first paragraphs · teaser tuesdays

TUESDAY SPARKS: “LIES & OTHER ACTS OF LOVE”

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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 Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is a book I hope to start reading soon:  Lies & Other Acts of Love, by Kristy Woodson Harvey, a new novel about what it really means to tell the truth . . .

 

 

 

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(Annabelle) – Storm Chasers

My grandmother, Lovey, says that there are two types of people in the world:  the kind who flee to the shelters at the first threat of a hurricane, and the kind who wait it out, hovering over their possessions as if their fragile lives offer any protection against a natural mother that can take them out of the world as quickly as she brought them into it.

I come from a long line of the hovering kind.

***

Teaser:  It disturbed me how much I wanted to know.  But I also got those nervous butterflies in my stomach because I hoped he knew I wasn’t going to sleep with some guy I just met, no matter how taken with him I was. (p. 73).

***

Synopsis:  After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .

***

What do you think?  Are you as intrigued as I am?  Would you keep reading?

 

 

 

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monday musings

MONDAY SPARKS: BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS!

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Welcome to another Monday of Musing, hosted by Jenn, at A Daily Rhythm.  Check out the 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 WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: How do you choose which books you read?

***

I am very excited that tomorrow, my pre-order of Under the Influence, by Joyce Maynard, will come to live on Pippa, my Kindle.  I have been a fan of this author since I read her first book, published when she was a teenager:  Looking Back:  A Chronicle of Growing Up Old in the Sixties.

Another favorite from her, which I still have on my bookshelves, is a somewhat controversial memoir:  At Home in the World, the story of her teenage relationship with J. D. Salinger.  Maynard does not steer away from difficult topics, and she reveals much of herself in the characters she creates in her fiction.

 

 

 

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Blurb:  The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning—and the true price—of friendship.

Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

***

I know that I won’t be able to relegate this book to the bottom of the pile.  Some books just call out to be read immediately.

What are you musing about today?  As for how I pick my books, I choose from my list of favorite authors, as well as various books that I see on the blogs.  Books that are thrillers or those that reveal secrets in the relationships between the books’ characters.  Books about people that intrigue me.

***

first paragraphs · teaser tuesdays

LET’S IGNITE SOME SPARKS: “ICE COLD”

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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 A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one that has been languishing on Pippa, my Kindle, since last year.  I have never read the author, but I love a TV series based on the books.  Ice Cold, (A Rizzoli & Isles Novel), by Tess Gerritsen, promises to be suspenseful and engaging.

 

 

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Intro:  (Plain of Angels, Idaho)

She was the chosen one.

For months, he had been studying the girl, ever since she and her family had moved into the compound.  Her father was George Sheldon, a mediocre carpenter who worked with the construction crew.  Her mother, a bland and forgettable woman, was assigned to the communal bakery.  Both had been unemployed and desperate when they’d first wandered into his church in Idaho Falls, seeking solace and salvation.  Jeremiah had looked into their eyes, and he saw what he needed to see:  lost souls in search of an anchor, any anchor.

They had been ripe for the harvest.

***

Teaser:  Maura went to the dresser and picked up a photo with a simple tin frame.  Four faces gazed back:  a man and a woman, flanking two young girls of about nine or ten, their blond hair neatly bound into braids. (p. 66).

***

Blurb:  A spur-of-the-moment ski trip becomes a bone-chilling nightmare when a wrong turn leaves Boston medical examiner Maura Isles marooned—far from home and help—in the snowbound Wyoming mountains. Seeking shelter from the cold, she and her traveling companions stumble upon Kingdom Come—a remote village of identical houses that seems to have become a ghost town overnight. But the abandoned hamlet has dark secrets to tell, and Maura’s party may not be as alone as they think. Days later, word reaches homicide cop Jane Rizzoli that Maura’s charred remains have been found at the scene of a car crash. But the shocking news leaves Jane with too many questions, and only one way to get answers. Determined to dig up the truth, she heads for the frozen desolation of Kingdom Come, where gruesome discoveries lie buried, and a ruthless enemy watches and waits.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  Have you already read it?  I am eager to finally delve into this series.  What are you sharing today?

***

book beginnings · Friday Sparks · The Friday 56

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – INNOCENT

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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’m featuring a book from my TBR stacks.  One that I purchased a couple of months ago.  It is a sequel to the book Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow.  This book is entitled Innocent.

 

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Beginning:  Prologue – September 30, 2008

A man is sitting on a bed.  He is my father.

The body of a woman is beneath the covers.  She was my mother.

Chapter One:  Rusty, March 19, 2007, Eighteen Months Earlier

From the elevated walnut bench a dozen feet above the lawyers’ podium, I bang the gavel and call the last case of the morning for oral argument.

“People versus John Harnason,” I say, “fifteen minutes each side.”

***

56:  Brand was right.  They had a job to do.  But it was a peril.  The joke was thinking you were ever really in charge of your life.

***

Blurb:  The sequel to the genre-defining, landmark bestseller Presumed Innocent, INNOCENT continues the story of Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto who are, once again, twenty years later, pitted against each other in a riveting psychological match after the mysterious death of Rusty’s wife.

***

So now I am eager to see where this new journey will take these familiar characters.  What are you sharing today?

creative sparks · Saturday Snapshot

CREATIVE SPARKS: FAMILY & THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Now that Christmas is coming very soon, I will share a few decorations…and also some more family shots.

First….across the world, in Spain, my son’s bride Gabi snapped this rare and spontaneous shot of Craig.  He looks exuberant, doesn’t he, especially for someone who is usually behind the camera instead of in front of it.

Taking a leap of faith?  Craig, newlywed, in Fuengirola, Spain
Taking a leap of faith? Craig, newlywed, in Fuengirola, Spain

Now…back to the states, and down south a bit, in sunny LA:  Aubrey and some friends “catch” the premiere of Catching Fire.

Aubrey, far right, with friends
Aubrey, far right, with friends

Here in my city in the middle of the state, we are gradually decking the halls.  I pulled some of the usual decor out of the bins to showcase a wee bit of Christmas, Laurel-Rain Style.

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And here’s a little vignette, with “fake” poinsettias, to make us feel the cheer of the season.

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And for the grand finale, here’s the tree at the home of Heather, Steven, and Noah.  I recognize some of the ornaments from the days when I had a big tree in my foothills house.

Heather, Steven, & Noah's tree

Now…for the rest of the weekend, I plan to watch movies and shows on Netflix, sip a little eggnog, and read.  What are you doing to get in the holiday spirit, if you celebrate it?

book beginnings · Friday Sparks · The Friday 56

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – THE EDGE OF NORMAL

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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’m spotlighting an ARC from Amazon Vine called The Edge of Normal, by Carla Norton.

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue) Seattle, Washington, Six Years Earlier

Her name had been out of the headlines so long that he was sure no one was searching for her when he fit the key into the lock for the last time.  The door swung wide on its hinges, but he felt no need to secure it behind him.  The steps groaned beneath his weight as he descended into the basement and ordered her to stand and face the wall.

***

56:  Reeve studies the tall young man, wondering—as she often does when meeting someone new—whether he knows who she is and what happened to her.

***

Amazon Description:  In many ways, Reeve LeClaire looks like a typical twenty-two year old girl. She’s finally landed her own apartment, she waitresses to pay the bills, and she wishes she wasn’t so nervous around new people. She thinks of herself as agile, not skittish. As serious, not grim. But Reeve is anything but normal.

Ten years ago, she was kidnapped and held captive. After a lucky escape, she’s spent the last six years trying to rebuild her life, a recovery thanks in large part to her indispensable therapist Dr. Ezra Lerner. But when he asks her to help another girl rescued from a similar situation, Reeve realizes she may not simply need to mentor this young victim—she may be the only one who can protect her from a cunning predator who is still out there, watching every move.

From the author of the #1 non-fiction bestseller Perfect Victim: The True Story of the Girl in the Box comes a novel that draws you into a chilling and engrossing world. With masterful plot twists and shifting points of view that make it as irresistible as Gone Girl, Carla Norton’s The Edge of Normal is a stunning debut thriller.

***

I am very eager to dive into this one.   What are you spotlighting today?

 

creative sparks · Saturday Snapshot

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS – FROM ZOMBIES TO “FENG SWAY”

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

After missing a week, I’m back with more creative sparks from my kids and grandkids.  Let’s begin with my eldest son’s features.

Here’s one about the Zombie Walk in Berlin...click the link for more info. from an article he wrote; then enjoy one of  my son’s shots.

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And a shot that spotlights Berlin Start-Ups.  

Photo by Craig Robinson.

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Now…on to my second son, Brett, who had the pleasure of chatting with Brian Wilson:

Brett & Brian Wilson

Meanwhile, eldest grandson, Alec, spent some time in San Francisco with friends:

Alec, 2nd from Left
Alec, 2nd from Left

Back in Berlin, at Craig’s flat, he did a little Feng “Sway,” as he calls it, with the keyboard, a quirky lamp, and the old time piano photo above the modern version:

Craig's Feng Sway Flat-framed

And that’s some of what we’ve been up to in our family.

As for me, I’m just reading and blogging…and in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s Assassination, here’s an excerpt from my book Chasing Stardust, in which some of the characters mourn his passing.

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***

book beginnings · Friday Sparks · The Friday 56

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – JUSTICE FOR SARA

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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 spotlighted book is a suspense novel from a favorite author:  Justice for Sara, by Erica Spindler.

 

 

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Beginning:  Liberty, Louisiana, Monday, June 3, 2013: 10:00 a.m.

Katherine McCall stood at the broken front gate and stared at the words that had been spray-painted in black across the yellow clapboard siding.  Simple.  Ugly.  A warning.

We know u did it

***

56:  Tuesday, June 4

1:00 p.m.

Kat wanted to talk to Ryan before Luke did, so she headed directly there from the police department.  R & B Imports wasn’t the small-scale operation she had expected, but a big, impressively slick one, from the contemporary leather seating in the waiting room to the complimentary beverage center, complete with an espresso machine.

***

Blurb:  When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutally murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye. Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried. While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed, and her only choice was to go into hiding. But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death . . .

Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life. Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: “What about justice for Sara?” What about justice for Sara? And for herself? Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace. And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.

But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left. The secrets and suspicions still run deep. Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one. With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting—and dying—for.

***

So far, I’m loving this one from the best-selling Erica Spindler.  What are you sharing today?

creative sparks · Saturday Snapshot

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS — GOODBYE TO HALLOWEEN

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Today we are looking ahead to more holidays in the coming months.  But before we go there, let’s take one final look at Halloween.

Here is my eldest son…and could that be an advertisement for his business across this photo?  Why, yes, it is!  Click the photo to see his website.

spookiest of all

Now for some simple pumpkins….before and after the spookiness sets in.  The first one is Craig’s unique version of the Great Pumpkin.

craig's pumpkin

The next two photos are of Noah’s pumpkins:

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And here are those same pumpkins…after the lights go out.

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Here is my tribute to the autumn season…my desktop background on the laptop, and my coffee mug:  Apple.

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And Fiona’s nod to the season:  a dark hoodie (and it’s a selfie!).

spooky in a hoodie

***

Now I’m ready to move on to the next holiday!  What about you?

book beginnings · Friday Sparks · The Friday 56

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — AFTER I’M GONE

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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:  After I’m Gone, by Laura Lippman.

 

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Beginning:  July 4, 1976

They left at dusk, about an hour before the fireworks were scheduled, and by the time they were at the old toll bridge over the Susquehanna, Felix could see glimmers of light through the one tiny window, little celebrations everywhere.  He had told Julie to take the old way to Philadelphia, up Route 40.  He was being cautious, yet nostalgic, too.  He had gotten his start out here, taking action in the bars.

***

56:  If only people knew how obvious their lies were, at least to him.  Maybe then they wouldn’t bother with them.  “Nothing important,” she said, and he knew it was at least somewhat important.

***

Blurb:  Laura Lippman, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Most Dangerous Thing, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know, returns with an addictive story that explores how one man’s disappearance echoes through the lives of the wife, mistress, and daughters he left behind.

When Felix Brewer meets Bernadette “Bambi” Gottschalk at a Valentine’s Dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative—if not all legal—businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi’s comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes.

Though Bambi has no idea where her husband—or his money—might be, she suspects one woman does: his mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day that Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she’s left to join her old lover—until her remains are eventually found.

Now, twenty-six years after Julie went missing, Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women. And at the center is the missing man Felix Brewer.

Somewhere between the secrets and lies connecting past and present, Sandy will find the truth. And when he does, no one will ever be the same.

***

I am very eager to read this one!  I am addicted to this author’s mysteries.  Now I’m off to see what the rest of you are sharing.