SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS – THE SILVER BOAT

y8ekqo13031746531

 

teacups for teaser tuesdays

 

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 featured book is The Silver Boat, by Luanne Rice.

 

 

513CvoZ9WOL._SY346_

 

Intro:  Dar McCarthy sat on the granite step of her mother’s rambling, gray-shingled house, listening to surf break beyond the pond.  There had been a gale last night, driving in wild ocean waves, and through the salt pond’s wide bight she could see gray-green seawater tower and crash, the foam bright white in the first morning light.

Last night’s high wind had blown out all the clouds, and the dawn sky was turning what Delia used to call “happy blue.”  The sun hadn’t yet melted the frost, which glimmered on the old stone walls and spiky brown grass, the lilac branches and the stone Buddha in the herb garden.  Her mother’s ancient cats skulked home from a night of hiding under the barn, looking tufty and tiny and old.

***

Teaser:  Loneliness for him made Rory feel desperate, as if she’d be alone forever.  It was the worst feeling, as if she were hollow, as if she didn’t even exist without someone to love her.  (p. 58)

***

Amazon Blurb:  Three far-flung sisters have come home to Martha’s Vineyard one last time. Their mother’s beach house is the only place any of them ever found true happiness, and they need to begin the difficult process of letting go. Memories of their grandmother, mother, and their Irish father rise up and expose the fine cracks in their family myth — especially when a cache of old letters reveals enough truth to send them back to their ancestral homeland.

***

I love the setting of this one, along with a story about sisters, secrets, and loss.  Would you keep reading?

 

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS — CLEANS UP NICELY — SEPT. 17

y8ekqo13031746531

 

teacups for teaser tuesdays

 

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 featured read is one I won from Gilion, at Rose City Reads. The book, Cleans Up Nicely, by Linda Dahl, is the story of the hard-edged decadent art scene in the 1970s.

 

17435052

 

Intro:  Her destination, that summer of 1977, is a luxury apartment building, upper Fifth Avenue, a slice of New York life completely alien to her.  After the doorman confirms she’s expected and nods her toward the elevators, Erica crosses a sumptuous lobby tastefully decorated with white leather couches and stainless steel tables covered with lavish flower arrangements.  She is shaking.  She awkwardly recites the all-purpose, three-line mantra that Addie McC. has assured her will always help get her through any situation.  In the paneled elevator, she rides to the floor below the penthouse, where Addie McC. ushers her into an apartment with yet more expanses of white; it feels like entering a thirties movie set—there’s even a French bulldog to go with the expensive view of Central Park.

***

Teaser:  Leaving his building stoned only on caffeine, Erica stumbled and reeled as if she were drunk.  She caught a bus, transferred to another, sat with her eyes tightly shut and willed herself not to think of him.  And to her surprise, she was successful.  (p. 125)

***

Amazon Blurb:  When twenty-something artist Erica Mason moves from laid-back Mexico to Manhattan in the mid-1970s, she finds a hard-edged, decadent, and radically evolving art scene.

Peppered with characters who could only come from the latter days of the turn-on-and-drop-out ’60s in then-crumbling New York (a spaced-out drummer who’s completely given up on using or making money, a radical feminist who glues animal furs to her paintings of vaginas, and icons in the making like Patti Smith), Erica’s New York is fast-moving, funny, and heartrending just like the city itself. Ultimately, her rite of passage is not only a love affair with art, men, alcohol, drugs, and music in the swirl that was the downtown scene in a radically evolving era in New York, but also a resurrection from addiction and self-delusion.

More than the study of a celebrated period of artistic expression, Cleans Up Nicely is the story of one gifted young woman’s path from self-destruction to a hard-won self-knowledge that opens up a whole new world for her and helps her claim the self-respect that has long eluded her.

***

I am eagerly anticipating plunging into this book, a tale that spotlights a long-ago time that means youth for some of us.  What do you think of the opening?  Would you keep reading?

 

SERENDIPTIOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS –BLUE PLATE SPECIAL — AUG. 20

y8ekqo13031746531

 

1940s-raine-framed-memes-teaser-tuesday

 

 

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 featured book is a memoir from one of my favorite authors:  Blue Plate Special:  An Autobiography of My Appetites, by Kate Christensen.

 

16071779

 

Intro:  Chapter One:  Breakfast at McGee

When I was a kid, on what passed for chilly mornings in Berkeley, my mother used to make my sisters and me soft-boiled eggs with pieces of buttered toast broken into them.  We had eggcups, but we never used them.  These soft-boiled eggs were so good, we’d lick the bowls clean.

One such morning, when I was about two years old, my parents sat at the breakfast table with my baby sister, Susan, and me.  The table was littered with cups and plates and bowls, eggshells and toast crumbs.  The sun shone in the windows of the kitchen in our small bungalow on McGee Avenue in Berkeley.  My father was about to walk out the front door to go somewhere, work probably.

My mother said in a high, plaintive voice, “Please stay and help me, Ralph.  I just need some help.  Don’t leave yet.”

***

Teaser:  I hated my own name.  It was all wrong.  I was going to be a novelist, I knew very early on, and novelists were named Jane, Charlotte, and Louisa.  (p. 55).

***

Blurb:  “To taste fully is to live fully.” For Kate Christensen, food and eating have always been powerful connectors to self and world—“a subterranean conduit to sensuality, memory, desire.” Her appetites run deep; in her own words, she spent much of her life as “a hungry, lonely, wild animal looking for happiness and stability.” Now, having found them at last, in this passionate feast of a memoir she reflects upon her journey of innocence lost and wisdom gained, mistakes made and lessons learned, and hearts broken and mended.
In the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher, Laurie Colwin, and Ruth Reichl, Blue Plate Special is a narrative in which food—eating it, cooking it, reflecting on it—becomes the vehicle for unpacking a life. Christensen explores her history of hunger—not just for food but for love and confidence and a sense of belonging—with a profound honesty, starting with her unorthodox childhood in 1960s Berkeley as the daughter of a mercurial legal activist who ruled the house with his fists. After a whirlwind adolescent awakening, Christensen strikes out to chart her own destiny within the literary world and the world of men, both equally alluring and dangerous. Food of all kinds, from Ho Hos to haute cuisine, remains an evocative constant throughout, not just as sustenance but as a realm of experience unto itself, always reflective of what is going on in her life. She unearths memories—sometimes joyful, sometimes painful—of the love between mother and daughter, sister and sister, and husband and wife, and of the times when the bonds of love were broken. Food sustains her as she endures the pain of these ruptures and fuels her determination not to settle for anything less than the love and contentment for which she’s always yearned.
The physical and emotional sensuality that defines Christensen’s fiction resonates throughout the pages of Blue Plate Special. A vibrant celebration of life in all its truth and complexity, this book is about embracing the world through the transformative power of food: it’s about listening to your appetites, about having faith, and about learning what is worth holding on to and what is not.

***

Would you keep reading?  I know I can’t wait.

 

 

 

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS — MR. MONK HELPS HIMSELF — 8/13/13

y8ekqo13031746531

alec-polaroid-frame

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 featured book today is one I’m reading and reviewing for a blog tour stop on September 10:  Mr. Monk Helps Himself, by Hy Conrad. (My Blog Tour Stop:  Rainy Days and Mondays).

 

51LCdp8i3BL

 

 

Intro:  My boss has gotten easier to handle since I realized he’s a magpie.

I don’t mean that literally.  Literally, he’s a consulting detective for the San Francisco PD, a man who has solved hundreds of impossible cases, usually with me at his side keeping him calm and handing him antiseptic wipes.

I mean that he’s distracted by shiny objects—only in his case the objects are odd numbers and germs and dirt and a hundred major phobias.  Exactly one hundred.  There’s a list in a binder, centered on the coffee table.  Whenever a new phobia pops up, he has to either eliminate one of the old ones, or, more often, combine a couple.

By the way, in case you’re thinking that’s not bad, he keeps an addendum in the back listing over three hundred secondary phobias that didn’t make the cut.

***

Teaser:  The captain wriggled his mustache.  When he had weird news to deliver, this was his tell.  Not good news or bad news, just weird news, which in our world happened quite often.  (p. 42)

***

Blurb:  An all-new original mystery starring Adrian Monk, the brilliant investigator who always knows when something’s out of place….

Now that Monk and Natalie are both in San Francisco again, life is almost back to normal for the duo, with one exception: Natalie is studying for her PI license, the last step to becoming Monk’s full partner.

Before taking the plunge, Natalie sneaks off to Half Moon Bay for a retreat run by Miranda Bigley, charismatic leader of the Best Possible Me self-help program, whose philosophy has helped Natalie deal with her recent life changes. But her plans for a relaxing weekend away are disrupted when Monk tracks her down, determined to rescue her from the “cult.” Their argument is cut short when Miranda, in full view of everyone, calmly walks to the edge of a cliff and jumps off.

Even though Miranda’s death looks like suicide—especially when it’s discovered that she was on the brink of financial disaster—Natalie is sure it is murder. But Monk brushes her off to help the SFPD solve the murder of a clown, despite his coulrophobia, or fear of clowns—number ninety-nine on his list of one hundred phobias.

As Natalie and Monk begin their separate investigations, they are quickly caught up in many precarious situations, but if they want to figure out whodunit, they will have to find a way to become true partners…

***

What do you think?  Does it grab you?  Now I’m off to check out your excerpts.

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS — NECESSARY LIES — JULY 30

y8ekqo13031746531

 

teacups for teaser tuesdays

 

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 featured book is an ARC from a favorite author:  Diane Chamberlain’s Necessary Lies.

 

91BJ1Ds6QZL._SL1500_

 

Intro:  (Brenna)

It was an odd request—visit a stranger’s house and peer inside a closet—and as I drove through the neighborhood searching for the address, I felt my anxiety mounting.

There it was:  number 247.  I hadn’t expected the house to be so large.  It stood apart from its neighbors on the gently winding road, flanked on either side by huge magnolia trees, tall oaks, and crepe myrtle.  It was painted a soft buttery yellow with white trim, and everything about it looked crisp and clean in the early morning sun.  Every house I’d passed, although different in architecture, had the same stately yet inviting look.  I didn’t know Raleigh well at all, but this had to be one of the most beautiful old neighborhoods in the city.

***

Teaser:  A few blue pamphlets were tucked into a stack of other papers.  I pulled one of them out and leafed through it.  It was full of simple drawings that looked like they’d been done by a kindergartner, but it was the message behind the pictures that made me uncomfortable.  (p. 145)

***

Blurb:  After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm.  As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed.  She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband.  But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed.  Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.

Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy.  Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I know that I can’t wait!

 

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS — “SWEET SALT AIR” — MAY 21

y8ekqo13031746531

 

teacups for teaser tuesdays

 

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 feature today is Sweet Salt Air, by Barbara Delinsky.

914M2j9PYfL._SL1500_

 

Intro:  (Prologue)

Charlotte Evans was used to feeling grungy.  As a freelancer, she traveled on a shoestring, getting stories other writers did not, precisely because she wasn’t fussy about how she lived.  In the last twelve months, she had survived dust while writing about elephant keepers in Kenya, ice while writing about the spirit bear of British Columbia, and flies while writing about a family of nomads in India.

She could certainly survive a mizzling, as the Irish called it, though the heavy mist seeped through everything—jeans, boots, even the thick fisherman’s sweater she wore.  The sweater was on loan from the woman under whose roof she was sleeping on this least populated of the three Aran Islands, and though Charlotte did have a fireplace in her bedroom, hot water was in short supply in the small stone cottage.  She could have used a steamy shower, a thorough washing of her clothes, and a solid day of sun.

***

Teaser:  The words echoed.  Nicole looked around, thinking that someone else had said them, because if she was the one, it would be a betrayal of the worst kind.  (p. 58)

***

Blurb:  Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.

 

But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own.

 

***

Doesn’t this sound delicious?  Now I’m off to see what the rest of you are sharing….

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS — THE SUGAR HOUSE — APRIL 16

y8ekqo13031746531

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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 a book from the Tess Monaghan series:  The Sugar House, by Laura Lippman.

1309712

 

Intro:  Henry looked at the tape recorder on the table in front of him.  Voice-activated, the cop said.  You talk, the wheels turn.  He coughed, clearing his throat, and sure enough, the wheels lurched, then stopped.

My name is Henry Dembrow, he began.  But they knew his name, it wasn’t the one they wanted.  They kept asking him about the girl, and he didn’t have a name for her, not a fragment, not even a fake one.  Why wouldn’t they believe him?  My name is Henry Dembrow.  He knew he was talking because he could see the tape recorder’s red light, but he couldn’t hear his voice, couldn’t tell if it was inside his head or out.  He could hear other things—the wheezey breath of the one cop, like an old dog sleeping, the other cop’s shiny loafer going tap, tap, tap.  Tap, tap, tap.  He had small feet, that cop.  But Henry couldn’t hear his own voice.  It was as if he had a bad cold, his voice seemed to be coming from so far away.  You talk, the wheels turn.  You talk, the wheels turn.

***

Teaser:  Like a dog with a bone, Tess worried the little bit she had, growling over it, turning it around in her mouth, trying to make it new.  (p. 82)

***

Amazon Description:

Since her debut in 1997, Laura Lippman has won every major mystery writing award for this remarkable series, in which reporter-turned-PI Tess Monaghan and her beloved-but-flawed Baltimore share top billing. Now, the acclaimed author achieves a new level of mastery with a murderous puzzle that centers on places Tess thinks she knows: her hometown and a moving target called…

Locals recognize the Sugar House as a stubborn and defiant legacy of the city’s past that competes with Charm City’s glitzy present. Tess thought she knew it, too/–/until she is forced to take on the most disturbing case of her accidental career.

First there’s her client, former barmaid Ruthie Dembrow, who seems to know Tess’s father well, a little too well as far as his daughter is concerned. Then there’s the nature of the crime she’s asked to investigate/–/and its cast of characters.

“Ever heard of a Jane Doe murder?” Ruthie asks Tess, and with that question there’s no turning back. Fourteen months ago, Ruthie’s low-life brother, Henry, killed a runaway over a bottle of glue. His confession put him away, but no one ever learned the girl’s name. A month into his prison term, Henry met the same grim fate as his victim. Now Ruthie wants Tess to find out why.

With just a few tantalizing and elusive clues, Tess sets off on a path that takes her from Baltimore’s exclusive Inner Harbor to the city’s seediest neighborhoods. But it’s the shocking discovery of the runaway’s true identity that turns Tess’s hunt deadly. Suddenly, her supposedly solved murder case keeps turning up newer, fresher corpses and newer, scarier versions of the Sugar House-places that look so sweet and safe, but only from the outside. And every time Tess thinks she’s done what she has to do to protect her family, this decidedly sour case ends up back on her doorstep, ready to claim another life.

***

I’m eager to resume this series.  Would you keep reading?  Come on by and share your own featured reads.

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS — THE NIGHT SWIMMER — MARCH 26

y8ekqo13031746531

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 selection is a book that’s been resting patiently on Sparky for some time.  The Night Swimmer, by Matt Bondurant, is a novel of myriad enchantments by a writer of extraordinary talent.

61L3Ggf+g5L._SL1000_

Intro:  Prologue

Now, in calm weather, to swim in the open ocean is as easy to the practiced swimmer as to ride in a spring-carriage ashore.  But the awful lonesomeness is intolerable.  The intense concentration of self in the middle of such a heartless immensity, my God! who can tell it?

                                                          Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

It began with a dart, a pint, and a poem, three elements that seemed to demonstrate the imprecise nature of fate.  When Fred stepped up to the line, the dart held loosely in his hand, you could see in the way he carried his body the assurances of a man who was well prepared.  Fred was always lucky, but to say that now seems to remove something essential from him.  In fact it is Fred who should be telling you this story, as he was the one preparing for this all along.  Not me.

***

Teaser:  It was a common enough dream for young Americans of a certain set:  by moving into a mostly imagined past, represented by Europe, we could recapture something we so desperately wanted in the present.  Or simply a way out of the meat grinder of the suburbs. (3%)

***

Amazon Description:  An “evocative and often lyrical” (San Francisco Chronicle) novel about a young American couple who win a pub on the southernmost tip of Ireland and become embroiled in the local violence and intrigue.In a small town on the southern coast of Ireland, an isolated place frequented by fishermen and occasional bird-watchers, Fred and Elly Bulkington, newly arrived from Vermont, encounter a wild, strange land shaped by the pounding storms of the North Atlantic. As Fred revels in the life of a new pubowner, Elly takes the ferry out to a nearby island where anyone not born there is called a “blow-in.” To the disbelief of the locals, Elly devotes herself to open-water swimming, pushing herself to the limit and crossing unseen boundaries that drive her into the heart of the island’s troubles—the mysterious tragedy that shrouds its inhabitants and the dangerous feud between an enigmatic farmer and a powerful clan that has no use for outsiders.

The poignant unraveling of a marriage, the fierce beauty of the natural world, the mysterious power of Irish lore, and the gripping story of strangers in a strange land rife with intrigue and violence—The Night Swimmer is a novel of myriad enchantments by a writer of extraordinary talent.

***

What do you think?  Are you intrigued?  Would you keep reading?

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS – WHILE WE WERE WATCHING DOWNTON ABBEY — MARCH 12

y8ekqo13031746531

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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 sharing from my current read, an ARC:  While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, by Wendy Wax.

15808601

 

Intro:  Chapter One

As a child Samantha Jackson Davis loved fairy tales as much as the next girl.  She just hadn’t expected to end up in one.

Every morning when her eyes fluttered open and every night before she closed them to go to sleep, Samantha marveled at her good fortune.  In a Disney version of the airline passenger held up in security just long enough to miss the plane that goes down, or the driver who runs back for a forgotten cell phone and barely avoids a deadly ten-car-pileup, Samantha averted disaster in the once-upon-a-time way:  she married the prince.

Over the past twenty-five years Samantha had sometimes wished she’d spent a little more time and energy considering alternatives.  But when your world comes crashing down around you at the age of twenty-one, deep thinking and soul-searching are rarely your first response.

Intrigued yet?  I certainly am!

***

Teaser:  It was late afternoon and Samantha stood in her gourmet kitchen staring into the pan of what was meant to be saltimbocca alla Romana, but which looked like a rolled-up lump of shoe leather—and not the expensive Manolo Blahnik kind. (p. 26)

***

Amazon Description:  When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…

Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.

Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.

And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.

For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.

***

Now I’m off to see the wonderful books the rest of you are spotlighting.