Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SNAP JUDGMENT”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book is Snap Judgment (Samantha Brinkman, Book 3), by Marcia Clark, in which attorney Samantha Brinkman’s investigation into a family’s deadly secrets is compromised by a threat from her past.

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  I’d had my usual lousy night’s sleep.  Woke up at four a.m. and fought to doze off for about an hour before I gave up and shuffled into the shower. 

I was groggy, but by the time I’d chugged my third supersize mug of coffee, my head had started to clear, and the world had come into focus—a good news/bad news joke if ever there was one.

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Friday 56:  When Dale left, I spoke to Alex in a low voice.  The news that Roan’s laptop and phone were wiped worried me.  “Why does someone who’s about to commit suicide scrub his shit like that?”

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Synopsis:  When the daughter of prominent civil litigator Graham Hutchins is found with her throat slashed, the woman’s spurned ex-boyfriend seems the likely suspect. But only days later, the young man dies in what appears to be a suicide. Or was it? Now authorities are faced with a possible new crime. And their person of interest is Hutchins. After all, avenging the death of his daughter is the perfect reason to kill. If he’s as innocent as he claims, only one lawyer has what it takes to prove it: his friend and colleague Samantha Brinkman.

It’s Sam’s obligation to trust her new client. Yet the deeper she digs on his behalf, the more entangled she becomes in a thicket of family secrets, past betrayals, and multiple motives for murder. To win her case, she’s prepared to bend any law and cross any boundary that stands in her way. Sam has always played by her own rules, and it’s always worked…so far. But this case cuts so deep and so personal that one false move could cost her everything.

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So…would you keep reading?  Are you already hooked on this series?

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Thursday Sparks

THURSDAY SPARKS: FOREVER CONNECTED….

Some of you may know that this blog began as Snow Connections, at Blogger, and celebrated the “twin cousins,” Aubrey and Fiona, born just days apart.

Over the years, we’ve seen how their lives have taken them on different paths, but they are always and forever connected by their circumstances.

Nowadays, they do not resemble their photos (above).  For a few months now, Aubrey has been attending a university semester in Prague, and this week’s photos offer a glimpse of some of her “extracurricular” activities, like visits to neighboring countries…for example, Poland.

 

I especially enjoyed this Krakow Christmas Mart.

 

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I loved this one, too, a view:

 

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Then we can see the countryside…

 

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In this one, Aubrey is playing around with photo editing…or she has figured out how to clone herself:

 

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This sad photo makes me think about the horrific mistakes of the past:  Auschwitz…

 

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Back at home, Fiona is trying on her various versions of herself.  I especially enjoy this one:

 

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And this version…

 

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And here they are again (far right), back in the past…enjoying the weird tree house/fort that my youngest son (Fiona’s dad) created at our foothill home.  I loved the line of eucalyptus trees that bordered the property on one side.

 

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Check out the trees that line the border…and Aubrey with her dad, Brett…

 

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What photo memories are you enjoying today?

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tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “SING, UNBURIED, SING”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download:  Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward, is a majestic new work and an unforgettable family story.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  (Jojo)

I like to think I know what death is.  I like to think that it’s something I could look at straight.  When Pop tell me he need my help and I see that black knife slid into the belt of his pants, I follow Pop out the house, try to keep my back straight, my shoulders even as a hanger; that’s how Pop walks.  I try to look like this is normal and boring so Pop will think I’ve earned these thirteen years, so Pop will know I’m ready to pull what needs to be pulled, separate innards from muscle, organs from cavities.  I want Pop to know I can get bloody.  Today’s my birthday.

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Teaser:  (Jojo)

Kayla need to eat.  I can tell by the way she keep crying, the way she keep hunching over and then knocking her head back and arching against her seat once we get back on the road.  And screaming.  I can tell there’s something wrong with her stomach. (p. 107).

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Synopsis:  In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

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What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?

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Monday sparks

MUSING MONDAYS: EXPERIENCING MY READING…

Welcome to another Musing Mondays.  It has been a while since I participated.  To join in, click on over to The Purple Booker.

Here are some prompts:

 

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEKS RANDOM QUESTION: How do you experience a book when you read? In general do you often find yourself being drawn into the story quickly or do you need more time to warm up to characters?

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My current read:

A Season to Lie, by Emily Littlejohn:

“Small town Colorado police detective Gemma Monroe is a human and fallible heroine I can’t wait to meet again, and Littlejohn’s prose is lyrical and gripping.”—Deborah Crombie

In Emily Littlejohn’s follow-up to her acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, a twisted killer stalks his prey in the dead of winter.

 

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I like to experience a book by immersing myself in it.  I curl up with the book and a notebook…since I’ve been writing reviews for everything I read (since 2008), I like to jot down the characters’ names and their relationships to others in the story.  Setting is another piece I like to make note of…and as different plot points come up, I might write those down, too.

Does that sound like I’m not really enjoying the book?  Well, no, not if the writer captures my interest…and then the story flows around me, as if I am experiencing the moments.

When I have trouble losing myself in a story, that is a red flag that I’m not connecting with it…and I may, then, just slog my way through…or not finish the book. That doesn’t happen often, however, as I very carefully select the books I read.

Life is too short to read boring, overly pedantic, or poorly written books.

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How do you experience books?  What are you reading?

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SATURDAY SPARKS

LET’S IGNITE SOME SPARKS ON A SATURDAY…

 

 

It’s time to ignite our connections…again.  And in honor of this blog, I brought some SNOW into it with this new header…and the little pink VW is a reminder of days gone by.  I never had a pink VW…but I did have two shades of blue:  a light blue, followed by a dark blue.

I love orange cars, too, and this one has been on my blogs a few times:

 

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And then I love this one:

 

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My youngest grandson is spending the weekend—playing X-Box, while talking to his friends through his headphones—and enjoying some pizza slices.

 

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I also relished a couple of slices with a glass of wine.  I’ve been hanging out in my office all day:

 

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I’m almost finished with Little Broken Things, by Nicole Baart…a page turner.

 

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That’s my Saturday night…I’ll also be watching movies and TV shows.

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tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “EVEN IF IT KILLS HER”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new download:  Even If It Kills Her, by Kate White, who returns to her New York Times bestselling Bailey Weggins’ Mystery series, with this favorite true-crime journalist turned sleuth’s most chilling case to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intro: I don’t have a ton of regrets to show for my thirty-six years on the planet, but the ones that I do have seem to possess a determined and sneaky resilience.  Every once in a while, say, when I’m working on a crime story that’s particularly soul-sucking, and I’ve been on the road far longer than planned—holed up in Beyonce-style luxury at  Best Western or DoubleTree Suites—one of them will resurface, like a lake snake coming up for air, raising its snout above the waterline and forcing me to stare it in the face.

I regret not knowing my father well, though there was nothing I could have done about that one.  He died of a brain aneurysm while on a fishing trip with a friend when I was twelve.

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Teaser:  He abruptly walked away and ducked into what I guessed was the powder room.  Three minutes later he emerged looking grim.  My stomach sank. (58%).

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Synopsis:  Bailey Weggins’ great new friend in college, Jillian Lowe, had everything going for her. Pretty, popular, and whip-smart, she lit up any room that she walked into. All of that dramatically changed during her sophomore year, when a neighbor became unhinged and murdered her family. Jillian immediately left school, and ever since, Bailey has felt guilty for not staying in closer contact and being a greater support to her friend.

Now, sixteen years later, Bailey is shocked to see Jillian at her book event, and even more stunned when her still-gorgeous friend approaches her with a case. The man accused of murdering her family is on the brink of being cleared of the crime through new DNA evidence. With the real killer walking free, Jillian is desperate for Bailey’s help to identify him and allow her the closure she yearns for.

As the two women return to Jillian’s childhood town to investigate, it doesn’t take long for their sleuthing to cause shock waves. Someone starts watching their every move. As they uncover deeply-guarded secrets, so shocking that they make Jillian rethink her entire relationship to her family, Bailey and Jillian find themselves in great peril. They must decide just how much they’re willing to risk to finally discover the truth about the Lowe family’s murder.

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Do you like the snippets?  Would you keep reading?

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Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “COLD AS ICE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is Book Six in the delightful Country Club Murders series:  Cold As Ice, by Julie Mulhern, about which is said: “From the first page to the last, Julie’s mysteries grab the reader and don’t let up.” – Sally Berneathy, USA Today Bestselling Author…

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  (November 1974, Kansas City, Missouri)

The awful thing about murder—aside from the dead body, devastated families, and blood—is that one never knows when violent death will visit.  For example, if one knew that someone would die on Tuesday night, one could pay particular attention to conversations and expressions and emotions.  One might be able to stop a crime or unveil a killer.

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Friday 56:  Mother shot me a look that said all too clearly that I’d pay for my amusement.  Later.  When we were alone.  “That is not acceptable.” (56%).

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Synopsis: Ellison Russell’s life resembles a rollercoaster ride. And rollercoasters make her ill. Her daughter Grace has a crush on a boy Ellison doesn’t trust and she’s taken to hosting wild parties when Ellison goes out for the evening. Worse, the bank which represents Grace’s inheritance from her father may be in trouble.

When a meeting with the chef at the country club leads to the discovery of a body, Ellison can’t afford cold feet. She must save the bank, find the killer, and convince Grace (and herself) that powerful women don’t need men to rescue them.

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I love this series!  What do you think?  Does it draw you in?  Make you want to keep reading?

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Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “UNRAVELING OLIVER”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is an upcoming read from an author that is new to me:  Unraveling Oliver, by Liz Nugent, a man’s shocking act of savagery stuns a local community—and the revelations that follow will keep you gripped until the very last page. This work of psychological suspense, a #1 bestseller in Ireland, is perfect for fans of Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Ware.

 

Beginning:  (Oliver)

I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.  She just lay on the floor, holding her jaw.  Staring at me.  Silent.  She didn’t even seem to be surprised.

I was surprised.  I hadn’t planned to do it.  Usually when you hear about this kind of thing, it is the 1950s, and the husband comes home drunk to his slovenly wife from the pub and finds that his dinner is cold.

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Friday 56:  I arrived late the next morning for my kitchen duties.  Madame winked and grinned and made some obscene gestures with her hands.  What a truly wonderful woman!

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Synopsis:  “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”

So begins Liz Nugent’s astonishing debut novel—a chilling, elegantly crafted, and psychologically astute exploration of the nature of evil.

Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children’s books; their life together one of enviable privilege and ease—until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and subsequently beats her into a coma.

In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple’s friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation.

With its alternating points of view and deft prose, Unraveling Oliver is “a page-turning, one-sitting read from a brand new master of psychological suspense” (Sunday Independent) that details how an ordinary man can transform into a sociopath.

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Do the excerpts grab you?  Do you want to keep reading?

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Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “ODD CHILD OUT”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a recent download from a favorite author:  Odd Child Out, by Gilly Macmillan…

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  (After Midnight)

A black ribbon of water cuts through the city of Bristol, under a cold midnight sky.  Reflections of street lighting float and warp on its surface.

On one side of the canal there’s a scrapyard, where heaps of crumpled metal glisten with frost.  Opposite is an abandoned redbrick warehouse.  Its windows are unglazed and pigeons nest on the ledges.

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Friday 56:  “These are Noah’s therapy notebooks.  I think pretty much everything he discussed with the therapist is in here, but I warn you, they make pretty boring reading.  And please don’t tell Fi I’ve given them to you.   Noah didn’t want her to see them….”

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Synopsis:   How well do you know the people you love…?

Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable.  But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi can’t–or won’t–tell anyone what happened.

Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident.  But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle.  Noah is British.  Abdi is a Somali refugee.   And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol.  Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth.  Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer.

Because the truth hurts.

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 Do the snippets grab you?  Would you keep reading? 

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Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “HER LAST GOODBYE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is Book Two in the Morgan Dane seriesHer Last Goodbye, by Melinda Leigh, which continues as the fearless attorney and her partner, investigator Lance Kruger, take on a disturbing disappearance…

 

 

 

Beginning:  Digging a grave was hard work.

Moonlight gleamed on the shovel as he lifted a clump of dirt and dumped it outside the knee-deep hole.  Despite the coolness of the October night, sweat dripped into his eyes.  Pausing, he wiped his forehead with his sleeve.  With a roll of his shoulders, he plunged the shovel into the earth like a spear and let it stand upright long enough to remove his flannel shirt.

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56:  Morgan swallowed the retorts on her lips about him being sexist and minding his own business.  She needed his cooperation.  Butting heads with him wouldn’t get it.  “I wasn’t alone.”

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Synopsis:  Young mother Chelsea Clark leaves the house for a girls’ night out…and vanishes. Her family knows she would never voluntarily leave her two small children. Her desperate husband—also the prime suspect—hires Morgan to find his wife and prove his innocence.

As a single mother, Morgan sympathizes with Chelsea’s family and is determined to find her. She teams up with private investigator Lance Kruger. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier their investigation gets. When Morgan is stalked by a violent predator, everything—and everyone—she holds dear is in grave danger.

Now, Morgan must track down a deranged criminal to protect her own family…but she won’t need to leave home to find him. She’s his next target.

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What do you think?  Do the snippets grab you?  Do you want to keep reading?

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