TUESDAY SPARKS: “CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is an e-ARC from NetGalley, release date:  October 4, 2016.  Cruel Beautiful World is by Caroline Leavitt, a portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family.

 

 

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Intro:  (1969)

Lucy runs away with her high school teacher, William, on a Friday, the last day of school, a June morning shiny with heat.  She’s downstairs in the kitchen, and Iris has the TV on.  The weather guy, his skin golden as a cashew, is smiling about power outages, urging the elderly and the sick to stay inside, his voice sliding like a trombone, and as soon as she hears the word “elderly,” Lucy glances uneasily at Iris.

“He doesn’t mean me, honey,” Iris says mildly, putting more bacon to snap in the pan.  “I’m perfectly fine.”

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Teaser:  He looked over at the TV and then at the burgers.  “Buckwheat burgers again?”

She opened up the cupboards.  “What else do you see for me to cook?”

“We have chickens, honey.  We could have omelets.  Or a quiche.”

“What’s a quiche?” (53%)

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Synopsis:  It’s 1969, and sixteen-year-old Lucy is about to run away with a much older man to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that will have vicious repercussions for both her and her older sister, Charlotte. As Lucy’s default caretaker for most of their lives, Charlotte’s youth has been marked by the burden of responsibility, but never more so than when Lucy’s dream of a rural paradise turns into a nightmare.

Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance between seduction and love, loyalty and duty, and explores what happens when you’re responsible for things you cannot make right.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts tease you?  Make you want to keep reading?  Or is it the blurb that settles it for you?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “THIS MUST BE THE PLACE”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is one I downloaded in July, and I plan to start reading it tonight.  This Must Be the Place, by Maggie O’Farrell, is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating, as I’ve enjoyed several books by the author.  An irresistible love story, an unforgettable family. Best-selling author Maggie O’Farrell captures an extraordinary marriage with insight and laugh-out-loud humor in what Richard Russo calls “her breakout book.” Perfect for readers of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

 

 

 

 

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Intro:  (The Strangest Feeling in My Legs – Daniel – Donegal, 2010)

There is a man.

He’s standing on the back step, rolling a cigarette.  The day is typically unstable, the garden lush and shining, the branches weighty with still-falling rain.

There is a man and the man is me.

I am at the back door, tobacco tin in hand, and I am watching something in the trees, a figure, standing at the perimeter of the garden, where the aspens crowd in at the fence.  Another man.

He’s carrying a pair of binoculars and a camera.

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Teaser:  They are waiting, Lucas and Maeve, on a strip of gravel outside the thing like a cattle shed that serves as an airport in this part of the world.  He has a rucksack at his feet, a hat with earflaps pulled down low on his head; Maeve is huddled inside her waterproof.  (45%).

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Blurb:  Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn, and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex–film star given to pulling a gun on anyone who ventures up their driveway. Claudette was once the most glamorous and infamous woman in cinema before she staged her own disappearance and retreated to blissful seclusion in an Irish farmhouse. 

But the life Daniel and Claudette have so carefully constructed is about to be disrupted by an unexpected discovery about a woman Daniel lost touch with twenty years ago. This revelation will send him off-course, far away from wife, children, and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?
 
“O’Farrell’s prose manages to be both intimate and expansive and keenly perceptive in its insights about the complexities of marriage.  Beautiful and bittersweet, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE will make O’Farrell’s longtime fans swoon while prompting new readers to wonder why they’ve only just discovered her.”
–BookPage

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I am excited at the journey ahead, as it’s been a while since I read this author.  But I remember loving her work.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSINGS….

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Welcome to another Monday of Musing with Jenn, at Books and a Beat.

 

  • 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 WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Name a book that you hope to re-read some day.

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Currently, I am reading Blood Defense, by Marcia Clark, and even though I haven’t been reading very much this weekend due to catching up after my vacation, I am loving what I have read so far.  I enjoy the author’s writing style and the character of Samantha Brinkman.

 

 

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Blurb:  First in a new series from bestselling author and famed O. J. Simpson trial prosecutor Marcia Clark, a “terrific writer and storyteller” (James Patterson).

Samantha Brinkman, an ambitious, hard-charging Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, is struggling to make a name for herself and to drag her fledgling practice into the big leagues. Sam lands a high-profile double-murder case in which one of the victims is a beloved TV star—and the defendant is a decorated veteran LAPD detective. It promises to be exactly the kind of media sensation that would establish her as a heavy hitter in the world of criminal law.

Though Sam has doubts about his innocence, she and her two associates (her closest childhood friend and a brilliant ex-con) take the case. Notorious for living by her own rules—and fearlessly breaking everyone else’s—Samantha pulls out all the stops in her quest to uncover evidence that will clear the detective. But when a shocking secret at the core of the case shatters her personal world, Sam realizes that not only has her client been playing her, he might be one of the most dangerous sociopaths she’s ever encountered.

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As for the Random Question:  I purchased a book a while ago that I hope to reread some day.  It is one I read when I was a teenager, so I am curious as to how I would feel about it now.  That book is Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier.

 

 

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What are you musing about today?  What are you reading/planning?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: INTRO/TEASER – “CONFESS”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

My feature today is a book by Colleen Hoover, an author I have discovered and enjoyed in the past year.  Confess is the winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue:  Auburn)

I pass through the hospital doors knowing it’ll be the last time.

On the elevator, I press the number three, watching it illuminate for the last time.

The doors open to the third floor and I smile at the nurse on duty, watching her expression as she pities me for the last time.

I pass the supply room and the chapel and the employee break room, all for the last time.

I continue down the hallway and keep my gaze forward and my heart brave as I tap lightly on his door, waiting to hear Adam invite me in for the very last time.

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Teaser:  (Auburn)

What the hell am I doing?  I don’t do this kind of thing.  I don’t invite guys into my home.

Texas is turning me into a whore. (p. 72).

***

Synopsis:  At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  Have you read it?

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SATURDAY SPARKS: MY FAMILY & MY NEST

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

It has been a few weeks since my last post, so today will be a potpourri of images from the summer.

First, let’s look at some shots of grandchildren, starting with my eldest grandson, Alec, who will be in his senior year at UC-Berkeley in the fall:

 

 

Alec in June 2016

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Take a peek at a recent shot of Fiona (age 19):

 

 

Fiona in July

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Noah (13), enjoying fireworks on July 4th:

 

 

Noah, 4th of July 2016

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A cupboard with some old favorite print books…and some knick-knacks:

 

 

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A close-up of the books; do you see any titles you’ve read?

 

 

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A tablescape with dolls and other trinkets:

 

 

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Some changes on my sofa table:

 

 

 

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A new hall tree arrangement:

 

 

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Morning coffee….

 

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What did your week look like?  Are you sharing your summer in photos?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: EXCERPTING “THE MELODY LINGERS ON”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is from an author I’ve enjoyed for years.  The Melody Lingers On, by Mary Higgins Clark, is a headline-making finance scandal and a breathtaking tale of deception.

 

 

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Intro:  Thirty-year-old Elaine Marsha Harmon walked briskly from her apartment on East Thirty-Second Street in Manhattan to her job as an assistant interior decorator fifteen blocks away in the Flatiron Building at Twenty-Third Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.  Her coat was warm but she had not worn gloves.  There was a distinct chill this early November morning.

She had twisted her long auburn hair and fastened it at the back of her head.  Now only wisps of it blew around her face.  Tall, like her father, and slender, like her mother, she had realized after graduating from college that the life of a teacher was not the way for her to go.  Instead, she enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology and after receiving a degree had been hired by Glady Harper, the doyenne of interior decorating among the wealthy and the socially ambitious.

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Teaser:  Back at the table, he unfolded the Times first.  Then with dismay he read the headline on the right-hand side of the page.  “Parker Bennett’s Secretary Indicted as Co-conspirator.” (p. 77).

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Synopsis:  As the sole assistant to a famous upscale interior designer, Lane Harmon is accustomed to visiting opulent homes. So her latest job at a modest New Jersey townhouse is unusual. Then she learns the home belongs to the wife of disgraced finance magnate Parker Bennett, who vanished two years earlier, along with the five billion dollar hedge fund he managed.

The debate over whether Bennett was suicidal or staged his disappearance still continues. Both his clients and the federal government want to trace the money and find him. But Lane is surprisingly moved by Mrs. Bennett’s steadfast faith in her husband’s innocence. Gradually, Lane is also drawn to the Bennetts’ son, Mark, who is equally determined to prove his father is not guilty. What she doesn’t realize is the closer she gets to the notorious family, the more her life—and that of her five-year-old daughter—is in jeopardy.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?  Would you keep reading?

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSINGS….

SNOW SPARKS LOGOt-Romantic-Restaurants-2011

Welcome to Musing Mondays, hosted by Jenn, at Books and a Beat.  Here are some topics to ponder:

 

  • 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 WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is/are your favorite book cover(s)?

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I am reading and enjoying The Perfect Neighbors, by Sarah Pekkanen, a NetGalley ARC of a book to be released on July 5.

 

 

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How well do you ever really know the family next door?

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US. It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs, she’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.

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I love secrets, and finding out that the “perfect” neighbors have BIG secrets keeps me reading this delicious book.

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This week, I bought the following books:

 

Sunshine Beach (e-book), by Wendy Wax (I love this series, and I also want to continue with my beach staycation).

 

 

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Mystic Summer (e-book), by Hannah McKinnon

 

 

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Vinegar Girl (e-book), by Anne Tyler

 

 

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Here’s To Us (e-book), by Elin HIlderbrand

 

 

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Drinking Closer to Home (e-book), by Jessica Anya Blau

 

 

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I went a little crazy due to the Amazon credit. 

What are you musing about today?

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