THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES — FRIENDS — MAY 24

Welcome to Thursday Sparks, where we celebrate bookish events.  Today, let’s shout out about the friendship theme, as we join Kavya, Reading Between Pages, for Theme Thursdays.

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:

  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
    Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

FRIEND , Buddy, confidant, comrade etc.

***

I’ve grabbed a book from next week’s stack:  Ocean Beach, by Wendy Wax, the story of women who become accidental friends in the first book (Ten Beach Road) and now are putting on a reality show about do-overs.  My copy of the book is an ARC, so the final print may be slightly different.

Wendy Wax, author of the “warm [and] wry” (St. Petersburg TimesTen Beach Road, returns with a novel of three women in need of a second chance…or is it a third?

Unlikely friends Madeline, Avery and Nicole have hit some speed bumps in their lives, but when they arrive in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood, they are all hoping for a do-over. Literally. They’ve been hired to bring a once-grand historic house back to its former glory on a new television show called Do-Over. If they can just get this show off the ground, Nikki would get back on her feet financially, Avery could restart her ruined career, and Maddie would have a shot at keeping her family together.

At least, that’s the plan – until the women realize that having their work broadcast is one thing, having their personal lives play out on TV is another thing entirely. Soon they are struggling to hold themselves, and the project, together. With a decades-old mystery—and the hurricane season—looming, the women are forced to figure out just how they’ll weather life’s storms…

***

In this snippet, Nicole is enjoying a luxurious bath and thinking about what lies ahead:

Burrowing deeper into the warm water, Nicole reached for the waiting loofah.  Tomorrow she’d meet up with the women who’d so unexpectedly become her friends.  Together they’d do their best to make Do Over a success.  p. 8

***

Now I’m off to see what the rest of you have found!  Happy Thursday!

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — MAY 17

Welcome to another day of bookish delight, as we celebrate two events.

Theme Thursdays, hosted by Reading Between Pages, is all about finding themes in the books we read and enjoying the writing styles of the authors we explore.

Booking Through Thursday is like a conversation amongst bloggers in response to a prompt issued each week.

Come on by and join in the fun!

Themes:

Our themes offer a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Today’s Theme –

MOM , Grandmother, aunt, teacher (an elder women who deserves respect)

***

Mine today is from the same book I excerpted last week:  Reel Life, by Jackie Townsend, a story about sisters and family life…and escape.

Blurb:  Sisters are meant to always be there for each other, or are they? In the glare of reality, clashing views and acts of betrayal can form unbridgeable gaps, and the fabric of sisterly love must be rewoven from whole cloth. Reel Life, the debut novel by Jackie Townsend, charts the story of two sisters who must call upon the past to forge a new and meaningful connection. With iconic moments of cinema as its driving narrative thread, this finely-wrought, absorbing work will cut straight to the heart, and reveal the intricate emotions that come together to form a family. Exploring themes of motherhood, body image, ambition, and love, Reel Life offers a poignant close-up of the most intimate of relationships that move, confuse, haunt, and heal. Surging with drama interlaced with subtle irony, Reel Life will shock, surprise and move anyone who understands that sometimes, escaping reality offers the clearest path to emotional truth.

***

Snippet:  (The children are watching The Wizard of Oz, when something happens to the TV):

“It’ll be OK Mom,” they both instinctively blurted out, as their dad limped into the room just behind her.

“I specifically asked you girls not to touch the TV.”

***

Booking Through Thursday:

abookandashortlatte1 asks

If you had to choose to live within a novel, which would it be?

***

Wow!  This is difficult, because I often read books that are thrillers….and I really don’t want to live inside those books, no matter how exciting they are.

And the family dramas are often sad, with emotional twists I have already experienced and I don’t want to go there again.

But I might enjoy living in some stories with beautiful settings, like The Tapestry of Love, by Rosy Thornton. (Click the titles/covers for my reviews).

Or The Violets of March, by Sarah Jio…gorgeous settings.

Or how about a good beach read?  There’s Summer Rental, with fun, adventure, and some beautiful settings.

You get the picture…I don’t want too much drama, but lush settings and the possibility of a little adventure.

What about the rest of you?  What kinds of books would literally “draw you in”?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — MAY 10

Welcome to another day of bookish delight, as we celebrate two events.

Theme Thursdays, hosted by Reading Between Pages, is all about finding themes in the books we read and enjoying the writing styles of the authors we explore.

Booking Through Thursday is like a conversation amongst bloggers in response to a prompt issued each week.

Come on by and join in the fun!

Theme Thursdays:

Our themes will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

DRINKS , tea, wine, beer, water (anything liquid)

***

I’m excerpting today from Reel Life, by Jackie Townsend.  Sisters are meant to always be there for each other, or are they? In the glare of reality, clashing views and acts of betrayal can form unbridgeable gaps, and the fabric of sisterly love must be rewoven from whole cloth. Reel Life, the debut novel by Jackie Townsend, charts the story of two sisters who must call upon the past to forge a new and meaningful connection.  Reel Life offers a poignant close-up of the most intimate of relationships that move, confuse, haunt, and heal. Surging with drama interlaced with subtle irony, Reel Life will shock, surprise and move anyone who understands that sometimes, escaping reality offers the clearest path to emotional truth.

Snippet:  (2003:  Jamie is on her way to Thailand from LA)

The plane hit some bumps, and she gripped the armrest with one hand, while waving the steward over for some champagne with the other.  Turbulence never used to bother her, but it had been two years since she had flown, and alcohol seemed to help.  p. 15

(My go-to drink when flying!)

***

Booking Through Thursday – (Prompt):

Heidi had an assortment of questions to ask:

Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?

That’s not so easy to answer.  Years ago, I would have said “introvert,” but then I had a career in social work, in which I had to put myself out there; I had to approach strangers in tricky situations and win them over.  Gain their trust.  And then I had to keep doing that over and over every day.

It got easier, but even though I hung in there, doing that for more than three decades, I have always preferred quiet, bookish events….or my own company, along with a good book.

I guess I have a split personality!  lol

Did I manage to move out of my comfort zone?  I definitely did that, and most people I know have a hard time reconciling that person with the quiet “hermit” they now see in my free lance life.  But these days I’m doing what truly brings me comfort and joy.

But I emerge from my office cave every now and then to socialize, and I even enjoy it.

Interesting question…what about the rest of you?  What is your style?  Where are you most comfortable?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — MAY 3

Welcome to another day of bookish delight, as we celebrate two events.

Theme Thursdays, hosted by Reading Between Pages, is all about finding themes in the books we read and enjoying the writing styles of the authors we explore.

Booking Through Thursday is like a conversation amongst bloggers in response to a prompt issued each week.

Come on by and join in the fun!

Theme Thursdays:

Today’s theme:

AGREE , Nod, accept, etc

***

Today’s selection is a collection of short stories by Jennifer Weiner, called The Guy Not Taken.   In this collection of short stories, the reader follows the tender, and often hilarious, progress of love and relationships over the course of a lifetime. From a teenager coming to terms with her father’s disappearance to a widow accepting two young women into her home, Weiner’s eleven stories explore those transformative moments in our every day.  My snippet is from the first story, called Just Desserts.

In this passage, three siblings are at a family swimming pool, discussing jobs for one of them; after several attempts, all dismissed by Nicki for various reasons:  she doesn’t like people very much, doesn’t want to do anything physical, etc.  But after her siblings keep pushing, she finally grudgingly grabs the phone:

“When the ringing finally stopped, my sister stomped back across the gravel and snatched up the telephone.  She flopped onto her chair, punched in some numbers, and said, “Yes, in Avon, Connecticut, a listing for Friendly’s, please?” (p. 7-8)

***

Booking Through Thursday:

Heidi asks:

Do you have siblings? Do they like to read?

It has been many years since I lived under the same roof as my siblings.  We varied in age and interests so much, but I think that we all enjoyed some form of reading.

My older brother was very scholarly, so I don’t recall him reading for “pleasure,” however.  My younger brother and sister did read, but nobody in the family read as much as I did.

I was dubbed “the bookworm,” and spent more time reading than all of them combined.

I don’t know what their adult reading habits are…I don’t have a close relationship with the two younger ones, who live in a town a few hours away.  My older brother passed away almost thirty years ago.

It is interesting to think about reading habits among siblings, however, and I think of my own children and how they fared in these traits.  My older two were big Stephen King fans in their teens; I know my oldest one still enjoys an edgy story.  He is a writer/photographer, while my second oldest works in the film industry and occasionally writes screenplays.

Their reading habits fueled their adult pursuits.  I think a reader’s journey can take many paths, but in the end, the love of reading is at the core of those of us who love to read, informing our lives.

What about you?  What are your thoughts?

Curl up and read….

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — APRIL 26

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages ; or explore our thoughts and feelings about bookish topics in Booking Through Thursday.


Our themes give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Theme Thursdays:

Today’s Prompt:

YES!!! Okay, sure, etc.

***

Today’s snippet is from Love in a Nutshell, by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly.

About the book:

Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she’s been fired from her position as a magazine editor, and the only place she wants to go is to her parents’ summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene’s Harbor, Michigan. Kate’s plan is to turn The Nutshell into a Bed and Breakfast. Problem is, she needs cash, and the only job she can land is less than savory.
Matt Culhane wants Kate to spy on his brewery employees. Someone has been sabotaging his company, and Kate is just new enough in town that she can insert herself into Culhane’s business and snoop around for him. If Kate finds the culprit, Matt will pay her a $20,000 bonus. Needless to say, Kate is highly motivated. But several problems present themselves. Kate despises beer. No one seems to trust her. And she is falling hard for her boss.
Can these two smoke out a saboteur, save Kate’s family home, and keep a killer from closing in…all while resisting their undeniable attraction to one another? Filled with humor, heart, and loveable characters, Love in a Nutshell is delicious fun.
***
(In this excerpt, Kate is hoping for a job and approaches an interview at the Brewing company like it’s her last chance).
(Matt hears someone approach)
“Is Matt Culhane in?” a woman asked Jerry.  “I need to talk to him.  His office is in the back, right?”
“Yes,” Jerry replied.  “But…Wait, you can’t….”  (1%-Kindle)
***
Booking Through Thursday:
Here are some prompts for the day:

Two people asked a similar question:

Charlie Quillen asks:

Has a book ever inspired you to change anything in your life, fiction or non-fiction alike?

Lindsay asks:

There have been books I loved, books that I fell in love with, and books that changed my life, and they’re not always the same nor mutually exclusive.

***
Many books probe the mind and push us into exploring thoughts and feelings by helping us connect with the characters in their explorations.
Some authors present these kinds of issues better than others, in my opinion, like Margaret Atwood.
In Cat’s Eye, she shines a spotlight on bullying, among other things:
In Handmaid’s Tale, she probes a dystopian world that doesn’t seem that implausible:
Jodi Picoult is another author who shows the reader issues and a point of view that might change how we think about some things.
In Sing You Home, she takes on controversial issues.
In my younger years, some of my favorite authors made me wonder what it would be like to have the talent to reach out to people through the written word.
These inspirational authors included Daphne Du Maurier, whose Rebecca and Jamaica Inn left an indelible impression on my mind, even all these years later.  Recently, I bought these two books to reread them.
Little Women, Gone with the Wind, Uncle Tom’s Cabin...all touched me in special ways.  One could say they inspired me.
What books inspired you?  Were there authors whose work did that better than others for you?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — APRIL 19

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages ; or explore our thoughts and feelings about bookish topics in Booking Through Thursday.


Our themes give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Theme Thursdays:

NO!!! don’t, not, negative etc

 

***

Today’s excerpt comes from Heiress Without a Cause, by Sara Ramsey:  “A feisty independent heroine tames an arrogantly handsome hero in this Regency romance filled with witty banter and dicey situations. Ramsey snares her readers from the first as she shares the secret thoughts and longings of her characters through sensuous imagery and creative dialogue…”

Snippet:  (Lady Madeleine is addressing her aunt about a ball – London – 1812)

So she smiled and said in her sunniest voice, “I’m sure a ball is just what I need to recover.  I feel better than I have in an age.”

“Don’t dress it up too much, cousin,” Alex said.  “When have these affairs ever improved our health?”

***

Booking Through Thursday:

The prompt:

What are your literary “pet peeves”?

***

This is a difficult question, since I’m not sure in which direction to go with it.   I don’t want to stomp on anyone’s favorite books, but sometimes when something is hot and popular, we see a proliferation of similar books, titles, and plots that all start to sound the same after awhile.

And maybe that is true for the mainstream books as well:  it’s difficult to find truly unique stories out there.

But we keep trying, don’t we?  I am hoping to expand my horizons with my book choices, and it’s difficult to find something that’s not predictable.

So there….that is my peeve.  Finding something truly unique in a world of sameness.

What about the rest of you?  What is your peeve?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — APRIL 5

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages ; or explore our thoughts and feelings about bookish topics in Booking Through Thursday.


Our themes give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Theme Thursdays:

FOOLISH Stupidity, Fool etc

***

My current read, Arranged, by Catherine McKenzie, tells a story about relationships.

Blurb:  When her latest relationship implodes, and her best friend announces she’s engaged, Anne impulsively calls what she thinks is a dating service—only to discover that it’s actually an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. Anne initially rejects the idea, but the more she learns about the service, the more she thinks: Why not?After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world; maybe it could work for her.

A few months later, Anne is traveling to a Mexican resort, where, over the course of a weekend, she meets and then marries Jack. And initially, everything seems to be working out. . . .

***

This book is an ARC, so the final print may be different.

We meet the characters in a heated confrontation as their relationship is ending:

(Stuart is reacting to Anne saying she is leaving; she then says:)

“Oh, Stuart, please.  This is exactly what you want.  You just don’t want to be the bad guy.  So instead, you’ve made sure I’ll be the one who ends it.  And I’ve been too stupid to figure that out until now.”

***

Booking Through Thursday:

Today’s Question:

If someone asked you for a book recommendation, what is the FIRST book you’d think to recommend (without extra thought)?

***

Okay, now that is too difficult!  I guess it would be what book NOW that I would recommend, although over the years, the answer would have changed.

In my younger years, I would probably have said Gone with the Wind and Rebecca:

At the end of 2011, my choices might have been Never Knowing and The Violets of March.

Ask me next week, and I might tell you something different.

Okay…I did cheat a bit on the 2011 books; I thought about it a bit.

But my memory needs nudges now and then.  How did the rest of you fare with this question?  Come on and tell….

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — MARCH 29

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages ; or explore our thoughts and feelings about bookish topics in Booking Through Thursday.


Our themes give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

 

Theme Thursdays:

 


March is going to be all about making life easy. This month we will do ‘Pick what you see first‘ themes.

Pick the last sentence from the last page of the book. Yes, the very last sentence. I am assuming it would be mostly ‘Happily ever after’ but lets see how books end.

ENDING – Last sentence from the last page of the book.

***

Today I’ve grabbed a book from next week’s stack.  This one has been on my TBRs for QUITE awhile.  American Pastoral, by Philip Roth, is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

As the American century draws to an uneasy close, Philip Roth gives us a novel of unqualified greatness that is an elegy for all our century’s promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss. Roth’s protagonist is Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, who grows up in the booming postwar years to marry a former Miss New Jersey, inherit his father’s glove factory, and move into a stone house in the idyllic hamlet of Old Rimrock. And then one day in 1968, Swede’s beautiful American luck deserts him.

For Swede’s adored daughter, Merry, has grown from a loving, quick-witted girl into a sullen, fanatical teenager—a teenager capable of an outlandishly savage act of political terrorism. And overnight Swede is wrenched out of the longer-for American pastoral and into the indigenous American berserk. Compulsively readable, propelled by sorrow, rage, and a deep compassion for its characters, this is Roth’s masterpiece.

***

The Last Sentence:  And what is wrong with their life?  What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?

Interesting…what do you think?

***

Booking Through Thursday:

I haven’t participated in this one for a couple of weeks.  So here’s today’s prompt:

Ted and Sarah both asked similar questions about relating to characters:

Ted asks:

Are there any fictional characters whom you have emulated (or tried to)? Who and why?

Bookish Sarah asks an interesting assortment of questions:

What literary character do you feel is most like you personality-wise (explain)?

***

Let me start by mentioning a favorite book in childhood and how I loved it so much I read it over and over.  After awhile, the characters seemingly informed my life.  Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, was that book.

I wanted to be Jo, of course; the writer.  But I wanted to look like Meg…lol

 

Nowadays, I’m more likely to enjoy characters who are grown-ups…and writers.  Yes, that wish lingers.

I actually am a writer, but don’t we always feel as though the writers whose books we love are on a higher plane?  Or at least I do.

I love the character in The Tapestry of Love (click for review), in which the MC lives in a beautiful house in France; it’s about finding a new life in beautiful places.

So…to sum up, I would like to be a writer who travels to beautiful places!  lol

What about the rest of you?  Come on by and share….

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES – MARCH 22

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages.

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

 

March is going to be all about making life easy. This month we will do ‘Pick what you see first‘ themes.

Pick the first sentence that has any relevance to any movement(car, boat, motorcycle, walk, run, swim etc…).

MOVEMENT – First snippet from the book having any relevance to movement…

***

Today I’m featuring a book from next week’s list:  Lone Wolf, by Jodi Picoult.

Blurb:  A life hanging in the balance . . . a family torn apart. The #1 internationally bestselling author Jodi Picoult tells an unforgettable story about family secrets, love, and letting go.

In the wild, when a wolf knows its time is over, when it knows it is of no more use to its pack, it may sometimes choose to slip away. Dying apart from its family, it stays proud and true to its nature. Humans aren’t so lucky….

***

(PART ONE:  CARA)

Seconds before our truck slams into the tree, I remember the first time I tried to save a life.

I was thirteen, and I’d just moved back in with my father.

***

I just know I’m going to love this book!  What about you?  What are you sharing today?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES — MARCH 15

 

Good morning!  Welcome to another Thursday event, in which we spark some creativity and dig into the books we’re reading for our Thursday Themes, hosted by Reading Between Pages.

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Hey, I just realized:  it’s the Ides of March today!

March is going to be all about making life easy. This month we will do ‘Pick what you see first‘ themes.

Pick the first sentence that has any relevance to food, drinks, eating or drinking. I am really liking how easy this month’s snippets are becoming and I particularly loved last week’s…

FOOD – First snippet from the book having any relevance to food, drinks, eating, drinking…

***

Today I’ve grabbed a book from next week’s stack:  Blue Monday, by Nicci French.

The stunning first book in a new series of psychological thrillers introducing an unforgettable London psychotherapist

Frieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, uncontrollable place, but what we can control is what is inside our heads. This attitude is reflected in her own life, which is an austere one of refuge, personal integrity, and order.

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, Frieda cannot ignore the coincidence: one of her patients has been having dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A red-haired child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew. She finds herself in the center of the investigation, serving as the reluctant sidekick of the chief inspector.

Drawing readers into a haunting world in which the terrors of the mind have spilled over into real life, Blue Monday introduces a compelling protagonist and a chilling mystery that will appeal to readers of dark crime fiction and fans of In Treatment and The Killing.

***

(The narrator is trying to avoid stepping on the cracks in the paving).

Snippet:  (1987)  This bit was tricky—the paving was broken up into a jagged mosaic.  She got across it, one toe pressing into the little island between the lines.  Her plaits swung against her hot cheek, her school bag bumped against her hip, heavy with books and her half-eaten packed lunch.

***

I’m really excited about this one!

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