BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: MY TO BE READ PILE

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I have a stack of TBR books and thought it might be amusing to list them for you.  I, as I write this, don’t have any reading order in mind, although I might start with Cooking for Picasso.  I should tell you that I don’t do reviews on books I don’t enjoy, in fact, if I find I don’t like the book at the onset I don’t go any further.  Yes, I know, I really KNOW, that isn’t the way to read, but at this stage in my life there are too many books and articles that I want to read why spend time with anything I don’t enjoy…life is full of things we have to do, reading a book that I don’t enjoy isn’t one of them! The point is this, everything on today’s list might not get reviewed, although each sounds like something I would enjoy and want to pass that information on to you.  So here goes, I am giving you the covers and a bit of an overview, courtesy of the publishers, on each title.  Let’s explore together, shall we, this could be our little nenasnotes book club!

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“The French Riviera, spring 1936: It’s off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Café Paradis. A mysterious new patron who’s slipped out of Paris and is traveling under a different name has made an unusual request—to have his lunch served to him at the nearby villa he’s secretly rented, where he wishes to remain incognito.

Pablo Picasso is at a momentous crossroads in his personal and professional life—and for him, art and women are always entwined. The spirited Ondine, chafing under her family’s authority and nursing a broken heart, is just beginning to discover her own talents and appetites. Her encounter with Picasso will continue to affect her life for many decades onward, as the great artist and the talented young chef each pursue their own passions and destiny.

New York, present day: Céline, a Hollywood makeup artist who’s come home for the holidays, learns from her mother, Julie, that Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso. Prompted by her mother’s enigmatic stories and the hint of more family secrets yet to be uncovered, Céline carries out Julie’s wishes and embarks on a voyage to the very town where Ondine and Picasso first met. In the lush, heady atmosphere of the Côte d’Azur, and with the help of several eccentric fellow guests attending a rigorous cooking class at her hotel, Céline discovers truths about art, culture, cuisine, and love that enable her to embrace her own future.

Featuring an array of both fictional characters and the French Riviera’s most famous historical residents, set against the breathtaking scenery of the South of France,Cooking for Picasso is a touching, delectable, and wise story, illuminating the powers of trust, money, art, and creativity in the choices that men and women make as they seek a path toward love, success, and joie de vivre.”   Nena’s note, why wouldn’t we love this book…might need to be the first one I read!!!! www.randomhousebooks.com

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“From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The House at Riverton, a novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past.

A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.”  Nena’s note, I loved The House at Riverton, so this sounds appealing to me, what do you think!? www.simonandschuster.com

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“Discover the real-life mystery centered on the queen of crime herself: Agatha Christie. In this tantalizing new novel, Christie’s mysterious ten-day disappearance serves as the starting point for a gripping novel, in which Christie herself is pulled into a case of blackmail and murder.

“I wouldn’t scream if I were you. Unless you want the whole world to learn about your husband and his mistress.”

Agatha Christie, in London to visit her literary agent, is boarding a train, preoccupied with the devastating knowledge that her husband is having an affair. She feels a light touch on her back, causing her to lose her balance, then a sense of someone pulling her to safety from the rush of the incoming train. So begins a terrifying sequence of events—for her rescuer is no guardian angel, rather he is a blackmailer of the most insidious, manipulative kind.

“You, Mrs. Christie, are going to commit a murder. But, before then, you are going to disappear.”

Writing about murder is a far cry from committing a crime, and Agatha must use every ounce of her cleverness and resourcefulness to thwart an adversary determined to exploit her expertise and knowledge about the act of murder to kill on his behalf.

In A Talent for Murder, Andrew Wilson ingeniously explores Agatha Christie’s odd ten-day disappearance in 1926 and weaves an utterly compelling and convincing story around this still unsolved mystery involving the world’s bestselling novelist.”  Nena’s note, I really can’t wait to get started on this one….love the premise….anything that has Ms. Christie in it has to be a fun read! www.simonandschuster.com

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“For readers of Kate Atkinson and Tana French comes a page-turning literary mystery that brings to life the complex and wholly relatable Manon Bradshaw, a strong-willed detective assigned to a high-risk missing persons case.

At thirty-nine, Manon Bradshaw is a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene.

Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows that this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive.

The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family but for Manon herself.

Suspenseful and keenly observed, Missing, Presumed is a brilliantly twisting novel of how we seek connection, grant forgiveness, and reveal the truth about who we are.” Nena’s note, sounds like another good one with a strong female detective who isn’t a twenty-something…sort of a Tennison don’t you think!  www.penquinrandomhouse.com

 

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From the author’s website: “In the summer of 1940, ambitious young American journalist Ruby Sutton gets her big break: the chance to report on the European war as a staff writer for Picture Weekly newsmagazine in London. She jumps at the chance, for it’s an opportunity not only to prove herself, but also to start fresh in a city and country that know nothing of her humble origins. But life in besieged Britain tests Ruby in ways she never imagined.

Although most of Ruby’s new colleagues welcome her, a few resent her presence, not only as an American but also as a woman. She is just beginning to find her feet, to feel at home in a country that is so familiar yet so foreign, when the bombs begin to fall.

As the nightly horror of the Blitz stretches unbroken into weeks and months, Ruby must set aside her determination to remain an objective observer. When she loses everything but her life, and must depend upon the kindness of strangers, she learns for the first time the depth and measure of true friendship – and what it is to love a man who is burdened by secrets that aren’t his to share.

Goodnight from London, inspired in part by the wartime experiences of the author’s own grandmother, is a captivating, heartfelt, and historically immersive story that readers are sure to embrace”.  Nena’s note….again soumds like a good one, I do like a story about a woman who can conjure the odds and it is set in London, and you know I love a good English story…..  www.jennifer-robson.com

image“A collection of all-new Paris-themed essays written by some of the biggest names in women’s fiction, including Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler, Maggie Shipstead, and Lauren Willig—edited by Eleanor Brown, the New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters and The Light of Paris.

“My time in Paris,” says New York Times–bestselling author Paula McLain (The Paris Wife), “was like no one else’s ever.” For each of the eighteen bestselling authors in this warm, inspiring, and charming collection of personal essays on the City of Light, nothing could be more true.

While all of the women writers featured here have written books connected to Paris, their personal stories of the city are wildly different. Meg Waite Clayton (The Race for Paris) and M. J. Rose (The Book of Lost Fragrances) share the romantic secrets that have made Paris the destination for lovers for hundreds of years. Susan Vreeland (The Girl in Hyacinth Blue) and J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements) peek behind the stereotype of snobbish Parisians to show us the genuine kindness of real people.

From book club favorites Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler (Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald), and anthology editor Eleanor Brown (The Light of Paris) to mystery writer Cara Black (Murder in the Marais), historical author Lauren Willig (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation), and memoirist Julie Powell (Julie and Julia), these Parisian memoirs range from laugh-out-loud funny to wistfully romantic to thoughtfully somber and reflective.

Perfect for armchair travelers and veterans of Parisian pilgrimages alike, readers will delight in these brand-new tales from their most beloved authors..”  Nena’s note, can’t wait to read this one…I love travel stories by authors I admire, how do you feel about that?  Let’s explore together. www.penguinrandomhouse.com

And there you have it….at least six weeks of reviews, others might pop up on my radar and, as always, do make your suggestions and comments.

WEDNESDAY MUSINGS: ALLEES

imageLuxembourg Gardens in Paris.  Pinterest photo credit unknown.

The Webster Dictionary describes an allée “as a path or walkway between trees or scrubs”, my definition, pure beauty.

I have been fascinated with allées for years and try to take photos everywhere I travel quite frankly to the annoyance of my travel companions!!!

imageI probably like this photo because it gives me the feeling of infinity as I look through the trees. I am mad for the canopy the branches make. I presume in a European garden, image from Pinterest photo credit unknown.

Guess what I never thought to take some in Chicago or when I go to Indiana, Michigan or Wisconsin….silly Nena!  Here are a few of my own photos from some of those visits.

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The four photos above are from a trip to Michigan last year.

imageimageimageThese three images from Grant Park South of Adams between Michigan Avenue and the railway tracks.

imageAnother European garden with facing rows of hedges and a magnificent canopy of wisteria!!!  Love this photo found on Pinterest photo credit unknown.

imageNot really an allée, but probably my favorite photo that I took in the Southern garden of the Art Insitute of Chicago.  Glorious in any season and a perfect place of peace in our hectic City!

I always like to post my own photos rather than pull from the web. You can be sure I will update this post as I wander the City this summer and find more hidden green treasures….any suggestions!!??