Saturday, October 25, 2014

Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

Title: The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: Sphere 
Publication Date: March 14, 2013
ISBN: 9781405514651
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle

NetGalley Description:
As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work, mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grande dames of Paris.
It’s a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime -- to work in Paris with Claire's former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.
With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate -- and herself -- than she ever dreamed. 

My Review:
What a great foodie fiction read! Chocolate and Paris? Oui and Oui, please. Anna is injured on the job at her chocolate factory. While in the hospital, Anna rooms with her high school French teacher, Claire, and the two strike up a new friendship. Claire recommends an old French acquaintance to Anna, who may be able to assist Anna in working with chocolate again. But, English mass produced chocolate is worlds apart from Parisian artisinal chocolate production. The master chocolatier, Thierry, is appalled at Anna's concept of what is considered acceptable chocolate but he holds a soft spot for her because of Claire. 
The book alternates between Claire's teenage visit to Paris and Anna's current one. This is my idea of a perfect "chick-lit" meets "foodie fiction" read!

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

Friday, October 24, 2014

Small Blessings by Martha Woodruff

Title: Small Blessings
Author: Martha Woodruff
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 12, 2014
ISBN: 1-250-04052-1
Number of Pages: 320
How I Got It: St. Martin's PR
Format: Hardcover

Tom Putnam, an English professor at a Virginia women's college, has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. For more than ten years, his wife Marjory has been a shut-in, a fragile and frigid woman whose neuroses have left her fully dependent on Tom and his formidable mother-in-law, Agnes Tattle. Tom considers his unhappy state self-inflicted, since Marjory's condition was exacerbated by her discovery of Tom's brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess. But when Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the campus bookstore's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to dinner, her first social interaction in a decade, Tom wonders if it's a sign that change is on the horizon. And when Tom returns home that evening to a letter from the poetess telling him that he'd fathered her son, Henry, and that Henry, now ten, will arrive by train in a few days, it's clear change is coming whether Tom's ready or not.

My Review:
I always think it is strange when Virginia is referred to as the South but this novel is charmingly Southern without being stereotypical. Tom Putnam is a perfectly lovable character. He's accepted that his life will be small. His wife is a recluse and his social circle consists of a few other college professors and his live-in mother-in-law, Agnes. Agnes tends to side with Tom so at least he doesn't have an overbearing woman, who is not his wife, telling him what to do. I was hopeful for Tom and the new bookstore manager, Rose, to strike up something more than a friendship, even knowing he was a married man. But then Tom's world turns on its head and things take a different direction. A boy is arriving on the train who is supposedly Tom's son, but the circumstances are strange to say the least.
I was really trying to figure out who was going to ally with who during each of the mini crises that arose and I didn't anticipate the story's climax when I started reading. I am always a sucker for a collegiate or a bookstore setting and I loved that this book offered both. I read this in a hardback and I'm really excited to pass it along to a friend.

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

Thursday, October 23, 2014

7 November Novels You Shouldn't Miss

I am trying to get my hands on these 7 November releases and I think should, too. What are you looking forward to reading in November? 

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet (Satire/ Magic Realism) (Nov 1)

"Mermaids, kidnappers, and mercenaries hijack a tropical vacation in this genre-bending sendup of the American honeymoon.
On the grounds of a Caribbean island resort, newlyweds Deb and Chip—our opinionated, skeptical narrator and her cheerful jock husband who’s friendly to a fault—meet a marine biologist who says she’s sighted mermaids in a coral reef.
As the resort’s “parent company” swoops in to corner the market on mythological creatures, the couple joins forces with other adventurous souls, including an ex–Navy SEAL with a love of explosives and a hipster Tokyo VJ, to save said mermaids from the “Venture of Marvels,” which wants to turn their reef into a theme park. Mermaids in Paradise is Lydia Millet’s funniest book yet, tempering the sharp satire of her early career with the empathy and subtlety of her more recent novels and short stories. This is an unforgettable, mesmerizing tale, darkly comic on the surface and illuminating in its depths."

My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni (Mystery/Detective) (Nov. 1) 

"Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers. When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger."

The Glass Magician by Charlie M. Holmberg (Fiction/Fantasy) (Nov. 4)

"Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.When a magician with a penchant for revenge believes that Ceony possesses a secret, he vows to discover it…even if it tears apart the very fabric of their magical world. After a series of attacks target Ceony and catch those she holds most dear in the crossfire, Ceony knows she must find the true limits of her powers…and keep her knowledge from falling into wayward hands.The delightful sequel to Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician will charm readers young and old alike."

Blackmail, My Love by Katie Gilmartin (Illustrated Murder/ Mystery/ Queer History)  (Nov 11)

"Josie O'Conner travels to San Francisco in 1951 to locate her gay brother, a private dick investigating a blackmail ring targeting lesbians and gay men. Jimmy's friends claim that just before he disappeared he became a rat, informing the cops on the bar community. Josie adopts Jimmy's trousers and wingtips, battling to clear his name, halt the blackmailers, and exact justice for the many queer corpses. Along the way she rubs shoulders with a sultry chanteuse running a dyke tavern called Pandora's Box, gets intimate with a red-headed madam operating a brothel from the Police Personnel Department, and conspires with the star of Finocchio's, a dive so disreputable it's off limits to servicemen — so every man in uniform pays a visit. Blackmail, My Love is an illustrated murder mystery deeply steeped in San Francisco's queer history. Established academic and first-time novelist Katie Gilmartin's diverse set of characters negotiate the risks of same-sex desire in a tough time for queers. Humor leavens the grave subject matter. Set in such legendary locations as the Black Cat Cafe, the Fillmore, the Beat movement's North Beach, and the sexually complex Tenderloin, Blackmail, My Love is a singular, visually stunning neo-noir experience."

I Belong to You (Inside Out #5)  by Lisa Renee Jones (Erotica/ BDSM) (Nov. 18)


Being that person, that man is how I define myself, how I allow the rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her."

A Second Bite at the Apple by Dana Bate (Foodie Fiction) (Nov. 25)

"Sydney Strauss is obsessed with food. Not with eating it--though she does that too--but with writing about the wonders of the gastronomic world, from obscure fruit hybrids to organic farming techniques. Since food journalism jobs are more coveted than Cronuts®, Sydney pays her bills working for one of TV's biggest egomaniacs--until she's left scrambling for shifts at a local farmers' market. 
Stacking muffins for the Wild Yeast Bakery isn't going to win her any James Beard awards. But soon Sydney is writing the market's weekly newsletter, and her quirky stories gain attention from a prominent food columnist. After years of putting her love life into deep freeze, she's even dating again. And then Sydney gets a shot at the story, one that could either make her career or burn it to a crisp--along with her relationship and her reputation.."

Sister Eve, Private Eye by Lynne Hinton (Murder/ Mystery/ Religion(?) (Nov. 25)

"Sister Eve knows God moves in mysterious ways. And Eve adores a good mystery. Especially a murder.  Two decades into her calling at a New Mexico monastery, Sister Evangeline Divine breaks her daily routine when a police officer appears, carrying a message from her father. Sister Eve is no stranger to the law, having grown up with a police captain turned private detective. She's seen her fair share of crime--and knows a thing or two about solving mysteries.  But when Captain Jackson Divine needs her to return home and help him recover from surgery, Sister Eve finds herself taking on his latest case.  A Hollywood director has disappeared, and the sultry starlet he's been running around with isn't talking. When the missing man turns up dead, Captain Divine's case escalates into a full-blown murder case, and Sister Eve's crime-solving instincts kick in with an almost God-given grace.  Soon Sister Eve finds herself soul-searching every step of the way: How can she choose between the vocation in her heart and the job in her blood?"

***All Descriptions Provided by GoodReads***