THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — AUGUST 16

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

The theme for this week is

LIGHT Glow, Beam, Shine etc

***

My snippet today comes from The Other Woman’s House, by Sophie Hannah.

The latest gripping psychological thriller from the internationally bestselling author of The Wrong Mother and The Cradle in the Grave

Featuring the return of detectives Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse, Sophie Hannah’s latest novel offers the spine-tingling thrills her ever-increasing fan base adores.

It’s past midnight, but Connie Bowskill can’t sleep. To pass the time, she logs on to a real estate website in search of a particular house, one she is obsessed with for reasons she’s too scared to even admit to herself. As she clicks through the virtual tour, she comes across a scene from a nightmare: a woman lying facedown on the living room floor in a pool of blood. But when she returns to show her husband, there is no body, no blood—just a perfectly ordinary room. With plot twists that will keep readers up all night, The Other Woman’s House is another unforgettable story by a new master of the crime novel.

***

Snippet:  Somehow, I get myself out of the room and close the door.  Better; now there’s a barrier between it and me.  Kit.  I need Kit.  I walk into our bedroom, switch on the light and burst into tears.  How dare he be asleep?  ‘Kit!’ p. 15

***

Booking Through Thursday:

Jamie asks:

What was the most emotional read you have ever had?

***

A difficult task:  deciding upon the most emotional read.  I know there were some real tear jerkers in my past, like Daphne Du Maurier’s books, or Gone with the Wind.

In present day, though, I had to search through my book reviews and found these books: (click titles for reviews)

Northwest Corner, by John Burnham Schwartz

Ninepins, by Rosy Thornton, was another emotional read, about the struggles, challenges, and dangers of parenting.

Searching my book lists,  another one springs to mind.  I first read it many years ago, but then read it again last year.  Still Missing, by Beth Gutcheon, was made into a movie (Without a Trace) that I watch over and over when I need a good cry.

As soon as I finish this post, I’ll probably think of more!  What made you cry?  Come on by and share!

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — AUGUST 9

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

The theme for this week is

MIRROR Glasses, Spectacles etc

***

In Small Damages, by Beth Kephart, I found this passage on p. 26:

The day I learned about you, I’d wakened from a dream, and the dream was how I knew, or how I guessed.  The dream was me in a room of mirrors where there weren’t any doors, and in every single pane of glass was me big and getting bigger, like Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka got together for a pig-out.

***

About the Book:   Juno meets Under the Tuscan Sun

It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she discovers she’s pregnant. Her determination to keep her baby is something her boyfriend and mother do not understand. So she is sent to Spain, where she will live out her pregnancy, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple. No one will ever know.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. But as she gets to know Estela, the stubborn old cook, and Esteban, the mysterious young man who cares for the horses, she begins to open her eyes, and her heart, to the beauty that is all around her, and inside her. Kenzie realizes she has some serious choices to make–choices about life, love, and home.

Lyrically told in a way that makes the heat, the colors, and the smells of Spain feel alive, Small Damages is a feast for the heart and the soul, and a coming-of-age novel not easily forgotten.

***

Booking Through Thursday:

Amy and Sarah both asked about genres:

Amy asks:

Name a book you love in a genre you normally don’t care for. What made you decide to read it? Did it make you want to try more in that genre?

Bookish Sarah asks an interesting assortment of questions:

What genre do you avoid reading and why?

***

I had a book on my stacks that I had picked up out of curiosity…and then took forever to get to it.  I wouldn’t say I LOVED it, exactly, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  The book:  Blood Brothers, by Nora Roberts, the first in her Sign of Seven Trilogy (paranormal)  (Click title for my review) (four stars)

As for a genre I don’t enjoy, I guess I’d say urban fantasy…but I did read a book in that genre for a challenge, and ended up giving it four stars.  Ship of Souls, by Zetta Elliott, was captivating in many ways.

I doubt if I’ll be reading any other books in this genre, but who can say?  I have surprised myself on occasion.   As for WHY I don’t normally read these kinds of books, perhaps it’s because the characters are hard for me to relate to…although, on occasion, I have found ghosts “relatable.” LOL

I prefer stories based on reality, but it’s fun to take a step off that path and explore.

What about the rest of you?  What have you discovered about your reading experiences?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — JULY 26

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.

The theme for this week is

TIME , Clock, Hours, Minutes, Seconds

***

Today’s snippet comes from What I Did For Love, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

How did this happen? Georgie York, once the costar of America’s favorite television sitcom, has been publicly abandoned by her famous husband, her film career has tanked, her father is driving her crazy, and her public image as a spunky heroine is taking a serious beating.

What should a down-on-her-luck actress do? Not go to Vegas . . . not run into her detestable former costar, dreamboat-from-hell Bramwell Shepard . . . and not get caught up in an ugly incident that leads to a calamitous elopement. Before she knows it, Georgie has a fake marriage, a fake husband, and maybe (or not) a fake sex life.

***

Snippet:  Bram had spent eight miserable years rescuing Georgie from thorny situations, but his days of playing gallant Skip Scofield to Georgie’s spunky Scooter Brown were long behind him.

***

Booking Through Thursday:

Prompt: 

Two questions about your reading habits that just seem to go together.

GigiAnn asks:

Do you have a favorite season of the year that you read more? (Example: during snow storms, rainy weather, or sunny and warm weather) Sorry, that was the best I could come up with.

Lisa asks:

Where is your favorite place to read? On the beach? Inside/outside?

 

***

I like to read in all seasons, but I must admit that there is nothing quite as cozy as curled up on a sofa under an afghan, with cups of hot liquid nearby.

Unless, of course, it’s on a sunny deck facing the ocean and hearing the lapping of waves nearby.

There you go…reading goes with all seasons for me!

As for where I prefer reading, I guess I’d say indoors, unless it’s beautiful out…like in the aforementioned beach scene.  I also enjoy having lunch at an outdoor cafe (in nice weather) with a book as my companion.

What about the rest of you?  Inquiring minds want to know!

 

 

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES — JUNE 21

Welcome to another Theme Thursdays, hosted by Reading Between Pages.

THEMES:

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

The theme for this week is

FLOWER Bouquet

Today I’m reading Gone to Ground, by Brandilyn Collins, a mystery set in Amaryllis, Mississippi.

Amaryllis, Mississippi is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and southern hospitality. A brick-paved Main Street, a park, and a legendary ghost in the local cemetery are all part of its heritage. Everybody knows everybody in Amaryllis, and gossip wafts on the breeze. Its people are friendly, its families tight. On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named—bright and fragrant. But the Amaryllis flower is poison.

In the past three years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their own homes. And just two nights ago—a sixth murder.

Clearly a killer lives among the good citizens of Amaryllis. And now three terrified women are sure they know who he is—someone they love. None is aware of the others’ suspicions. And each must make the heartrending choice to bring the killer down. But each woman suspects a different man.

***

(Chapter One opens with an excerpt from a newspaper article that describes the town of Amaryllis, Mississippi, and the characteristics of the town and its people)

Everybody knows everybody in Amaryllis, and gossip wafts on the breeze.  It’s denizens are friendly, its families tight.  On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named—bright and fragrant.

But the amaryllis flower is poisonous.  (p. 1)

***

Did that grab you?  I know I felt a chill….

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEMES & BOOKING — JUNE 14

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

The theme for this week is

DAY Weekdays or actual day usage etc.

***

My selection today is A Tale of Two Sisters, by Anna Maxted, a book that has been resting on my TBR stacks for quite awhile.  Ms. Maxted has created an unforgettable story of siblings in the best of times and the worst of times in London.

 

 

Snippet:  Tabitha and Jeremy lived next door, and from the day we moved in and Tabitha knocked with champagne, they were determined to love us.  p. 3

***

Booking: Do Over:

Sally asks:

Have you ever bought a book, started reading it and then realised you have already read it? If so, how far did you get? (Can you tell this happened to me for the first time ever this week!?!)

***

No…but I have picked up a book in the bookstore, because the cover drew me in…and I had read other books by the author, only to come home and see that I already had it!  And had read it….Duh!

And sometimes, I read a blurb in a book and think…oh, good, only to realize that I’ve read it.  Usually I realize before buying it, though…lol

What about you?  Have you had these kinds of do-overs?

THURSDAY SPARKS: THEME — MONTH — JUNE 7

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

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

The theme for this week is

MONTH

***

My selection this week is from one of the books I’m reading:  When Madeline Was Young, by Jane Hamilton,  a richly textured novel about a tragic accident and its effects on two generations of a family.

 

 

(A mother and daughter conversation about the Christmas card):  “You go,” she said to Tessa, “and spend November at the printer.  You take a picture that’s good of everyone—Katie doesn’t have her mouth open, Lyddie’s not blinking, your head’s not in a book, your father for a moment is not staring out at the Andromeda who-knows-what….”

And…

The following summer, on July 24, 2003, Buddy’s son was killed in Baghdad.  Nearly three months had passed since the war with Iraq had been declared over.

***

Now I’m eager to hop around the blogosphere and see what you’ve excerpted!

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….