THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — MARCH 8

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.

 

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

Open the book you are reading –> Open the page number that has your birthdate (I was born on the 3rd so that is Page 3) –> pick the first sentence from it and post the snippet. Sorry, but ‘No Ebooks’ this time as well. With this week’s theme, we will also get to know your birthdate :)

BIRTHDATE – First snippet from the page that is your birthdate…

That’s easy…right?

I’m reading The Effect of Living Backwards, by Heidi Julavits.

Does Alice really hate her sister, or is that love? Was she really enrolled in grad school, or was that an elaborate hoax? Is this really a hijacking, or is it merely the effect of living backwards?

Following her acclaimed debut, The Mineral Palace, Heidi Julavits presents a quirky, compelling new novel about two sisters, a bizarre event, and the elusive nature of truth.

***

Snippet:  (p. 25) – “You’re too busy contending with despondent nobodies,” she said.

So what did the rest of you find?  Come on by….

***

Booking Through Thursday:

Which non-series book would you most like to read the sequel to? Do you have any wishes for what might happen in it?

That’s actually a lot more difficult than it would appear.  I went through my list of books read last year…and many of them were already in a series.

I did find one that I absolutely loved:  the setting, the characters, and the mystery involved.  Violets of March, by Sarah Jio (click the title for my review) is full of things I’d like to revisit.

The author has written two more books, each lovely in its own way.  I haven’t read the third one yet, coming out in September.

But I would love to see what happened to Emily and with the relationship that began on the island…and whether or not she finds any other mysteries to solve.

What about you?  Any books that called for a sequel?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — FEB. 9

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.

Today’s Theme:

 

This week’s theme is very related to the ear – any action that you do with your ear.

HEAR
listen, anything else you can come up with the ear’s actions :) etc.

 

Today I’m excerpting from a book I just finished reading:  How to Eat a Cupcake, by Meg Donohue.

Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs’ housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia’s engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens up old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.

***

Theme Snippet  (Annie has just arrived at the St. Clair residence for a catering job, and is greeted by Mrs. St. Clair):  “Oh, thank goodness it’s just you!”  she rasped into my ear.  “I nearly died when I heard the doorbell.  I’m sure you haven’t forgotten that early guests are as welcome as the plague in this home.”

***

Booking Through Thursday Prompt:

“If you had to pick only 5 books to read ever again, what would they be and why?”

***

That’s a tough one!  I don’t think I can name individual books, unless, of course, it’s the copy of Gone with the Wind sitting on my office coffee table waiting to be reread; or perhaps Rebecca, waiting there for the same reason.  Those two books I read in high school and recall loving them.  I wonder if I would feel the same now?  Curiosity would draw me to read them again.  Or nostalgia.

I would love to reread anything by Jodi Picoult; or perhaps Marge Piercy, who symbolized a time of feminist consciousness in my life.  I might choose something by Maeve Binchy, because she makes me feel cozy.

 

What about the rest of you?  Did you think of those very special books, or did you struggle with this one?

This is a question like the one we had a few weeks ago:  do you like good writing or a good plot?  Impossible…lol

 

 

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — FEB. 2

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.

Today’s Theme:

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

This week’s theme is very related to the eye – any action that you do with your eye.

SEE
WINK, VISION, ROLL etc.

Mine is from my current read:  Jonathan’s Story, by Julia London, a spin-off from the now defunct soap Guiding Light.

From New York Times bestselling author Julia London comes the passionate, suspenseful novel based on Guiding Light, the 2007 Emmy Award-winning daytime drama.When his true love Tammy Winslow died saving his life, Jonathan Randall had only one reason left for existing: his baby daughter Sarah. But Sarah’s great-grandfather, powerful millionaire Alan Spaulding, was obsessed with bringing her up himself. Faking his death, Jonathan fled Springfield, leaving only his mother Reva Shayne aware he and Sarah were still alive.After being on the run for months, Jonathan comes to the sleepy town of Tourmaline, California, with no intention of staying. But ten-month-old Sarah seems strangely happy here, and Jonathan himself feels an inexplicable pull toward the town. It’s almost as if Tammy’s ghost were whispering to him that he should stay for a while. But life is hard for a bad boy trying to turn good, until a local young woman comes into his life.

Aubrey Cross isn’t quite sure what attracts her to this stranger in Tourmaline. Perhaps it’s his dark good looks; perhaps it’s because she too has always felt as if she doesn’t belong in Tourmaline, even though her father is the popular town sheriff. Aubrey alone knows that this pillar of the community is in reality a sadistic abuser.

And, of course, with a past like Jonathan’s, it’s no surprise that life doesn’t stay peaceful in Tourmaline for long. Sheriff Zeke Cross is sure there are some secrets buried, and he’s not going to rest until he uncovers them. Can Reva protect Jonathan and Sarah before they’re discovered by the dangerous Alan Spaulding?

Featuring some of Guiding Light’s favorite characters, Jonathan’s Story is the passionate tale of how Jonathan may have finally found a second chance for true love…but who knows better than Jonathan how quickly everything you love can be ripped away from you?

***

Snippet:  She (Reva Shayne) rounded another corner, banking the car wide and praying no one was coming toward her on the other side of the road.  She quickly straightened her car out and resumed her reckless speed.  Ahead of her, she could see a cloud of dust where Alan’s and Jonathan’s cars must have turned onto a gravel road.  p. 2

***

Booking Through Thursday prompt:

Have you ever read a random book left in a waiting room or on a park bench, etc., and did you like it?

***

I racked my brain on this one, but I could not think of a single time when that happened!  I’ve picked up magazines in waiting rooms, of course; but I haven’t seen a stray book anywhere.  Now I could be totally blocking this out.

I may have picked up a book or two at someone’s house, but not to read the whole thing.  Perhaps a page or two.  I couldn’t even tell you the name of any of these random books.

Wait!  I do recall picking up a random book a couple of years ago, at a resort where I was staying.  I had finished all the books I’d brought with me, and went to the office to see if they could tell me where the nearest bookstore was.  They pointed me to some shelves nearby and I was told I could pick something out there…so I grabbed a Faye Kellerman book that I hadn’t read, called Moon Music.  I did like it, although it wasn’t my usual choice.  There were shape-shifters, etc.  I was just happy to have something else to read!

Now I’m curious about what the responses of the rest of you!  Come on by and share….

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — JAN. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Themes: 

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

This week’s theme is very (!!!) easy ;) Find the actual word ‘Very’

VERY

***

Today, I’m excerpting from Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, her first novel and a 2006 Bellwether Prize winner.

It is 1946 in the Mississippi Delta, where Memphis-bred Laura McAllan is struggling to adjust to farm life, rear her daughters with a modicum of manners and gentility, and be the wife her land-loving husband, Henry, wants her to be. It is an uphill battle every day. Things started badly when Henry’s trusting nature resulted in the family being done out of a nice house in town, thus relegating them to a shack on their property. In addition, Henry’s father, Pappy, a sour, mean-spirited devil of a man, moves in with them.

The real heart of the story, however, is the friendship between Jamie, Henry’s too-charming brother, and Ronsel Jackson, son of sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm. They have both returned from the war changed men: Jamie has developed a deep love for alcohol and has recurring nightmares; Ronsel, after fighting valiantly for his country and being seen as a man by the world outside the South, is now back to being just another black “boy.”

Told in alternating chapters by Laura, Henry, Jamie, Ronsel, and his parents, Florence and Hap, the story unfolds with a chilling inevitability. Jordan’s writing and perfect control of the material lift it from being another “ain’t-it-awful” tale to a heart-rending story of deep, mindless prejudice and cruelty. This eminently readable and enjoyable story is a worthy recipient of Kingsolver’s prize and others as well. –Valerie Ryan

***

Snippet:  (In Laura’s voice) He took me to restaurants and the picture show, for walks along the Mississippi and day trips to the surrounding countryside, where he pointed out features of the land and the farms we passed.  He was very knowledgeable about crops, livestock and such.  When I remarked on it, he told me he’d grown up on a farm. (7% Kindle).

It took me several pages to find my first “very”!  What did the rest of you discover?

***

In Booking Through Thursday, here’s our thought for the day:

What’s more important: Good writing? Or a good story?

(Of course, a book should have BOTH, but…)

Oh, that’s a tough one….I really do enjoy a good story, but I revel in the beautiful prose that seemingly whispers like the wind, or thunders across the pages like an emotional cloudburst.

I must have both!  But if I had to live without the gorgeous prose, I guess I definitely do need a good story.  James Patterson is a good example:  his prose is not magical, but he can create a page-turning tale.

His famous short chapters seemingly add to the tension. 

 

But I still do adore those beautifully wrought tales…sigh.  Like this author:

She manages to give us beautiful prose and great stories.

What about the rest of you?  What do you say?

 

 

THURSDAY SPARKS — THEMES & BOOKING THROUGH — JAN. 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.

 

Today’s Theme:

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

:) ). This week’s theme is

COME (came, arrive, coming etc)

For a couple of days, I’ve been reading a chunkster (627 pages) called Almost a Crime, by Penny Vincenzi.

Meet Tom and Octavia Fleming. Attractive, rich and madly successful, the pair appeared to have the perfect power marriage until an affair leaves their lives in fatal danger. For this is no ordinary affair, but one that leads to life-threatening terror from which nothing and no one in the Flemings’ charmed circle can escape: not their children, not their friends, not even the one thing that seemed beyond reach – their own professional success.

Described by Dominick Dunne as a writer “with verve and heart, immersing the reader in a world of engrossing and unforgettable glamour and passion,” and praised by Barbara Taylor Bradford as “marvelously engrossing,” Vincenzi’s newest novel is a surefire winner with critics and readers alike.

***

In this part of the story, the MC Octavia Spencer has gone to Barbados with a new lover; he is meeting some of her wealthy friends, and feeling uncomfortable.

Theme Snippet:  He felt instinctively that even a new shirt would hardly cover a lunch party with the Richardsons.  His headache had come back; beating right through him, down his neck and his back.  As he got up to follow the Richardsons to their table, he saw Bertie turn, take in his baggy flannel trousers and distinctly crumpled white shirt, saw his expression of slight disdain. p. 440

 

I think this particular vacation might just be the death of this relationship!  What intriguing snippets do you have to share?

***

In Booking Through Thursday, our leader has posed this question:

I saw this article the other day that asked, “Are you ashamed of skipping parts of books?” Which, naturally, made me want to ask all of YOU.

Do you skip ahead in a book? Do you feel badly about it when you do?

Thinking about this makes me cringe, which tells you already that “skipping” does make me feel guilty.  I don’t usually skip parts of books, especially when I’m going to review them.

However, if there are aspects to the book that are really boring and not adding to the story (IMO), I might SKIM through those parts.  Even then, I do feel a bit as though I’m cheating!

Someone in another similar conversation talked about skipping over battle scenes…now, unless the battle details are important to the story, I just might do that.

However, I am unlikely to read a book about battles (although some of the classics I read back in the day often included some battle scenes), so this issue isn’t going to arise often.

Nowadays, I try really hard to choose books that I’m going to enjoy, which means there won’t be a reason to skip parts.

What about the rest of you?  Do you have a guilty secret?

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES — JAN. 12

Welcome to another Thursday Sparks, in which we spark our creativity and enthusiasm for writing styles in the books we read.

Theme Thursdays, hosted by Reading Between Pages, gives us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

TODAY’S THEME:

 

KNOW (aware, knowing, realize etc)

 

Today I’m featuring a book that has been on my TBR stacks for awhile, and is a chunkster, too.  If I complete this one next week, I will be adding it to lists for two challenges.  At 627 pages, it will be one that takes awhile.  But I love this author, so maybe the book will fly by.  Penny Vincenzi’s Almost a Crime is a book that immerses the reader in a world of engrossing glamor and passion.

About: 

Meet Tom and Octavia Fleming. Attractive, rich and madly successful, the pair appeared to have the perfect power marriage until an affair leaves their lives in fatal danger. For this is no ordinary affair, but one that leads to life-threatening terror from which nothing and no one in the Flemings’ charmed circle can escape: not their children, not their friends, not even the one thing that seemed beyond reach – their own professional success.

Described by Dominick Dunne as a writer “with verve and heart, immersing the reader in a world of engrossing and unforgettable glamour and passion,” and praised by Barbara Taylor Bradford as “marvelously engrossing,” Vincenzi’s newest novel is a surefire winner with critics and readers alike.

***

Snippet:  Tom was already in the American Bar at the Savoy when Octavia rushed in, almost fifteen minutes late, but he was not looking alternately at his watch and the entrance as she would have done, he was at one of the prized corner tables—of course he was at a corner table—reading the Financial Times, apparently perfectly relaxed.  Only a handful of people, Octavia concluded, would have known that Tom was never relaxed, any more than she was, but he was masterly at appearing so.  p.7

***

What did you find today?  I hope you’ll come on by and share….

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES — JAN. 5

Welcome to another Thursday Sparks, in which we spark our creativity and enthusiasm for writing styles in the books we read.

Theme Thursdays, hosted by Reading Between Pages, gives us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Today’s Theme:

NEW (fresh, newest, latest etc)

***

Today I’m sharing the theme by excerpting from an Amazon Vine book on my list next week.

So Pretty It Hurts, by Kate White, is an ARC.

True-crime journalist and sassy amateur sleuth Bailey Weggins has scarcely begun her hard-earned weekend getaway when something comes up: a dead body, belonging to one of the world’s most glamorous supermodels. Now Bailey’s trapped at an upstate New York home amidst the glitterati—and any one of them could be a murderer. She’s determined to find out who’s responsible, but her investigation could provoke the killer into striking again… From Kate White, the New York Times bestselling author of Hush and the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, So Pretty It Hurts is an addictive addition to the Bailey Weggins mystery series, and the book that fans of If Looks Could Kill, Over Her Dead Body, and Lethally Blond have been waiting for.

***

Snippet:  “Oh, God, Bailey, are those the new Prada riding boots?”  Leo asked me as I pulled out my desk chair in the large open bullpen area.  Leo’s a photo editor, but there isn’t enough room for him in the overstuffed art department, so he was bumped to a workstation right behind me and my office bff, Jessie Pendergrass, a senior staff writer.  p. 3

***

I’d love to have those new boots!  What about you?  What snippets did you find today?

 

THURSDAY SPARKS — THEMES — DEC. 29

 

Welcome to another day that sparks creative moments for us all.  Theme Thursdays is hosted by Reading Between Pages, and spotlights the themes in the books we read.

Searching for themes gives us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.


glitter-graphics.com
As we are winding one year, we will hopefully cast away everything that is old and look forward for a brighter and more prosperous year. So look for the word OLD or anything that symbolizes it. (worn out, torn, past etc)

***

I went through three different books from next week’s list to find something “old”!  You wouldn’t think it would be that hard!  lol

The book I am featuring has been on my stacks for awhile:  Brava, Valentine, by Adriana Trigiani, starts out with a wedding.  Not just any wedding, of course, but the wedding of the MC’s 80-year-old grandmother.  Perfect!

As Brava, Valentine begins, snow falls like glitter over Tuscany at the wedding of her grandmother, Teodora, and longtime love, Dominic. Valentine’s dreams are dashed when Gram announces that Alfred, “the prince,” Valentine’s only brother and nemesis, has been named her partner at Angelini Shoes. Devastated, Valentine falls into the arms of Gianluca, a sexy Tuscan tanner who made his romantic intentions known on the Isle of Capri. Despite their passion for one another and Gianluca’s heartfelt letters, a long-distance relationship seems impossible.

As Valentine turns away from romance and devotes herself to her work, mentor and pattern cutter June Lawton guides her through her power struggle with Alfred, while best friend and confidante Gabriel Biondi moves into 166 Perry Street, transforming her home and point of view. Savvy financier Bret Fitzpatrick, Valentine’s first love and former fiancÉe who still carries a torch for her, encourages Valentine to exploit her full potential as a designer and a business woman with a plan that will bring her singular creations to the world.

A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal.

***

Snippet:  From my window at the Spolti Inn, it seems the entire village of Arezzo is swathed in a lace bridal veil.  I sip hot milk and espresso from a warm mug as I watch an old horse-drawn carriage pull up in front of the inn to take us to the church. p. 1

***

Doesn’t that sound romantic?  What did you find today?  Come on by and share some snippets and links….

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES — DEC. 22

 

Welcome to another opportunity to spark some creativity by spotlighting some themes in our reads.

Hosted by Reading Between Pages, today’s theme will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Another apt one for the holiday season.

CLOTHES

***

Today I’m digging down to books that I’ve had on my shelves for awhile and finding some treasures.

Balancing Acts, by Zoe Fishman, is a contest win I received months ago from Book Journey.

 

About: 

A poignant debut novel about the transformative powers of yoga and friendship for four women on the verge of realizing their dreams

With beauty, brains, and a high-paying Wall Street position, Charlie was a woman who seemed to have it all—until she turned thirty and took stock of her life, or lack thereof. She left it all behind to pursue yoga, and now, two years later, she’s looking to drum up business for her fledgling studio in Brooklyn. Attending her college’s alumni night with fliers in tow, she reconnects with three former classmates whose post-graduation lives, like hers, haven’t turned out like they’d hoped.

Romance book editor Sabine still longs to write the novel that’s bottled up inside her. Once an up-and-coming photographer and Upper East Side social darling, Naomi is now a single mom who hasn’t picked up her camera in years. And Bess, who dreamed of being a serious investigative journalist a la Christiane Amanpour, is stuck in a rut, writing snarky captions for a gossip mag. But at a weekly yoga class at Charlie’s studio, the four friends, reunited ten years after college, will forge new bonds and take new chances—as they start over, fall in love, change their lives…and come face-to-face with haunting realities.

***

My Snippet:

“Mama, where are you going?”  Noah asked suspiciously.  “How come you have that stuff on your lips?”

Naomi laughed.  She couldn’t get anything past her son, or the Inspector, as she liked to call him.  Noah needed to know everything, all the time.  “Who is that?  How does this work?  What is milk made of?  Why is your tummy sticking out?”  This last question had come quite recently, when Naomi had attempted to squeeze herself back into a pair of jeans that had last seen the light of day in 1998….

***

This excerpt made me laugh…been there, done that!

What did you discover today?  Come on by and share, please….

 

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — DEC. 15

 

 

 

Good morning, and welcome to another Thursday event, with lots of sparks flying as we share snippets about particular themes; and as we ponder some bookish questions.  Theme Thursdays is hosted by Reading Between Pages; and link up here for Booking Through Thursday.

Here’s our prompt for Themes:

 

Holidays always remind me of food, food and more food… (Don’t mention the calories).

FOOD

My THURSDAY THEME for FOOD is here.
I am looking forward to a lot of mouth-waterings.

***

My choice today is a review book from Amazon Vine called She Can Run, by Melinda Leigh.

Blurb: 

Elizabeth was a young widow with two small children when she met Congressman Richard Baker. Handsome and wealthy, with a sparkling public image, Richard seemed like the perfect man to provide the security that Beth and her kids were craving. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret about her new husband, Beth realizes he will go to any lengths—even murder—to keep it. After barely escaping with her life, she and her children flee. They eventually make their way to a secluded estate in the Pennsylvania countryside, where Beth dares to hope she has found a safe place at last…

Forced into retirement by an unexpected injury, Philadelphia homicide detective Jack O’Malley is mourning the loss of his career when his uncle abruptly dies, leaving Jack to dispose of his crumbling country house. Unbeknownst to him, his uncle engaged a caretaker just before his death, a mysterious woman with two children and a beautiful face that haunts his dreams. Determined to know her, Jack begins an investigation into Beth’s past. When he uncovers the shocking truth, and a local woman is viciously murdered, Jack puts his own life on the line to keep Beth and her children safe.

She Can Run is a sexy, satisfying debut from award-winning author Melinda Leigh, packed with enough suspense and romance….

***

I had to keep turning those pages to find the “food” part…the MC has arrived at her destination, with her children, and there are several offers of food which she declines.  Finally:

“I bet you’re hungry.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Ben nodded.  His eyes darted in Jack’s direction for a second.  Katie stared at the floor.

“Then let’s get you some breakfast.”  With one eye on the children still standing near the doorway, Mrs. Harris pulled a frying pan from the overhead rack and called over her shoulder.  “Jack, shouldn’t you be getting ready?”

Beth poured coffee in a mug and took a sip.  After yesterday’s java binge, her stomach cramped in protest.  She set the mug on the counter. p. 21

***

And that’s all…no further descriptions of food.  Until a few pages later, when it’s lunchtime:

Rolls, potato salad, deviled eggs, and a plate of cookies joined the ham.  The kids dug in.  Clearly no one would go hungry as long as Mrs. Harris was in charge of the kitchen. p. 36

***

And here’s the Booking theme:

What’s more important to you? Real, three-dimensional, fleshed-out fascinating characters? Or an amazing, page-turning plot?

(Yes, I know, they are both important. But if you had to pick one as being more important than the other?

I guess I would have to choose characters.  I love plots, but without the three-dimensional characters that help me really connect to the story, it would be a little bit like flesh without bones, or vice versa.

To me, the characters are the main event.  I love the descriptions that help me visualize them, and I enjoy “seeing” their actions through the narrator’s POV.  Or in some cases, through several alternating POVs.

I like watching the character move through whatever is thrown at him or her…and here’s where the plot comes in.  But without the characters, it would be a play without actors.

So what do you think?

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