BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LYING IN WAIT”

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 that will be released on 6/12/18:  Lying in Wait, by Liz Nugent, a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre” (Sunday Mirror).

 

 

Book Beginning:  (1980, Lydia)

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.  After we had overcome the initial shock, I tried to stop him speaking of her.  I did not allow it unless to confirm alibis or to discuss covering up any possible evidence.  It upset him too much and I thought it best to move on as if nothing had happened.  Even though we did not talk about it, I couldn’t help going over the events of the night in my mind, each time wishing that some aspect, some detail, could be different, but facts are facts and we must get used to them.

***

Friday 56:  I raised my voice in anger.  It is something I do very seldom.  “Laurence, I am trying to protect you.  If this gets out, you will go to jail.” (56%).

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Synopsis:  On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn, this novel is a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre” (Sunday Mirror).

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I was captured by the “seductively sinister story” and a “superbly scary denouement.” Now I must know more!  What do you think?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES”

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 acquisition.  I was drawn to the quirky title…and the blurb:  The Smell of Other People’s Houses, by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, is “a seamless and continually surprising story of risk, love, redemption, catastrophe, and sacrifice.”

 

Beginning:  (Prologue, The Way Things Were Back Then)

Ruth, 1958-63

I can’t stop remembering the way things were back then.  How my father hunted for our food.  How he’d hang the deer in the garage to cure and how the deer’s legs would splay out when its belly was sliced open, its hooves pointy like a ballerina’s toes.  I watched him dozens of times as he cut the meet off the animal’s backside.  I can still hear how the knife sounded when metal scraped bone.

***

Friday 56:  She was looking deep into her cup of Hills Bros. coffee.  As if that cup of coffee was the only thing in the world that understood her now.  At that moment, I kind of hated her for being the one who lived.

***

Synopsis:  This deeply moving and authentic debut set in 1970s Alaska is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.

Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable William C. Morris Award finalist is about people who try to save each other—and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed.

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I’m eager to read this book.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “EVERY NOTE PLAYED”

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 library book I recently borrowed:  Every Note Played, by Lisa Genova,  a powerful exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.

 

 

Book Beginning: (Prologue)

Richard is playing the second movement of Schumann’s Fantasie in C Major, op. 17, the final piece of his solo recital at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.  The concert hall is sold-out, yet the energy here doesn’t feel full.  This venue doesn’t carry the prestige or intimidating pressure of Lincoln Center or the Royal Albert Hall.  Maybe that’s it.  This recital is no big deal.

***

Friday 56:  He remembers thinking, At least I still have my left arm.  He glances now at his left hand, defeated and shamed by his side, and he knows what this profoundly simple exercise will look like in three months’ time.

***

Synopsis:  An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.

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Do the excerpts draw you in?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE BOOK CLUB”

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 The Book Club, in which Mary Alice Monroe invites you to meet five remarkable characters as she explores the power of friendship with tenderness, honesty and understanding. 

 

 

Beginning:  PROLOGUE (Eve of Return)

January 7, 1998

Tonight, I will return to my Book Club. 

It’s been half a year since I’ve been to a meeting.  The women will be kind, I know.  Solicitous, perhaps even wary not to say anything that will bring to mind my tragedy.  I hope I don’t see pity in their eyes.  It is not pity I need now but understanding.  Tender words and outstretched hands that will help me break my long isolation and rekindle the kinship with my friends.

***

Friday 56:  “Don’t you see, sweetie, that’s what I’m talking about.  No more excuses.  Tom’s dead.  Gone.  You have to pick up the pieces and move forward.  Not just for you, but for the children’s sake.  You’re stagnant here.  Going under.”

***

Synopsis:  On the surface, it is a monthly book club. But for five women, it is so much more. For Eve Porter, whose husband’s sudden death cheats her of every security she had planned on, the club is a place of sanctuary. For Annie Blake, a brilliant attorney intent on starting a family late in life, it is the chance to finally let down her guard and dream of other possibilities. For Doris Bridges, it is her support group as she acknowledges her dying marriage and finds the ultimate freedom in her husband’s betrayal. For Gabriella Rivera, the “perfect” wife, mother and friend who offers support to everyone but is afraid to ask for it herself, it is a sense of community. And for Midge Kirsch, an artist who has always lived her life against the grain, it is a haven of acceptance.

They are five women from different walks of life, embracing the challenge of change. And as they share their hopes and fears and triumphs, they will hold fast to the true magic of the book club—friendship.

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I’m eager to read this book.  What do you think?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: THOUGHTS OF SPRING…

Welcome to April!  Since Spring is officially here, I thought it was time to change up my blog header…from this one…

To this one:

I’ve been neglecting this blog lately…sigh.   So…time to change that!

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Let’s talk about books that remind us of Spring…and even Summer.  Yesterday, I was granted a library book that I had on hold….

A Nantucket Wedding, by Nancy Thayer

Synopsis:  A few years after losing her beloved husband, Alison is doing something she never thought she would do again: getting married. While placing the finishing touches on her summer nuptials, Alison is anxious to introduce her fiancé, David, to her grown daughters: Felicity, a worried married mother of two, and Jane, also married but focused on her career. The sisters have a somewhat distant relationship and Alison hopes that the wedding and the weeks leading up to the ceremony will give the siblings a chance to reconnect, as well as meet and get to know David’s grown children.

As the summer progresses, it is anything but smooth sailing. Felicity stumbles upon a terrible secret that could shatter her carefully cultivated world. Jane finds herself under the spell of her soon-to-be stepbrother, Ethan, who is as charming as he is mysterious. And even Alison is surprised (and slightly alarmed) by her new blended family. Revelations, intrigue, resentments—as the Big Day approaches, will the promise of bliss be a bust?

Against the gorgeous backdrop of the sunswept island of Nantucket, Nancy Thayer sets the stage for a walk down the aisle no one will ever forget.

***

I am ready for a delightful story set on Nantucket.  What books remind you of Spring…and/or Summer?

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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.

***

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%).

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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:

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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.

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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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