Posted in Hump Day Sparks

HUMP DAY SPARKS: MORE PRAGUE PHOTOS, ETC.

When my daughter and son-in-law went to Europe for their honeymoon, they visited with my eldest son Craig and his wife Gabi, and Craig captured some photos of them against the beautiful Prague backdrop.

I love how he sometimes likes to use black and white for dramatic effect, and I applaud what he captured here (below).

 

***

 

Equally effective:  the bright blue skies and the spires of the fabulous architecture nicely frame the newlywed couple.

 

 

***

 

In this shot, Prague is laid out behind them in a fabulous view.

 

***

These buildings behind them are familiar to me because of other photos Craig has in his collection.  I think their familiarity makes them even more perfect as a backdrop.

 

***

And then, check out the “adoring, honeymoon look”….

 

 

One of my early Prague photos from Craig…

 

***

 

Back here at home, my ever-changing bookstack…books brought from the office to this “up next” stack…

 

***

That’s my spotlight for this week.  What is yours?

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE CHILD”

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 from an e-book recently downloaded, but which I’ve been eagerly awaiting:  The Child, by Fiona Barton, “a perfect blend of beach read and book club selection. It’s a fascinating and fitting follow-up to [Barton’s] best-selling debut novel, The Widow. . . .[A] page-turning whodunit….A novel that is both fast-paced and thought-provoking, it keeps the reader guessing right to the end.”—USA Today”

 

 

 

Intro:  (Emma – Tuesday, March 20, 2012)

My computer is winking at me knowingly when I sit down at my desk.  I touch the keyboard, and a photo of Paul appears on my screen.  It’s the one I took of him in Rome on our honeymoon, eyes full of love across a table in the Campo dei Fiori.  I try to smile back at him but as I lean in, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the screen and stop.  I hate seeing myself without warning.  Don’t recognize myself sometimes.  You think you know what you look like and there is this stranger looking at you.  It can frighten me.

But today I study the stranger’s face.  The brown hair half pulled up on top of the head in a frantic work bun, naked skin, shadows and lines creeping towards the eyes like cracks in pavement.

***

Teaser:  (Emma – March 26, 2012)

My yoga teacher is doing a guided relaxation, her voice purring over the tinkling of finger cymbals, lulling us into a coma.  I love this bit of the class normally, but today I’m lying on my mat trying not to think about the ghosts of Howard Street.  About the baby.  About Professor Will (p. 63).

***

Synopsis:  As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

***

What do you think?  Have you read this one?  Would you keep reading?

***

Posted in Friday Sparks

FRIDAY SPARKS: A FAMILY FEATURE….

As I wander around my home, occasionally dusting and cleaning, I never fail to look at my favorite things, which include books, fairytale figurines, and photos of family.

This blog had its beginnings as Snow Impressions, over on Blogger…and featured my two granddaughters primarily.  One of the photos from back then was of the two of them at the cabin in the snow.

 

 

Today I have a new collection of family photos, mostly featuring my oldest granddaughter Aubrey (she’s actually older than my other granddaughter, Fiona, by only eight days…LOL).

Aubrey has been attending university in San Diego, but this summer she is taking a break to enjoy some adventures with family and friends.  In this shot, she is climbing Potato Chip Rock.

 

***

Out on the water…

 

***

Some tree hugging with a friend…

 

***

Giving back…

 

***

Spending time with her little sister Sidney…

 

***

And finally, here she is on July 4th with her two oldest brothers, the ones that make up the “A-Team” with her:  Alec, Aubrey, & Aaron.  You may think that Alec and Aubrey are not that tall…you would be wrong.  Alec is 6’2″; Aubrey, 5’10”; and Aaron…well, he is around 6’6″.

 

***

Enjoy your weekend!  What are you spotlighting today?

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “SWIMMING LESSONS”

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:  Swimming Lessons, by Claire Fuller; scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

 

Intro:  Gil Coleman looked down from the first-floor window of the bookshop and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below.  He had been among the shelves all afternoon, thumbing through the secondhand books from front to back, pausing at folded-over corners, or where the text had been underlined, flicking through the pages to persuade them to offer up what might be hiding between the leaves.  The cup of tea that Viv had brought for him had cooled, forgotten on the window seat.  At about three o’clock he had picked up Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, a book he recognised and thought he might already own.  It had fallen open, and there, tucked between the pages, he had been surprised to see a folded sheet of thin yellow paper with blue faint lines.

***

Teaser:  I cried in front of Flora’s teacher, not because the letter was so clearly written by a desperate child, and not because Flora is missing school or lying—although that’s what Mrs. Layland thought—but because she doesn’t need me (p. 60%).

***

Synopsis:  Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan. 

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage. 

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE SUMMER HOUSE”

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 featured book is a recent download.  The Summer House, by Hannah McKinnon, is a  warm-hearted novel that is perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe.

 

Intro:  (Clem)

Something was not right.  Throughout the night, driving spring rains had battered against the windowpanes, and flashes of lightning illuminated their bedroom in tumultuous bursts.   But now the house was eerily silent.  Turning over, she reached for the alarm clock on her bedside table:  7:15.  She’d never get the kids ready for the school bus on time.  Groaning, she slid back beneath the warmth of the down comforter.

***

Teaser:  (Paige)

Paige tossed the shopping bags on the bed and flopped down among them.  She’d spent too much money in town, but it seemed like the only way to guarantee some time with Emma.  David set his book down and looked over at her, bemused (46%).

***

Synopsis:  When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer.

Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from their dysfunctional lives for a summer reunion at the family’s Rhode Island beach house. Clementine, her youngest child and a young mother of two small children, has caused Flossy the most worry after enduring a tragically life-altering year. But Samuel and his partner Evan are not far behind in their ability to alarm: their prospective adoption search has just taken a heart-wrenching turn. Only Paige, the eldest of the headstrong Merrill clan, is her usual self: arriving precisely on time with her well-adapted teens. Little does her family know that she, too, is facing personal struggles of her own.

No matter. With her family finally congregated under one seaside roof, Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. The Merrill children are both shocked and outraged and each returns to memories of their childhoods at their once beloved summer house—the house where they have not only grown up, but from which they have grown away. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves. 

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

Posted in WWW Wednesday

HUMP DAY READING: A SUMMER OF ENGAGING READS…

Today I’m participating in Sam’s WWW Wednesdays Here’s how it works:

 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

***

CURRENTLY READING:

I couldn’t decide on one book to read, so I chose two from different genres:

The Beach Inn, by Joanne DeMaio:  A new season of love, adventure, and heart-healing awaits in the quaint seaside village of Stony Point. So pull up a sand chair and book your stay for a page-turning getaway in The Beach Inn.

 

The Red Hunter (e-book), by Lisa Unger, a haunting story about two women, strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, they are on a collision course—because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.

 

***

BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK:

(Click titles for my reviews)

The Swallow’s Nest, by Emilie Richards:  Three women fight for the chance to raise the child they’ve all come to love…(An Author Review Request).

One Good Thing (e-book), by Wendy Wax.  I have been a fan of this series from the very first book. An assorted cast of characters have remained at the core of these books.   Supporting characters come and go, but the basic ones who were there from the beginning have kept me coming back for more.

 

Every Last Lie (e-book), by Mary Kubica – (NetGalley – 6/27/17).  Alternately narrated by Clara in the present and Nick “before,” the story carries the reader on a fast-paced ride. Back and forth between the red herrings and the truth that seems well hidden, lurking beneath another sea of lies, I could not stop reading.

 

***

EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

Today I stumbled upon an upcoming release from an author I enjoy:  Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter, with a release date of 8/22/17.

 

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…

Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.

***

What did your week look like?  Are you enjoying your reading?  What are you waiting to read next?

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “ALL THE BEST PEOPLE”

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 featured book is All the Best People, by Sonja Yoerg, an intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken

 

 

 

Intro:  (Carole – August 1972)

Carole was ten when her mother was committed to Underhill State Hospital.   For a rest, her father had said.  By the time Carole was old enough to understand that the truth lay elsewhere, beyond her grasp, her mother had received insulin coma treatment for hysteria, colonics for depression and electroshock just because, and Carole gave up wondering how her mother had lost control of her mind and simply coped with the fact that she had.  Recently, Carole overheard the nurses say Solange Gifford was haunted, and although Carole did not, strictly speaking, believe in ghosts, it was as fitting a diagnosis as any.

***

Teaser:  Carole lay listening to the rain, weary but not sleepy.  Her thoughts were glass shards.  She pulled the coverlet to her neck despite the heat and tried to link up her thinking with Walt’s snoring, steady as the rain.  Perhaps she dozed (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:  Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

***

What do you think?   I am fascinated with books about mental illness.  Would you keep reading?

***

 

Posted in WWW Wednesday

HUMP DAY SPARKS: WHAT WAS YOUR WEEK LIKE?

Today I’m participating in Sam’s WWW Wednesdays Here’s how it works:

 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

***

CURRENTLY READING:

The Swallow’s Nest, by Emilie Richards, is a review book sent to me from the author.

Three women fight for the chance to raise the child they’ve all come to love

***

BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK:

(Click titles for my reviews)

It’s Always the Husband, by Michele Campbell

 

Beach House for Rent, by Mary Alice Monroe

 

***

EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

I love Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery novels, and I was excited to learn that her newest edition to the series is coming on August 22, 2017.

The title starts with the letter “Y,” which means that there will only be one more in this series!

As we add Y is for Yesterday to our collection, we “wish there were more than 26 letters (in the alphabet).” With only one letter left, Grafton’s many devoted readers will share that sentiment.

The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate—and film the attack.  Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state’s evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.
       
Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents—until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find…

***

I enjoy this series, set in the 1980s, when “detecting” was done without the benefit of technology.  Just leg work.  And Kinsey Millhone is one of those quirky characters I love to revisit.

***

So…that’s my week.  What did yours look like?

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “SYCAMORE”

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:  Sycamore, by Bryn Chancellor.  Evocative and atmospheric, Sycamore is a coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a moving exploration of the elemental forces that drive human nature—desire, loneliness, grief, love, forgiveness, and hope—as witnessed through the inhabitants of one small Arizona town.

 

Intro:  (You Are Here – January 1991)

Her first night in Sycamore, the girl snuck out of the house.  Wearing frayed purple canvas shoes and a new puffy vinyl winter coat the red-orange of an ocotillo bloom, the girl paused on her tiptoes on the threshold when the front door hinges creaked.  Her mother, deaf in her left ear, didn’t stir, and the girl shut the door with a click.  This wasn’t the girl’s first time to slip out the door late at night, and it wouldn’t be her last.  (There would be a last time, but not tonight.)  For now she had this night, her first in a small northern Arizona town where her mother had dragged her.  She shoved her notebook inside her coat and hurried down the driveway.  Her breath smoked in the desert winter air.

***

Teaser:  Paul blinked.  He saw her standing over the sink with the clippers, buzzing her head, the clouds of hair falling to the basin.  She’d said, “Who needs it?”  She’d never grown it out again, kept it cropped short. (49%).

***

Synopsis:  Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since. In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess’s troubled history. In resurrecting the past, the people of Sycamore will find clarity, unexpected possibility, and a way forward for their lives.

Skillfully interweaving multiple points of view, Bryn Chancellor knowingly maps the bloodlines of a community and the indelible characters at its heart—most notably Jess Winters, a thoughtful, promising adolescent poised on the threshold of adulthood.

***

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

***

Posted in WWW Wednesday

HUMP DAY SPARKS: WHAT A READING WEEK!

Today I’m participating in Sam’s WWW Wednesdays Here’s how it works:

 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

***

CURRENTLY READING: 

It’s Always the Husband (e-book), by Michele Campbell, “a page-turning whodunit that will speak to anyone who’s ever had a frenemy.”

 

***

BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK:

(Click titles for my reviews)

#GIRLBOSS  (e-book), by Sophia Amoruso

The Wildling Sisters, by Eve Chase – (Amazon Vine)

 

How It All Began (e-book), by Penelope Lively

 

The Breakdown (e-book), by B. A. Paris (NetGalley – 6/20)

 

***

EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

The Secrets She Keeps (e-book), by Michael Robotham (Release Date:  July 11)

 

Synopsis:   Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…

***

What did your reading week look like?

***