TUESDAY SPARKS: “ALL THE BEST PEOPLE”

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 featured book is All the Best People, by Sonja Yoerg, an intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken

 

 

 

Intro:  (Carole – August 1972)

Carole was ten when her mother was committed to Underhill State Hospital.   For a rest, her father had said.  By the time Carole was old enough to understand that the truth lay elsewhere, beyond her grasp, her mother had received insulin coma treatment for hysteria, colonics for depression and electroshock just because, and Carole gave up wondering how her mother had lost control of her mind and simply coped with the fact that she had.  Recently, Carole overheard the nurses say Solange Gifford was haunted, and although Carole did not, strictly speaking, believe in ghosts, it was as fitting a diagnosis as any.

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Teaser:  Carole lay listening to the rain, weary but not sleepy.  Her thoughts were glass shards.  She pulled the coverlet to her neck despite the heat and tried to link up her thinking with Walt’s snoring, steady as the rain.  Perhaps she dozed (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:  Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

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What do you think?   I am fascinated with books about mental illness.  Would you keep reading?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: WHAT WAS YOUR WEEK LIKE?

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 Swallow’s Nest, by Emilie Richards, is a review book sent to me from the author.

Three women fight for the chance to raise the child they’ve all come to love

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BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK:

(Click titles for my reviews)

It’s Always the Husband, by Michele Campbell

 

Beach House for Rent, by Mary Alice Monroe

 

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EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

I love Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery novels, and I was excited to learn that her newest edition to the series is coming on August 22, 2017.

The title starts with the letter “Y,” which means that there will only be one more in this series!

As we add Y is for Yesterday to our collection, we “wish there were more than 26 letters (in the alphabet).” With only one letter left, Grafton’s many devoted readers will share that sentiment.

The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate—and film the attack.  Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state’s evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.
       
Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents—until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find…

***

I enjoy this series, set in the 1980s, when “detecting” was done without the benefit of technology.  Just leg work.  And Kinsey Millhone is one of those quirky characters I love to revisit.

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So…that’s my week.  What did yours look like?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “SYCAMORE”

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:  Sycamore, by Bryn Chancellor.  Evocative and atmospheric, Sycamore is a coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a moving exploration of the elemental forces that drive human nature—desire, loneliness, grief, love, forgiveness, and hope—as witnessed through the inhabitants of one small Arizona town.

 

Intro:  (You Are Here – January 1991)

Her first night in Sycamore, the girl snuck out of the house.  Wearing frayed purple canvas shoes and a new puffy vinyl winter coat the red-orange of an ocotillo bloom, the girl paused on her tiptoes on the threshold when the front door hinges creaked.  Her mother, deaf in her left ear, didn’t stir, and the girl shut the door with a click.  This wasn’t the girl’s first time to slip out the door late at night, and it wouldn’t be her last.  (There would be a last time, but not tonight.)  For now she had this night, her first in a small northern Arizona town where her mother had dragged her.  She shoved her notebook inside her coat and hurried down the driveway.  Her breath smoked in the desert winter air.

***

Teaser:  Paul blinked.  He saw her standing over the sink with the clippers, buzzing her head, the clouds of hair falling to the basin.  She’d said, “Who needs it?”  She’d never grown it out again, kept it cropped short. (49%).

***

Synopsis:  Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since. In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess’s troubled history. In resurrecting the past, the people of Sycamore will find clarity, unexpected possibility, and a way forward for their lives.

Skillfully interweaving multiple points of view, Bryn Chancellor knowingly maps the bloodlines of a community and the indelible characters at its heart—most notably Jess Winters, a thoughtful, promising adolescent poised on the threshold of adulthood.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?  Do you want to keep reading?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: WHAT A READING WEEK!

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’s Always the Husband (e-book), by Michele Campbell, “a page-turning whodunit that will speak to anyone who’s ever had a frenemy.”

 

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BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK:

(Click titles for my reviews)

#GIRLBOSS  (e-book), by Sophia Amoruso

The Wildling Sisters, by Eve Chase – (Amazon Vine)

 

How It All Began (e-book), by Penelope Lively

 

The Breakdown (e-book), by B. A. Paris (NetGalley – 6/20)

 

***

EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

The Secrets She Keeps (e-book), by Michael Robotham (Release Date:  July 11)

 

Synopsis:   Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…

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What did your reading week look like?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “SAME BEACH, NEXT YEAR”

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, a perfect summer read:  Same Beach, Next Year (e-book), by Dorothea Benton Frank, a bewitching story of marriage, love, family, and friendship that is infused with her warm and engaging earthy humor and generous heart.

 

 

Intro: (Prologue – Isle of Palms, South Carolina, 2016)

The conversation that launched my need to tell you this whole crazy story actually came from our son Luke, who, like his twin, is practically an adult.  Okay, they are adults.  But only because of their age, which is still completely astonishing to me.  How dare they grow up and make us, God help us, almost sixty?  Some nerve.

***

Teaser:  (Adam)

Our condos had the same floor plans but hers was absent any crown molding or shiplap.  And our fireplace was bigger.  Still, they rented for the same money.  As soon as Carl and Eliza’s cars were gone I walked back over to Eve’s. (46%).

***

Synopsis:   One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: ENGAGING READS…

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:

Deciding my current read was challenging.  After finishing a convoluted thriller, however, I chose something completely different.

So I have selected #GirlBoss, by Sophia Amoruso,  the New York Times bestseller that the Washington Post called “Lean In for misfits,” in which Sophia Amoruso shares how she went from dumpster diving to founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.

 

***

BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK:

(Click the titles for my reviews)

He Said, She Said (e-book), by Erin Kelly (NetGalley – 6/6/17)

 

Secrets in Summer, by Nancy Thayer (Amazon Vine Review)

 

Into the Water (e-book), by Paula Hawkins

 

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EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

Next week, White Fur (e-book), by Jardine Libaire, will be released.

 

Blurb:  A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City
 
When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.
 
The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives.
 
White Fur follows these indelible characters on their wild race through Newport mansions and downtown NYC nightspots, SoHo bars and WASP-establishment yacht clubs, through bedrooms and hospital rooms, as they explore, love, play, and suffer. Jardine Libaire combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love.

***

What did your week look like?

***

 

 

TUESDAY SPARKS: “MISS YOU”

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:  Miss You (e-book), by Kate Eberlen, a witty, poignant, and uplifting story of two lives crisscrossing over the years, with near miss after near miss

 

 

Intro:  (One – Tess) – August 1997

In the kitchen at home, there was a plate that Mum bought on holiday in Tenerife with a handpainted motto:  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

It had never registered with me any more than Dad’s trophy for singing, or the New York snow dome my brother Kevin sent over one Christmas, but that last day of the holiday, I couldn’t seem to get it out of my head.

***

Teaser:  Half an hour before, I’d felt so grown up with my new haircut and styling, but now, as I sat on the bus home, it was as if I’d gone right back to our first school disco, watching all the boys dare each other to ask Doll to dance as if I didn’t even exist (p. 257).

***

Synopsis:  A wryly romantic debut novel with echoes of One Day that asks, what if you just walked by the love of your life, but didn’t even know it?

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Tess can’t get the motto from her mother’s kitchen knickknack out of her head, even though she’s in Florence on an idyllic vacation before starting university in London.

Gus is also visiting Florence, on a holiday with his parents seven months after tragedy shattered their lives. Headed to medical school in London, he’s trying to be a dutiful son but longs to escape and discover who he really is.

A chance meeting brings these eighteen-year-olds together for a brief moment—the first of many times their paths will crisscross as time passes and their lives diverge from those they’d envisioned. Over the course of the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus will face very different challenges and choices. Separated by distance and circumstance, the possibility of these two connecting once more seems slight.

But while fate can separate two people, it can also bring them back together again. . . .

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: CURRENT, PAST, & FUTURE 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:

He Said, She Said (e-book), by Erin Kelly (NetGalley – 6/6/17), one reader says:  “a gripping, twisting, furiously clever read that asks all the right questions, and keeps you guessing until the very end. I loved it.”

 

***

BOOKS FINISHED SINCE LAST WEEK:

Click titles for my review

Not a Sound (e-book), by Heather Gudenkauf (NetGalley – 5/30)

 

The Night the Lights Went Out (e-book), by Karen White

 

The Widow of Wall Street (e-book), by Randy Susan Meyers

 

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EAGERLY ANTICIPATING:

The Other Girl (e-book), by Erica Spindler – Release Date – 8/22/17

 

I love this author’s books, so I am excited about this one.

Blurb:   From the New York Times bestselling author of Justice for Sara and The First Wife Erica Spindler comes The Other Girl, a chilling new thriller about a ritualistic murder of a college professor that sends a small town cop back into the trauma she thought she’d put behind her.

A horrific crime. One witness—a fifteen year old girl from the wrong side of the tracks, one known for lying and her own brushes with the law.
Is it any surprise no one believed her?

Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from the town of Jasper, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community.

When Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the brutality of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. The night she’d buried, along with her past and the girl she’d been back then. Until now that grave had stayed sealed…except for those times, in the deepest part of the night, when the nightmares came: of a crime no one believed happened and the screams of the girl they believed didn’t exist.

Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop. Not just any cop—the one who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda.

***

My kind of read!  What are you reading and anticipating this week?

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TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE RED HUNTER”

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 Red Hunter (e-book), by Lisa Unger, is a buzzworthy new standalone thriller…about two wronged women on very different paths who find themselves in the same dark place…

 

Intro:  Raven looked repentant, but Claudia knew that she wasn’t.  The girl had her head bent, and the sheets of her blue-black hair, thick and impossibly glossy, fell to hide her face.  It was October.  A week from Halloween, and this was Claudia’s second time in the principal’s office since school began.  The first one was about grades.  Raven was already struggling.  We can see from her test scores that she’s capable of more, the desperate math teacher said.  But it’s like she’s just not here.  Not paying attention.  Leaving answers blank on her test.  Mrs. Bishop, she’s not even trying.

Claudia could already see it on Principal Blake’s face:  The Look.  It was the expression that careful people, kind people got when they started to wonder if there was something wrong with Raven.

***

Teaser:  His eyes filled with tears and then they spilled over.  He bowed his head so I wouldn’t have to look, but to be honest I was relieved to see him cry.  If it was bad enough for him to cry, then it was okay that I did little else (63%).

***

Synopsis:   Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house—one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past—and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course—because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts and the blurb tempt you to read more?

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WEEKEND SPARKS: FAMILY MEMENTOS….

One of my favorite bookshelves holds fewer books since my Purges of 2015…and I love how the family photos are now highlighted next to the remaining books.

Below, note the bookshelf before the purges, but you can see some of the interesting “harlequin” detail on the front; there is more on the sides, not visible here.  I’ve had this shelf for many years.

 

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I like snapping shots of my book stacks, too, and here is one spotlighting some “up next” books…and a Coca Cola glass filled with iced tea.

 

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When I drink my iced tea, I add two packets of Sweet & Lo, which does not make it “sweet tea,” as I’ve learned from reading my Southern novels.

My current read, The Night the Lights Went Out, by Karen White, has a character named Sugar, who is 90-something…and she makes a big production about the correct way to make “sweet tea.”  I’m loving the book.

 

***

As Mother’s Day looms on the horizon, I am remembering many of them from the past.  Way back to when the kids were little and brought trays of breakfast food.  Sometimes the toast was burnt, but the memories are even more precious.

Over at Potpourri, I commemorated last year’s Mother’s Day in  A Year Ago:  Revisiting Mother’s Day 2016.

I especially enjoyed the “love art” my daughter gave me, which I cherished by hanging it on my family wall in the office.

 

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What events or mementos remind you of great times with family?

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