BOOKISH FRIDAY: “ALTERNATE SIDE”

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 NetGalley ARC of a book to be released on 3/20/18:  Alternate Side, by Anna Quindlen, a provocative novel about money, class, and self-discovery, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miller’s Valley and Still Life with Bread Crumbs.

 

 

Beginning:  “Just look at that,” Charlie Nolan said, his arm extended like that of a maitre d’ indicating a particularly good table.

“Oh, my God, stop,” said Nora Nolan, looking through the narrow opening of the parking lot, at the end of which she could just glimpse the front bumper of their car.

***

Friday 56:  “I don’t know what to say,” Nora said.  She was painfully aware of the Andy Warhol four-panel portrait above the office sofa, the portrait that Bebe had had hung recently to, in her words, “dress up the place.”  The father’s last wife, times four, in neon colors. (56%).

***

Synopsis:  Some days Nora Nolan thinks that she and her husband, Charlie, lead a charmed life—except when there’s a crisis at work, a leak in the roof at home, or a problem with their twins at college. And why not? New York City was once Nora’s dream destination, and her clannish dead-end block has become a safe harbor, a tranquil village amid the urban craziness. The owners watch one another’s children grow up. They use the same handyman. They trade gossip and gripes, and they maneuver for the ultimate status symbol: a spot in the block’s small parking lot.

Then one morning, Nora returns from her run to discover that a terrible incident has shaken the neighborhood, and the enviable dead-end block turns into a potent symbol of a divided city. The fault lines begin to open: on the block, at Nora’s job, especially in her marriage. With an acute eye that captures the snap crackle of modern life, Anna Quindlen explores what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a woman at a moment of reckoning.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts draw you in and make you want to keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE SIXTH WINDOW”

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 The Sixth Window, by Rachel Abbott:  “A properly addictive, leave-the-light-on thriller.“ Red Magazine

 

 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

It had been a night like so many others over the past few weeks, and as the woman looked down on the narrow street below her second-floor window, still dark at this pre-dawn hour, she finally admitted that she couldn’t take any more.

(Chapter 1)  Eighteen Months Later

The sound of a door closing upstairs should have given Natalie Gray sufficient warning that she wasn’t going to be alone for much longer, but her eyes were locked on to the computer screen and her heart was pounding.

***

Friday 56:  “This is what happens to those who can’t mind their own fucking business,” a voice whispered close to his ear.  “They die.”

His world went black as the blows rained down on his head.

***

Synopsis:  Every instinct told her to run…

Natalie Grey is living a nightmare. She has discovered a disturbing website link on her new partner’s computer and fears he has a dark side, and even darker intentions. When her husband died in a hit and run accident, Ed had seemed like a safe harbour. Now where can she turn?

Concerned for the safety of her fifteen-year-old daughter Scarlett, she moves them both to a new home beyond his reach, unaware that the apartment holds secrets of its own. Left alone during the long days of the school holiday, Scarlett investigates strange sounds coming from the other side of the wall, never anticipating the danger that awaits her there.

DCI Tom Douglas’s investigation into the apparent suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the danger they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?

Will they ever feel safe again?

***

Exciting, right?  Would you keep reading?  I know that I will!

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “PROMISE NOT TO TELL”

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:  Promise Not to Tell, by Jayne Ann Krentz.  A broken promise reveals a terrifying legacy in this electrifying novel from the New York Times bestselling author of When All the Girls Have Gone.

 

 

Beginning:  Hannah Brewster splashed the accelerant around the inside of the small cabin, working feverishly because time was running out.  She was certain now that the demon would come for her that night.  He had been stalking her for weeks.

***

Friday 56:  In the beam of the flashlight, the picture glowed with all the hot colors of hellfire.  A dark, powerful-looking figure with long black hair strode through the flames.

***

Synopsis:  Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.

Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire…and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear.

***

I’m really excited about this new novel from Jayne Ann Krentz, and I always love revisiting Seattle in one of her stories.  What do you think?  Do the snippets grab you?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “GENUINE FRAUD”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a book that has been on Pippa since September 2017:  Genuine Fraud, by e. lockhart, a perfectly plotted, well-written novel with a surprise twist.

 

 

Intro:  Begin here:

Third Week in June, 2017

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

It was a bloody great hotel.

The minibar in Jule’s room stocked potato chips and four different chocolate bars.  The bathtub had bubble jets.  There was an endless supply of fat towels and liquid gardenia soap.  In the lobby, an elderly gentleman played Gershwin on a grand piano at four each afternoon.  You could get hot clay skin treatments, if you didn’t mind strangers touching you.  Jule’s skin smelled like chlorine all day.

***

Teaser:  People needed to protect themselves.  It was human nature, and Jule had spent years training to make herself especially good at it.  The events of today were proof that she was even more capable than she’d hoped. (46%).

***

Synopsis:  Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

***

I enjoyed We Were Liars, so I was eager to add this book to my shelves.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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SUNDAY SPARKS: SHOWCASING CONNECTIONS…

Happy Sunday!  Today I am celebrating my new look, here on the blog.  The blog I started on Blogger years ago (2010), featuring my two granddaughters in the snow, shown above…and connections, which formed the expanded version here on Word Press.

When I moved to Word Press, I kept the idea of “connections” going, and changed the name of the blog to Snow Sparks. 

Family and social connections are still the heart of this site, so finding a new way to feature those precious granddaughters, while also celebrating all kinds of connections…and snow (a play on my name), kept me trying.

Those two girls are now almost 21.  Their birthdays, only days apart, are in February.

Aubrey spent her last college semester in Prague (and surrounding areas), sharing many wonderful photos on Facebook.  Here is one of my favorites, “Overlooking Zurich”:

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Meanwhile, back in the states, Fiona attended a training program for a year and worked in Yosemite during the summer.  Now she has a job in the city, but she is still searching for her true passion.  She loves music and writing about music.  In this photo, I think she is dreaming about new lyrics:

***

I know that it took me a few years to find my true passion, and even when I settled into a career that would span thirty years, I didn’t find my true passion until after retirement.  Writing and blogging now literally consume my days.  Check my website for the books I have written and published.  Books I-III; and Books IV-VI.

My blogs page will show the six where I regularly create about my bookish love…and my family connections.

***

At the beginning of the year, as with two previous years, I chose a One Word (check what I wrote about my 2018 word):

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Since CONNECT is my One Word for 2018, it seems appropriate to spotlight it here.

Do you enjoy sharing your connections?  Do you share them on a blog, or on Facebook?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE GIRL IN TIMES SQUARE”

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 that I’m excited about:  The Girl in Times Square (e-book), by Paullina Simons, is a riveting novel about a young woman whose search for her missing friend turns into a life-shattering odyssey.

 

 

 

 

Book Beginning: (Just Before the Beginning; Lily Quinn)

What happened to love?  Lily whispered to herself.  Has someone else taken all that was given out for the universe, or have I just not been trying hard enough?  What happened to overwhelming, crushing love, the kind of love that moves earth and heaven, the kind of love my Grandma felt for her Tomas half a century ago in another world in another life, the kind of love my father says he felt for my mother when they first met swimming in that warm Caribbean Sea?

***

Friday 56:  Today at work, the jetlag was getting to her.  During her break, instead of eating Jell-O with whipped cream like always, she put her head down on the waitresses’ table in the booth in the back and was instantly asleep.

***

Synopsis:  Living in bustling New York City, Lily Quinn has plenty of distractions and is struggling to finish college as well as pay her rent. But that all pales in comparison when Amy, her best friend and roommate, disappears without a trace.

Spencer O’Malley, a cynical NYPD detective assigned to Amy’s case, immediately captures Lily’s attention. Though he is wary and wrestling with his own demons, he, too, is irresistibly drawn to Lily.

But fate has more in store for Lily than she ever expected. As she looks deeper into the mystery surrounding Amy’s disappearance, Lily finds answers she never imagined she’d find—answers that challenge everything she knows about her own life.

Lily’s search puts her on a collision course with tragedy and love, and gives her a glimpse into the abyss that swallowed her friend . . . until she faces a final confrontation with her own life-changing destiny.

***

I am drawn to this one, even though it has a lot more pages than I usually choose (600+).  But I think I might just lose myself in the story…after New Year’s.  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “LOST & FOUND SISTERS”

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 book that has been languishing on Pippa:  Lost and Found Sisters, by Jill Shalvis, an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  Here was the thing:  life sucked if you let it.  So Quinn Weller usually worked really hard to not let it.  Caffeine helped.  For up to thirty-eight blissful minutes it could even trick her into thinking she was in a decent mood.  She knew this because it took forty-eight minutes to get from her local coffee shop through LA rush-hour traffic to work, and those last ten minutes were never good.

***

Teaser Tuesdays:  Quinn sighed and watched Mick pull his shirt back on.  “I’ll be right there.”  She disconnected and met Mick’s gaze.  “I feel like I should call my mom and apologize for ever being a teenager.”

***

Synopsis:  They say life can change in an instant… 

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find? 

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked. 

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

***

This book has been languishing on Pippa for a while.  I am now ready to dive in!  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS”

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:  These Violent Delights, by Victoria Namkung,  a suspenseful and nuanced story told from multiple points of view.  The novel examines themes of sexuality, trauma, revenge, and the American myth of liberty and justice for all.

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  (Jane – April 2016)

“What is the point of a high school reunion when you can already see who got fat and bald on Facebook?” asks Caryn, the intern working with me this semester, and I can’t help but laugh because she’s right.

Caryn works one desk over from me, but she often steps into my cubicle to chat—and she’s quite chatty—anytime she’s on her way to or from the bathroom down the hall, which feels like ten times a day on average.

***

Friday 56:  “Well, I’m eager to hear anything you’re willing to talk about.  You mentioned that there was more to the story than what’s been reported so far.”(56%).

***

Synopsis: At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

Set in modern-day Los Angeles, These Violent Delights is a literary exploration of the unyielding pressures and vulnerabilities that so many women and girls experience, and analyzes the ways in which our institutions and families fail to protect or defend us.

***

When I heard about this novel, I had to have it.  Such a timely topic in today’s world.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “I AM WATCHING YOU”

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 relatively new download:  I Am Watching You, by Teresa Driscoll…

 

 

 

 

 

Intro: (July 2015 -The Witness)

I made a mistake.  I know that now.

The only reason I did what I did was what I heard on that train.  And I ask you, in all truthfulness—how would you have felt?

Until that moment, I had never considered myself prudish.  Or naive.  OK, OK, so I had a pretty conventional—some might say sheltered—upbringing but…Heavens.  Look at me now.  I’ve lived a bit.  Learned a lot.  Pretty average, I would argue, on the Richter scale of moral behavior, which is why what I heard so shook me.

I thought they were nice girls, you see.

***

Teaser: You disgust me.  Anna’s voice again.  In his head.  In his car.  In the passenger seat, refusing to look him in the face.

And in this moment he realises that there isn’t anything Barbara can say or the police can say to possibly make him feel worse than he already does. (p.100).

***

Synopsis: What would it take to make you intervene?

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.

***

Would you keep reading?  Do the excerpts tempt and tease you?

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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.

***

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?”

***

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.

***

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

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