Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review: Murder on Gramercy Park by Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mysteries #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, mystery, and sense of time and place
Cons: All cons lost to time
The Bottom Line:
Suicide?  Murder?
Frank, Sarah investigate
A compelling read

The Suicide That Wasn’t

There are really only so many set ups to a murder mystery, and a common one is a murder made to look like a suicide.  That’s what starts Murder on Gramercy Square, the third Gaslight Mystery from Victoria Thompson.  But, as with other books I’ve read with this set up, the mystery branches off into some unexpected directions from the familiar beginning.

New York Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy isn’t happy about being assigned to a suicide case.  He’s even less happy when he arrives to learn the victim’s wife has gone into labor.  Against his better judgment, he calls on midwife Sarah Brandt to come and attend to the wife while he goes to view the scene.

The victim is Dr. Edmund Blackwell, a magnetic healer who has cured many people who were supposed to be beyond medical help.  In fact, one of his first clients was his now wife, Letitia.  Frank has only looked at the scene for a couple of minutes when he realizes that it was a murder.  He must reluctantly involve Sarah again since she is getting information as a result of being Letitia’s midwife.  Why would anyone want to kill a doctor who seems to be doing so many people so much good?

Some historical novels set their action around famous historical events.  That isn’t the case here, but the historical setting infuses every page.  We get a real sense of how people lived in New York in the 1890’s, and how various people were expected to relate to each other.  It is very interesting to view how our society has changed for the better, and the worse.  This book really does transport you to another time and place.

Of course, the main reason I picked up this book was for the mystery, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.  I thought I had it all figured out early on, but I turned out to have missed a big piece of the puzzle.  And even if I’d been correct, I still would have enjoyed every page since there were threads I wanted to see resolved.

The book spends almost equal time between Frank and Sarah, allowing us to get the clues with these two main characters.  It also always us to really get to know them.  Their relationship is a lot of fun and adds some light touches to the book.  The other returning characters are very minor, but they are also fun.  That gives the cast of suspects plenty of time to be developed, and we get some great depth to them, which makes some of the events of the story pack a real punch.

Quite obviously, I am woefully behind on this series, and I wished I’d started it much sooner.  Murder on Gramercy Park makes it easy to see why the Gaslight series has been so popular for so long.  I’m looking forward to catching up on the rest of this series soon.

Travel back in time with the rest of the Gaslight Mysteries in order.

This review is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.

September 22nd's Book Beginning and Friday 56

Happy Friday!  Here's this week's Book Beginning and Friday 56.

This week, I'm pulling some quotes from Death of a Bachelorette by Laura Levine.

This is one of my favorite series.  I always have a blast laughing my way through Jaine's mysteries.

Here's the prologue of the book:

I swear, it was a miracle.  Okay, maybe not as big as the parting of the Red Sea.  Or Daniel surviving that lion's den.  Or how M&M's melt in your mouth, not in your hand.
But a miracle nonetheless.

And, as a bonus, here's the first line of Chapter 1:

It took about nine hours to fly from L.A. to Tahiti - nine of the most harrowing hours of my life.

Jumping ahead to page 56, we find a fun exchange.  To set it up, Jaine has discovered that her cat, Prozac, has escaped from their room.  She's hoping that the maid, Akela, might have some idea why.

"Wait, Akela!" I called after her.  "You didn't happen to come to my room earlier, did you?"
Maybe she'd stopped by and inadvertently left the door open, clearing the way for Prozac's escape.
"No! No! I no go in room.  No kitty.  No kitty!" she cried, careening down the steps.
That woman really ought to do something about her fear of cats, I thought, as I headed to my room.

My full review will be up on Tuesday.  I hope you'll come back and read my review then.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ornament Review: Christmas Carousel #1 - Santa's Sleigh - 2017 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Cute, actually spins
Cons: Only for those who don’t like mini ornaments
The Bottom Line:
Sleigh and reindeer are
Part of festive carousel
Start of short series

A Merry Start to this Miniature Series

Hallmark has started announcing how long some of their series will last.  Part of me can understand it.  I have so many ornaments and series, knowing something will be limited makes me more likely to consider it.  But when I love an idea, I hate to know how limited it is going to be.  That’s the case with Christmas Carousel.  The first of the three entries in the series came out this year, and I’m already mourning that it will be such a short series.

Based on the name, I’m sure it is no shock that this ornament features a carousel.  However, instead of featuring horses, it features Santa’s sleigh and three reindeer.  And yes, there is movement.  If you turn the knob on the bottom of the ornament, the reindeer and sleigh turn around and move up and down just like they would on a real carousel.  The top of the carousel is red and white stripes, and red and gold are predominate in other parts of the carousel.

This is all the more impressive since this is one of Hallmark’s miniature ornaments.  It’s on the large side for a miniature measuring at just about two inches tall.  It’s big enough to know exactly what is going on, but it’s definitely still a mini.  When you consider the size, the amount of detail is very impressive.  Yes, I would have liked to see this one as a full sized, ornament but even at this small size there are some fun touches.  You can see parts of the bridle on the reindeer, for example.

That knob I mentioned that allows you to turn the carousel also keeps it from sitting flat, so you have to hang the ornament.  When you do, you’ll find that it hangs straight.

And you’ll find the 1 in a Christmas tree series marker on the bottom of the ornament.

On another note, you really have to hold the top of the ornament when you go to turn the knob on the bottom to get things to spin.  It spins easily enough when you do that, but otherwise, you just get the entire ornament rotating.

While I always claim I’m not going to start any new series, I knew as soon as I saw Christmas Carousel that I had to make an exception for this one.  This may be a small ornament, but it is wonderful.

Original Price: $9.95

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TV on DVD Review: Arrow - Season 5

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action, story, acting
Cons: Still dark; gun rights episode
The Bottom Line:
A personal foe
Arrow still dark and gritty
Mostly entertains

"In Our Town, People Who are Supposed to be Dead Turn out to be Secretly Alive Almost Every Wednesday."

The founding show of the Arrowverse, Arrow, has always been the most serious show out of the bunch.  Yes, it has its light moments, but on the whole it is a dark show.  Why do you think so much of the show takes place at night?  Season 5 wasn’t any different in tone.

 As the season opens, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) makes a surprising decision – he’s going to run for mayor of Star City.  Why is that so surprising?  Because anyone attempting to be mayor doesn’t seem to have a long life span.  He figures that his secret identity as the Green Arrow can help break that curse, and this is a way to help the city in both the day and at night.

Of course, this also cuts down on his time to patrol, so he takes on apprentices, including Curtis (Echo Kellum), Rene (Rick Gonzalez), Evelyn (Madison McLaughlin) and Rory (Joe Dinicol).  Green Arrow isn’t the best trainer around, causing problems within this new family.  It doesn’t help that Diggle (David Ramsey) is still struggling with his actions at the end of the last season.  Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) does her best to help reign in Oliver while still running tech for the team.  Meanwhile, Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland) has taken on the job of helping him in the mayor’s office where he is also assisted by Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) who steps in as the deputy mayor.

However, someone is out to frame the Green Arrow.  His arrows are being found in the bodies of murder victims.  Should Oliver use his political position to his advantage?  Is this a personal vendetta?

Despite my opening, this season doesn’t go as dark as last season did.  Still, it would be nice for the characters to have some fun as they go about saving the day.  While there are still some quips, they are fewer than they used to be.  I watch TV to escape from reality.  This is getting too close to being reality.

Speaking of which, there’s the infamous gun rights episode in the second half of the season.  It starts with someone shooting up City Hall, and then leads to Oliver working with a gun rights person on the town counsel to come up with a solution that doesn’t violate the 2nd amendment.  I might have respected the episode if they had told us what it was, but they just said they’d found one.  The result felt like an hour of preaching and a liberal dream instead of the entertainment I normally sit down to watch.  If the show is going to go further down this road in the future, I will drop it.

On the other hand, there’s the show’s 100th episode.  It happened during the big four episode crossover event and found a way to include many of the cast members who have been written out of the show over the years as well as including characters who have spun off to different shows.  It wasn’t an important part of the crossover, but it was a fantastic 100th episode.

While dark, I definitely still did enjoy the overall storyline this season.  With the villain, Prometheus, aiming directly for Oliver/Green Arrow, the stakes were very personal.  They surprised me along the way, and I had to keep coming back to see how in the world Oliver would eventually best Prometheus.  As always, the action and special effects were top notch.

Likewise, the acting was great.  The show puts the characters through their paces, and the actors respond perfectly.  A few cast members take several episodes off this season, and I miss them, but it is understandable considering how crowded the cast is getting as this point.  In addition to the new characters I mentioned, we also meet Juliana Harkavy’s Dinah Drake, a new Canary, part way through the season.

The flashback story this season finds Oliver in Russian looking to avenge a friend.  Fortunately, this also coincides with the fifth year that Oliver was missing, so we’ve been promised that the flashbacks are going away, or at least will be less frequent.  This season’s story was at least more coherent and interesting than the last couple, but it still slowed down the flow of the modern day story.

I know all this is sounding like I hate the show.  I really, truly don’t.  It’s just that it is easy to point out the flaws in the writing.  If I truly hated the show, I’d stop watching.  Overall, I enjoy the show each week and twists our heroes must face.

This set contains all 23 episodes of season 5 in their native wide screen and full surround.  Extras including the 2016 Comic Con Panel, a look at the new members of Team Arrow, a featurette on the villain of the season as well as the cross over episode.  Finally, we get deleted scenes and a gag reel.

This is definitely not the place to jump into the show, and considering how much fun they have with crossovers, it is good to watch all the shows in the Arrowverse.  Arrow may be the most serious of the bunch, but there is still stuff to enjoy in season 5.

Season 5 Episodes:
1. Legacy
2. The Recruits
3. A Matter of Trust
4. Penance
5. Human Target
6. So It Begins
7. Vigilante
8. Invasion!
9. What We Leave Behind
10. Who Are You?
11. Second Chances
12. Bratva
13. Spectre of the Gun
14. The Sin-Eater
15. Fighting Fire with Fire
16. Checkmate
17. Kapiushon
18. Disbanded
19. Dangerous Liaisons
20. Underneath
21. Honor Thy Fathers
22. Missing
23. Lian Yu

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review: Whispers of Warning by Jessica Estevao (Change of Fortune Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: History, interesting main character, solid mystery
Cons: Book takes its time introducing us before things really get going
The Bottom Line:
Ruby returns here
History plus mystery
Hint paranormal

Warning: You’ll Be Addicted to This Book

Despite my intention to avoid paranormal mysteries, there are a couple that I’ve gotten drawn to, and Jessica Estevao’s Change of Fortune Mysteries are one of them.  I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but I got pulled into Whispers of Warning even more.

The book is set in the late 1890’s in Old Orchard, Maine.  The town is buzzing with activity as the new pier is about to open.  This is a big tourist draw that many people are hoping will increase their profile as a resort destination.

However, the Belden Hotel is buzzing for another reason.  Famed suffragist and psychic Sophronia Foster Eldridge is coming to stay as she leads rallies for the women’s right to vote in the area.  Rudy Proulx is thrilled at how this has raised the profile of her aunt’s hotel, which has distinguished itself because of the spiritualist services they offer to their guests.

However, there is a tension in town.  Coupled with the people in town for the pier’s opening and the dream that Ruby’s aunt Honoria had, and Ruby is on edge.  When a dead body turns up, Ruby finds herself once again working with Detective Yancey.  Can they figure out the truth?

There really is a lot going on here, and the book takes its time setting things up.  I was getting a little antsy before the body was found, but once it did, the book never slowed down again.  And the book had been introducing suspects all along; we just didn’t know it yet.  Honestly, I wasn’t completely sure who the victim would be until the body was found.  The solution was a complete surprise but entirely logical.

But what really drew me into the book were the characters.  Ruby has an interesting background since she grew up with a father who was a traveling medicine man, and she’s learned quite a bit about reading people as a result.  It makes for an interesting sleuth.  While most of the book is told from her first person point of view, we do get some chapters told from Yancey’s third person point of view, which helps flesh the story and his character out as well.  Between the two, we get a good view of the other regular characters and the suspects.

Then there is the history.  I love history, and this felt like getting a front row seat to the events that help finally give women the right to vote.  Honestly, some of the things that are said against it are infuriating.

As I mentioned earlier, the paranormal aspect is kept to a minimum.  Ruby does hear a voice that guides her, but only a little bit.  She still figures out the mystery on her own.  Other characters have other paranormal abilities, but they aren’t enough to overwhelm the story.

I really did get lost in Ruby’s world, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next to her.  Whispers of Warning is a magical trip back in time that will hook you and leave you wanting more.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, September 26th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 9/26.  You will have until midnight on 10/1 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 10/2.

Monday, September 18, 2017

TV on DVD Review: Lethal Weapon - Season 1

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Chemistry, characters, banter, depth, action, fun
Cons: A few episodes don’t work quite as well as most
The Bottom Line:
Classic film franchise
Reimagined for TV
Becomes a great show

“The City Will Cover This.  Tell Them to Put It On My Tab.”

Over the last few years, there are been several TV shows attempted based on popular movie franchises.  And most of them seem to bomb.  Yet, I still tune in to those that interest me, hoping for the best.  That optimism was rewarded with the first season of Lethal Weapon.  While a little uneven, overall, I enjoyed the show.

The setup is the same as the movies.  We meet Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) and Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) on the day they become partners for the LAPD.  Riggs is a recent widower who lost not only his wife but their unborn child when they are killed in a car crash on the way to the hospital.  Murtaugh is a family man with two teenage children, a baby, and a wife.  Oh, and he’s just coming back to work after having a heart attack.  Riggs’s recklessness when it comes to the cases they are assigned constantly frightens Murdoch.  While Riggs is seeing Dr. Cahill (Jordana Brewster), the police department therapist, his depression isn’t getting better.  Their captain (Kevin Rahm) doesn’t know quite what to do with the duo, although he can’t argue with their results.

And results they do get.  Over the course of this season, they tangle with drug smugglers, gun runners, track a burglar in Murtaugh’s neighborhood, investigate the LAPD for misuses of power, and even find themselves on opposite sides with Murtaugh’s wife Trish (Keesha Sharp), a defense attorney.

Meanwhile, Riggs runs across clues that his wife’s accident, which happened in Texas, wasn’t quite the accident he thought it was.  Can he piece together what really happened to her?

Those with fond memories of the movies will be impressed.  They have done a great job of capturing the heart of the films while expanding the show as needed for TV.  They introduce new characters, most of whom work.  There’s one who gets on my nerves, but he’s a minor character, so I don’t mind too much.  When the show is working correctly, the banter between Riggs and Murdoch is fun, and they even get some good action scenes in for a TV show budget.

I’ve really come to appreciate how a TV show allows for more character development, and this season is a perfect example of that.  While we feel for Riggs in the movie, we get more time to explore what he is going through here.  That makes certain scenes and episodes heavier than others.  It’s not all quips and explosions, but I appreciate that balance, and when done well, it’s wonderful.  Riggs doesn’t get over the death of his wife quickly, but he wouldn’t in real life.  If you take these episodes as a year in the life, his continued grief is actually very realistic.

Note that I do keep qualifying things.  There are a few episodes that fall flat for me.  The banter seems forced and the action is okay if there is any at all.  Of course, I’m willing to forgive them on the action front since this is a TV show, and they have to work within a budget.  That means some episodes have to scale back on the action to allow for the budget in other episodes.  It’s not that these episodes are truly bad, they are just noticeably less than the show when it is firing on all cylinders.

Another thing I have to praise is the chemistry between the cast.  By the end of the pilot, Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford will erase any notion of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.  They make these characters their own.  And Keesha Sharp is fantastic as Trish Murdoch.  Her role has been expanded from the movies, and she helps provide a much-needed emotional centers to the show.  We need her warmth to off-set the grief that Riggs is feeling.  The entire Murdoch family is wonderful, in fact.  They are obviously a family that cares deeply for each other.  Oh, they have issues that create some good sub-plots, but underneath is that love.  And they have incorporated Riggs into their family rather easily.  Those scenes are fantastic.

And in case you are wondering, Thomas Lennon makes one appearance here as Leo Getz, Joe Pesci’s character from the franchise.  He’s a ton of fun as well.

The season was only 18 episodes long, and they are all preserved here in their native wide screen and full surround.  Extras include a featurette on “Reloading Lethal Weapon” as well as an extended pilot episode, deleted scenes, and outtakes.

When season one of Lethal Weapon was working, it was lots of fun mixed with heart and great characters.  And the show worked more often than not.  If you missed this show, I suggest you catch up quickly before season 2 begins.

Season 1 Episodes:
1. Pilot
2. Surf N Turf
3. Best Buds
4. There Goes the Neighborhood
5. Spilt Milk
6. Ties That Bind
7. Fashion Police
8. Can I Get a Witness?
9. Jingle Bell Glock
10. Homebodies
11. Lawmen
12. Brotherly Love
13. The Seal is Broken
14. The Murtaugh File
15. As Good as it Getz
16. Unnecessary Roughness
17. A Problem Like Maria
18. Commencement

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ornament Review: Moana Waialiki - 2017 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Captures Moana and her power
Cons: Any cons washed away by water
The Bottom Line:
Moana, water
Ornament captures her in
Middle of motion

Hallmark’s Moana Ornaments is Ready to Make a Splash

Last fall, Disney release Moana, and it’s become another huge hit for them.  Hallmark was ready this year to cash in on the film with Moana Waialiki, and they’ve done a great job of capturing the character.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend you do so immediately.  Not only is it a great movie, but it will help you understand exactly what this ornament represents.

You see, this isn’t just an ornament of the character.  Yes, it features Moana.  She’s dressed in the top and skirt she wears in the movie.  But she’s not just standing there.  Instead, she’s obviously been waving her arms.  And as anyone who has seen the movie knows, she has the power to make water move when she waves her arms.  That’s just what is happening here.  While she appears to be standing on sand, she has water swirling all around her and it looks like she’s about to send it away from her.

And that’s why I loved it the first time I saw it.  While a lot of the ornaments Hallmark does of Disney characters are fun, many of them are the characters posed.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that.  But I like this ornament because it features that something special.  Moana appears to be in motion instead of posing for us, and they’ve incorporated something that makes her character unique.

The water, naturally, is made from a mostly clear bluish plastic.  It is shaped such that it really doesn’t obscure must of Moana’s features.  Yes, it looks like plastic, but it works for this ornament.

As I said earlier, Moana is standing on what appears to be sand, and that sand has a circle of water around it.  You know what that means – this ornament has a nice, solid, flat base.  You’ll have no trouble setting this out to be enjoyed year-round.

When December rolls around and you are ready to hang her on your tree, you’ll find that Moana hangs straight as well.  Despite everything swirling around her, the loop is at the perfect place for the ornament to balance.  The loop takes an extra second or two to put the hook through because of the water, but it’s a very minor issue.

With how popular Moana has become, I suspect that Moana Waialiki will be one of the hot ornaments this year.  Therefore, if you are a fan of the character, I suggest you grab it quickly.  You’ll be glad you did.

Original Price: $15.95

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 16th's Weekly TV Thoughts

My first show of the fall started this week.  I'm so used to my shows not really getting going until the final week of September that I don't quite know how I feel about this.  Okay, so I'm being over the top since my TV week was still so light it was still really summer.

The Orville – I’m still not completely sure what I thought of this.  It has potential, but some of it, like meeting the crew, was very clunky.  But that’s a pilot episode, and I’m willing to give it a few more episodes.  It’s definitely got a bit more bathroom humor than I would normally like, so that may be a factor as well.  I’m not going to take on a new show just because.  It has to be something I truly enjoy overall.

American Ninja Warrior – I say give it a year or two and Kacy will be back.  She loves it too much.  Even if she doesn’t come back, you can’t take away from her what she’s brought to it.  So bummed to see Jessie slip up there at the end.  Of the women, she’s by far my favorite because she is clearly having so much fun out there.  But a record number of finishers.  And were the teasers promising another finisher next week?

Suits – Again, the worked the cases out, and I was very satisfied with what they did.  Loved the intercutting between the two cases early on.  But that kiss!  I’m not sure I am fully on board with Donna and Harvey as a couple.  We’ll see what the writers do with it.  I like them as they are just fine.  But I could see them as a couple as well.  I just think Harvey’s reaction is going to be very interesting, especially with the bombshell about Jessica there at the end.  They’re definitely setting up the spin off with her character that isn’t supposed to be a legal show.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Book Review: "H" is for Homicide by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone #8)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Good first half; Kinsey
Cons: Very slow second half; homicide an after thought
The Bottom Line:
An insurance case
Gets bogged down in second half
Weakest book so far

“H” is for Half Good

I knew that even longtime fans of the Kinsey Milhone series admit there are some sub-par books in the series, and I wasn’t sure when that started.  In my opinion, “H” is for Homicide is that first disappointing book in the series.

This book opens with a shocking murder.  Over the last couple of months, PI Kinsey Milhone has gotten to know Parnell Perkins, a new employee at California Fidelity, the insurance company where she has office space.  They usually got out for drinks after work two or three times a week.  So, Kinsey is shocked when she swings by the office after several days out of town to learn he’s been shot in the parking lot.  The trail seems to have grown cold, too, and soon the case disappears from the headlines.

Kinsey herself is soon distracted by a new case.  California Fidelity has asked her to look into a claim filed by Bibianna Diaz.  Something seems off about the claim, and Kinsey quickly agrees.  Her strategy is to get close to the woman and find out what is really happening.  But how will Kinsey handle the curve balls of this case?

Before I go further, I have a rant.  When you are doing alphabet mysteries, homicide is an obvious choice for “H”, so the title doesn’t surprise me.  But if that’s the case, wouldn’t you expect the actual homicide to be a main focus of the book?  It isn’t.  Instead, we focus on insurance fraud, which is a great case, but could have easily been the plot for the next book in the series, “I”.

Setting that rant aside, the book starts out well as Kinsey gets close to Bibianna in hopes of proving the obvious.  There were some good twists that made her life much more complicated.  And then the book got bogged down in the second half.  We get a different story than the book promised by the beginning, too.  It really does feel like author Sue Grafton had done a lot of research into insurance fraud and wanted to share that with us.  I was chomping at the bit to get another twist or more action, but then when we reached the climax, it was over all too quickly.

The series is not known for series regular characters, which holds true here.  Kinsey is pretty much on her own for most of this book.  She’s a strong character, and she is surrounded by a crop of strong new characters, so I didn’t feel this was a problem at all.  In fact, the characters were so strong that we certainly did care about the outcome even though we’d never met any of them before.

Once again, I listened to the audio version narrated by Mary Pfeiffer.  She is absolutely wonderful at infusing Kinsey’s narration with life and making the story fun to listen to.  I highly recommend these audio versions if you are looking for something new.

The end of this book does change things for Kinsey, so fans will want to read it to find out what that is, although it is dropped on us almost in passing.

I wish this book held up to the promise of the first half because I was really enjoying that.  As it is, “H” is for Homicide is a book fans will need to read, but it’s not a good place for those new to the series to start.

Check out the rest of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries.

This review is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.

September 15th's Book Beginning and Friday 56

Here we are again - Book Beginning and Friday 56.

This week's book is Whispers of Warning by Jessica Estevao.

Yes, there's a bit of the paranormal in this historical mystery, but I enjoyed it.  Normally, I wouldn't go for that, but the light dose here adds a fun touch.

But I'm getting into the review when I should be teasing the book.  Here's how it opens:

The atmosphere of the suffrage rally had far more in common with a medicine show performance than the attendants would likely have enjoyed hearing.

I'm cheating a bit with the 56 this week.  Page 56 is the start of a new chapter that's describing the dining room.  Not a bad page, but not really anything you can use as a teaser.  However, this line that ends the chapter on page 55 is pretty good.

"I just hope inviting them isn't at the bottom of Honoria's dream."

I'll be reviewing this book, with a giveaway, on Tuesday, so I hope you'll come back for my complete thoughts.

Have a wonderful weekend!