Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Mad, Mad, Murders of Marigold Way by Raymond Benson -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Welcome back to Book Beginnings on Fridays, where participants share the opening sentence (or so) of the book they are reading this week. You can also share from a book you want to highlight just because it caught your fancy.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
Friends, this is a little tale about some murders.
-- from The Mad, Mad, Murders of Marigold Way by Raymond Benson (2022, Beaufort Books).

This new dramedy mystery comes out next week, on October 4, and is available for pre-order now. Not only is the book brand new, the story is set in a Chicago suburb during the covid pandemic, so feels like it takes place right this minute.

I scored an ARC from the LibraryThing early reviewer program. It looks like a perfect book to read during the October spooky season. Not too scary but just enough to put me in the mood for Halloween!

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. Thanks!
  
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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56


From The Mad, Mad, Murders of Marigold Way:
As the truck approached, it slowed down. It crept past the empty Wilkins house, and then slowly moved on in front of Scott's home towards Temple Avenue. 
FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION

For Scott Hatcher, a former television writer turned struggling novelist with a failing marriage to boot, social-distancing and mask-wearing feel like fitting additions to his already surreal life. When his wife Marie and neighbor John Bergman disappear in the middle of the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Scott is naturally mystified and disturbed, but he is also about to learn that his picturesque neighborhood hides more than just the mundane routines of suburban life.

When a fire claims the empty house for sale next door, the entire community is shocked when the charred remains of Marie and John are found inside. Stranger still, stockpiles of valuable Personal Protection Equipment, clearly stolen, were destroyed in the blaze alongside them. As the neighborhood reels from the loss, Scott and Bergman's earthy and enticing widow, Rachel, not only find themselves under investigation for the crime, but also inexorably drawn to one another. As tensions reach a fever pitch, the tale—which is at once familiar and ordinary, yet bizarre and eerie—shows that, just like life in 2020's uncertain times, dread and danger lurk below the hidden underside of everyday suburbia.




Monday, September 26, 2022

New Books of Poetry and Historical Fiction -- MAILBOX MONDAY


MAILBOX MONDAY

What new books came into your house lately?

I'm excited about these two new books, out recently. Although the books are completely different, I love both covers and how gorgeous they look together!

A Story Interrupted by Connie Soper (2022, Airlie Press)

This is Soper's first book of poetry. From the description and flipping through it, it looks like these are sort of poems I am drawn to. They are poems about actual places and experiences, not abstract ideas. I like something I can latch onto and relate to when I read a poem. I don't like to feel like the whole thing is going over my head. 

From the publisher's description:

Connie Soper’s first book of poetry invites readers to wander the trails of Oregon’s lush and fertile forests, and to celebrate its beaches, coastal cliffs, and headlands. She explores her native terrain with a reverence for the wild and untamed, as well as smaller moments spent in solitude. A Story Interrupted opens its map of place, memory, and inheritances—a map both familiar and uncharted. These poems offer glimpses, as well, of more distant traveled lands, always rooted in a keenly observed sense of place and belonging. These poems recall tender moments and conjure memories that connect us with our past, even if that past is sometimes difficult to acknowledge. Here, open-endedness is not melancholy but joy, each poem a small celebration.

Water Fire Steam by Mitzi Zilka (2022)

This new historical fiction novel is based on real life events and sounds excellent. The story sounds terrific and like it has broader themes that give it appeal beyond the exciting plot.

From the publisher's description:

The year is 1884. Rolla Alan Jones, an ambitious dreamer fresh out of an East Coast engineering school, is commissioned to design and build the first water system in Spokane Falls, Washington, a booming town of twenty-thousand. He is everyone's golden boy for five years until the city burns down on August 4, 1889. The once-celebrated engineer is scapegoated for the catastrophe alleging his system yielded inadequate water pressure. Asked to resign, betrayed by his friends, shunned by the community, and abandoned by his pregnant wife and three-year-old son, Rolla must find the strength to reinvent himself or return to New York as an abject failure. Based on a true story, Water Fire Steam is a story of forgiveness and redemption for anyone who has ever had to claw their way back from an unwarranted accusation.

 


YOUR MAILBOX MONDAY BOOKS

Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house lately. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught Our Eye.

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf, and Velvet of VVB32 Reads graciously host Mailbox Monday. Velvet wants to hand off hosting duties so they are looking for a new helper. If you are interested, see the website for details.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom by Kathryn Olivarius -- BOOK BEGINNING


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Welcome back to Book Beginnings on Fridays, where participants share the opening sentence (or so) of the book they are reading this week. You can also share from a book you want to highlight just because it caught your fancy.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
One January morning in 1825, a white, seventeen-year-old boy from Newton, New Jersey, woke up with a case of “Mississippi Fever” – an insatiable urge to head west and south.
-- from Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom by Kathryn Olivarius.

This nonfiction book explores the history and sociology of yellow fever in New Orleans in the 19th Century. It looks like a fascinating piece of American history. 

I admit I wouldn't have come across this book on my own. But I'm working on a sexual assault case here in Oregon with the author's mother, an attorney named Ann Olivarius, and Ann gave me a copy. I will definitely read it!


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. Thanks!

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Necropolis:

Early on, Anglo-Americans were genuinely scared that yellow fever would throw a wrench in the wheels of American government. the disease killed so many migrants that it embarrassed American authority.

FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION
Antebellum New Orleans sat at the heart of America's slave and cotton kingdoms. It was also where yellow fever epidemics killed as many as 150,000 people during the nineteenth century. With little understanding of mosquito-borne viruses--and meager public health infrastructure--a person's only protection against the scourge was to "get acclimated" by surviving the disease. About half of those who contracted yellow fever died.
. . . .
The question of good health--who has it, who doesn't, and why--is always in part political. Necropolis shows how powerful nineteenth-century white Orleanians--all allegedly immune--pushed this politics to the extreme. They constructed a society that capitalized mortal risk and equated perceived immunity with creditworthiness and reliability. Instead of trying to curb yellow fever through sanitation or quarantines, immune white Orleanians took advantage of the chaos disease caused. Immunological discrimination therefore became one more form of bias in a society premised on inequality, one more channel by which capital disciplined and divided the population.



Saturday, September 17, 2022

Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces by Ruth Millington -- BOOK REVIEW

 

BOOK REVIEW

Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces by Ruth Millington (2022, Pegasus Books)

Ruth Millington is an art historian and author, specializing in modern and contemporary art. In Muse, she explores the stories of the people depicted in 30 famous portraits and the relationships they had with the artists who painted them. Millington challenges the idea that muses are young women who pose for old male artists. The muses in her book are women and men, young and old, and all play a more active role in inspiring and influencing the art they are a part of.

Millington writes in a breezy, journalistic style that makes her book approachable to readers who might be interested in but unfamiliar with the artists she examines. The only drawback to the book is that she describes a lot of works of art and there are no pictures or illustrations of them, other than one black and white sketch at the beginning of each chapter. This is understandable because the book would be enormous if it included pictures of all the art described. But be prepared to spend some time on google looking up the artwork as curiosity dictates, which it will.

The artists and the muses who inspired them featured in Millington's book are:

Diego Velázquez and Juan de Pareja

Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar

Gustav Klimpt and Emilie Flöge

David Hockney and Peter Schlesinger

Artemisia Gentileschi (herself)

Frida Kahlo (herself)

Sunil Gupta (himself)

Nilupa Yasmin (herself)

Marlene Dumas and Helena Dumas

Awol Erizki and Beyoncé

Fukase Masahisa and Fukase Sukezo

Alex Katz and Ada Katz

Francis Bacon and George Dyer

Sylvia Sleigh and Lawrence Alloway

Salvador Dalí and Gala Dalí

Pixy Liao and Moro

Marina Abramović and Ulay

Keith Haring and Grace Jones

Tim Walker and Tilda Swinton

Paula Rego and Lila Nunes

Sir John Everett Millais and Elizabeth Siddall

Sir Sidney Nolan and Sunday Reed

Augustus john and Lady Ottoline Morrell

Gabriele D'Annuzio and Marchesa Luisa Casati

Andrew Wyeth and Anna Christina Olson

Chris Ofili and Doreen Lawrence

Lucian Freud and Sue Tilley

Kim Leutwyler and Ollie Henderson

Kehinde Wiley and Souleo

Muse is a fascinating look at the stories behind some of art history's most significant and recognizable master works. Artists and art lovers will be enlightened and entertained by Millington's new book. 



Thursday, September 15, 2022

Gathering Five Storms by Jim Geraghty -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Welcome back to Book Beginnings on Fridays, where participants share the opening sentence (or so) of the book they are reading this week. You can also share from a book you want to highlight just because it caught your fancy.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
By every measure, the operation was a success, but it marked the first time Katrina Leonidivna had ever vomited on her target.
-- Gathering Five Storms by Jim Geraghty. Well, that's a sentence that gets your attention!

Gathering Five Storms is the third book in Jim Geraghty’s Dangerous Clique series. The first is Between Two Scorpions, the second is Hunting Four Horsemen.

All three are still sitting on my TBR shelf. But Hubby read the first two and liked them. They are fast-paced, wise-cracking thrillers set right this minute.

 

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. Thanks!

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This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Gathering Five Storms:
“We’re putting together a team at Langley and we’re looking to borrow someone with serious cyber and hacking skills, possibly long-term,” Raquel began. “We need someone smart, creative, adaptable – the kind of person who can handle any problem thrown their way without flinching.”
FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION
Storms are brewing. Is it too much for the Dangerous Clique to survive?

Few within the US government know that the Dangerous Clique – a wisecracking, ragtag bunch of rogue CIA operatives operating outside the lines exists. But over the years, the team has made dangerous enemies – and now someone knows exactly who they are and is bringing the fight to them.

After a foiled strike on CIA headquarters and a threatening note that hints that those behind the attack have an axe to grind against the Clique, Katrina Leonidivna, her husband Alec Flanagan, and the rest of the team reexamine their old case files to determine who wants them dead. The chase leads them down memory lane and around the globe as the crew reminisces about the chaotic first days of their partnership.



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