first paragraphs · teaser tuesdays

TUESDAY SPARKS: INTRO/TEASER – “CONFESS”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

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

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

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue:  Auburn)

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

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

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

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

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

***

Teaser:  (Auburn)

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

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

***

first paragraphs · teaser tuesdays

TUESDAY SPARKS: EXCERPTING “ONE MOMENT, ONE MORNING”

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teacups for teaser tuesdays

 

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book has been resting on Pippa, my Kindle, for a while.  It is from an author I have enjoyed, so I am eager to now begin.  One Moment, One Morning, is from Sarah Rayner.

 

 

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Intro:  (Monday) (07:58)

Lou is pretending to be asleep, but out of the corner of her eye she is watching the woman opposite put on her make-up.  She always finds it fascinating, watching other women do this, constructing themselves, on the train.  Lou never wears make-up, really, other than for very special occasions, and although she can understand it saves time, she finds it odd—choosing to make the transformation from private to public persona whilst commuting.  It takes away the mystery, covering the blemishes, thickening the lashes, widening the eyes, plumping the cheeks, surrounded by people.  And on the seven forty-four to Victoria, Lou is surrounded by people:  most of them silent; many of them asleep, or at least dozing; some of them reading, and a few, a minority, chatting.

***

Teaser:  The kettle has come to a boil.  Absently Lou fishes for a tea bag, puts it in a mug, pours the water.  As she does so, she considers:  how do these events cast light on the way she herself lives?  Does she know who she is?  Do others? (p. 65).

***

Blurb:  The Brighton to London line. The 7:44 am train. Cars packed with commuters. One woman occupies her time observing the people around her. Opposite, a girl puts on her make-up. Across the aisle, a husband strokes his wife’s hand. Further along, another woman flicks through a glossy magazine. Then, abruptly, everything changes: a man collapses, the train is stopped, and an ambulance is called.
For at least three passengers on the 7:44 on that particular morning, life will never be the same again. There’s Lou, in an adjacent seat, who witnesses events first hand. Anna, who’s sitting further up the train, impatient to get to work. And Karen, the man’s wife.
Telling the story of the week following that fateful train journey, One Moment, One Morning is a stunning novel about love and loss, about family and – above all- friendship. A stark reminder that, sometimes, one moment is all it takes to shatter everything. Yet it also reminds us that somehow, despite it all, life can and does go on.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I know that I am intrigued.

***

 

 

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 · teaser tuesdays

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

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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 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.

***

teaser tuesdays · tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: INTROS/TEASERS – “THE INNOCENT SLEEP”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s spotlight is shining on my current read, an ARC called The Innocent Sleep, by Karen Perry.

 

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Intro:  (Prologue – Tangier)

A storm is rising.  He can feel it in the strange stillness of the air.  There is no movement, no flutter of clothing, not a whisper of a breeze along the narrow streets of Tangier.

Beyond the lines of washing strung between the buildings, above the tiled roofs, he sees a patch of sky.  There is a strange luminous quality to it, a bluish hue and lights that look almost like auroras.

He stirs a cup of warm milk, blinks, and looks out again onto the changing and otherworldly colors of the sky.

***

Teaser:  And that was the start of our time in Tangier, something that began as a dream and ended a nightmare.  I can’t tell you everything that happened there.  I can give you an idea, a sense of what the place was like—that’s all  (p. 67).

***

Blurb:  When a couple’s lost child resurfaces they are forced to embark on a journey into their shared past—one rife with dark secrets and lies

Tangiers. Harry is preparing his wife’s birthday dinner while she is still at work and their son, Dillon, is upstairs asleep in bed. Harry suddenly remembers that he’s left Robin’s gift at the café in town. It’s only a five minute walk away and Dillon’s so tricky to put down for the night, so Harry decides to run out on his own and fetch the present.

Disaster strikes. An earthquake hits, buildings crumble, people scream and run. Harry fights his way through the crowd to his house, only to find it razed to the ground. Dillon is presumed dead, though his body is never found.

Five years later, Harry and Robin have settled into a new kind of life after relocating to their native Dublin. Their grief will always be with them, but lately it feels as if they’re ready for a new beginning. Harry’s career as an artist is taking off and Robin has just realized that she’s pregnant.

But when Harry gets a glimpse of Dillon on the crowded streets of Dublin, the past comes rushing back at both of them. Has Dillon been alive all these years? Or was what Harry saw just a figment of his guilt-ridden imagination? With razor-sharp writing, Karen Perry’s The Innocent Sleep delivers a fast-paced, ingeniously plotted thriller brimming with deception, doubt, and betrayal.

***

This story has captured me in unique ways.  What do you think, based on these excerpts and this blurb?  Would you keep reading?

I hope you’ll stop by and share your thoughts and your links.

 

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book review

LOST CONNECTIONS & FINDING NEW ONES — A REVIEW

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Dear Libby, It occurs to me that you and your two children have been living with your mother for–Dear Lord!–two whole years, and I’m writing to see if you’d like to be rescued.

 

The letter comes out of the blue, and just in time for Libby Moran, who–after the sudden death of her husband, Danny–went to stay with her hypercritical mother. Now her crazy Aunt Jean has offered Libby an escape: a job and a place to live on her farm in the Texas Hill Country. Before she can talk herself out of it, Libby is packing the minivan, grabbing the kids, and hitting the road.

Life on Aunt Jean’s goat farm is both more wonderful and more mysterious than Libby could have imagined. Beyond the animals and the strenuous work, there is quiet–deep, country quiet. But there is also a shaggy, gruff (though purportedly handsome, under all that hair) farm manager with a tragic home life, a formerly famous feed-store clerk who claims she can contact Danny “on the other side,” and the eccentric aunt Libby never really knew but who turns out to be exactly what she’s been looking for. And despite everything she’s lost, Libby soon realizes how much more she’s found. She hasn’t just traded one kind of crazy for another: She may actually have found the place to bring her little family–and herself–back to life.

And so begins the wonderful tale of how losing one kind of life can lead to finding something unexpectedly wonderful. Narrated in Libby’s first person voice, the reader is gifted with wonderful word pictures of the country setting and the simple folks who take nothing for granted. Who knew that the quiet country life would hold such sweetness, mixed in with all the hard work? And even though Aunt Jean’s house doesn’t even have a TV, and the smallness of the community takes some adjusting, Libby is finally carving out some wonderful connections here.

But what is the root of the antagonism between Aunt Jean and Libby’s mother Marsha? What daunting secret can explain a decades-long rift that has carved a groove into Aunt Jean’s normally-serene persona? And what about O’Connor, that shaggy man who seems attracted to Libby, but does nothing about it?

The Lost Husband: A Novel reminds us that losing people and one kind of life doesn’t mean that you can’t find something else. And that accepting that loss isn’t a betrayal, but, in a way, a tribute to the lost one.

I like this excerpt (in Libby’s voice):

“And then I realized something: I would always miss Danny. No matter how full my life became, there would always be a hole where his living presence had been. But the truth was, I was already better. And not despite that hole–but because of it. His loss was now a part of the story of my life….”

I enjoyed this story, despite it’s predictability at times, and maybe because of it, too. Who doesn’t love a feel-good ending to a beautifully wrought story? Four stars.

book review · family · family secrets

MISSTEPS, MISUNDERSTANDINGS, & DARK SECRETS — A REVIEW

A family saga, The Sisters: A Novel sweeps the reader forward from 1927 through the year 2007, depicting the branching out of a family tree that was torn asunder through missteps, misunderstandings, and horrific secrets that seemingly set the tone for many more secrets and misunderstandings. Almost as if errors, missteps, and wrong choices were written into their genetic code, the two Fischer sisters seemingly leap into an unseen future without one another and not knowing why.

As mysterious as all this sounds, suffice it to say that when Mabel Fischer, the older sister, sets a plan in motion, she has high hopes that she is saving her sister Bertie. On the other hand, Bertie only sees betrayal and spends the next several decades covering her tracks and severing all ties.

Meanwhile, each sister carries on separate lives for the generations to come.

But as each sister nears the end of her journey, her thoughts will be with the other, remembering and seeking to fill in the void that would have been their familial bond.

I could not stave off the sadness that rippled through me as I read this story. Like tossing a stone into the stream and then watching it as it floats away, these characters could seemingly do nothing to right the wrongs in their lives. Each sister told pieces of her story to her daughters, but without the missing perspective, the other side of it all, there was no resolution. No mending of the torn fabric of their lives. The characters seemed doomed to continually make errors within their individual families, repeating mistakes and failing to correct the old ones. The seeds of this dysfunction were planted long before, when a dangerous secret set the tone for the rest of their lives and the lives to come.

As much as I connected to the characters and their stories, I felt frustrated by the inability of any of the characters to set things right. Yes, they went on with their lives and did the best they could—but without any kind of closure. I would recommend this story for those who do not mind long, detailed stories that seemingly go nowhere, with loose ends that do not come together. Four stars.