Posted in Friday Sparks

FRIDAY SPARKS: SAVORING THE MOMENTS…

My two granddaughters are often featured here.  In fact, this blog was first created as Snow Impressions, and the two girls (bottom right) were on the blog header.

Over the years, they have grown…and are now twenty-one!  They have “twin” birthdays in February.

 

Today’s feature will include several shots of Aubrey, and even a final one of her little sister Sidney.  In the first shot, we see Aubrey climbing a mountain. 

 

Now we see her achieving her goal:  top of the mountain!

 

Next, let’s check out this shot of Aubrey with her friend Noah:

 

Below, she is enjoying the lake and the mountains with friends during summer break:

 

And here is little Sidney enjoying her sixth birthday…little princess!

 

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When we see life in a series of photos, we realize how quickly these precious young people grow…and we savor the moments.

What are you savoring today?

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Posted in Thursday Sparks

THURSDAY SPARKS: A BOOK ABOUT A WOMAN & A TRIAL…

Recently I watched the Netflix show about the O.J. Trial, which gave us a peek behind the scenes at the players.  Marcia Clark was portrayed by Sarah Paulson, and she did an excellent job.

After watching the show (the first time, on network TV), I started reading Marcia Clark’s books, but had not yet read her story of that trial.

Today I downloaded the book…and can’t wait to start reading it.  Without a Doubt is not just a book about a trial. It’s a book about a woman.

Marcia Clark takes us inside her head and her heart. Her voice is raw, incisive, disarming, unmistakable. Her story is both sweeping and deeply personal. It is the story of a woman who, when caught up in an event that galvanized an entire country, rose to that occasion with singular integrity, drive, honesty and grace.

In a case that tore America apart, and that continues to haunt us as few events of history have, Marcia Clark emerged as the only true heroine, because she stood for justice, fought the good fight, and fought it well.

***

I remember the trial IRL, beginning in 1995, and how it took over the TV stations.  I was frustrated that there was nothing else to watch, back then; but I was glued to the screen for the TV movie.

We do have a tendency to watch, like those viewing a train wreck, but what does that say about us?  Is it simply curiosity, or are we gluttons for the harsh evil around us, clamoring for more, even as events wrap themselves around us and grip us like a noose?

We love our thrillers, we watch reality TV events, and we can’t seem to get enough.  What is next?  I know that I look at the news feeds daily to see what is going on in the world, what events are occurring that could change things for us.  I hope for the downfall of some who represent the tawdry world in which we now live.

Do you love watching?  Are you caught up in the turmoil?

***

Posted in Musing Mondays

MUSINGS….

It has been a long while since I participated in Musing Mondays, hosted by 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…

***

I’m currently reading Tangerine, by Christine Mangan; Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.

I am fascinated by books with characters that are expatriates searching for drama and escape.

***

Today I pre-ordered a book that will be released tomorrow.  I love Anne Tyler, so it was inevitable for me to buy Clock Dance.

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.

***

What are you musing about today?

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Posted in Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SURPRISE ME”

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 recently downloaded library book:  Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella, a witty and emotionally charged novel that delves into the heart of a marriage, and how those we love and think we know best can sometimes surprise us the most…

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

I have this secret little vocabulary for my husband.  Words I’ve invented, just to describe him.  I’ve never even told him about them:  They just pop into my head now and then.  Like…

Scrubcious:  the adorable way he scrunches up his face when he’s confused, his eyebrows akimbo, his gaze imploring, as if to say:  Explain!

***

Friday 56:  My smile is still fixed on my face.  I feel slightly surreal.  But I don’t hesitate for a moment.

***

Synopsis:  After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls, and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years . . . and panic sets in. 
           
They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me—from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots—mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all.
           
With a colorful cast of eccentric characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.

***

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

***

Posted in Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BEST BEACH EVER”

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 purchase, a book in a delightful series I am following:  Best Beach Ever (e-book, Ten Beach Road Series), by Wendy Wax, features the ladies of Ten Beach Road who confront choppy seas in this latest outing.

 

Book Beginning:  Nicole Grant Giraldi stood in front of a far-too-full-length mirror that hung on a wall of the too-small cottage where she, her husband special agent Joe Giraldi, and their twin daughters currently lived.  It exposed two primary reasons women were not designed to give birth at forty-seven:  lack of elasticity and surplus gravity.  She closed one eye and shifted slightly, but the expanse of flesh did not become easier to contemplate.

***

Friday 56: (Kyra) –  She pushed some hair off her forehead and plopped down on a chair.  Her mother had taken Dustin out for a day filled with all his favorite things including breakfast at Paradise Grille, a sandcastle built on the beach, a swim in the pool, and a shopping trip to the Dollar Store.

***

Synopsis:  Forced to rent out or lose their beloved Bella Flora after the loss of their renovation-turned-reality-TV show Do Over, Maddie, Nikki, Avery, Kyra, and Bitsy move into cottages at the Sunshine Hotel and Beach Club believing the worst is over. Only to discover just how uncertain their futures really are.

Maddie struggles with the challenges of dating a rock star whose career has come roaring back to life while Nikki faces the daunting realities of mothering twins at forty-seven. Avery buries herself in a tiny home build in an attempt to dodge commitment issues, and Kyra battles to protect her son from the Hollywood world she once dreamed of joining. And Bitsy is about to find out whether the rewards of seeking revenge will outweigh the risks.

Luckily, when the going gets tough, the ladies of Ten Beach Road know that their friendship–tried and tested–can chase away the darkest clouds and let the sun shine in…

***

I love this series.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

Posted in Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE HOUSE SWAP”

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:  The House Swap, by Rebecca Fleet, is the eerie backdrop to a chilling look inside a broken marriage filled with tantalizing secrets.

 

Beginning: (Away: Caroline, May 2015)

When we turn into the street my first thought is that the houses around here all look the same.  Neat whitewashed rectangles with boxy little windows and flatly sloping roofs.  They almost all have window boxes, too—lined up along the lower sills and filled uniformly with white and purple pansies, like they’re subject to some sort of dress code.

***

Friday 56:  Just before she comes in I get up and look in the mirror that hangs over the mantelpiece.  I don’t know who I’m expecting to see inside it.  Not this man with the graying puffy skin and the grooves of worry sunk deep into the corners of his eyes, his face familiar yet strange, like a surreal caricature of myself.

***

Synopsis:  When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap–from their city apartment to a house in a leafy, upscale London suburb–they jump at the chance for a week away from home, their son, and the tensions that have pushed their marriage to the brink.

As the couple settles in, the old problems that permeate their marriage–his unhealthy behaviors, her indiscretions–start bubbling to the surface. But while they attempt to mend their relationship, their neighbor, an intense young woman, is showing a little too much interest in their activities.

Meanwhile, Caroline slowly begins to uncover some signs of life in the stark house–signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music might seem innocent to anyone else–but to her they are clues. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone who knows her, someone who knows the secrets she’s desperate to forget. . . .

***

 

Posted in Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BRING ME BACK”

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 one of my June ARCs from NetGalley, coming out on June 19:  Bring Me Back, by B. A. Paris, is a tour de force of psychological suspense that will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.

 

 

Beginning:  (Twelve Years Before)

Interview:  Finn McQuaid; Date:  15/03/2006; Time:  03:45; Location:  Fonches

We were on our way back from skiing in Megeve.  I decided to stop in Paris on the way up as a surprise for Layla, because she had never been there before.  We had dinner in a restaurant by the Notre-Dame cathedral and then went for a walk along the Seine.  We could have stayed the night there—now, I wish we had—but we were both eager to get home to our cottage in St. Mary’s, in Devon.

***

Friday 56 (56%): (Finn)

I can’t believe that I’m thinking like this but it’s the truth.  When Ellen and I had first begun spending time together, the thing I’d been most afraid of was that she would talk about Layla nonstop, or ask about my relationship with her.  I didn’t want to discuss Layla with anyone and, sensing my reticence, Ellen hadn’t asked any questions at all.

***

Synopsis:  Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts and the blurb tempt you to keep reading?  I loved two previous books by the author, so I’m definitely eager to follow the twists and turns.

***

Posted in Bookish Friday

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%).

***

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).

***

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

***

Posted in Bookish Friday

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.

***

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

***

 

Posted in Bookish Friday

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.

***

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

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