TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE ROANOKE GIRLS”

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:  The Roanoke Girls, by Amy Engel, shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

 

Intro:  (Prologue)

The first time I saw Roanoke was in a dream.  I knew little of it beyond its name and the fact it was in Kansas, a place I had never been.  My mother only ever mentioned it when she’d had too much wine, her breath turned sweet and her words slow and syrupy like molasses.  So my subconscious filled in the rest.  In my dream it stood tall and stately, tucked among a forest of spring-green trees.  Its red-brick facade was broken up by black shutters, white trim, delicate wrought-iron balconies.  A little girl’s fantasy of a princess castle.

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Teaser:  I ease the list out from underneath its magnet without really knowing why.  It feels like the closest I’ve gotten to Allegra since I’ve been back, as if her essence is embedded in this forgotten scrap of paper, and I don’t trust Sharon to keep it safe.  I flip the paper over, hoping, maybe, for some more personal message.  But it’s just a drugstore receipt from Parsons, a larger town about forty-five minutes from Osage Flats (p. 56).

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Synopsis:  “Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

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What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE”

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 review book sent to me by the author, Kristy Woodson Harvey.  Slightly South of Simple is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart.  I took it to dinner tonight, and enjoyed reading while eating the kind of soup I imagine the characters in the book enjoy:  potato cheese soup. 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue – Ansley) – Seagulls

I still have dreams about that yellow-and-white striped bikini, the one I was wearing the night I met Jack, my first bona fide summer love.  I was fifteen going on sixteen, the perfect age, when your hair tints that summer blond that hairstylists become superstars for emulating.  You have filled out enough not to be gangly but not so much that you can imagine a one-piece being in your future.

We spent those bikini summers in Peachtree Bluff, my family and I, at my grandmother’s waterfront home, the one that I didn’t realize until years later was truly something special.  It was always blissful, always enchanted, but that summer, Sandra and Emily, my two best friends, and I spent nearly every day at Starlite Island across from Grandmother’s house.  It was only a few boat lengths across the sound, but you couldn’t swim there and needed at least a kayak to go.  It felt like freedom.

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Teaser:  (Inhumane – Caroline)

The worst part about your husband leaving you when you’re pregnant is that there is no alcohol of any kind involved.  I mean, how are you supposed to heal when you can’t drink your troubles away?  It’s really quite inhumane, if you ask me. (p. 115).

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Synopsis:  From the next “major voice in Southern fiction” (New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand) comes the first in an all-new series chronicling the journeys of three sisters and their mother—and a secret from their past that has the potential to tear them apart and reshape their very definition of what it means to be a family.

Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she’d spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.

Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley’s life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open.

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I’m thoroughly enjoying this book.  When I’ve had my fill of thrillers for a bit, I grab a family story like this one that reminds me of how much mother/daughter bonds (and even conflicts) are just what I need…in between the dark tales.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE CUTAWAY”

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 my current read, an ARC from Amazon Vine:  The Cutaway, by Christina Kovac, is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.

 

Intro:  It began with someone else’s story.  In the beginning, a woman went out to meet a man, and on her long walk, she disappeared.  I didn’t know the woman.  I’d never met her.  But I could see her clearly in my mind, walking the streets of Georgetown, her heels striking the sidewalk to the percussive music booming out of city bars.  That same path I’d traveled many times myself.

Her married name was Evelyn Carney.  She’d been born a Sutton, small town country club people hailing from the cold north.  I didn’t discover much about her people, except they seemed to have no time for her or to care very much about what she did, and when she disappeared, gave a collective shrug.  Had she fled them, or was she like so many other young women, women like me, who’d come to D.C. with dreams of making herself anew?  She had none of the typical means to success in the District, no powerful sponsor or academic prowess or massive wealth.  She had no family connections, either.  But she had ambition and a powerful appeal to men, and she wasn’t afraid to use either.

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Teaser:  The dashboard clock in my car read 11:48, which meant, if I had any hope of catching up with Ben, my next stop would be one of the northwest bars featured in his night life.  Ben’s philosophy boiled down to this:  people were pack animals and it was unnatural for such an animal to be alone. (p. 89).

***

Synopsis:  When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

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What do you think?  Does it grab you, making you want to keep reading?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: A READING JOURNEY

Today I’m participating in Sam’s WWW Wednesdays Here’s how it works:

 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

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CURRENTLY READING:

This morning I started The Futures, by Anna Pitoniak, a debut novel about love and betrayal, in which a young couple moves to New York City in search of success-only to learn that the lives they dream of may come with dangerous strings attached.

Last night I read a couple of chapters of Idaho, by Emily Ruskovich, a stunning debut novel about love and forgiveness, about the violence of memory and the equal violence of its loss—from O. Henry Prize–winning author Emily Ruskovich…

 

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JUST FINISHED:

The Mother’s Promise, by Sally Hepworth (click title for my review) was a totally engaging story of the bonds of family, and the events in life that weaken them…or strengthen them.

 

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EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

Some time this week, I will receive Small Hours, by Jennifer Kitses, from Amazon Vine Reviews.

 

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In the vein of Richard Russo and Tom Perrotta, a gripping, suspenseful, and gorgeous debut novel–told hour-by-hour over the course of a single day–in which a husband and wife try to outrun long-buried secrets, sending their lives spiraling into chaos.

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It will be another engaging week ahead!  What does your week look like?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

Today I’m participating in Sam’s WWW Wednesdays Here’s how it works:

 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

***

CURRENTLY READING:

It Happens All the Time, by Amy Hatvany, an eARC from NetGalley, a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

 

I’m enjoying this one, although I’m not that far into it.  I am a fan of the author, however, so I am looking forward to fully immersing myself.

***

JUST FINISHED:

The Good Daughter, by Alexandra Burt (click title for my review).

 

I was fascinated by the premise of this book, and there were aspects of it that captured me…and those parts kept me reading.  Overall, however, the book was a bit of a slog for me.

***

EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

I am eager to start reading another e-ARC I have received from NetGalley, which will be released on April 11 One Perfect Lie, by Lisa Scottoline.

 

Blurb:  On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin’s baseball games. But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

***

What are you reading this week…and in the future?

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HUMP DAY READING: ENGAGING CHOICES….

Today I’m participating in Sam’s WWW Wednesdays Here’s how it works:

 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

***

CURRENTLY READING:

The Good Neighbor (e-book), by A. J. Banner, a book that will forever change the way you look at the people closest to you…

 

good-neighbor

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JUST FINISHED:

How Will I Know You, by Jessica Treadway.  (Click title for my review).

 

Multiple narrators show us the before and after moments, gradually revealing bits and pieces of lives in a downward spiral. On the surface, the characters seemed very sure that they could turn things around, dig out of their individual holes, and make everything right again…

***

And then, there was this one:

Never Let You Go (e-book), by Chevy Stevens, was my favorite book for February. (Click title for my review).

 

A book that kept me glued to the pages…following the clues and guessing all wrong…until finally, I figured it out near the end…

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EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

The Night the Lights Went Out, by Karen White, a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems….(Release Date:  April 11, 2017)

 

 

Blurb:  Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.
 
Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.
 
Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather’s world.
 
In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women….

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What are you reading and/or eagerly anticipating?

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MONDAY SPARKS: IGNITE YOUR MUSINGS…

Welcome!  Let’s join Ambrosia, at The Purple Booker, for our musings…

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 accidentally destroyed a book? Such as accidentally dropped it in the tub, or run it over with a bike? How about accidentally on purpose or simply purposefully?

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Oh, I feel great chagrin when I think of what I did to a book I was reading!   It was a print version of a book I had been eager to read….and I took it to dinner, as I often do.

Somehow, when I was gathering my things about me, after the meal, the wine glass, with just a bit left in it, toppled.  And many of the pages were covered with wine.

I let it dry out…and I was able to finish the book.  But I could not stand how I had ruined it!

I won’t name the book…as I ended up giving it away, after I finished it.  For me, it was ruined.

***

What about you?  What are you musing about today?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: BOOK HOPPING….

Today I’m participating in Sam’s WWW Wednesdays Here’s how it works:

 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next, and/or what are you eagerly awaiting?

***

CURRENTLY READING:

I don’t often read more than one book at a time, but this week found me book hopping.

The Best Awful, by Carrie Fisher, the sequel to the bestselling Postcards from the Edge contains Carrie’s Fisher’s trademark intelligence and wit that brought Postcards to the Hollywood movie screen.

 

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Rainy Day Women (e-book), by Kay Kendall, is the second book in the Austin Starr Mystery series. In 1969, during the week of the Manson murders and Woodstock, the intrepid amateur sleuth, infant in tow, flies across the continent to support a friend suspected of murdering women’s liberation activists in Seattle and Vancouver.

 

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JUST FINISHED:

I’ve completed two books so far this week:

Right Behind You (e-book), by Lisa Gardner (click title for my review)

 

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And then….

The Trophy Child (e-book), by Paula Daly (click for review) – a NetGalley review coming out on 3/7/17.

 

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UP NEXT:

Never Let You Go (e-book), by Chevy Stevens (NetGalley – 3/14/17)

 

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Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

With Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens delivers a chilling, twisting thriller that crackles with suspense as it explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.

***

So…that’s my week so far.  What does yours look like?

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY! THE MANY FACES OF FIONA…

new-fiona-look-framed

Happy birthday, Fiona!  She is a young woman who defines her own unique path…and has been doing so from the beginning.  Let’s look back at her early moments: the newborn…

 

fiona-baby***

Then, at around eighteen months, the curly-haired tot clutched her toys, with cousin Aubrey in pursuit…at a family gathering.

 

fiona-at-18-mos

A few years ago, Fiona and her “twin cousin” Aubrey (their birthdays are only days apart), were the featured header for this blog…back when it was called Snow Impressions and Connections.

Here they were, at seven years of age, at the snowy cabin owned by Aubrey’s father.

 

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Some pictures of the two of them, growing up:

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Fiona has enjoyed showcasing various looks over the years:

 

fiona-in-feb

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She went through a “hat” phase after shaving her head….

 

fiona-in-january-framed***

And here is one of my favorites:

 

fiona-just-before-lunch-731

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We can definitely conclude that Fiona is creative and pursuing her own unique identity in life.

As she celebrates her twentieth birthday, we wish for many more years of fun and experimentation…and finding who she is along the way.

I am linking this post to West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshots.

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKISH SCENTS….

snow-sparks-logot-romantic-restaurants-2011

Welcome to another Monday of Musing with Ambrosia, at The Purple Booker.

Check out these 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: Do you like new book smell? Old book smell? All book smell?

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I love new and old book smells.  My early childhood was spent in an old library that shared space with the village post office, so when I now go into an old post office, I am also struck with the scent.  The one that reminds me of bookish things.

Later, I came to adore new books and spent lots of time buying books in bookstores…until they started closing down.

Now we have Barnes & Noble in my neighborhood…and I enjoy spending time there.  They also have a coffee shop, so sometimes I just settle in to read.

 

barnes-noble-cropped-and-framedramed***

I want to start visiting the library again, as we have a lovely one not too far from my home.

What are your thoughts about bookish scents?

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