CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS — DEFINING MOMENTS — AUGUST 24

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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’s focus will be on defining moments in the lives of the featured family members.  Moments that hold personal and/or special relevance in their lives.

First…here’s my daughter Heather, after celebrating a significant birthday.   We won’t say which one….And it’s not one of those that begins a new decade….LOL

 

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And in the next two photos, two of my grandchildren are off to new school days with new attitudes…and/or new looks.

Fiona’s new look comes first.  She is back “home” from Texas with a new hair color…and a piercing.

 

A new look...and new hair color
A new look…and new hair color

 

And here’s Noah, looking proud to be a fifth grader.

 

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And that’s all I have for today!  I hope to share more next week.  Now…what are the rest of you displaying?

 

 

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — A LOVE STORY — AUGUST 17

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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 I’m sharing a romantic story between my niece and her spouse, beginning with photos of them when they first met nineteen years ago.

 

Amy & Ric in Santa Cruz
Amy & Ric in Santa Cruz

 

 

 

Amy & Ric in 2012
Amy & Ric in 2012

 

 

 

Amy & Ric in 2012
Amy & Ric in 2013
Amy - Now
Amy – Now

 

 

Another Current Photo
Another Current Photo

 

Thanks for stopping by…and I am looking forward to clicking around the blogosphere and visiting your snapshots.

HUMP DAY SPARKS: WAITING ON “THANKLESS IN DEATH” — AUGUST 7

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Welcome to a Wednesday event that is sure to spark your intrigue:  Waiting on Wednesday, by Breaking the Spine.

My find for today is one in a series I am enjoying.  The In Death series, by J. D. Robb.  Thankless in Death will be released on 9/17/13.

 

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In the latest suspense thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, the year 2060 is drawing to a close in New York City and loved ones are coming together for Thanksgiving. But sometimes the deepest hatreds seethe within the closest relationships, and blood flows faster than water…

Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for this season. Hosting Roarke’s big Irish family for the holiday may be challenging, but it’s a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood.

Other couples aren’t as lucky as Eve and Roarke. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned—and heartbroken by the evidence that they were murdered by their own son. Twenty-six-year-old Jerry hadn’t made a great impression on the bosses who fired him or the girlfriend who dumped him—but they didn’t think he was capable of this.

Turns out Jerry is not only capable of brutality but taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next.

***

What are you drooling over today?  Come on by and share….

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — UNIVERSITY DAYS — AUGUST 3

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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.

A few weeks ago, my eldest grandson Alec took some time to visit the University of California at Berkeley campus, and shared some lovely photos.  He will be matriculating at that campus in the coming months. 

Here are some highlights:

 

Alec - visit to Berkeley 1

 

Alec at Berkeley 2

 

Alec Berkeley 3

 

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It still seems like yesterday (to me), recalling my own university days.  My time in those trenches was in the sixties, with all the hoopla associated with them….ah, the fond memories!

What are you highlighting today?  Come on by and share some comments and links.

TUESDAY SPARKS: INTROS/TEASERS — ISLAND GIRLS — JULY 16

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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 shines on an ARC from an author I enjoy:  Island Girls, by Nancy Thayer.

 

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Intro:  Arden’s half-hour television show for Channel Six, a local Boston station, was called Simplify This, which Arden privately knew was a ridiculous title because, really, nothing in life was simple.

She couldn’t remember when she’d last had a vacation, and even when she had a weekend off, she’d worked, tapping away at her laptop or considering DVDs prospective entrants had sent her, or reviewing call sheets or expenses.  Even watching television was work because she recorded and savagely studied competing shows, comparing theirs to hers, searching for what she was missing, what she could improve.  Reading books and magazines:  same thing.  Even exercise was work for Arden because she had to keep her thirty-four-year-old body in shape for the merciless cameras that made everyone’s butt look ten inches wider and ten pounds heavier.  Same with having her nails and her hair done.  She was fairly certain she worked when she slept.

***

Teaser:  Arden didn’t want to intrude on Zoey’s territory, but could she help it if some younger people invited her to simplify their homes? (p. 145)

***

New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer returns to her beloved Nantucket in a highly emotional, wholly entertaining tale of three sisters forced to confront the past over one event-filled summer on the island.

Charming ladies’ man Rory Randall dies with one last trick up his sleeve: His will includes a calculating clause mandating a summer-long reunion for his daughters, all from different marriages—that is, if they hope to inherit his posh Nantucket house. Relations among the three sisters are sour thanks to long-festering jealousies, resentments, and misunderstandings. Arden, a successful television host in Boston, hasn’t been back to the island since her teenage years, when accusations of serious misbehavior led to her banishment. College professor Meg hopes to use her summer to finish a literary biography and avoid an amorous colleague. And secretive Jenny, an IT specialist, faces troubling questions about her identity while longing for her sisters’ acceptance.

To their surprise, the three young women find their newfound sisterhood easier to trust than the men who show up to complicate their lives. And if that weren’t problematic enough, their mothers descend on the island. When yet another visitor drops by the house with shocking news, the past comes screaming back with a vengeance. Having all the women from his life under his seaside roof—and overseeing the subsequent drama of that perfect storm—Rory Randall might just be enjoying a hearty laugh from above.

Nancy Thayer’s novel insightfully illustrates how the push and pull of family altercations make us whole. It’s how the Randall sisters come to forgive, and learn to open their hearts to love.

***

So…what do you think?  Does it sweep you away like an island getaway?  Would you keep reading?  Now I’m off to see what everyone else is sharing today.

 

CREATIVE SPARKS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — SUMMER FUN — JULY 13

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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.

Over the past week, several family members have enjoyed the beach and various other getaways.  Some of us even got together for a Tuesday lunch.

Alec, Aaron, Brett, & Aubrey at a Dodgers Game
Alec, Aaron, Brett, & Aubrey at a Dodgers Game
Heather & Noah enjoying a seafood meal at the beach
Heather & Noah enjoying a seafood meal at the beach
Heather and Aubrey -- lunch
Noah, Heather and Aubrey — lunch
Left:  Alec, Brett, & Aaron; top right, group lunch; bottom right, Fiona in Santa Cruz
Left: Alec, Brett, & Aaron; top right, group lunch; bottom right, Fiona in Santa Cruz

And here is one more group shot outside the restaurant.  Fiona was also at the lunch, but somehow was hiding behind Brett in the lunch table scene…lol

Alec, Aubrey, Aaron, Heather, Noah, & Fiona
Alec, Aubrey, Aaron, Heather, Noah, & Fiona

So it must be said:  a good time was had by all!

How about your week?  What can you show us that tells a story?

TUESDAY SPARKS: INTROS/TEASERS — THE LAWS OF GRAVITY — JULY 9

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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 I’m featuring an ARC that I’m reading:  The Laws of Gravity, by Liz Rosenberg.

 

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Intros:  The Cousins:  May 1982

The two cousins sat in the sunlight of a May afternoon, overlooking the edge of a suburban backyard.  Ari Wiesenthal was seven, a sturdy-looking boy who wore a distracted look and seemed to have a permanent frown line between his eyes.  His hair was dark brown, but moppy—somewhere between wavy and curly.  Nicole was only four.  She was as slight and airy as he was solid, with a pair of long, thin dancer’s legs.  For a child so young, she was eerily beautiful;  red-haired, her eyes deep brown and level.  She was barefoot, wearing a sweatshirt over a pair of flowered shorts.

***

Teaser:  “The only test this baby hasn’t taken yet is the SAT,” Mimi said.  “But Ari’s already got her enrolled at Kaplan’s.” (p.11)

***

Amazon Blurb:  An exquisite tour de force, The Laws of Gravity is a testament to what it means to be a family, what it takes to save a life, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

Two families, bound by blood. One decision holds the key to survival.

Nicole, red-haired and beautiful, discovers that her life is in danger. She turns to her cousin and childhood best friend Ari for the cord blood he’s been banking for his own children. His decision brings them before the scales of justice. Solomon Richter, a state Supreme Court judge on the brink of mandatory retirement, finds himself embroiled in a legal battle unlike any other. A case that calls into question the very things we live for: family, loyalty, friendship and love.

It’s Nicole’s last chance, Ari’s last stand, and the judge’s last case.

A novel of heartbreaking honesty, humor and depth; an unforgettable story of justice and love: The Laws of Gravity heralds award-winning Liz Rosenberg as a new storytelling sensation.

***

I am loving this book.  What are you sharing today?  Come on by and let’s chat.

HUMP DAY SPARKS: WAITING FOR “WAITING FOR WEDNESDAY” — JULY 3

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The sparks are flying around here today.  Not only is it time for Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.  But the book for which I’m eagerly waiting is:  drum roll, please!  Waiting for Wednesday, by Nicci French.  It’s Book # 3 in the Frieda Klein series, and the book will be released on April 3, 2014.

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I found the image on Goodreads.

Amazon Blurb:  The thrilling third novel starring London psychotherapist-turned-detective Frieda Klein—from internationally bestselling author Nicci French

Nicci French’s Blue Monday and Tuesday’s Gone introduced the brilliant yet reclusive psychotherapist Frieda Klein to widespread critical acclaim, but Waiting for Wednesday promises to be her most haunting case yet.

Ruth Lennox, housewife and mother of three, is found dead in a pool of her own blood. Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson can’t piece together a motive and calls in Frieda, hoping her talents will offer a new angle on the case.

When it emerges that the mother was hiding a scandalous secret, her family closes ranks. Frieda herself is distracted, still reeling from an attempt on her life, and struggling with her own rare feelings of vulnerability. Then a patient’s chance remark sends Frieda down a dangerous path that seems to lead to a serial killer who’s long escaped detection. Is Frieda getting closer to unraveling either case? Or is she just the victim of her own paranoid, fragile mind? Because, as Frieda knows, every step closer to a killer is one more step into a darkness from which there may be no return . . .

Flawlessly executed, Waiting for Wednesday is a penetrating, twisted novel of murder and neurosis with a jaw-dropping climax that will linger in readers’ minds long after they have turned the last page.

 

***

I am so excited to finally discover it on Amazon.  It is available in the UK, and I would have ordered there eventually if it didn’t come here.

What are you eagerly anticipating today?

TUESDAY SPARKS: INTROS/TEASERS — OBSOLETE — JUNE 25

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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.

My choice today is Obsolete, by C. T. French, Book 1 in a series of dystopian novels.

 

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Intro:  I stood on the ridge above the small valley, far enough away that the stench was not so bothersome, watching flames lick wickedly toward the sky.  From this angle, the huge pit resembled an ugly pockmark upon the dark-green grass, the stiff arms and legs of the bodies jutting at odd angles, some reaching upward as if seeking salvation, others resembling discarded dolls thrown into a trash bin.  I watched the burial crew retreat from the pit, black smoke trailing them like a death shroud, carrying smoldering cinders and minute bits of cloth and flesh.  The smell would be horrendous as they waited for the fire to finish its cremation.  Afterward, they would dump lime into the pit and, if there was room, add more bodies tomorrow.  Remembering the gauze mask, I ripped it away and threw it to the ground.  I eyed it, thinking to pick it up, but decided, who would notice?  A small bit of trash among a country full of dead bodies and animals.  Even so, I should have thrown it into the fire before leaving.

***

Teaser:  My heart quickened.  Our future rested on this woman giving birth.  (2%)

***

Blurb:  Book 1 of the Obsolete series.

In a dystopian future, an epic battle between the sexes will determine who lives and who dies.

After the Blue Pox pandemic wipes out 99.99 percent of males and 99.95 percent of females, the majority under the age of 50,18-year-old Madison wanders the countryside, lost and alone. She joins forces with Katherine, a former anthropologist, in search of a safe place to live, and the two find a group of women gathered on the campus of a small college in East Tennessee. Katherine quickly establishes herself as leader and under the influence of Callie, a former prison guard, begins to imprison men, whom they refer to as the “others”, for what Madison perceives can only be nefarious reasons. When older and weaker prisoners start mysteriously disappearing, Madison suspects Callie and her band of deputies are killing them. After a pregnant woman joins their commune, Callie and Katherine, aware that females outnumber males and hoping to create a new world ruled by women, make plans to build their community and attain power. They devise a procreation policy, mating the younger women with the healthy male prisoners, and Madison must make a decision to either stay and become puppet to their plans or make her way alone in a desolate, violent world. But before she can do so, she meets Jonah, a young man captured by Callie, and Madison finds herself caught between her love and loyalty to Katherine and her attraction to Jonah. Madison is forced to make a harder decision: to stay and condone what Callie and Katherine are doing or risk her life and escape with Jonah.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  Now I’m off to see what the rest of you are sharing.

 

 

MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKISH THINGS — JUNE 24

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Welcome to another Musing Mondays, where the sparks can fly as we chat about bookish things.  Head on over to Should Be Reading to find out more.

Here are some thoughts to ponder:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

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Right now, I am reading a memoir by Joyce Carol Oates called A Widow’s Story. 

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I bought the book two years ago, and it’s been resting comfortably on my stacks ever since.  I wanted to read it because it’s Joyce Carol Oates, and it’s a memoir about a very difficult and challenging time in her life.  I was curious about how she would show us what she experienced.  I was sure that she might have something important to share.

Here’s a part of the blurb that grabbed me:

In a work unlike anything she’s written before, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates unveils a poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of forty-six years and its wrenching, surprising aftermath.

“My husband died, my life collapsed.”

On a February morning in 2008, Joyce Carol Oates drove her ailing husband, Raymond Smith, to the emergency room of the Princeton Medical Center where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Both Joyce and Ray expected him to be released in a day or two. But in less than a week, even as Joyce was preparing for his discharge, Ray died from a virulent hospital-acquired infection, and Joyce was suddenly faced—totally unprepared—with the stunning reality of widowhood.

***

Who among us hasn’t feared those infections that lurk in hospitals, the very places where we hope to find healing?  It is a grim reminder that medical facilities are also flawed, as well as places of care and nurturing.

As I read the book (I am halfway finished), I am captivated by the sheer honesty of the author as she shares her fears, her vulnerabilities, and how being alone has shaken her to her core.

As a bestselling author and the winner of numerous awards, I have never thought of JCO as anything but strong, independent, and able to handle anything.  I had never seen her as “needing” someone as much as she describes her need for her husband.  It lends an extra layer of humanity to someone who is one of the literary greats.

While the story is difficult, sad, and frightening at times, I am glad I am finally reading it.

***

What is sparking your musings today?  Come on by and share your thoughts…and links.

 

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