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.

***

 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.

***

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.”

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.”

***

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.

***

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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TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE STOLEN MARRIAGE”

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 NetGalley ARC:  The Stolen Marriage, by Diane Chamberlain: release date, 10/3/17.  Steeped in history and filled with heart-wrenching twists, The Stolen Marriage is an emotionally captivating novel of secrets, betrayals, prejudice, and forgiveness. It showcases Diane Chamberlain at the top of her talent.

 

Intro:  (June 1944 – Prologue – Hickory, North Carolina)

It’s a terrible feeling, being despised.  From the moment I set foot in Hickory, I felt the suspicion, distrust, and outright hostility of most of the people I met.  Even my new sister-in-law regarded me with disdain.  When Henry told me Lucy was just a few years younger than me, I thought, How wonderful!  We can be friends.  But we were not anywhere close to being friends.

I was making my bed one bright June morning when I heard footsteps in the hall outside the room I shared with Henry.  Lucy pushed open the door, walking into the room without knocking, and I tightened the sash of my robe.  Neither Henry nor I were happy about living with his mother and sister.  In a month or so, we would move into our own home.  I hoped that would make things better.  Our marriage.  My relationship with my mother-in-law, Ruth.  My heavy heart.  I hadn’t been happy in so long.  I doubted a new house was going to fix what was wrong with me.

***

Teaser:  I sat still for a long time after hanging up the phone, wishing I could miraculously change the last few minutes.  Hattie was at the store and I was glad she wasn’t home.  I dreaded telling her. (55%).

***

Synopsis:  One mistake, one fateful night, and Tess DeMello’s life is changed forever.

It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess knows she is needed and defies Henry’s wishes to begin working  there. Through this work, she begins to find purpose and meaning. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love—and the life—she was meant to have?

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “MY ABSOLUTE DARLING”

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:  My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent, a brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul.

 

 

Intro:  The old house hunkers on its hill, all peeling white paint, bay windows, and spindled wooden railings overgrown with climbing roses and poison oak.  Rose runners have prized off clapboards that now hang snarled in the canes.  The gravel drive is littered with spent casings caked in verdigris.  Martin Alveston gets out of the truck and does not look back at Turtle sitting in the cab but walks up the porch, his jungle boots sounding hollowly on the boards, a big man in flannel and Levi’s opening the sliding glass doors.  Turtle waits, listening to the engine’s ticking, and then she follows him.

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Teaser:  The spider moves carefully.  Stricken, Turtle watches it circle the tuft of grass, drawing closer.  She hears then a noise from down the road—someone walking along the roadbed, and she thinks wildly of Martin.  It is more than possible that he has managed to follow her.  He has done it before. (p. 56).

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Synopsis:  Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.

Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero—and in the process, becomes ours as well.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “CRIME SCENE”

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 from Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman:  Crime Scene, a psychological thriller from a father-son writing team that delivers “brilliant, page-turning fiction” (Stephen King).

 

Intro:  Don’t make assumptions.

Every now and then, I remind myself of that.

Every now and then, the universe does the reminding for me.

When I meet new people, they’re usually dead.

***

A young white male lies on his back in the parking lot of a Berkeley frat house.  According to the license in his wallet, his name is Seth Lindley Powell.  He is four months past his eighteenth birthday. The license gives a San Jose address.  It’s a fair bet his parents are at that address, right now, asleep.  Nobody has notified them yet.  I haven’t had a chance.

***

Teaser:  “The procedure itself was completed.  The full protocol’s not finished.  I’m ready for those codes if you have them.”

“I—right.  I gave you birthdays, I think.  What do you have?”

I read back the list.

***

Blurb:  Natural causes or foul play? That’s the question Clay Edison must answer each time he examines a body. Figuring out motives and chasing down suspects aren’t part of his beat—not until a seemingly open-and-shut case proves to be more than meets his highly trained eye.

Eccentric, reclusive Walter Rennert lies cold at the bottom of his stairs. At first glance the scene looks straightforward: a once-respected psychology professor, done in by booze and a bad heart. But his daughter Tatiana insists that her father has been murdered, and she persuades Clay to take a closer look at the grim facts of Rennert’s life.

What emerges is a history of scandal and violence, and an experiment gone horribly wrong that ended in the brutal murder of a coed. Walter Rennert, it appears, was a broken man—and maybe a marked one. And when Clay learns that a colleague of Rennert’s died in a nearly identical manner, he begins to question everything in the official record.

All the while, his relationship with Tatiana is evolving into something forbidden. The closer they grow, the more determined he becomes to catch her father’s killer—even if he has to overstep his bounds to do it.

The twisting trail Clay follows will lead him into the darkest corners of the human soul. It’s his job to listen to the tales the dead tell. But this time, he’s part of a story that makes his blood run cold.

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Would you keep reading?  I know I’m eager to do just that.

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