What Am I Reading? Save Room For Pie by Roy Blount

I’m reading a fun foodie book, Save Room For Pie by Roy Blount. I’ve heard the author on NPR shows such as Wait, Wait, but I have yet to read one of his books – until now. By the end of the first page I was smiling. Here’s the first paragraph:

 

IT’S GOOD TO EAT

My wife, Joan, and I live partly in rural western Massachusetts, where one minute people are discussing the different tastes of bear (very strong) and woodchuck—I guess you don’t ever want to try muskrat, though people do—and the next minute the topic turns to whether turmeric has to be organic. Just the other night in the midst of a hearty meal, we were Googling to see how much more nutritious sesame seeds are with the hulls on than with then off. Not a simple matter, because while the hulls o have food value they also contain—never mind. I try to keep things light by asking how MANY sesame seeds you should take daily. But these are, after all, matters of life and death.

 

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

 

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Book Review: Red Leaves by

A few weeks ago, a fellow book-lover and I were having a conversation about how we’ve each gotten into a “reading rut” – each of us reading only our favorite genres. We tried to describe what kind of book we’d like to read as an alternative or a “take-a-break-book.” We found it hard to describe what we wanted. My friend said, “I’ll know it when I’m in the middle of it.” I wasn’t so sure, but then – Bam – I picked up Red Leaves, a book coming up on tour, and by the middle of the second chapter I knew I had my”take-a-break” book.

First, let me share the book’s synopsis:

As the star player of Dartmouth College’s women’s basketball team, Kristina Kim is beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. But though she’s just 21, Kristina has already had her share of heartache, loss, and dark secrets that haunt her. She’s best friends with Conni, Albert, and Jim, but the only one who seems to really know her is Albert. With long dark hair, tattoos, and a rebellious streak, Albert doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clean-cut Ivy Leaguers. Like Kristina, he has his share of secrets—secrets that are beginning to unravel this intimate circle of friends.

One wintry Thanksgiving weekend tragedy strikes…

When Detective Spencer O’Malley goes to investigate something suspicious at the foot of a steep hill on Dartmouth’s campus, he doesn’t expect that the frozen, naked body found in deep snow would belong to Kristina Kim—the remarkable young woman he met recently who entranced him. Now Spencer will never know if the chemistry he had with her was real. All he can do is find her killer.

Spencer is pulled into the strange, complex web of the surviving friends. Many important questions about Kristina’s murder cannot be answered, such as: why did none of them report her missing for nine days before her body was discovered? The more Spencer digs, the more clear it becomes that each of the three has a motive for killing Kristina. And as Spencer, seeking justice for a dead girl, is led down a labyrinth of deceit, every new revelation proves more shocking than the last….and more dangerous.

The publisher calls Red Leaves a Suspense Thriller, but I found it more than that. It was definitely a character-driven novel, focusing as it did on the four  Ivy League college kids and the detectives. These “people” were different, maybe a little edgy or strange. They were hard to figure out. I like Spenser, the detective, although this guy’s also different.

There were a couple times the story dragged a bit, but that’s a minor complaint. Overall, and especially the last section, the story flew. The nicest thing about this story was that it really involved my brain. Just when I had something figured out and thought we were sailing in one direction, boom – it turned around and went in another direction. Normally this might bother me, but not in this story. In this author’s hands these turns added to the pleasure of the puzzle. Now you see why I called this my “take0-a-break” book. If you’re looking for something different, give Red Leaves a try.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About†Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Find out more about Paullina at her website, follow her on†Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

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Thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of it all. To see other stops on the book tour, visit the schedule here: Paulina Simons Book Tour

tlc tour host

Posted in Book Tour, Literary Fiction, Mysteries | 2 Comments

My Week In Review

Hi! Thanks for stopping by to check on my week. We had a lovely Easter weekend – nice and calm. The highlight of Easter was watching our little guy with his first Easter Egg Hunt. He helped Mommy dye bright speckled eggs – real ones. Then I filled some plastic eggs with some little treats inside – a marshmallow bunny, jelly beans, small matchbox-sized cars and some change, dimes and quarters. He really loved the hunt and wanted us to hide them all over again!

What I Read This Week:

I started in on Book #5 of the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger. This one is Mercy Falls, named for the place where a murder victim was discovered. The man who was killed was the son of a very wealthy Chicagoan with a shady background and a strong desire for revenge.

As Cork, now the county Sheriff, and his team begin to investigate the murder, the victim’s brother shows up to help. This complicated crime really ratchets up. It turns out Cork’s wife, Jo, used to date the brother and, in fact, the brother believes he is still in love with Jo. In addition to all of that, someone is taking shots at the sheriff. Cork and his team have a lot to do.

There is a lot going on and I’m trying hard not to spill the beans and spoil it for you when you read the book, but I do have to tell you that something happens at the end that had me running straight to Book #6: Copper River.

Cork is lying low in a resort cabin in upper Michigan owned by his cousin Jewell. There’s a contract out on his life, plus he’s been injured. Jewell and her fourteen-year-old son, Ren, are a kind and caring team, just what Cork needs. They are also smart and intuitive, which will help as a variety of problems and challenges open up.

This novel is also named for the place where a victim’s body was found, Copper River. A teenage girl’s body is discovered in the river, and it’s not an accident. The girl is known to Ren and his good friend Charlie. When Charlie’s dad is killed and another friend is shot and almost killed, everyone suspects something is seriously wrong in this small-town, back-woods area. This situation is way over the local constable’s abilities.

Cork is more than willing to help, but he’s limited by his physical injury and his need to stay hidden. I enjoyed watching him play a behind-the-scenes role. He relied on Jewell, Ren, Charlie, and ex-FBI agent, Dina. Together they all discovered something horrendous that I did not see coming at all.

I hope I have conveyed by now how good I believe these books are. You don’t have to take my word for it on Mercy Falls. It received the Anthony Award for Best Mystery Book of 2006. I actually thought Copper River was even better. Good writing, good plots, great characters – you ca’t go wrong. I do recommend you read these two in order.

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That’s it for me this week. I’m posting early as we are heading out this afternoon for a weekend camping trip down by the beach. The weather is supposed to be sunny, so we shall see. I’ll try to share pictures with you next week. Have a great weekend everyone.

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Wondrous Words #392

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I discovered a new phrase while reading the first paragraph of a book on the Book Club Librarian’s blog. The book was The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor,. Here’s the sentence and the phrase:

post hoc, ergo propter hoc: Later, in weaker moments, Lovell Hall reminded himself of the logical fallacy that young scientists so often committed: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

The author goes on to define the phrase, but by that time I had stopped to figure it out on my own. (That’s what all these weeks of searching new words has done to me.) I already knew a few things: I recognized this as a Latin phrase and I knew the word “ergo” meant therefore and “post” meant after. Now, what do the reast of the words mean. I looked it up and found out this:

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc means after this, therefore resulting from it.

The phrase is used to show that a causal relationship has erroneously been assumed from a merely sequential one. In other words, just because one event follows another event, you can’t assume that the second event was caused by the first event. It’s a pretty clear assumption, but I love that the idea has its own Latin phrase.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

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What Am I Reading? Mercy Falls

I’m currently reading Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger. This is the fifth book in the Cork O’Connor series. I’m really enjoying working my way through this series. Here’s the first paragraph:

1
The Morning-Beverage Measure

After picking up a set of pistol suppressors from a nine-fingered armorer n Las Vegas Evan Smoak headed for hoe in his Ford pickup doing his best no to let the knife wound distract him.
The slice on his forearm had occurred during an altercation at a truci sop. He usually didn’t lie to get involved with anything or anyone outside his missions, but there had been a fifteen-year-old girl in dire need of help. So here he was, trying not to bleed onto the console until he could get home and deal with it properly. For now he’d tied off the cut with on of his socks, using his teeth to cinch the knot.

 

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

 

Posted in First Paragraph | 8 Comments

My Week . . .

I had a lovely week in Portland with my eldest daughter and her family. At the end of this post I’ll share some  of the events of the week. I had a nice trip up and back on the train. I’ve said it before – I really enjoy the soothing rock and roll of a rail car. I don’t even mind – to0 much – traveling all night. The only negative is the occasional addition of rude people – those who don’t think of others – those who talk and make other noises when it’s sleep time. Oh well, it doesn’t happen every trip. One thing that helps is a good audiobook. With my headphones on I don’t mind or hear those rude people.

What I Read This Week:

The Bookshop On the Corner by Jenny Colgan. When four very noisy passengers got on the train car in which I was traveling and it didn’t look like they were going to quiet down, I put on my headphones and started my iPod. I was in the midst of the first chapter of this book and it was the perfect distraction. I forgot about the noise-makers and felt myself moving all the way over to Birmingham, England and then Scotland with Nina.

Nina is a quiet, non-assertive librarian whose job is about to be fazed out. The problem is that Nina isn’t built to do anything else. She’s the quintessential reader, one who has always had a book in her hands and has read widely. In addition, she has the ability to match people with books she somehow knows will change their lives.

Nina has always had the dream of owning her own bookshop, but doesn’t have the funds to make it happen. Nina does have enough money to buy a used van, fill it with all the books she owns and create her own mobile bookshop. When Nina finds the perfect used-van for sale in Scotland, it turns out there are a bunch of readers in the area who encourage her to stay right there. Its a wonderful adventure for Nina and the reader as well. There’s even a little fun and romance. This is a book created by an author who loves to read for her fellow bookaholics. The audiobook was about 9 hours long – just right for a long train ride.

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A Quiet Life In the Country: Lady Hardcastle Mystery #1 by T.E. King. The time period is the early twentieth century and Lady Emily Hardcastle and her faithful ladies maid, Florence Armstrong, have just moved to the country. It appears they’ve had a mysterious and treacherous life in both China and India. They have decided they need the peace and quiet of country life.

The two women are barely moved in when they discover a dead body while walking in the woods. They make excellent amateur sleuths because they are quite nosy and very good at getting people to gossip. They are also very good at deduction. All of this is good because they soon have three more murders that need investigating. I really enjoyed the subtle humor in this book. The two main characters are enjoyable enough for me to want to come back for book two.

While I Was In Portland:

One of the biggest events of the week was Prom Night for my oldest granddaughter Q. She’s such a beautiful girl and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her all dressed up and ready to have a good time.

Portland is about four to six weeks behind northern California when it comes to the arrival of Spring. I love Spring, even though my allergies go crazy. In a place like Portland, with so much moisture year round, you can imagine how green everything is. And then when the Spring flowers and trees bloom, its just incredible. Here’s a sample of local beauty. Pictures are courtesy of my generous daughter, Candice.

That’s it for me this week. Happy Spring and Happy Easter to you and your family..

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Wondrous Words #391

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I found this word in an article on the Washington Post:

ubiquity:  “ . . . and that means a majority of people since most still get their news about what’s happening in Washington from TV, despite the ubiquity of digital.”

Ubiquity (yo͞oˈbikwədē) is a noun that means the fact of appearing everywhere or of being very common

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I found this new word in Politico:

pyrrhic: “Even if the GOP repeal bill passes the House, it will be a Pyrrhic victory.

Pyrrhic  (ˈpirik) is an adjective  that refers to a victory that is won at too grerat a cost to have been worthwhile.

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That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

Posted in Wondrous Words | 3 Comments

What Am I Reading? The Bookshop On the Corner

I’m featuring The Bookshop On the Corner. I saw the book cover on a table at the library and knew I wanted to check it out. The book starts off with “A Message To Readers” and I felt an immediate connection with the author, Jenny Colgan. She writes about all those great places one can enjoy reading: in bed or a hammock, on the bus, while taking a walk and so on. It’s definitely a book for book-lovers.

Here’s the first paragraph:

 

Chapter One

The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things. It would be lovely, wouldn’t it, whenever you’re going through something difficult, if someone could just tap you on the shoulder and say, “Don’t worry, it’s completely worth it. It seems absolutely horrible right now, but I promise it will all come good in the end,” and you could say, “Thank you Fairy Godmother.” You might also say, “Will I also lose that seven pounds?” And they will say,”But of course, my child.”

 

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

 

Posted in First Paragraph | 7 Comments

This Week . . .

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve had a big week all the way around. I took the train up to Portland for another short visit. I really enjoy Portland as its such a vibrant and beautiful place to be. Their Spring season is about a month behind ours in northern California so its lovely to see those blooming trees and early flowers all over again. And, of course, I love being with my charming and fun granddaughters and their parents too.

Reading-Wise: I finished that giant trilogy of Greg Iles. Mississippi Blood and reported on it Tuesday. And then I read two more books while riding the rails.

I read But For the Grace by Peter Grainger. Its the second book in the D.C. Smith series — a character I have a “crush” on and am learning to love. He has the kind of sense of humor that I love, a lot of it under his breath. The first novel only hinted at problems that D.C. has had in the past. This second novel gradually reveals just a little bit more. This, of course, makes me want to go find book #3. Before I do, let me tell you about this one:

An elderly woman has died in a nursing home. Everyone knows this is normal, but a new doctor and a couple of other people raise their eyebrows. Its just enough to ask the police, D.C. Smith among them, to check further. An autopsy shows a large amount of heroin in her stomach. This is not normal so a full investigation follows. When D.C. learns  of similar deaths, it gives him pause. Was this a murder pact or could it have been suicide? It’s a beautifully told story.

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After a long week of murder and violence, I felt the need for something light. I downloaded an audiobook of an Amish Romance, The Scent of Cherry Blossoms. This is actually  the story of an Old Order Mennonite woman, Annie, and an Old Order Amish man, Aden. They enjoy being together and, as they fall in love, Aden begins to lose his embarrassing stutter.

The conflict comes via the two families and the two religious groups. They cannot marry unless one gives up they church and joins the other. It’s a rough road filled with pressure from both families. However, as in all good Romances, there is a happy-ever-after ending. It’s why I read a good Romance.

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What I’m Watching:

Our local PBS station has been working on their fund-raising drive. I always love the special guests and special shows they run during this time.

Here’s one that surprised me: Agatha Raisin. Agatha is a British amateur detective and this show is based on the novels by M.C. Beaton. Agatha Raisin is played by a clever and stilletto-wearing Ashley Jensen. She portrays Agatha a bit different than when I read the novels. A nice bonus is all the scenery and buildings in the Cotswolds.

I’m hoping and planning to visit Europe next year. But, even if I weren’t going, I always enjoy the hours Rick Steves visits the PBS studios and shares all the amazing things a visitor can see and do in that wonderful continent. The film that really captured my heart was the one about the Netherlands. He showed us how the surrounding sea is way above the land, but they have very little flooding. They’ve done a superb job of designing and building dikes and other innovative devices. I’d like to see that.

That’s it for me this week. I’ll be heading back home on Monday. I hope to share some pictures of Portland with you next week. Until then, have a great weekend.

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