlands to visit her dying grandmother, she disappears. Amy adores her beautiful and confident older sister and feels obligated to do everything in her power to find her. Filled with determination, she bravely sets out on her own journey to the Netherlands. While there, she discovers the truth about her family and their secrets.

Amazon Rating (August): 4.2 Stars

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

 August 6, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first few paragraphs of a book that’s been a priority on my TBR: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I’ve read some great reviews….are you curious about how it begins?

From Amazon: “The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything―everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble.

If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere―even back home.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction, Small Town/Rural Fiction, Kentucky, Book About Books

1st Line/1st Paragraphs:

“The new year was barely fifteen hours old in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky, when my pa adjusted the courting candle, setting it to burn for an alarming length of time.

Satisfied, Pa carried it out of our one-room log house and onto the hand-hewn porch. He was hopeful. Hoping 1936 was the year his only daughter, nineteen-year-old Cussy Mary Carter, would get herself hitched and quit her job with the Pack Horse Library Project. Hoping for her latest suitor’s proposal.

‘Cussy,’ he called over his shoulder, ‘before your mama passed, I promised her I’d see to it you got yourself respectability,  but I’ve nearly gone busted buying candles to get you some.’ …… “

What do you feel about the old-fashioned idea that a young girl needs to be married in order to gain respectability? Do you think Cussy will marry or remain independent? The first two paragraphs engaged me immediately, so I’m anticipating a great read!



QOTD:

Have you read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek or is it on your TBR?



 Looking Ahead:

Return on Friday for my review of Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok.

Searching For Sylvie Lee



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Sharing is Caring

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words: A Review

August 2, 2019

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

Hum if You Don't Know the Words Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Apartheid, South Africa

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The Soweto Uprising of 1976 in South Africa brings together our two protagonists: nine-year-old Robin Conrad living in Johannesburg and Beauty Mbali living in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei. In Apartheid South Africa, these characters should never have met. Robin is living a comfortable life with her parents while Beauty struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. After the Soweto Uprising, Robin’s parents are dead and Beauty’s daughter is missing. Extraordinary circumstances bring them together and as they grieve their losses, they form a bond. This complex and heartfelt story is told through alternating perspectives.

Amazon Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Review

July 26, 2019

Have you read well-loved author, Rachel Joyce?

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Love Story

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

If you’ve read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, you know that Harold has set out on a walking trip across England to visit his former coworker Queenie Hennessy who is dying from cancer. He tells her to wait for him and believes that his pilgrimage will help keep her alive. In The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy we hear Queenie’s story including all her secrets and relive the spirit of Harold’s pilgrimage from her perspective. This is not a prequel or a sequel; it is a companion to Harold’s story. When the two works are put together we are able to construct a complete picture of their lives.

Amazon Rating:  4.4 Stars

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

 July 23, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first few paragraphs of a book that’s been on my TBR for some time: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais. I’m actually eager to read the new release by Bianca Marais If You Want to Make God Laugh, but I’m on a long library wait list so I’m reading Hum while I wait.

From Amazon: “Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a ten-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred…until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing. 

Told through Beauty and Robin’s alternating perspectives, the interwoven narratives create a rich and complex tapestry of the emotions and tensions at the heart of Apartheid-era South Africa. Hum If You Don’t Know the Words is a beautifully rendered look at loss, racism, and the creation of family.”

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Hum if You Don't Know the Words

Genre/Categories: South Africa, Apartheid, Historical Fiction, Coming of Age

1st Line/1st Few Paragraphs:

“I joined up the last two lines of the hopscotch grid and wrote a big “10” in the top square. It gave me a thrill writing the age I’d be on my next birthday because everyone knew that once you hit double digits, you weren’t a child anymore. The green chalk, borrowed from the scoreboard of my father’s dartboard without his knowledge, was so stubby that my fingers scraped against the concrete of the driveway as I put the final touches on my creation.

“There, it’s done.” I stood back and studied my handiwork. As usual, I was disappointed that something I’d made hadn’t turned out quite as good as I’d imagined.

“It’s perfect,” Cat declared, reading my mind as she always did, and trying to reassure me before I washed the grid off in a fit of self-doubt. I smiled even though her opinion shouldn’t have counted for much; my identical twin sister was easily impressed by everything I did. “You go first” Cat said.

“Okay.”

I pulled the bronze half-cent coin from my pocket and rubbed it for luck before flipping it into the air from my thumbnail. It arced and spun, glinting in the sunlight, and when it finally landed in the first square, I launched myself forward, eager to finish the grid in record time.

I finished three circuits before the coin skittered out of the square marked”4.” It should have ended my turn, but I shot a quick look at Cat who was distracted by a hadeda bird making a racket on the neighbor’s roof. Before she could notice my mistake, I nudged the choin back in place with the tip of my canvas shoe and carried on jumping.

“You’re doing so well,” Cat called a few seconds later once she’s turned back and noticed my progress.

Spurred on by her clapping and encouragement, I hopped even faster, not noticing until it was too late that a lace on one of my takkies had come loose. It tripped me up just as I cleared the last square and brought me crashing down knee-first, my skin scraped raw on the rough concrete. I cried out, first in alarm and then in pain, and it was this noise that brought my mother’s flip-flops clacking into my line of vision. Her shadow fell over me.

“Oh for goodness’ sake, not again.” my mother reached down and yanked me up. “you’re so clumsy. I don’t know where you get it from.” She tsked as I raised my bleeding knee so she could see.

Cat was crouched next to me, wincing at the sight of the gravel embedded in the wound. Tears started to prickle, but I knew I had to stop their relentless progression quickly or suffer my mother’s displeasure.

“I’m fine. It’s fine.” I forced a watery smile and gingerly stood up.

“Oh, Robin,” my mother sighed. “You’re not going to cry are you? You know how ugly you are when you cry.” She crossed her eyes and screwed up her face comically to illustrate her point and I forced the giggle she was looking for.

The first chapter engaged me immediately, so I’m anticipating a great read!



QOTD:

Have you read Hum If You Don’t Know the Words or Masais’s new release If You Want to Make God Laugh?



 Looking Ahead:

Return on Friday for my review of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce and next week for my end of July Wrap Up and a 2-year Bblogiversary Giveaway!

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy



Posts You Might Have Missed

Summer’s ONE “Must-Read” Book

Summer 2019 TBR

Book Club Recommendations

My Best Reads of the Year So Far



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters: A Review

June 19, 2019

Can three very different sisters living three vastly different lives come together to honor their mother’s last dying wish of traveling to India and scattering her ashes?

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Unlikely Adventures of Shergill Sisters Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, India

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

To honor their mother’s dying wish, three Punjabi sisters travel to India on a pilgrimage to visit sacred places that are special to Mom and to scatter her ashes. Told from the three perspectives of three very different sisters, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters explores sibling relationships, modern vs traditional roles of women, secrets, and the importance of family.

My Thoughts:

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