HUMP DAY SPARKS: WAITING ON “IT’S YOU”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

A book I am eagerly awaiting is from Jane Porter, one of my go-to authors.  It’s You is coming out on June 2, 2015.

 

 

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Amazon Description:  In the wake of a tragedy that tore her life down to the foundations, Dr. Alison McAdams has lost her way. So when she’s summoned to Napa to care for her ailing father, she’s not sure she has anything to offer him—or anyone else.

What Ali finds in Northern California wine country is a gift—an opportunity to rest, and distance from her painful memories. Most unexpectedly, she finds people who aren’t afraid of her grief or desperate for her to hurry up and move on.

As Ali becomes part of her father’s community, makes new friends of her own, and hears the stories of a generation who survived the Second World War, she begins to find hope again. In a quest to discover the truth about another woman’s lost love, she sets off on a journey across oceans and deep into history. And in making sense of that long-ago tragedy, Ali is able to put together the broken pieces of her heart and make new choices that are right for her.

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I love the characters, the settings, and the plots of this author’s books, so I am very excited about this one.  What are you sharing today?

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “THE DAY WE MET”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we 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!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

My selected book today is an ARC entitled The Day We Met, by Rowan Coleman.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

Greg is looking at me; he thinks I don’t know it.  I’ve been chopping onions at the kitchen counter for almost five minutes, and I can see his reflection—inside out, convex and stretched—in the chrome kettle we got as a wedding present.  He’s sitting at the kitchen table, checking me out.

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56:  (Sunday, March 10, 1991 – Claire)

For all the brash confidence I put on display, I was very inexperienced.  I let him lead me upstairs to his room.  He had a single bed.

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Blurb:  A gorgeous husband, two beautiful children, a job she loves—Claire’s got it all. And then some. But lately, her mother hovers more than a helicopter, her husband, Greg, seems like a stranger, and her kids are like characters in a movie. Three-year-old Esther’s growing up in the blink of an eye, and twenty-year-old Caitlin, with her jet-black hair and clothes to match, looks like she’s about to join a punk band—and seems to be hiding something. Most concerning, however, is the fact that Claire is losing her memory, including that of the day she met Greg.

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger one rainy day sets Claire wondering whether she and Greg still belong together: She knows she should love him, but she can’t always remember why. In search of an answer, Claire fills the pages of a blank book Greg gives her with private memories and keepsakes, jotting down beginnings and endings and everything in between. The book becomes the story of Claire—her passions, her sorrows, her joys, her adventures in a life that refuses to surrender to a fate worse than dying: disappearing.

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I love this author’s work, and it’s been a while since the last one of hers I read.  What do you think?  Does it pique your interest?

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SPARKING CONVERSATION: THOUGHTS ON A TUESDAY

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I don’t often post on this site, unless it’s for a meme like Saturday Snapshots, or Book Beginnings.

But since the theme of this site is about sparking or igniting connections, I do think about those issues in terms of this blog…and want to spark a conversation, if you will.

Lately I’ve been bored with my photos, so I’ve “highlighted” a few of them, like the one above, or the one in the sidebar, hoping to spark my own interest in making changes.

It is never to late to change things up, is it?  Even if we don’t decide to add extensions or highlights to our hair, maybe we can make some interior changes.

Sometimes it’s enough for me to read a book that does something for me…makes me think, gives me pause, or even generates conversation.

The Girl in the Train (click for my review) recently did that for some bloggers, and it was fun to see how others reacted to a book with unreliable narrators and a suspenseful storyline.

 

 

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Sheila, at Book Journey, had the opposite reactions from mine.  Sheila’s review takes us to another kind of place, and that’s what I love about book blogs.  We can generate conversation even more when we disagree about something.

Another book that sparked something within me, and also within some other bloggers, was The Wednesday Group, by Sylvia True. (Click for my review).  A great one for book clubs, I think.

 

 

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Patty, at Books, Thoughts, and a Few Adventures, posted her review on Goodreads.  And earlier today, I read Mary’s thoughts at Book Fan.

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Do you get excited, does something ignite within you, when you read a book or a blog post that sparks something within?  Does it make you want to speak up?  Shout, even?

That’s what I call igniting your connections!  What does it for you?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: BIRTHDAY GIRLS!

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Today I’m continuing the birthday celebrations for my granddaughters, Aubrey and Fiona, who turn 18 this month.  Aubrey’s birthday is February 13, and Fiona’s is on February 21.  Twin cousins.

 

Here are some moments from their lives, from infancy onward.  This first one is of Aubrey…a collage of sorts, showcasing her in the first year of her life.  The top one was taken in a studio, and the second one, by my son Craig, the photographer.

 

 

Baby Aubrey

 

Here is one of Fiona right after she came home from the hospital.  She and her parents were living in my guesthouse back then.    The stuffed toy accompanied her everywhere during the early years.

 

 

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Fast forward to the year they turned seven.  Here they are at the cabin in Big Bear, enjoying the snow.

 

 

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Here’s one of the two girls in 2012, at a family get-together (15-year-old cousins)

 

 

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Finally…some present day shots…Fiona, below:

 

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And Aubrey, spotlighting the birthday cake:

 

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It has been a great journey watching these girls grow…I’m looking forward to many more years to come.

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What are you featuring today?

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “HOUSE OF WONDER”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we 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!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

My feature today is a book by Sarah Healy:  House of Wonder.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue) – The House on Royal Court

Ours were dinners of boneless chicken breasts, smeared and then baked in the congealed contents of a red and white can.  My mother would have clipped the recipe from a magazine, using sharp orange-handled scissors, the type that can slice down a length of wrapping paper like a fin through placid water.  Warren and I would sit waiting, eating our green bell pepper quarters filled with twisting orange strings of squirt cheese.

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56:  We were given instructions about icing, painkillers, and potential problems against which to be vigilant.  But really, Warren’s injuries were not severe compared with many that the ER saw.  It was their implication that was upsetting.

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Blurb:  When we were little and I needed Warren, I would rub my earlobe.  And perhaps it was the alchemy of childhood, a magic that happened because I believed it could, but I swear it worked. He always came.

Theirs wasn’t always the misfit family in the neighborhood. Jenna Parsons’s childhood was one of block parties and barbecues, where her mother, a former beauty queen, continued her reign and her twin brother, Warren, was viewed as just another oddball kid. But as her mother’s shopaholic habits intensified, and her brother’s behavior became viewed as more strange than quirky, Jenna sought to distance herself from them. She is devoted to her career and her four-year-old daughter, Rose. But now, in his peculiar way, Warren summons her back to 62 Royal Court.

What she finds there—a house in disrepair, a neighborhood on tenterhooks over a rash of petty thefts, and evidence of past traumas her mother has kept hidden—will challenge Jenna as never before. But as she stands by her family, she also begins to find beauty in unexpected places, strength in unlikely people, and a future she couldn’t have imagined.

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What do you think?  Does it pique your interest?  Come on by and share your comments and links, please.

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “COPPER BEACH”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we 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!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

I love this event, and discovering interesting new titles this way.  Today’s feature for me is from an author I enjoy, Jayne Ann Krentz:  Copper Beach.

 

 

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Beginning:  There was nothing like the drama of a deathbed scene to expose the skeletons in a family’s closet.  You never knew what would fall out when you opened the door, the nurse thought.  Lifelong conflicts, absolution, regret, long-held grudges, enduring love or unrelenting hatred, whatever had been hidden for decades or generations was suddenly made visible at the end.

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56:  He shrugged out of his jacket and handed it to her.  When she took it from him, her fingers brushed against his, sending an intimate little thrill of awareness across his senses.

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Blurb:  Within the pages of centuries-old books lie the secrets of the paranormal. Abby Radwell’s unusual psychic talent has made her an expert in such volumes — and sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text has reappeared on the black market. So Abby hires Sam Coppersmith, an investigator who can also play bodyguard.

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What do you think?  Does it grab you?  Spark your interest?  I hope you will stop in and leave your thoughts…and links.

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SATURDAY SPARKS: A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Today I am sharing some Christmas photos of family, beginning with my youngest grandson, Noah, celebrating with his trombone.

 

 

Christmas - Noah & Friend

 

My niece Amy and her family live in the mountains, and I love what coziness is wrought when they bring on the Christmas decor.

 

 

Christmas at Amy's

 

And here are Amy’s three kids: (L to R:  Gavin, Luc, and America)

 

 

 

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And here is a Christmas long past, with my four kids in the loft of the townhouse I lived in back then; this was probably in 1990.

 

 

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Ho! Ho! Ho!!! Merry Christmas to all!  From my home to yours!

 

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “WINTER STREET”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we 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!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

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How quickly Fridays come!  In sorting through my book stacks, I realize that I have used up all the review books on hand…so here is a regular print book that I’m planning to read next week, since it has a holiday theme.  Winter Street, by Elin Hilderbrand, will take us to Nantucket during the winter months.

 

 

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Beginning:  (December 23, Kelley)

He thinks nothing of walking into room 10 without knocking.  The door is unlocked, and George hasn’t checked in yet, anyway.  George is due on the eleven-thirty ferry with his 1931 Model A fire engine, a bespoke Santa Claus vehicle, but he was delayed because of snow in the western part of the state.  George has gamely brought the fire engine over and donned the red suit every December for the past twelve years.

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56:  (Margaret)

After she packs, she brews an espresso and sits down at her computer.  There are twelve more soldiers dead in Afghanistan.

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Blurb:  Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.

As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.

Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.

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Are you in the mood for an island retreat for the holidays?  I am eager to plunge into this one.

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “CANCEL THE WEDDING”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we 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!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

I hope all those who celebrate it had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Today I’d like to share an ARC from Vine:  Cancel the Wedding, by Carolyn Dingman.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue – August 1956, Huntley, Georgia)

The strap from the overloaded canvas satchel dug into Janie’s shoulder as she made her way down the well-traveled path to the river.  She could feel that George was already there before she could hear him and long before she could see him.  They were only ten years old but they had been tuned in to each other like that for as long as she could remember.

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56:  One didn’t have to be very present while Mrs. Chatham was speaking; she didn’t require much in the way of response.  At the moment she was retelling the family tree of nearly everyone in town.  It seemed as if everyone was knotted together in one way or another as she went through the names.

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Amazon Description:  A heartfelt fiction debut that will appeal to fans of Emily Giffin’s Southern charm and Jennifer Weiner’s compelling, emotionally resonant novels about the frustrations of blood ties, Cancel the Wedding follows one woman’s journey to discover the secrets of her mother’s hidden past—and confront her own uncertain future.

On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit—so why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?

Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job, and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her 14-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads South on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother.

As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life—truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past—and say yes to her own desire to start over?

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What do you think?  Does it pique your interest?  Come on by and share your thoughts…and links, please.

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SATURDAY SPARKS: FRIENDSHIPS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Today I would like to spotlight friendships in their various forms.

Here is a shot of my daughter and two of her friends.  Sadly, the friend in the middle passed away this week, after a valiant fight against a long illness.

 

 

Heather & friends - one lost

 

Fiona, right, with two friends, clowning around:

 

 

Fiona & friends

 

A few years ago, Fiona and friends showing off shoes and jeans and/or tights…

 

Fiona & teen girl legs

 

Little girl friendship:  Fiona and friend Dani….

 

 

Fiona and Dani - little girl friends

 

Heather and a friend:  early phone addiction, 1980s style….

 

 

Heather & Friend - Phone addicts-1985

 

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What does your spotlight shine upon today?  I hope you’ll share your thoughts and your links.

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