Welcome to my blog where I share book reviews
and life along the winding road

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Most of you know my favorite books to read (and write) are cozy mysteries so Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese was a little more intense than I usually go for (a friend gave me the book). Nevertheless, it was an interesting read. I met Abraham Verghese at the Austin Book Festival a few years ago.

From the cover:
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother's death, and the father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

My thoughts:
At over 650 pages, the book was longer than I usually like to read and as a physician, Mr. Verghese delves into the intricacies of surgery in the book which can sometimes be a little gory. But his descriptions of Ethiopia (one of the oldest countries in the world) and the lives of people living there during perilous times takes the reader into the action and with much empathy. On the Ethiopia web site, there are warnings against civil unrest for those visiting the country even today.  Born in Addis Ababa to Indian parents, I'm sure the author drew from personal experiences in his novel.  It is definitely a thought provoking book.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cozy Mystery Giveaway

Until the end of May, 2017, Grandmother's Flower Garden (the first book in the Pecan Valley series) is offered free for download from Smashwords.com.

Use the coupon code at checkout

When Bea first arrives in Pecan Valley she’s accompanied by thunder and lightning, and she tells herself the storm will pass. She also tries to convince herself that she’s taking an early retirement, looking for a quiet place to work on her quilts, putter around in her new garden. But returning to the place where the event happened thirty years ago sparks a longing to find out what took place after Bea left Pecan Valley. Although the clouds have now dissipated, another storm is hovering over her new home and when someone is murdered, she has second thoughts about moving to a small Texas town.   

Friday, May 12, 2017

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I read the recommended book, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, but it was a pleasant surprise.

My thoughts: I was intrigued by the family dymanics - how the children coped when their family units dissolved and the novel is written beautifully. The only disappointment was the end which seemed to stop the story abruptly, leaving the reader wondering what happened next.

From the author's site:
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly, thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Welcome to the World Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg

Author of Fried Green Tomatoes Fannie Flagg is adept at putting the reader in the center of small town America and Welcome to the World Baby Girl! is another enjoyable read and reminded me a little of the amusing book Pontoon.
Fannie Flagg has had an impressive career which started in fifth grade when she wrote, directed and starred in her first play.

Spanning from the 1940s to 1987, Welcome to the World Baby Girl! is  funny and serious with the heroine, Dena Nordsrom, a city girl but her small hometown has many quirky characters - most of them are her father's relatives

Elmwood Springs, Missouri 
April 1, 1973
Norma Warren was a nervous wreck, waiting for Macky to come home and have his breakfast. She was about to burst with the news. He had only gone two blocks to take Aunt Elner a bag of birdseed. Aunt Elner had called at the crack of dawn and said her blue jays were practically knocking the house down because she had run out of seed. She loved poor old Aunt Elner; after all, she was deaf as a post. But why, of all mornings, did she have to pick this one to run out?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Murder in Capital Letters by Peter Bartram

After I discovered the Colin Crampton series by Peter Bartram I became addicted to them so when Peter Bartram asked if I'd like to review his novella, Murder in Capital Letters, I jumped at the chance.

One thing I like about the series is that it is set in the 1960s and in Brighton. It always brings back childhood memories of taking the train from London to Brighton and, regardless of the weather, swimming in Black Rock Pool. I have pictures of me standing on a diving board, a lone swimmer in the pool by the beach with waves not only in the sea but in the pool! My sister and mother sat on deckchairs huddled in blankets. Every now and again I come across something in the books such as a comment about the Volks Railway, The Royal Pavilion, or the Lanes which bring back vivid memories.

But I digress. Whether you are familiar with England, or Brighton for that matter, the books are intriguing. Colin Crampton, The Chronical reporter, throws little tidbits about solving the mystery, but manages to keep the reader guessing until the end. Peter Brampton/Colin Crampton has a great sense of humor and the story will keep you hooked.

Hop on over to the Colin Crampton site to get a free copy of Murder in Capital Letters.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Keeping Track of Book Series

I came across this site today that keeps track of book series and will notify you when a new book comes out.


Another good site for searching for both authors and their series is Fantastic Fiction

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Last Templar by Michael Jecks

The Last Templar by Michael Jecks is the first book in the First Knights Templar Mystery series. It's set during the Middle Ages - 1316 and puts the reader in the midst of English serfdom and the quest of a medieval  knight vowing justice for the death of his fellow knights.

One thing that bothered me was while trying to solve the crime, the Bailiff and Knight asked villagers/villeins where they were during a specific time period, but how did they know what time it was? Clocks didn't appear to be in general use during Medieval Period and instead, people relied on the sun, church bells, which didn't ring every hour, or candles. The phrase we use "o'clock" differentiates between time using the sun as a reference or "of the clock." During the latter part of the 14th Century, mechanical clocks were used in monasteries or church towers , but would not have been affordable for poor villagers.

From the cover:
Simon Puttock has not been bailiff of Lydford Castle long in this year of 1316, when he is called to a nearby village to examine a burned-out cottage and the dead body within. But it is the newly arrived knight, Sir Baldwin Furnshill, who discerns the deceased was no victim or a tragic mishap; he was, in fact, murdered prior to the blaze.