book beginnings · The Friday 56

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “EAT THE DOCUMENT”

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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?

Today’s featured book is one I chose because of the era and the subject matter:  those were my times, and we were a-changing.  Eat the Document, by Dana Spiotta, is a bold and moving novel about a fugitive radical from the 1970s who has lived in hiding for twenty-five years. Eat the Document is a hugely compelling story of activism, sacrifice, and the cost of living a secret.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  Part One – 1972 – By Heart

It is easy for a life to become unblessed.

Mary, in particular, understood this.  Her mistakes—and they were legion—were not lost on her.  She knew all about the undoing of a life:  take away, first of all, your people.  Your family.  Your lover.  That was the hardest part of it.  Then put yourself somewhere unfamiliar, where (how did it go?) you are a complete unknown.  Where you possess nothing.  Okay, then—this was the strangest part—take away your history, every last bit of it.

***

56:  As they sat on the porch sharing a hand-rolled cigarette of tobacco and hash, Sissy told Miranda the impeccable pedigree of the Black House.  How everyone knew the house, and how it was actually notorious in youth circles.

***

Blurb:  In the heyday of the 1970s underground, Bobby DeSoto and Mary Whittaker — passionate, idealistic, and in love — design a series of radical protests against the Vietnam War. When one action goes wrong, the course of their lives is forever changed. The two must erase their past, forge new identities, and never see each other again.

Now it is the 1990s. Mary lives in the suburbs with her fifteen-year-old son, who spends hours immersed in the music of his mother’s generation. She has no idea where Bobby is, whether he is alive or dead.

Shifting between the protests in the 1970s and the consequences of those choices in the 1990s, Dana Spiotta deftly explores the connection between the two eras — their language, technology, music, and activism. Character-driven and brilliant, Eat the Document is an important and revelatory novel about the culture of rebellion, with particular resonance now.

***

Okay, I admit that this is my favorite kind of story from my younger days.  How young radicals, steeped in the idealism of youth and the fervor of their times, put everything at risk for the cause.  I can’t wait to find out what happens to the characters in this story.  What do you think?  What are you sharing today?

***

book beginnings · The Friday 56 · Uncategorized

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “EVERYONE WORTH KNOWING”

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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?

Today I am featuring a book that has been on my stacks for a while:  Everyone Worth Knowing, by Lauren Weisberger.

 

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Beginning:  Though I’d caught only the briefest glimpse from the corner of my eye, I knew immediately that the brown creature darting across my warped hardwood floors was a water bug—the largest, meatiest insect I’d ever seen.  The superbug had narrowly avoided skimming across my bare feet before it disappeared under the bookcase.  Trembling, I forced myself to practice the chakra breathing I’d learned during an involuntary week at an ashram with my parents.

***

56:  The phone rang a little after eleven P.M.  I held it and stared, patiently waiting for the caller ID to register my caller.  Uncle Will:  to screen or not to screen?

***

Blurb:

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A GIRL ON THE FRINGE ENTERS THE REALM OF NEW YORK’S CHIC, PARTY-HOPPING ELITE?Soon after Bette Robinson quits her horrendous Manhattan banking job like the impulsive girl she’s never been, the novelty of walking her four-pound dog around her unglamorous Murray Hill neighborhood wears as thin as the “What are you going to do with your life?” phone calls from her parents. Then Bette meets Kelly, head of Manhattan’s hottest PR firm, and suddenly she has a brand-new job where the primary requirement is to see and be seen inside the VIP rooms of the city’s most exclusive nightclubs. But when Bette begins appearing in a vicious new gossip column, she realizes that the line between her personal and professional life is…invisible.

***

What do you think?  Should I move this one up to the top of the stack?

***

book beginnings · The Friday 56

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY”

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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?

How can it be Friday already?  I’m happy about it, though, and eager to share excerpts from one of my recent ARCs:  Did You Ever Have a Family, by Bill Clegg.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Silas)

He wakes to the sound of sirens.  Many, loud, and very near.  Then horns:  short, angry grunts like the buzzers signaling time-out in the basketball games he watches but does not play in at school.  His cell phone says 6:11 a.m. but the house downstairs is awake and loud and in his mother’s rough morning voice, scratching above his father’s and sisters’, he hears something is wrong.

***

56: I saw him there with June a few times, working out.  I think it was the first time I heard him laughing or saw him smiling since high school.

***

Blurb:  The stunning debut novel from bestselling author Bill Clegg is a magnificently powerful story about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy.

On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is completely devastated when a shocking disaster takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone in a moment. And June is the only survivor.

Alone and directionless, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak.

From the couple running a motel on the Pacific Ocean where June eventually settles into a quiet half-life, to the wedding’s caterer whose bill has been forgotten, to Luke’s mother, the shattered outcast of the town—everyone touched by the tragedy is changed as truths about their near and far histories finally come to light.

***

I haven’t started reading this one yet, but now I’m curious.  What do you think?

***

book beginnings · The Friday 56

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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?

***

book beginnings · The Friday 56

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

book beginnings · The Friday 56

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

book beginnings · The Friday 56

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?

***

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.

***

56:  (Margaret)

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

***

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.

***

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

***

book beginnings · The Friday 56

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “GETTING EVEN”

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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?

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Getting Even, by Sarah Rayner.

 

 

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Beginning:  1. Friends all

“We’ll be late,” said Dan.

“Aw…Five more minutes?” said Orianna, snuggling up to him.

With her head on his chest, she could feel his breath come and go.  She gazed absentmindedly past the geraniums on the windowsill and into the distance; she was in that soporific state after making love when nothing else matters.

***

56: Dan was in the middle of being shown some uninspiring product shots by a photographer’s rep when he noticed Orianna hovering.  He could tell from her jigging feet she needed to speak urgently, so while the rep was concentrating on a particularly dull transparency, he mouthed, “Give me ten minutes.”

***

Blurb:  How would you feel if your best friend at work betrayed you? Was secretly having an affair with an influential colleague? Won a coveted promotion, then teamed you up with a mere junior, leaving you feeling completely demoted? What would you do? For Ivy there’s no choice. The only person she has ever trusted, Orianna, has blown it big time. So there’s only one way forward: revenge.

Ivy’s campaign is brilliant, if horribly destructive, and she’s determined to get even with the woman who has dared to cross her. But is Ivy really the innocent party? Or is she hiding secrets of her own?

From Sarah Rayner, the international bestselling author of One Moment, One Morning, comes Getting Even, an unputdownable story of jealousy, sex, friendship and backstabbing set in the heart of London’s Soho adland.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?  I know I like the premise of this book, so I’m hoping for a fun read.  Come on by and share your own picks.

***

book beginnings · The Friday 56

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “CROOKED RIVER”

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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?

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Crooked River, by Valerie Geary.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Sam)

We found the woman floating facedown in an eddy where Crooked River made a slow bend north, just a stone skip away from the best swimming hole this side of anywhere.  Her emerald green blouse was torn half open and her dark, pleated skirt was bunched around her waist, revealing skin puckered and gray, legs bloated and bruised.  Her hair writhed like black snakes in the current.

***

56:  I was halfway up the ladder when he (Bear) said, “Did everything go okay with Deputy Santos today?”

I missed the next rung and almost slipped off.  I balanced, found my footing again, and kept climbing.

***

Blurb:  With the inventiveness and emotional power of Promise Not to Tell, The Death of Bees, and After Her, a powerful literary debut about family and friendship, good and evil, grief and forgiveness.

He is not evil. I am not good.

We are the same: broken and put back together again.

Still grieving the sudden death of their mother, Sam and her younger sister Ollie McAlister move from the comforts of Eugene to rural Oregon to live in a meadow in a teepee under the stars with Bear, their beekeeper father. But soon after they arrive, a young woman is found dead floating in Crooked River, and the police arrest their eccentric father for the murder.

Fifteen-year-old Sam knows that Bear is not a killer, even though the evidence points to his guilt. Unwilling to accept that her father could have hurt anyone, Sam embarks on a desperate hunt to save him and keep her damaged family together.

I see things no one else does.

I see them there and wish I didn’t. I want to tell and can’t.

Ollie, too, knows that Bear is innocent. The Shimmering have told her so. One followed her home from her mom’s funeral and refuses to leave. Now, another is following Sam. Both spirits warn Ollie: the real killer is out there, closer and more dangerous than either girl can imagine.

Told in Sam and Ollie’s vibrant voices, Crooked River is a family story, a coming of age story, a ghost story, and a psychological mystery that will touch reader’s hearts and keep them gripped until the final thrilling page.

***

What do you think?  Do these excerpts grab you?  Intrigue you?  I know that I am eager to read this book.  I hope you’ll stop by and chat.

***

book beginnings · teaser tuesdays

IGNITE YOUR FRIDAY WITH BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “TEARS & TEQUILA”

4-30-curlupandread-001-framed-book-beginnings2friday 56

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?

Today’s feature is a review book called Tears and Tequila, by Linda Schreyer and Jo-Ann Lautman.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  All she could see was the emptiness.

No flowers bloomed beside the gray stones.  No weeping willows reached down to caress the ground.  The trees were bare.  The sky was gray.  The air held a mix of cold and snow.

***

56:  (And a portion of p. 55)

“Joey, ” Daniel called.  She looked over.  He was striding toward her, looking frazzled.  “I’m glad you’re still here.  I’ve called everyone I can think of.  I can’t find anyone to lead Grief Group tonight.  So I thought of you.”  He talked to her through the open passenger window.

Joey eyed him, stunned.  “Me?  Why?”

“You said you minored in psych, co-led groups with a psychiatrist, and worked in hospice.  You’re a natural.”

“I’m not a grief counselor,” Joey said with indignation.

***

Blurb:  Joey Lerner has been running, from place to place and job to job. Now, at 32, she’s running from her home in New York City, where the last surviving member of her family has died, to Los Angeles, where she hopes to start over. Never one to follow the rules or take the obvious path, and thanks to her grandfather’s hands-on training, Joey gets herself hired as the ‘handyperson’ at a funky community center owned by an Australian surfer. Soon, the job of leading a Grief Group of young widows and widowers falls into her lap. The problem is – Joey hasn’t yet healed from her own losses. Over the next nine months Joey and the Grief Group journey from death to life, together and alone. Along the way, Joey discovers the work she was born to do.
Tears and Tequila is a story of love, loss, friendship, courage and, most of all, renewal; it tells of the healing that happens when you become part of a community in which everybody is missing someone.

***

Yeah, I excerpted more than two or three sentences, but I wanted to get to the end of a thought.  What do you think?  Does it grab you?  I hope you’ll stop by and share your thoughts.

***