An e-book bargain and a great series (Fowler)

Earlene Fowler’s quilter’s series consists of about a dozen novels that feature Benni Harper and Police Chief Gabe Ortiz.  Each book in the series is named for a quilt pattern.  The first novel, Fool’s Puzzle was published in 1995.  I read it then so it has been awhile.  Below is feedback on that book:

From Publishers Weekly

Young, recently widowed Benni Harper, the foolhardy heroine in this predictable debut, leaves her ranch after her husband’s accidental death and becomes the curator of the folk-art museum in the coastal California town of San Celina. Benni is frantically trying to assemble a quilt show when she discovers a local potter stabbed to death in the museum studio. Benni’s flaky 21-year-old cousin Rita, whom Benni had seen driving away from the museum, disappears and becomes a prime suspect. When Rita calls asking for money, Benni determines not to tell the police, whose new chief, Gabe Ortiz, has warned her not to interfere in the investigation, and decides to clear Rita by finding the real murderer. The day that the quilt show opens, Benni finds a plastic bag filled with money in the attic of the museum but waits to tell Ortiz until after the opening party. When he goes to the attic to investigate, he finds, instead, the body of the museum handyman. Fowler connects all the deaths in her plot, leaving no threads hanging, but Benni’s reckless actions and her love-hate relationship with the enigmatic Ortiz yield an unconvincing narrative.
This review describes the book as predictable; maybe that is so but I know that I loved this series and read every single entry.  Today, Goose in the Pond is an e-book bargain.  While it is best to read the series in order, this could be your chance to start your Earlene Fowler collection.  I would especially recommend this series to readers who like Susan Wittig Albert’s Pecan Springs novels.

Goose in the Pond

The Kreutzer Sonata (Tolstoy)

The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions)Today in my class on Adultery in 19th century fiction, we spoke about the Kreutzer Sonata.  Are any of you familiar with this?  I was not.  It was agreed that this is either a novella or a short story.  If reading Anna Karenina or War and Peace just feels like too much, you can get an idea of Tolstoy through this work.  It was advised that we listen to the Kreutzer Sonata as a framework for the story  I recommend doing so.  There is a certain rhythm, a coming together, lyricisim, intensity and breaking apart that matches the ways in which the main characters relate.  In the sonata, neither the violin nor the piano dominates but each finds its place, not always easily.

Tolstoy asks the reader to think about marriage, mores, possible affairs, the roles of women and the actions of those in marriages.  It was pointed out that the reader becomes involved in the main character’s story and has empathy for much of what he says.  But…how do you feel about him, after you find out what he does?  Read this and see.  Next week it will be Jude the Obscure.  As a teaser, it was pointed out that this is the first book that we will have read that is named for a male character.

 

A repost for the paperback edition (MacNeal)

The Paris Spy is part of a series set during WW II; The cover illustration for this latest entry is appealing but does not not reflect the gravity of Maggie and her fellow SOE operatives’ risky lives. This book is NOT a cozy mystery; the scenes with interrogation and torture were difficult to read.
The Paris of the occupation was well drawn and there was an interesting mix of fictional and historical personages, including Coco Chanel. I connected with the characters and worried about their safety.
Occasionally, the plot relied on coincidence and was not completely believable. Nonetheless, I rooted for Maggie and hoped for her mission and England’s success as D-day comes closer. I have read all of the other books in this series; the books do not have to be read in order to be enjoyed as some backstory is provided.  If you read the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, I think that you will like this.  If you have not read Maisie Dobbs, I think that you should!

NOTE:  The next book in the series will be out this summer.  Here’s the cover.  I will blog once I have read this.  Thanks NetGalley!

Still a good day for e-book bargains in women’s fiction (Colgan and Paul)

Little Beach Street Bakery-Jenny Colgan writes light, easy but enjoyable romance/comedy novels.  This one is about starting over in a seaside community, baking, romance and, if I remember correctly, a puffin.

The Affair-This one is in my TBR pile.  Gill Paul wrote a book that I blogged on that was about Wallis Simpson and her best friend, Mary.  I thought that was well-written and fascinating.  I hope that this one will be too.  The Affair is about Taylor and Burton.

Little Beach Street BakeryThe Affair

A good day for e-book buys in Women’s Fiction (Buchan, Mayles and Pearson)

Three good reads on sale today…Elizabeth Buchan is a terrific author of British women’s fiction.  I read and enjoyed this novel when it first came out.  You will be engrossed as you follow Rose and observe the ways in which her life falls apart and the ways in which she rebuilds it.

If you have not already read Under the Tuscan Sun, now is your chance.  It is about starting over and starting well. Note that a new novel by Frances Mayles has just come out.  I look forward to reading it soon.

Finally, the classic, I Don’t Know How She Does It.  This one is likely to appeal to all of you over worked moms.  As is true for Mayles, Pearson’s new book was just released.

Enjoy!

Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman: A NovelUnder the Tuscan Sun: 20th-Anniversary EditionI Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother

 

An Eleanor for all ages (Ilene Cooper)

I loved this book! The author speaks to the middle school reader without ever being condescending or talking down. When historical background is needed, it is simply included in the text.

Eleanor Roosevelt comes alive with her bravery, deep desire to do right and also in her doubts and difficulties. The reader learns the basics of Eleanor’s biography; not being beautiful for her mother, having a father who was an alcoholic, being orphaned. There is an excellent chapter or Eleanor’s schooling in England and its impact on her. The joys and imperfections of her relationship with Franklin are acknowledged. The young reader learns of affairs but gently.

The author shows the ways in which Eleanor’s consciousness was raised. She describes the prejudices with which Eleanor grew up and how she began to overcome them and fight for her beliefs.

I have read a number of books on the Roosevelts so felt knowledgeable going in. Yet, I still learned a lot. Of note, too, are the illustrations which make historical personages real and present.

I recommend this book highly for readers from middle school through adulthood. Thank you NetGalley!

#EleanorRooseveltBook #NetGalley

An e-book bargain (Burke) and another mention of The Great American Read post.

The WifeI have enjoyed other books by this author and feel pretty sure that this will be worth reading too.  Today it is $2.99.

Also, I want to again mention yesterday’s post on The Great American Read which will be a show on PBS.  The list is too good to miss if you like to plan future reading or see where you have been.  Here is the list.

1984George Orwell
A Confederacy of DuncesJohn Kennedy Toole
A Prayer for Owen MeanyJohn Irving
A Separate PeaceJohn Knowles
A Tree Grows in BrooklynBetty Smith
The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain
The AlchemistPaulo Coelho
Alex Cross Mysteries (Series)James Patterson
Alice in WonderlandLewis Carroll
AmericanahChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
And Then There Were NoneAgatha Christie
Anne of Green GablesLucy Maud Montgomery
Another CountryJames Baldwin
Atlas ShruggedAyn Rand
BelovedToni Morrison
Bless Me UltimaRudolfo Anaya
The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoJunot Diaz
The Call of the WildJack London
Catch 22Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the RyeJ.D. Salinger
Charlotte’s WebE B White
The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)C.S. Lewis
The Clan of the Cave BearJean M. Auel
The Coldest Winter EverSister Souljah
The Color PurpleAlice Walker
The Count of Monte CristoAlexandre Dumas
Crime and PunishmentFyodor Dostoyevsky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeMark Haddon
The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown
Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes
Doña BarbaraRomulo Gallegos
DuneFrank Herbert
Fifty Shades of Grey (Series)E.L. James
Flowers in the AtticV.C. Andrews
Foundation (Series)Isaac Asimov
FrankensteinMary Shelley
Game of Thrones (Series)George R R Martin
GhostJason Reynolds
GileadMarilynne Robinson
The GiverLois Lowry
The GodfatherMario Puzo
Gone GirlGillian Flynn
Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell
The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck
Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan Swift
The Handmaid’s TaleMargaret Atwood
Harry Potter (Series)J.K. Rowling
Hatchet (Series)Gary Paulsen
Heart of DarknessJoseph Conrad
The HelpKathryn Stockett
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The GalaxyDouglas Adams
The Hunger Games (Series)Suzanne Collins
The Hunt for Red OctoberTom Clancy
The IntuitionistColson Whitehead
Invisible ManRalph Ellison
Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë
The Joy Luck ClubAmy Tan
Jurassic ParkMichael Crichton
Left Behind (Series)Tim LaHaye / Jerry B. Jenkins
The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little WomenLouisa May Alcott
Lonesome DoveLarry McMurtry
Looking for AlaskaJohn Green
The Lord of the Rings (Series)J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lovely BonesAlice Sebold
The MartianAndy Weir
Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden
Mind InvadersDave Hunt
Moby DickHerman Melville
The NotebookNicholas Sparks
One Hundred Years of SolitudeGabriel Garcia Marquez
Outlander (Series)Diana Gabaldon
The OutsidersS. E. Hinton
The Picture of Dorian GrayOscar Wilde
The Pilgrim’s ProgressJohn Bunyan
The Pillars of the EarthKen Follett
Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
Ready Player OneErnest Cline
RebeccaDaphne du Maurier
The ShackWilliam P. Young
SiddharthaHermann Hesse
The Sirens of TitanKurt Vonnegut
The StandStephen King
The Sun Also RisesErnest Hemingway
Swan SongRobert R. McCammon
Tales of the City (Series)Armistead Maupin
Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston
Things Fall ApartChinua Achebe
This Present DarknessFrank E. Peretti
To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee
The Twilight Saga (Series)Stephenie Meyer
War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy
The WatchersDean Koontz
The Wheel of Time (Series)Robert Jordan
Where the Red Fern GrowsWilson Rawls
White TeethZadie Smith
Wuthering HeightsEmily Bronte

 

The Great American Read!

“The Great American Read” is a new series premiering on PBS on May 22nd at 8pm ET focusing on the 100 best-loved novels in America.  Below is the booklist.  I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts.  Which have you read?  Which do you recommend?  Which might you now read?
1984George Orwell
A Confederacy of DuncesJohn Kennedy Toole
A Prayer for Owen MeanyJohn Irving
A Separate PeaceJohn Knowles
A Tree Grows in BrooklynBetty Smith
The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain
The AlchemistPaulo Coelho
Alex Cross Mysteries (Series)James Patterson
Alice in WonderlandLewis Carroll
AmericanahChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
And Then There Were NoneAgatha Christie
Anne of Green GablesLucy Maud Montgomery
Another CountryJames Baldwin
Atlas ShruggedAyn Rand
BelovedToni Morrison
Bless Me UltimaRudolfo Anaya
The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoJunot Diaz
The Call of the WildJack London
Catch 22Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the RyeJ.D. Salinger
Charlotte’s WebE B White
The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)C.S. Lewis
The Clan of the Cave BearJean M. Auel
The Coldest Winter EverSister Souljah
The Color PurpleAlice Walker
The Count of Monte CristoAlexandre Dumas
Crime and PunishmentFyodor Dostoyevsky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeMark Haddon
The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown
Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes
Doña BarbaraRomulo Gallegos
DuneFrank Herbert
Fifty Shades of Grey (Series)E.L. James
Flowers in the AtticV.C. Andrews
Foundation (Series)Isaac Asimov
FrankensteinMary Shelley
Game of Thrones (Series)George R R Martin
GhostJason Reynolds
GileadMarilynne Robinson
The GiverLois Lowry
The GodfatherMario Puzo
Gone GirlGillian Flynn
Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell
The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck
Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan Swift
The Handmaid’s TaleMargaret Atwood
Harry Potter (Series)J.K. Rowling
Hatchet (Series)Gary Paulsen
Heart of DarknessJoseph Conrad
The HelpKathryn Stockett
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The GalaxyDouglas Adams
The Hunger Games (Series)Suzanne Collins
The Hunt for Red OctoberTom Clancy
The IntuitionistColson Whitehead
Invisible ManRalph Ellison
Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë
The Joy Luck ClubAmy Tan
Jurassic ParkMichael Crichton
Left Behind (Series)Tim LaHaye / Jerry B. Jenkins
The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little WomenLouisa May Alcott
Lonesome DoveLarry McMurtry
Looking for AlaskaJohn Green
The Lord of the Rings (Series)J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lovely BonesAlice Sebold
The MartianAndy Weir
Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden
Mind InvadersDave Hunt
Moby DickHerman Melville
The NotebookNicholas Sparks
One Hundred Years of SolitudeGabriel Garcia Marquez
Outlander (Series)Diana Gabaldon
The OutsidersS. E. Hinton
The Picture of Dorian GrayOscar Wilde
The Pilgrim’s ProgressJohn Bunyan
The Pillars of the EarthKen Follett
Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
Ready Player OneErnest Cline
RebeccaDaphne du Maurier
The ShackWilliam P. Young
SiddharthaHermann Hesse
The Sirens of TitanKurt Vonnegut
The StandStephen King
The Sun Also RisesErnest Hemingway
Swan SongRobert R. McCammon
Tales of the City (Series)Armistead Maupin
Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston
Things Fall ApartChinua Achebe
This Present DarknessFrank E. Peretti
To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee
The Twilight Saga (Series)Stephenie Meyer
War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy
The WatchersDean Koontz
The Wheel of Time (Series)Robert Jordan
Where the Red Fern GrowsWilson Rawls
White TeethZadie Smith
Wuthering HeightsEmily Bronte

 

E-book bargains

A Kopp Sisters Collection: Books 1–3 (A Kopp Sisters Novel)It has been a slow week for book bargains that appealed to me but there are now three.  Barbara Kingsolver is an author that readers should know and The Bean Trees is one of her best.  Edward Rutherford writes LONG, historical novels which are in the vein of writers like James Michener.  If you want to sink in, follow loads of characters and learn some history, try this or any of his other books.  A few are about cities including London and Paris. I have not read, but just purchased, the Miss Kopp books which I have heard are good.  At $3.99 for three books, this does not feel like much of a risk.  Happy weekend reading one and all!

Publication repost (Willan)

The Shadow of Death: A Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery by [Jane Willan]The Shadow of Death is a cozy mystery by an author who is new to me. The novel’s protagonist, Sister Agatha, is a Jessica Fletcher like amateur detective. In the book the reader finds murder, financial shenanigans and characters who have troubled pasts. The delights in the novel are the setting, the insights into modern (un-stuffy) religious life and the warmth of the characters. My guess is that we will be reading a sequel this time next year!