TUESDAY TEASER

The Purple Booker, a fine blog I follow started this meme.

The idea behind the Teaser Tuesday “game” is to copy a line or so from a current read in order to tease others into adding it to their TBR list.

Today’s (8/17/21) is from Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

Several college students cause the death of the obnoxious “Bunny,” a hanger-on of their close knit circle of friends. Henry, the Greek scholar masterminded the “accident” which did Bunny in, and all the group were complicit in the deed. After the bizarre funeral, Charles, one of the twins, is arrested for drunk driving. Henry comes to the narrator’s room in the wee hours, and the following conversation occurs:

“About fifteen minutes ago, I got a call from the police. Charles is in jail. He has been arrested for drunk driving. I want you to go down and get him out…He was driving my (Henry’s) car. They got my name from the registration sticker…”

Henry gives Richard (the narrator ) a signed, blank check for the bail. When Richard gets to the police station the police tell him he will have to wait until the arraignment in the morning. Meanwhile, Richard and Henry are terrified that Charles will “crack” under the strain, confessing his part in the murder and implicating all of the friends.

It is a tense moment in a book filled with tense moments.

I am on page 442 and have no idea how this novel is going to end!

More Celebration of Color: TELL ME WHY by Sandi Wallace

Mostly green cover

This was a novel I won in a blogger friend’s giveaway! It is an Aussie novel, something I’ve not read before, and the first book in a series. Wallace’s “Georgie Harvey and Franklin series” promises to be one I will follow up on. It was suspenseful, especially at the end, and very exciting. I will definitely buy the sequel, Dead Again, to follow the lives and adventures of the main characters. Georgie Harvey, a journalist’s, elderly friend Ruby, asks her to check on Susan Pentecost, Ruby’s friend who lives in a nearby town. When Georgie starts nosing around, she gets off to a bad start with John Franklin, the Senior Constable, who wishes women would stick to their “place” and leave police work to the police.

Add in the local mob, a “fatal” fire, a religious nut suspect, and Franklin’s rebellious daughter, and you have the perfect murder mystery which leads to an exciting, “ouch” ending.

Thanks to my young blogger friend for this cool sign off! She makes them as a business. For details contact me at raelongest300@msn.com

ATONEMENT, TENNESSEE by Teagan Riordain Geneviene: A Review

by blogger friend Teagan Geneviene

My personal “Book of the Month,” this novel by blogger friend, Teagan, is set in Atonement, Tennessee, a “quaint” town full of interesting characters. When Esmerelda Lawton, “Ralda” to her friends, suffers from “big city blues,” she finds an old foreclosed-upon mansion in Atonement at a price too good to be true. And when something is too good to be true…well, you know the rest of the saying. She buys the house sight-unseen, and only when she arrives in town does she discover the old mansion comes complete with an ancient cemetery.

Gwydion, the local florist from Fae’s Flowers, and conveniently a handyman, is the first to visit. Cael, the foreign-accented, dark, and very handsome neighbor, who hangs around the cemetery, rounds out the love interests in this tiny town .

The story is a mix of urban fantasy and Celtic mythology, emanating a “feeling” of mystery and paranormal romance. The book ends with a cliffhanger that definitely requires a sequel, for which I can hardly wait.

THE HAUNTED BOOKSTORE, A CLASSIC by Christopher Morely: Review

In attempting to read about books, bookstores, libraries, and all things “bookish” between January 2019 and December 2019, I came across a book considered a classic, which fits my definition of a cozy mystery. Just in time for Halloween, Christopher Morely’s The Haunted Bookstore continues the saga of Parnassus on Wheels. It describes the bookstore of Roger Mifflin, proprietor, whose sign in the window welcomes booklovers, but warns, “This shop is haunted.”

The story is set in 1915 Brooklyn, NY. Enter Titania Chapman, enlightened daughter of a business magnate father who asks Mifflin if he will hire his daughter as an assistant. A budding career girl, something new to Mifflin and his wife, Titania is full of “new views” and ways to improve the comfortable old bookstore. Meeting a young ad salesman who tries to get Mifflin to advertise, Titania puts him through the paces and hoops of earning a young girl’s affections. There is mystery; there is romance; there is humor–all told in a charming style of writing that endears these characters and this novel to the reader. “Lively spirits” seem to be the cause of the things that go bump in the night, and the mysterious shadow men who appear are obviously up to no good.

All is revealed and satisfyingly resolved at the end, something modern readers seldom get enough of. I highly recommend this novel.

TUESDAY TEASER*

My teaser today comes from a book I just finished, M.L. Rio’s If We were Villains. I have finished the book, but am not going to return it to the library until tomorrow because I need to re-read the last chapter or so to see if I have misinterpreted the ending. Yes, one of “those” endings. I am opening the book at random and selecting a few lines:

“Her voice cracked, the sound too harsh to be an actor’s affectation. She struck her chest hard with one fist, but whether it was a wordless expression of her grief or a desperate attempt to dislodge whatever was choking her, I couldn’t tell. Gwendolyn leaned forward on the table, brow creased with concern.”

What is going on with Wren, cousin to the murdered student, and what does Gwendolyn know that Oliver, the narrator, doesn’t know? Read the book and find out.

*This bookish meme is hosted by The Purple Booker, It’s a fun chance to spread the word about what you are reading. Go to the website or put your own “teaser” in the reply box below. Don’t forget to give title and author, and NO SPOILERS, PLEASE.

THE BOOKSHOP OF YESTERDAYS by Amy Meyerson: A Review

This charming 2018 novel grabbed my attention at my local library when I picked up the large print book on display and read,

“Miranda Brooks grew up in the stacks of her eccentric Uncle Billy’s bookshop, solving the scavenger hunts he created just for her. But on her 12th birthday, Billy has a falling- out with her mother and disappears from Miranda’s life. Sixteen years later, she receives unexpected news: Uncle Billy has died and left her Prospero Books, which is teetering on bankruptcy and one final scavenger hunt.  Returning to the bookstore as its owner, Miranda is drawn into a journey through Billy’s past –and the terrible secret that tore her family apart.”

Intrigued?  I most certainly was, and the novel did NOT disappoint. It was all it promised to be. I cared about Mirando and Prospero Books wondering and musing at the possible connections to The Tempest, perhaps my favorite Shakespeare play. The “romance angle,” thankfully light, was a bit “predictable” and maybe even “formulaic,” but that did not detract from the family mystery, Miranda’s problematic relationships with her parents, and current boyfriend, or the enjoyable twists and reveals that keeps the reader turning pages late into the night. I rate it a full five out of five and thank the author for a delightful read. Another thank you to whoever wrote the blurb on the back of the LP edition for a lovely, attention-grabbing piece of good writing!

THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR: A REVIEW by guest author Savanna Sanchez, student in my Advanced Writing class

As a huge fan of the TV show, Law and Order:SVU, The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena is a novel that held my attention from the very beginning. The Couple Next Door is a riveting tale about a seemingly ordinary couple. While at a party next door, Anne and Marco Conti’s baby, Cora is kidnapped. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents.  But the truth is a much more complicated story. The detective assigned to case, Detective Rasbach, believes the couple is hiding something. As he works to discover the truth of Cora’s disappearance, Anne and Marco discover they are both keeping secrets from each other. Are the Conti’s actually responsible for Cora’s disappearance? What unravels in this novel  is a story full of secrets, deception, and lies.

Shari Laperna writes from the point of view of all the characters, revealing details to the reader that the other characters do not know yet. This keeps the reader constantly on edge, waiting for the other characters to discover the secrets you just read. Unfortunately, this also makes the book a bit slow-moving.  Scenes often occur twice, from the viewpoint of two different characters. However, the conclusion of the novel was not at all what I expected, and a chill still runs down my spine when I think about it. Does Detective Rasbach find Cora? Are the parents responsible? What are Anne and Marco hiding? Next time you are at the bookstore, be sure to pick up The Couple Next Door. You will not be disappointed.

Note from Rae: Please use the “leave a response box” to comment on Savanna’s review and encourage her to possibly begin a book review blog of her own. Thanks.

TUESDAY TEASER

Tuesday Teaser is a “bookish meme,” first started by The Purple Booker. Many of my blogging friends now post their own, and we all enjoy reading each other’s posts. What, you don’t blog? Easy solution: Post your Tuesday Teaser in the respond box below, being sure to give the book title and author. Who knows? Maybe someone will be teased into reading your book, or even comment, telling you they’d read the same book you did. No spoilers, please, just type in a couple of sentences or a short paragraph where you are currently reading or some “special part” that might tempt the PWR readers.

Tuesday Teaser for October 23, 2018 from Raising Lazarus by Aiden J. Reid:

“Molly Walker looked around the room, watching the warm embraces between parents and children, husbands and wives. Others were less jovial occasions, handshakes of progress updates between suited lawyers and their customers. The inmates wore drawn, frustrated expressions, emotions bubbling beneath the surface, finding an outlet on the hard seat edges which bent under their force.”

The incarcerated man Molly is about to meet and interview for a graduate school thesis paper will rock her world and perhaps the entire world itself, for his name is Lazarus, and he claimes to be over 2,000 years old.

TUESDAY TEASER

Even if you don’t see this on Tues., please leave us your teaser.  Open the book you’re reading to a random page and copy a couple of lines or sentences to tempt us to read the same book.  Give the title and author, so we can add it to our TBR (To Be Read) pile, list, shelf, as the case may be.

My book came in the mail yesterday, Swans of Fifth Avenue, a novel by Melanie Benjamin, published earlier this year.  It is the story of the society matrons and Truman Capote, their darling and their nemesis. I only read to page 15 last night before getting sleepy, but here is where I left off:

“I had the most marvelous childhood!”  Truman exclaimed to Slim, to Gloria, to C.Z., at their parties , where they would surround their new discovery, these glamorous wives of glamorous men, while their husbands looked on in confusion, for they’d never seen a Truman Capote before, and hoped, at first, never to see once again. This tiny effeminate creature dressed in velvet suits, red socks, an absurdly long scarf wrapped around his throat, trailing after him like a coronation robe, who pronounced after dinner, “I’m going to sit over here with the rest of the girls and gossip!” This pixie who might suddenly leap in the air ,kicking one foot out behind him, exclaiming, “Oh what fun, fun, fun, it is to be me! I’m beside myself!”

REVIEW: The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis (2016)

A friend from book club told me her daughter had written her first novel, and as a “collector”of debut novels, I was immediately interested.  I had to wait a couple of months for the book to come out for sale, but the novel was well worth waiting for!

It is the story of the Barbizon , a “proper” and safe hotel, a “suitable” residence for young women searching for fame, careers, and husbands in New York City.  The Dollhouse is set in (and chapters alternate between) the 1950’s and 2016.  It is the  story of Darby (and Sam and Esme, her new friends) in 1950.  Darby is a student at The Gibbs Secretarial School, a “plain girl” hosteled on then same floor of the Glamorous Ford Agency models.

In 2016, Rose, also a Barbizon girl, is employed as a journalist and has a tinge of scandal of her own. Her lover, Griffin, who has political aspirations and Jason, a photographer who helps Rose investigate Darby’s scandal and mystery, also appear in the story.

But, most of all it is the story of The Barbizon .

For me, this was a fascinating read, a real page turner which reveals its mystery  like the peeling of the layers of the cliched onion. I would give this fantastic novel a 5 out of 5 rating .