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: “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: “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: “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: “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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HUMP DAY SPARKS: ARMCHAIR TRAVELING

These granddaughters of mine, Fiona and Aubrey, now almost twenty-one, had a wonderful time in the snow at Big Bear…back in 2004.

This blog was created with the two of them as the centerpiece…all things snow.  And happy days as a family.

Now my themes are all about sparks of any kind, like bubbly, and wine, and anything that reminds me of happiness.  And I have settled into my Armchair Traveling role:

 

 

Sharing bright new experiences, like Aubrey’s semester in Prague.  Check out some of her special perspectives so far:

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Another fabulous view:

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Love this view, too:

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I love this perspective:

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And now for a peek into a neighboring country, Hungary:  Parliament….

Back in my office, the Armchair Traveler enjoys a morning of blogging and reading…and breakfast:

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Enjoy your special moments!  What is your perspective today?

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THOUGHTS ON A MONDAY…

Good morning!  I haven’t participated in Musing Mondays in a while.  So here goes.

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: Have you ever read a book that changed your life?

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Currently Reading:  When We Were Worthy, by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen: A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.

 

 

I am enjoying this one so far, but there are a lot of characters, so I am taking notes, and sometimes have to refer to them to know which character’s voice I’m reading.

What are you reading or thinking about on this Monday?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “EXPOSED”

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 book from Lisa Scottoline, a favorite author.  Exposed is a battle for justice that pits partner against partner…

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  Mary DiNunzio stepped off the elevator, worried.  Her father and his friends looked over from the reception area, their lined faces stricken.  They’d called her to say they needed a lawyer but until now, she hadn’t been overly concerned.  Their last lawsuit was against the Frank Sinatra Social Society of South Philly on behalf of the Dean Martin Fan Club of South Philly.  Luckily Mary had been able to settle the matter without involving Tony Bennett.

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56:  “This is so wrong.”  Nate took another sip of his wine, then another.  “My own lawyer is suing me, and I’m consenting.”

“You’re a more nuanced thinker than that.  Be creative.  It’s thinking outside the box.”

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Synopsis: In this New York Times bestselling novel, a battle for justice pits partner against partner…

Mary DiNunzio wants to represent her old friend Simon Pensiera, a sales rep who was wrongly fired by his company, but her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. When she confronts Mary, explaining this is a conflict of interest, an epic battle of wills and legal strategy between the two ensues—ripping the law firm apart, forcing everyone to take sides and turning friend against friend.

SOMETIMES LOYALTY CAN BE LETHAL.

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

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TIPTOEING INTO THE PAST

It is Friday, and time to celebrate beginnings…so I went into my Archive and pulled up a post from two years ago.

No, that post was not the beginning of this blog…that came earlier.  But I wanted to spotlight my upcoming birthday by sharing a post of my celebration back then.  And it also features details from this blog’s past.

October 2015:

PicMonkey Collage-birthday

 

Last Sunday was my birthday, and I spent it with family.  On the left is a photo of my daughter and me, snapped last Mother’s Day.

Top photos, left to right:  my second oldest grandson, Dominic, and Noah, my youngest.

Heather and her BF are on the bottom right, and dead center:  a slice of birthday cake, wearing all the candles.  And a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream.  Yum!

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Today I had a birthday lunch with an old friend…I’m talking longevity, here.  We met as colleagues back in the 1970s and became good friends over the years.

Today’s lunch was at Pismo’s, where sea food reigns.

 

 

Pismo's

 

Here is the dessert we had:

 

 

cake from Pismo's

 

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I am still stuffed, and it is hours later.  No dinner needed tonight!

Earlier, I clicked on some posts here via my Archives and realized how so much has changed on the blog.  First of all, I started this site at Blogger, then moved here in May 2010.

My “twin” granddaughters —cousins born in February  1997—were the inspiration and on my header for quite a while.  The name was inspired by a photo in the snow of the two girls in 2004, at age seven, and also derived its name from mine:  Snow.

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I’m reading a book by Wendy Corsi Staub called The Perfect Stranger, and it features bloggers…and how someone is targeting the members of a close-knit blogging group of cancer survivors.

 

 

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Here is a photo of the two girls snapped in February 2004, at Big Bear:

 

fiona and aubrey framed

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SETTING OFF SOME SPARKS….

It’s almost time to bring out the Halloween/Thanksgiving figurines. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been playing with my blogs again, and implemented a new theme here.  I like changing things up.  I’m inspired by Patty, at Books, Thoughts and Adventures; she has a new WP site and she’s exploring the possibilities.

I created my first WP blog in 2009:  An Interior Journey.  But it was called something else then (Explorations).  I went through several name changes before I settled on its current title.

I still had some Blogger sites when I made the switch, but gradually I merged and created everything on WP.

Over the years, WP has made changes, some of which were frustrating to us “oldies.”  We then found ways to circumvent the “new and improved” methods.

Now I think I’ll go to my hall closet and find those decorations for the fall season!  The pub table that held them last year is now set against the sliding glass door.

 

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Enjoy the season!

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