TSS: SEPTEMBER IS OFF TO A ROLLING START — SEPT. 9

Good morning, Sunday Saloners.  As you grab your coffee, or tea, or whatever, I hope you’ll settle in for a chat this morning.

I overslept today—got up at 7 a.m. instead of my usual 5—but it’s Sunday, and I was out late picking up my son and daughter-in-law at the airport.

Hope to have some pictures of their Hawaii trip soon.

But when I’m not in my usual routine, things sometimes go awry.  I punched the brew button on my coffee pot, I blissfully retreat to do some morning stuff, and when I return, I expect COFFEE!  Not.

I emptied the pot, washed it out, refilled it, and punched again.

Finally…a cup of coffee.  I guess I’ll do the vinegar routine and hope for the best.  Once the appliances start playing mind games, I never expect anything good afterwards.

But….onward and upward.

After the holiday last weekend, things sort of fell into a groove, and I posted Tuesday Potpourri: Bookish Wishes, Changes, & Fun Reads.

Wednesday brought two posts:  Hump Day Potpourri:  Recycling & Rearranging…Again! and Row 80 Check-In:   How I Manage to Fill My Creative Time.

The end of September brings us Bloggiesta again…Ole!    I’ll be working on this blog, primarily, but could veer off to one of the others occasionally.  I love this event!

Sweet Saturday Samples:  Connecting, takes us further on our journey with Martha and Maeve (Interior Designs).

And here’s my Saturday Snapshot, in which I share some holiday memories.

This is one of my favorites:  Noah with his great-grandmother.

Now let’s talk books.

Read/Reviewed-Click Titles/Covers for Reviews:

1.  And When She Was Good, by Laura Lippman

2.  Little Night, by Luanne Rice

3.  Love Anthony, by Lisa Genova

4.  Sharp Objects (e-book), by Gillian Flynn

***

Wow, what a great bookish week!  Suspense, family drama, and edgy family dysfunction.

I think I’ll take a break from reading today.  PG&E is turning off the power for several hours tomorrow to work on equipment, so I’ll probably take off for Barnes & Noble, etc.  Today is for movies!

What does your day look like?  Come on by and share….

TSS: A FABULOUS WEEK! — AUGUST 19

Happy Sunday and welcome to another Sunday Salon!

I can’t believe it, but we actually had a little rain yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was a hot, muggy rain.  No cool down at all.

But I kept close to home and watched some movies and finished reading my FIFTH book of the week.  Yes, I was eager to finish it…it was awesome!

So here’s how the week went down.  There was a bit of non-meme blogging and in case you missed any of them:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HEATHER (and I changed the look of that blog quite a bit.  You might find it fun);

THE CANDIDATE-An excerpt from Embrace the Whirlwind, over at My Forest Journey;

THE BLISSFUL SLIDE TO AUTUMN (with an excerpt, at Story Corner);

ROW 80 CHECK-IN: A BOOKISH BLOGGING WEEK (at Creative Journey)

SWEET SATURDAY SAMPLE:  SHARING ROMANTIC MOMENTS (an excerpt at Snow Chronicles)

SATURDAY SNAPSHOT:  EUROPEAN STYLE

SUNDAY POTPOURRI:  LIFE & BLOG CHANGES

Reading:  (Click Book Titles/Covers for Reviews)

1.  You Are the Love of My Life (e-book), by Susan Richards Shreve (loved this one!)

2.  Small Damages, by Beth Kephart (gorgeous read!)

3.  Drowning Ruth, by Christina Schwarz (memorable!)

4.  Jackie After O, by Tina Cassidy

5.  Real Life and Liars (e-book), by Kristina Riggle (awesome read!)

***

And that wrapped up a week of blogging and reading…and to top it all off, I traipsed down memory lane yesterday with an older movie that I love because of its connection to blogging….

Julie & Julia was just as much fun yesterday as it was the first ten or so times I watched it!  lol

What are your Sunday plans?  I hope you’ll come on by and share some tidbits about your week.

SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAYS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — JULY 27

Welcome to some serendipitous fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

My spotlight today is on The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, by Christine Nolfi.

Book Blurb:  A savage rape on hallowed ground. Secrets buried for decades by the town’s most influential family. Now Ourania D’Andre will learn the Great Oak’s secrets as construction begins at the Fagan mansion. She can’t afford to turn down a job that promises to stir up the long-buried guilt–and the passion–she shares with powerful Troy Fagan. She’s already juggling the most important job of her career with her new responsibilities as a foster mother for young Walt and Emma Korchek. And there’s a hard, older man on the construction crew with eyes void of emotion–cold and killing. The secrets of his brutal past will pose a grave threat to the children in her care. Will she find the courage to face him?

***

Beginning:  Staring at the tables wouldn’t put Ourania at one of them.

Nursing a cup of coffee, Troy Fagan wondered if she’d decided to decline the work.  Bow out with embarrassment, beg forgiveness—if Ourania didn’t come to her senses, he’d fire her.

How didn’t matter.  He’d find a way.

***

P. 56:   Marcy glared at him.  ” Listen, buster—you’re going to school.”  Narrowing her regard, she brought his thrashing to a halt.  “When we get back to Ourania’s place tonight, you’re helping me clean up the mess.  The floors, the walls—everything.”

***

Sound good?  I know I’m looking forward to this one.  And now I’m off to see yours!

SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAYS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — JUNE 15

Welcome to some serendipitous fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

A Tale of Two Sisters, by Anna Maxted, has now graduated from my TBR piles to my Up Next Stack.

About:  The bestselling author of Getting Over It and Running in Heels, a writer who “excels at creating winning characters and placing them in artfully crafted muddles” (Florida Sun-Sentinel) has created an unforgettable story of siblings in the best of times and the worst of times in London.Lizbet and Cassie are sisters and, though they’ve always wanted different things, best friends as well. But that’s about to change.Cassie is skinny, clever, charismatic, successful—every not-so-perfect girl’s worst nightmare. The one defect in her quality-controlled life may be her marriage.

Lizbet is plumper, plainer, dreamier. She’s desperate to make her name as a journalist, but is stuck writing embarrassing articles on sex for a men’s magazine. Her one achievement is her relationship with Tim, who thinks she’s amusing and smart—even when she asks ditzy questions.

Confronted by challenges that they never asked for, enticed by new loves, and forced apart by mistakes not their own, will Cassie and Lizbet ever figure out how to get back to the simple goodness of their sisterhood, even as their lives take them on a collision course of heartache and new beginnings?

***

Beginning:  When my sister left her jungle villa after two weeks at the Datai, on the tropical island of Langkawi, she wrote a little note for the manager.

Dear Sir,

      Nearly everything was perfect.  However, I think one of the monkeys has a cough.

                                                                                 Sincerely,

                                                                                 Ms. Cassandra Montgomery

***

56:  “I’m not going to say a word,” I said.  “I want it to stay a secret.”

***

The beginning made me laugh a little…and as for the excerpt on p. 56, I am always up for secrets.

What are you sharing today?  Come on by…..

A SERENDIPITOUS WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: FINDING CASEY — JUNE 13

Sometimes when we discover books we can’t wait to read, it feels a lot like fate—or serendipity.  If you also love finding out about new books, join us today at Waiting on Wednesday, hosted at Breaking the Spine.

My spotlighted book today is Finding Casey, by Jo-Ann Mapson, to be released on 10/2/12.

 

Glory Vigil, newly married, unexpectedly pregnant at forty-one, is nesting in the home she and her husband, Joseph, have just moved to in Santa Fe, a house that unbeknownst to them is rumored to have a resident ghost. Their adopted daughter, Juniper, is home from college for Thanksgiving and in love for the very first time, quickly learning how a relationship changes everything. But Juniper has a tiny arrow lodged in her heart, a leftover shard from the day eight years earlier when her sister, Casey, disappeared—in a time before she’d ever met Glory and Joseph. When a fieldwork course takes Juniper to a pueblo only a few hours away, she finds herself right back in the past she thought she’d finally buried.

A love story, a family story, a story of searching and the bond between sisters, Finding Casey is a testament to human resilience. This completely stand-alone novel, featuring beloved characters from Solomon’s Oak, will charm Mapson’s readers and move her into a larger sphere.

***

Sounds like a lovely story…I know that I can’t wait.  I read and enjoyed Solomon’s Oak, so I know I’m going to love these characters.  What are you waiting for?

TSS: A NICE MIX OF ACTIVITIES — JUNE 10

Good morning, Sunday Saloners!  I hope everyone had a great week.

It’s been pretty hot in these parts, but so far, the triple digit days are mixed in between those in the nineties.

For those of you who didn’t attend BEA, did you participate in Armchair BEA?  Did you enjoy it?

I took part in the first two days…and then got sidetracked to other activities, as sometimes happens.

But the first day was awesome, and here’s my Who Am I? post.  On the second day, we talked about Best Reads of 2012.

Over the next few days, bloggers described their blogging experiences and what they hope will happen next.

On the weekend, I wrote A Therapist Ponders the Empty Space in Her Life:  An Excerpt (Forest Journey); and my Sweet Saturday Sample:  Bread, Wine, and Thou was an excerpt from my WIP Interior Designs.

My reading had enough variety to keep me intrigued, but on Wednesday, I took a break and did some furniture rearranging in the living room.  I was tired of my same old same old, so I put some “angles” into the mix.

After a nice lunch with a friend, and a drink with my daughter at her bar, I returned home to curl up and read some more.

Books Read- Click Titles/Covers for Reviews:

The Girl Below, by Bianca Zander (****)

When Madeline Was Young, by Jane Hamilton (***)

Where We Belong, by Jane Green (*****)

Murder Uncorked (e-book), by Michele Scott (Review will be up later today)

And….still reading:  American Legacy:  The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy, by C. David Heymann

So far…I have read 200+ pages….which isn’t too bad, since I picked it up once this week.

What are the rest of you doing?  Reading?  Movies?  Barbecues?  I hope you enjoy your weekend!

 

SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — JUNE 8

Welcome to some serendipitous fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

I’ve grabbed a book from my stack for next week, and I can’t wait to read it!  The Long Way Home, by Karen McQuestion, is the story of four women in search of something more….

Blurb:  For Wisconsinites Marnie, Laverne and Rita, life isn’t working out so well. Each is biding time, waiting for something better, something to transport them out of what their lives have recently become. And then there’s Jazzy: bubbly, positive, and happy even though she hears voices of the departed. Brought together by a chance meeting, the women decide to join Marnie on a road trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas where she intends to reunite with Troy, the boy she raised as her own—and who she’s been separated from since her boyfriend’s death. Little do they know that as the road trip unfolds, so will their lives—in directions they never anticipated. Humorous, heartwarming, and bittersweet, the journey has something special in store for each woman.

***

Beginning:  She arrived late.

They were nearly finished when the young woman rushed into the classroom, flustered and apologetic.  When the door flew open and Marnie first spotted her, she assumed the girl had entered the wrong room.  For one, she was so much younger than the rest of the group—in her early twenties, judging by her looks.

***

56:  She had difficulty sleeping since encountering Matt in the grocery store.  His words kept running through her mind.  Troy was alone.  He was unhappy.  He missed her.

***

I love stories about road trips, and this one sounds really good to me.

What are the rest of you spotlighting today?  I can’t wait to find out more….

SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — JUNE 1

Welcome to some serendipitous fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

Today I’ve grabbed a book from next week’s list:  The Girl Below, by Bianca Zander (an ARC).

Blurb:   Suki Piper is a stranger in her hometown. . . .After ten years in New Zealand, Suki returns to London, to a city that won’t let her in. However, a chance visit with Peggy—an old family friend who still lives in the building where she grew up—convinces Suki that there is a way to reconnect with the life she left behind a decade earlier. But the more involved she becomes with Peggy’s dysfunctional family, including Peggy’s wayward sixteen-year-old grandson, the more Suki finds herself mysteriously slipping back in time—to the night of a party her parents threw in their garden more than twenty years ago, when something happened in an old, long-unused air-raid shelter. . . .A breathtaking whirlwind of mystery, transgression, and self-discovery, Bianca Zander’s The Girl Below is a haunting tale of secrets, human frailty, and dark memory that heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new literary talent.

***

Beginning:  (London, 2003) Summer was high, the streets flared golden, and all around me the neighborhood sighed with so much privilege that I felt shut out—a stranger on the block where my childhood took place.  In the twenty years since we had moved away from Notting Hill, the suburb had changed beyond recognition, become a kind of joke—part tourist bauble, part film set—and a ludicrous place to say you were from.

***

56:  Someone bumped me from behind and spilled beer down my top, and I realized Alana’s colleagues were smiling at me in a keen way, undeterred by my sudden silence and oblivious to the gap between what I had been saying earlier and what I had been thinking.

***

I’ve been wanting to dive into this one, so now I’m excited.  What are the rest of you spotlighting today?  I hope you’ll stop by and share….

STRENGTHENED BY ADVERSITY — A REVIEW

Family life with all its complexities is at the heart of The Good Father. Travis, as a single father, fiercely loves and protects his four-year-old daughter Bella, but what sets him apart from ordinary fathers is how the duo of Travis and Bella came to be. And how the challenges he faces fuel that protectiveness, bringing out his strengths.

Narrated in alternating voices, we learn the story of Travis and Robin, teens in love, who fought against the obstacles that prevented them from being a family with their daughter. We slowly come to know how the fissures developed between them; the lies that kept them apart; and the wondrous serendipity that brought them together again.

We watch Robin making a new life with a political family in Beaufort, helping her fiancé Dale with his aspirations; but then Dale’s teenage sister has a baby out of wedlock and these events bring the past into the forefront of Robin’s mind. Remembrances of the past begin to plague her, even as she gradually learns of some of Dale’s lies and deceptions. Reminders of the control exerted upon her and Travis years before reshape her attitudes about the false life she has been building.

We also come to know the other characters that helped to bring this story together, like Erin, whose daughter Carolyn drowned at Atlantic Beach two years before and who is struggling to deal with the loss. She is stunned by the pull she feels toward Bella when they meet accidentally one day. How their paths converge and take them on a dramatic journey tells us more about Erin’s story and how she is gradually coming to accept the things she cannot change.

The pacing of this story was spot on, with the plots and subplots woven together and gradually revealed in a way that kept me eagerly reading. I rooted for these characters and the strengths that helped them overcome their obstacles in spite of their vulnerabilities.

At the end of their journey, Travis describes what he is enjoying:

“I like living a normal life—you know, one of those lives where nothing dramatic happens. Where you’re part of a little family: dad, mom, child. You have a roof over your head and food on the table and your biggest problem is deciding whether to send your kid to kindergarten when she’s just turned five or give her another year of preschool….”

I applaud the author for giving us such wonderfully layered characters, and showing us how they achieved their hard won peace and normalcy; I enjoyed my time with them. Five stars.

SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — MAY 11

Welcome to some serendipitous fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

Today I’ve grabbed a book from next week’s stack:  an ARC of the Lisa Unger novel, Heartbroken.

About the Book: 

A shattering new novel about three women on a heart-wrenching collision course.Long after anyone expected Kate to do anything with her life, she did. Using the journals left behind by her aunt and grandmother, she wrote a novel based on a very real generation-old love story that ended in tragedy. On the other side of town, Emily is about to set fire to her life. She’s in a dead-end job and is involved with the wrong man; she can feel herself being drawn into darkness, with horrific consequences. With nowhere to go, she finds herself on the run.  Without knowing each other, and with lives that couldn’t be more different, Kate and Emily head to the same point on the map: Heart Island, an idyllic place in the middle of a lake in the Adirondacks, owned for generations by Birdie Burke’s family. The harsh and unyielding Birdie is at one with this island, which has a terrifying history all its own. She, too, has consequences to face.

Heartbroken is a tense, mesmerizing novel about the limits of dysfunctional families, of an island haunted by dark memories and restless ghosts, and of the all-too-real demons we must battle.  Wonderfully suspenseful, exquisitely crafted, and written with raw, emotional power, this is Lisa Unger at her very best.
***
Beginning (Prologue):  Birdie Burke stood on the edge of the rock and watched the first light of morning color the sky a dusty rose.  As she perched on the cold, slippery stone shore, the lake water lapped at her toes.
Beginning (Chapter One):  The Blue Hen was bustling, and Emily had screwed up in at least three different ways since her shift began.  She’d given one customer the wrong change.  She’d given another the wrong order.  And now, as some little kid ran out of the bathroom without looking, cutting her off as she moved down the narrow hallway from the kitchen to the dining area, she felt the tray of ice waters slipping from her hands.

Wow!  Her day is just not getting any better!  This opener grabbed my interest; so did the prologue, but in a different way.  It hints of peace and endings, perhaps.

***

p. 56:  “I have a right to buy my daughter gifts,” he’d said to Kate during this afternoon’s heated conversation.  She was inadequate to the task of explaining why it was not okay to give Chelsea things that Kate would have made her wait for or earn.

***

While none of these snippets really hint at the suspense that is certainly part of this book, I can’t wait to read it.  What are the rest of you sharing today?  Come on by…..