BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE GIRL IN TIMES SQUARE”

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 that I’m excited about:  The Girl in Times Square (e-book), by Paullina Simons, is a riveting novel about a young woman whose search for her missing friend turns into a life-shattering odyssey.

 

 

 

 

Book Beginning: (Just Before the Beginning; Lily Quinn)

What happened to love?  Lily whispered to herself.  Has someone else taken all that was given out for the universe, or have I just not been trying hard enough?  What happened to overwhelming, crushing love, the kind of love that moves earth and heaven, the kind of love my Grandma felt for her Tomas half a century ago in another world in another life, the kind of love my father says he felt for my mother when they first met swimming in that warm Caribbean Sea?

***

Friday 56:  Today at work, the jetlag was getting to her.  During her break, instead of eating Jell-O with whipped cream like always, she put her head down on the waitresses’ table in the booth in the back and was instantly asleep.

***

Synopsis:  Living in bustling New York City, Lily Quinn has plenty of distractions and is struggling to finish college as well as pay her rent. But that all pales in comparison when Amy, her best friend and roommate, disappears without a trace.

Spencer O’Malley, a cynical NYPD detective assigned to Amy’s case, immediately captures Lily’s attention. Though he is wary and wrestling with his own demons, he, too, is irresistibly drawn to Lily.

But fate has more in store for Lily than she ever expected. As she looks deeper into the mystery surrounding Amy’s disappearance, Lily finds answers she never imagined she’d find—answers that challenge everything she knows about her own life.

Lily’s search puts her on a collision course with tragedy and love, and gives her a glimpse into the abyss that swallowed her friend . . . until she faces a final confrontation with her own life-changing destiny.

***

I am drawn to this one, even though it has a lot more pages than I usually choose (600+).  But I think I might just lose myself in the story…after New Year’s.  Would you keep reading?

***

Advertisements

TUESDAY SPARKS: “LOST & FOUND SISTERS”

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 that has been languishing on Pippa:  Lost and Found Sisters, by Jill Shalvis, an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  Here was the thing:  life sucked if you let it.  So Quinn Weller usually worked really hard to not let it.  Caffeine helped.  For up to thirty-eight blissful minutes it could even trick her into thinking she was in a decent mood.  She knew this because it took forty-eight minutes to get from her local coffee shop through LA rush-hour traffic to work, and those last ten minutes were never good.

***

Teaser Tuesdays:  Quinn sighed and watched Mick pull his shirt back on.  “I’ll be right there.”  She disconnected and met Mick’s gaze.  “I feel like I should call my mom and apologize for ever being a teenager.”

***

Synopsis:  They say life can change in an instant… 

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find? 

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked. 

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

***

This book has been languishing on Pippa for a while.  I am now ready to dive in!  Would you keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS”

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:  These Violent Delights, by Victoria Namkung,  a suspenseful and nuanced story told from multiple points of view.  The novel examines themes of sexuality, trauma, revenge, and the American myth of liberty and justice for all.

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  (Jane – April 2016)

“What is the point of a high school reunion when you can already see who got fat and bald on Facebook?” asks Caryn, the intern working with me this semester, and I can’t help but laugh because she’s right.

Caryn works one desk over from me, but she often steps into my cubicle to chat—and she’s quite chatty—anytime she’s on her way to or from the bathroom down the hall, which feels like ten times a day on average.

***

Friday 56:  “Well, I’m eager to hear anything you’re willing to talk about.  You mentioned that there was more to the story than what’s been reported so far.”(56%).

***

Synopsis: At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

Set in modern-day Los Angeles, These Violent Delights is a literary exploration of the unyielding pressures and vulnerabilities that so many women and girls experience, and analyzes the ways in which our institutions and families fail to protect or defend us.

***

When I heard about this novel, I had to have it.  Such a timely topic in today’s world.  What do you think?

***

TUESDAY SPARKS: “I AM WATCHING 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 featured book is a relatively new download:  I Am Watching You, by Teresa Driscoll…

 

 

 

 

 

Intro: (July 2015 -The Witness)

I made a mistake.  I know that now.

The only reason I did what I did was what I heard on that train.  And I ask you, in all truthfulness—how would you have felt?

Until that moment, I had never considered myself prudish.  Or naive.  OK, OK, so I had a pretty conventional—some might say sheltered—upbringing but…Heavens.  Look at me now.  I’ve lived a bit.  Learned a lot.  Pretty average, I would argue, on the Richter scale of moral behavior, which is why what I heard so shook me.

I thought they were nice girls, you see.

***

Teaser: You disgust me.  Anna’s voice again.  In his head.  In his car.  In the passenger seat, refusing to look him in the face.

And in this moment he realises that there isn’t anything Barbara can say or the police can say to possibly make him feel worse than he already does. (p.100).

***

Synopsis: What would it take to make you intervene?

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.

***

Would you keep reading?  Do the excerpts tempt and tease you?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SNAP JUDGMENT”

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 featured book is Snap Judgment (Samantha Brinkman, Book 3), by Marcia Clark, in which attorney Samantha Brinkman’s investigation into a family’s deadly secrets is compromised by a threat from her past.

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  I’d had my usual lousy night’s sleep.  Woke up at four a.m. and fought to doze off for about an hour before I gave up and shuffled into the shower. 

I was groggy, but by the time I’d chugged my third supersize mug of coffee, my head had started to clear, and the world had come into focus—a good news/bad news joke if ever there was one.

***

Friday 56:  When Dale left, I spoke to Alex in a low voice.  The news that Roan’s laptop and phone were wiped worried me.  “Why does someone who’s about to commit suicide scrub his shit like that?”

***

Synopsis:  When the daughter of prominent civil litigator Graham Hutchins is found with her throat slashed, the woman’s spurned ex-boyfriend seems the likely suspect. But only days later, the young man dies in what appears to be a suicide. Or was it? Now authorities are faced with a possible new crime. And their person of interest is Hutchins. After all, avenging the death of his daughter is the perfect reason to kill. If he’s as innocent as he claims, only one lawyer has what it takes to prove it: his friend and colleague Samantha Brinkman.

It’s Sam’s obligation to trust her new client. Yet the deeper she digs on his behalf, the more entangled she becomes in a thicket of family secrets, past betrayals, and multiple motives for murder. To win her case, she’s prepared to bend any law and cross any boundary that stands in her way. Sam has always played by her own rules, and it’s always worked…so far. But this case cuts so deep and so personal that one false move could cost her everything.

***

So…would you keep reading?  Are you already hooked on this series?

***

THURSDAY SPARKS: FOREVER CONNECTED….

Some of you may know that this blog began as Snow Connections, at Blogger, and celebrated the “twin cousins,” Aubrey and Fiona, born just days apart.

Over the years, we’ve seen how their lives have taken them on different paths, but they are always and forever connected by their circumstances.

Nowadays, they do not resemble their photos (above).  For a few months now, Aubrey has been attending a university semester in Prague, and this week’s photos offer a glimpse of some of her “extracurricular” activities, like visits to neighboring countries…for example, Poland.

 

I especially enjoyed this Krakow Christmas Mart.

 

***

I loved this one, too, a view:

 

***

Then we can see the countryside…

 

***

In this one, Aubrey is playing around with photo editing…or she has figured out how to clone herself:

 

***

This sad photo makes me think about the horrific mistakes of the past:  Auschwitz…

 

***

Back at home, Fiona is trying on her various versions of herself.  I especially enjoy this one:

 

***

And this version…

 

***

And here they are again (far right), back in the past…enjoying the weird tree house/fort that my youngest son (Fiona’s dad) created at our foothill home.  I loved the line of eucalyptus trees that bordered the property on one side.

 

***

Check out the trees that line the border…and Aubrey with her dad, Brett…

 

***

What photo memories are you enjoying today?

***

TUESDAY SPARKS: “SING, UNBURIED, SING”

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:  Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward, is a majestic new work and an unforgettable family story.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  (Jojo)

I like to think I know what death is.  I like to think that it’s something I could look at straight.  When Pop tell me he need my help and I see that black knife slid into the belt of his pants, I follow Pop out the house, try to keep my back straight, my shoulders even as a hanger; that’s how Pop walks.  I try to look like this is normal and boring so Pop will think I’ve earned these thirteen years, so Pop will know I’m ready to pull what needs to be pulled, separate innards from muscle, organs from cavities.  I want Pop to know I can get bloody.  Today’s my birthday.

***

Teaser:  (Jojo)

Kayla need to eat.  I can tell by the way she keep crying, the way she keep hunching over and then knocking her head back and arching against her seat once we get back on the road.  And screaming.  I can tell there’s something wrong with her stomach. (p. 107).

***

Synopsis:  In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

***

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

***

MUSING MONDAYS: EXPERIENCING MY READING…

Welcome to another Musing Mondays.  It has been a while since I participated.  To join in, click on over to The Purple Booker.

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: How do you experience a book when you read? In general do you often find yourself being drawn into the story quickly or do you need more time to warm up to characters?

***

My current read:

A Season to Lie, by Emily Littlejohn:

“Small town Colorado police detective Gemma Monroe is a human and fallible heroine I can’t wait to meet again, and Littlejohn’s prose is lyrical and gripping.”—Deborah Crombie

In Emily Littlejohn’s follow-up to her acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, a twisted killer stalks his prey in the dead of winter.

 

***

I like to experience a book by immersing myself in it.  I curl up with the book and a notebook…since I’ve been writing reviews for everything I read (since 2008), I like to jot down the characters’ names and their relationships to others in the story.  Setting is another piece I like to make note of…and as different plot points come up, I might write those down, too.

Does that sound like I’m not really enjoying the book?  Well, no, not if the writer captures my interest…and then the story flows around me, as if I am experiencing the moments.

When I have trouble losing myself in a story, that is a red flag that I’m not connecting with it…and I may, then, just slog my way through…or not finish the book. That doesn’t happen often, however, as I very carefully select the books I read.

Life is too short to read boring, overly pedantic, or poorly written books.

***

How do you experience books?  What are you reading?

***

LET’S IGNITE SOME SPARKS ON A SATURDAY…

 

 

It’s time to ignite our connections…again.  And in honor of this blog, I brought some SNOW into it with this new header…and the little pink VW is a reminder of days gone by.  I never had a pink VW…but I did have two shades of blue:  a light blue, followed by a dark blue.

I love orange cars, too, and this one has been on my blogs a few times:

 

***

And then I love this one:

 

***

My youngest grandson is spending the weekend—playing X-Box, while talking to his friends through his headphones—and enjoying some pizza slices.

 

***

I also relished a couple of slices with a glass of wine.  I’ve been hanging out in my office all day:

 

***

I’m almost finished with Little Broken Things, by Nicole Baart…a page turner.

 

***

That’s my Saturday night…I’ll also be watching movies and TV shows.

***

TUESDAY SPARKS: “EVEN IF IT KILLS HER”

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 new download:  Even If It Kills Her, by Kate White, who returns to her New York Times bestselling Bailey Weggins’ Mystery series, with this favorite true-crime journalist turned sleuth’s most chilling case to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intro: I don’t have a ton of regrets to show for my thirty-six years on the planet, but the ones that I do have seem to possess a determined and sneaky resilience.  Every once in a while, say, when I’m working on a crime story that’s particularly soul-sucking, and I’ve been on the road far longer than planned—holed up in Beyonce-style luxury at  Best Western or DoubleTree Suites—one of them will resurface, like a lake snake coming up for air, raising its snout above the waterline and forcing me to stare it in the face.

I regret not knowing my father well, though there was nothing I could have done about that one.  He died of a brain aneurysm while on a fishing trip with a friend when I was twelve.

***

Teaser:  He abruptly walked away and ducked into what I guessed was the powder room.  Three minutes later he emerged looking grim.  My stomach sank. (58%).

***

Synopsis:  Bailey Weggins’ great new friend in college, Jillian Lowe, had everything going for her. Pretty, popular, and whip-smart, she lit up any room that she walked into. All of that dramatically changed during her sophomore year, when a neighbor became unhinged and murdered her family. Jillian immediately left school, and ever since, Bailey has felt guilty for not staying in closer contact and being a greater support to her friend.

Now, sixteen years later, Bailey is shocked to see Jillian at her book event, and even more stunned when her still-gorgeous friend approaches her with a case. The man accused of murdering her family is on the brink of being cleared of the crime through new DNA evidence. With the real killer walking free, Jillian is desperate for Bailey’s help to identify him and allow her the closure she yearns for.

As the two women return to Jillian’s childhood town to investigate, it doesn’t take long for their sleuthing to cause shock waves. Someone starts watching their every move. As they uncover deeply-guarded secrets, so shocking that they make Jillian rethink her entire relationship to her family, Bailey and Jillian find themselves in great peril. They must decide just how much they’re willing to risk to finally discover the truth about the Lowe family’s murder.

***

Do you like the snippets?  Would you keep reading?

***