Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Dark by Sharon Bolton

Title: The Dark
Author: Sharon Bolton
Publication: Orion, paperback, 2022
Genre: Suspense, series
Setting: London
Description: When a baby is kidnapped near Tower Bridge by terrorists, off duty police officer Lacey Flint is in her kayak and manages to rescue the child from the Thames.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Sunday, December 25, 2022

That’s Debatable by Jen Doll

Title: That’s Debatable
Author: Jen Doll
Publication: Farrar Straus Giroux, hardcover, 2022
Genre: YA
Setting: Present-day Alabama
Description: Millicent Chalmers wanted to be a debater and when her public high school didn’t offer a team, she found an advisor, began competing, and never looked back. Now she’s the best in the state despite the sexism she encounters from judges and fellow competitors.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Susan Settles Down by Molly Clavering

Title: Susan Settles Down
Author: Molly Clavering
Publication: Furrowed Middlebrow, Dean Street Press, 2021 (originally published 1936)
Genre: Fiction
Setting: Susan Parsons and her brother – who has been invalided out of the Navy – move to the Scottish countryside when Oliver inherits a small farm, Easter Hartrigg (surely a peculiar name for a farm?).

Saturday, December 17, 2022

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox (Review and Giveaway for Virtual Advent Tour)

Title: The Holiday Swap
Author: Maggie Knox
Publication: Putnam, hardcover, 2021
Genre: Contemporary romance
Sprite Writes invited me to share a tradition as part of her 2022 Virtual Advent Tour and one I always enjoy is reading some holiday-themed books as Christmas approaches. Last year I read The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer, about a romance writer of Christmas stories who is actually Jewish and is asked to come up with a Hanukah novel. This year, I thought I would review a light-hearted impersonation story.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

My November 2022 Reads

Several highlights from November: I had forgotten how entertaining John Grisham can be and really liked two books about an investigator of judicial (mis)conduct.  I also enjoyed The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren, which I liked best of all her books I've read. And Bleeding Heart Yard was as amusing as all of Elly Griffiths' books!


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Mrs. Tim Flies Home by D.E. Stevenson

Title: Mrs. Tim Flies Home
Author: D.E. Stevenson
Introduction: Alexander McCall Smith
Publication: Furrowed Middlebrow/Dean Street Press, 2019 (originally published 1952)
Genre: Fiction
Description: After 18 months in Kenya with her husband Tim, a colonel on active duty, Hester Christie wants to spend time with her children, so flies home to England, with a layover in Rome.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Concord Free Public Library in December

Concord in December is an attractive place and I was in the mood to visit on Saturday, particularly because the library was having a book sale. 
The lobby/great room is decorated for the holidays

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Snow Child to Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, which I have intended to read for ages but never got to.  

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths - and the Royals are in town!

Title: Bleeding Heart Yard
Author: Elly Griffiths
Publication: Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Present-day London
Description: Harbinder Kaur, now a Detective Inspector for the CID, newly arrived in London and sharing a flat with two strangers, is ready for her first big homicide case.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

My Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November is an opportunity to look back at the nonfiction read in the past year, and out of the 168 books I have read this year just eleven were nonfiction, about 15%. Unless the topic really interests me, the pace is usually too slow. However, when I find one I really like, everyone hears about it. I recommended Dead Wake to everyone I encountered while I was listening to the audio, especially Elswyth Thane fans. Earlier this month, I encountered the author’s editor at a JV soccer game and told her everything I especially appreciated about the book (her son is also a promising goalkeeper). Books about books seems to be the genre I read most, along with history and sports. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Grey King: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Title: The Grey King: The Dark is Rising #4
Author: Susan Cooper
Illustrator: Michael Heslop
Publication: Atheneum, hardcover, 1982
Genre: Juvenile fantasy/series
Setting: Wales
Description: After an unexpectedly severe illness, Will Stanton is sent to Wales to recover with his uncle's family. Approaching their farm, Will unexpectedly feels a sense of menace coming from the mountains and learns there is a legend that the Grey King dwells there.

Friday, November 25, 2022

If Love Comes by Gladys Malvern

Title: If Love Comes
Author: Gladys Malvern (1897-1962)
Illustrator: John Alan Maxwell
Publication: Claude Kendall Publishers, hardcover, 1932
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: California, 1820s
Description: When Don Estevan Jose Luis de Questallo loses his wife in childbirth, the joy goes out of his life and he instinctively blames the surviving child who is named Magdalena. He lavishes attention on his son, Dario, and ignores the girl, who grows up lovely but unloved by all but her brother.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

My October 2022 Reads

I read several entertaining books for the 1929 Club but the novel that most captured my interest last month was Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. It is a mesmerizing story of friendship and collaboration spanning three decades, starting when the two protagonists meet in a hospital as teenagers, then reconnect when attending college in Cambridge and starting a venture together. As I was listening to the audio, I found myself telling everyone I encountered about this book, which I picked up because of Nancy Pearl’s recommendation.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A Memoir by Justine Cowan

Title: The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A Memoir
Author: Justine Cowan
Publication: HarperCollins, hardcover, 2021
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir/Social History
Setting: 20th century Great Britain
Description: Justine Cowan, an environmental attorney, grew up in a privileged home in Northern California, with a quiet, respected lawyer father and a British-born mother who was hypercritical of her daughters. Embittered by their troubled relationship, Justine distanced herself from her parents after leaving for college and it was not until after her mother’s death that she learned her mother had been raised in the famous Foundling Hospital in London, founded by Thomas Coram in the 18th century.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Spell the Month in Books – November

Spell the Month in Books is hosted by Reviews From the Stacks and occurs on the second Saturday of each month or maybe a few days later!
N    The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz (2017). Evan Smoak is a reluctant assassin. Once, he was Orphan X, a child plucked from an orphanage and turned into a killer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss, historical fiction set in WWII Holland

Title: The Upstairs Room
Author: Johanna Reiss
Publication: HarperCollins, paperback, originally published in 1972
Genre: Juvenile Historical Fiction
Setting: Holland, WWII
Description: Annie de Leeuw is the youngest of three sisters, living in Holland, not far from the German border. Her father is a cattle dealer, her mother an invalid, her sister Rachel teaches at a nursery school, and sister Sini is studying farming. But Annie’s family is Jewish and everyone is worried about the news from Poland where Hitler has invaded.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Five Things

The New England Betsy-Tacy Group gathered on Sunday to make bookmarks for a December exhibit at the Arlington Public Library.  Some colored the illustrations, some cut rectangles of colored cards, some glued the pictures onto card stock, and some attached ribbons.  Our hostess will gently recolor any bookmark in which someone accidentally mis-colored a character's hair as we wouldn't want to mislead a future reader!  Everyone nibbled caramel cashew squares, cream cheese brownies, popovers, and potato chips with dip as we worked.  

Friday, November 11, 2022

Fool Errant by Patricia Wentworth

Title: Fool Errant
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Publication: 1929
Genre: Mystery
Setting: England between the Wars
Description: Hugo Ross is down on his luck - unemployed, no university degree, and has only £5 when he hears about a job as secretary to a well-known inventor, Ambrose Minstrel.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

WWW Wednesday — November 9, 2022

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:
When Rachel to the Rescue by Elinor Lipman (2021) came out, her long-time US publisher was afraid no one would want to read a satire about a Trump White House employee (even if she is fired in the first chapter) and only her British publisher was willing to take it on initially.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Rise of the Black Quarterback by Jason Reid

Title: Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America
Author: Jason Reid
Publication: Andscape, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Nonfiction/Sports/History
Description: This book grew out of a series of ESPN articles on the emergence of black quarterbacks in the NFL. Reid goes back to the beginning of the 20th century to identify men who should be better known: the earliest black football stars and chronicles the disturbing history and treatment of black players in the NFL.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Naked Chef to The Clothes They Stood Up In

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver (1999), the bestselling cookbook and television star. I assume people watched his show because the title was salacious but I think he merely advocated for a simple approach to cooking (yet laughed all the way to the bank).

Friday, November 4, 2022

Greenwitch: The Dark is Rising #3 by Susan Cooper

Title: Greenwitch: The Dark is Rising #3
Author: Susan Cooper
Publication: Simon & Schuster, paperback, originally published 1974
Genre: Juvenile fantasy/series
Setting: Cornwall
Description: The gold chalice, known as the Trewissick Grail, that was found by Simon, Jane, and Barnabus Drew in Over Sea, Under Stone, has been stolen from the British Museum.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Title: The Word is Murder
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publication: HarperCollins, audio, originally published in 2017
Narrator: Rory Kinnear
Genre: Mystery
Setting: London
Description: Diana Cowper, a prosperous London resident, stops at a funeral parlor to make arrangements for her eventual funeral – then is murdered later that day.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Evelyn Finds Herself by Josephine Elder, for the #1929Club

Title: Evelyn Finds Herself
Author: Josephine Elder
Publication: Oxford University Press, hardcover, 1929
Genre: Juvenile fiction/school story
Setting: Britain
Description: Elizabeth and Evelyn, now in the Upper Fifth at Addington High School, have been best friends since they were seven. They are fierce competitors at hockey and tennis, and are also strong students, working towards scholarships at Cambridge. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley for the #1929Club

Title: The Poisoned Chocolates Case
Author: Anthony Berkeley
Publication: Chivers Press, hardcover, originally published in 1929
Genre: Mystery
Setting: London
Description: Roger Sheringham is the president of the Crimes Circle, an exclusive group of six, each passionately devoted to crime and detection.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field for the #1929Club

Title: Hitty: Her First Hundred Years
Author: Rachel Field (1894-1942)
Illustrator: Dorothy P. Lathrop
Publication: Macmillan, paperback, originally published in 1929
Genre: Children’s fiction/fantasy/historical fiction
Description: Hitty is a doll hand-carved from a small piece of mountain-ash wood by a peddler in early 19th century Maine, then given to Phoebe Preble, whose father is away at sea. Seven-year-old Phoebe is tasked with making clothes for her doll, which include a chemise embroidered with HITTY “so she can always be sure of her name.”

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Cloth of Gold by Elswyth Thane for the #1929Club

Title: Riders of the Wind (1926) and Cloth of Gold (1929)
Author: Elswyth Thane
Genre: Fiction
Setting: 20th century
Description: Alexandra, the heroine of Riders of the Wind, married an older, distant cousin, Clement Marley, an authority on Asian art, when she was mourning the loss of her father and too young to know better. Her father was a world-famous explorer who died tragically in Africa when she was a teenager, and she has inherited his restless spirit and feels confined in London with her condescending husband who insists his meals be on time and disapproves of her walks in the fog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner for the #1929Club

Title: Emil and the Detectives
Author: Erich Kästner
Translator: W. Martin
Publication: Overlook Press, hardcover, originally published in 1929
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Setting: Germany between the wars
Description: Emil is devoted to his mother and knows that she works hard to support him. His father is dead and the grandmother who used to share their home now lives with Emil’s aunt and her family in Berlin. When his mother puts ten-year-old Emil on a train to Berlin to visit his relatives she warns him to be careful of the money she is sending with him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Speedy Death by Gladys Mitchell for the #1929Club

Title: Speedy Death
Author: Gladys Mitchell
Publication: Vintage paperback, originally published in 1929
Genre: Mystery
Setting: 20th-century English countryside
Simon from Stuck in a Book and Karen from Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings are hosting the 1929 Club, where bloggers read and write about books published in a chosen year.

Description: A house party has been planned at the country home of amateur archeologist Alistair Bing to celebrate his birthday.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer for the #1929Club

Title: Beauvallet
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publication: Dutton hardcover, originally published in 1929
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: 16th-century
This week, Simon from Stuck in a Book and Karen from Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings are hosting the 1929 Club, where bloggers read and write about books published in a chosen year.

Description: Sir Nicholas Beauvallet is the most dashing of Queen Elizabeth’s sea captains. Known as the Sea Dogs, a group of English privateers was authorized to carry out raids on England's enemies, whether they were formally at with war with them or not.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Clothes-Pegs by Susan Scarlett

Title: Clothes-Pegs
Author: Susan Scarlett (aka Noel Streatfeild)
Publication: Furrowed Middlebrow/Dean Street Press, paperback, originally published in 1939
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Setting: London
Description: Annabel Brown is the eldest of the four Brown children and works as a seamstress at Bertna’s, an upscale dress shop in London’s Hanover Square.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Lucky Ones by Linda Williams Jackson

Title: The Lucky Ones
Author: Linda Williams Jackson
Publication: Candlewick Press, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Juvenile Historical Fiction
Setting: 1960s Mississippi
Description: Ellis Earl Brown is an ambitious boy who lives with his large family in rural Mississippi. Thanks to Julius Foster, a black teacher in their segregated school, Ellis Earl and his sister Carrie not only get a ride to school but also eat lunch brought by Mr. Foster.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Heroes Are Human by Bob Delaney

Title: Heroes Are Human
Author: Bob Delaney with Dave Scheiber
Foreword: Dr. Richard Mollica
Publication: City Point Press, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Inspiration/Self Help
Description: In Heroes are Human: Lessons in Resilience, Courage, and Wisdom from the COVID Front Lines, author Delaney, who has survived trauma himself, looks at how our country’s medical professionals managed to cope with stress and hardship in order to provide care to patients.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

The House of the Deer by D.E. Stevenson

Title: The House of the Deer
Author: D.E. Stevenson
Publication: Collins, hardcover, 1970
Genre: Fiction
Setting: 20th-century Scotland
Description: In this companion novel to Gerald and Elizabeth, Gerald Burleigh Brown, now working for his brother-in-law, is invited to substitute for Sir Walter on a deer-shooting holiday. Sir Walter MacCallum manages a successful ship building business is Glasgow, and concerns about security and the fact that his wife – Gerald’s sister Elizabeth – is pregnant influenced him to send Gerald in his place.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

WWW Wednesday – October 12, 2022

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
Currently Reading:

I am listening to Another View by Rosamunde Pilcher (1968) which I do not remember having read previously but, unfortunately, I saw a spoiler sentence right after I began.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Spell the Month in Books – October

Spell the Month in Books is hosted by Reviews From the Stacks and occurs on the second Saturday of each month or maybe a few days later!
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (1958). British Intelligence’s man in Havana is Wormold, a former vacuum-cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent out of economic necessity.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Title: Lessons in Chemistry
Author: Bonnie Garmus
Publication: Doubleday, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: 20th-century California
Description: Elizabeth Zott is a gifted but eccentric chemist and, unfortunately, a woman in a man’s world in the 1960s. She is belittled, exploited, and sexually assaulted when all she wants is to have the resources to do her job at Hastings Research Institute.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

My September 2022 Reads

September was a busy month but it is nice being done with my master’s degree so I don’t spend every weekend doing homework. I enjoyed getting back into John Lescroart’s books with their memorable San Francisco settings. Although I rarely read memoirs, I found Funny in Farsi both amusing and poignant. I joined a group read of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence; curled up with a contemporary romance that I thought was well done, The Reunion; and found a juvenile fantasy I thought was long out of print, The Ghost of Opalina. How was your September?

Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins (2021). When a child disappears in Oxford, her nanny is immediately suspected and questioned.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Dear Hugo by Molly Clavering

Title: Dear Hugo
Author: Molly Clavering (1900-1995)
Publication: Dean Street Press/Furrowed Middlebrow, paperback, 2021 (originally published in 1955)
Genre: Fiction
Setting: 1950s Britain
Description: Having lost her fiancé during the war, Sara Monteith decides to make a new home for herself in a small town in the Scottish Borders called Ravenskirk.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from Notes on a Scandal to Lady's Maid

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller (2003) which my book group read back when I lived in NYC. It’s about two teachers who are friendly until one of them begins a relationship with a student. It was compelling but depressing as the friendship was flawed, the seduction repellent, and the scandal inevitable.

Friday, September 30, 2022

The Market by J.M. Steele

Title: The Market
Author: J.M. Steele
Publication: Hyperion, paperback, originally published in 2008
Genre: YA
Setting: New Jersey-ish
Description: High school senior Kate Winthrop has loving parents, two wonderful friends and got into Brown so life should be perfect.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Some Autumn Favorites

The weather is suddenly cooler, blankets are back on our beds, and I am thinking of books about Autumn:
Autumn Term by Antonia Forest (1948). Twins Nicola and Lawrie are heading to Kingscote School, determined to be as impressive as their elder sisters, but things start badly on the train when Nicola pulls the emergency cord and never seem to recover . . .

Monday, September 26, 2022

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Title: The Dark is Rising
Author: Susan Cooper
Publication: Atheneum/Margaret K. McElderry, hardcover, 1973
Genre: Juvenile Fantasy
Setting: England
Description: Everything changes for Will Stanton, used to being the overlooked youngest in a bustling family, on Midwinter Day in December when he turns 11 and learns he is the last of the Old Ones, those responsible over the years for standing up to forces of Evil and Darkness.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Title: Bloomsbury Girls
Author: Natalie Jenner
Publication: St. Martin’s, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: London, 1950
Description: In this companion novel to The Jane Austen Society, three women encroach on the male world of bookselling at a shop in the Bloomsbury section of London.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Title: The Woman in the Library
Author: Sulari Gentill
Publication: Poisoned Pen Press/Sourcebooks, paperback, 2022
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Boston
Description: Writer Hannah Tigone is sitting at a table in the Boston Public Library’s ornate Reading Room when a woman screams.  Soon the police find a dead body.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas

Title: Funny in Farsi
Author: Firoozeh Dumas
Publication: Villard, hardcover, 2003
Genre: Memoir
Setting: California
Description: This warm and witty memoir tells the story of an Iranian family and its enthusiastic misadventures with life in America, embracing Thanksgiving and game shows on television, learning English with bafflement, and the author’s eventual marriage to a Frenchman she met at Cal Berkeley, which resulted in even more of a melting pot experience.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

We Didn't Mean to Start a School by Julia Blythe

Title: We Didn’t Mean to Start a School
Author: Julia Blythe
Publication: Gracewing, paperback, 1998
Genre: Children’s school story
Setting: Great Britain
Description: Just as Geraldine and Jeannie’s father gets a new job in Japan, their Aunt Win’s husband inherits a small, unoccupied hotel in the English countryside.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Spell the Month in Books – September

Spell the Month in Books is hosted by Reviews From the Stacks and occurs on the second Saturday of each month or maybe a bit later! 

Here is my installment for September: