BOOKISH FRIDAY: “ONE GOOD THING”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s 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!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is another book in the Ten Beach Road Series, One Good Thing, by Wendy Wax, a story of four women trying to rebuild more than their lives…
 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

Midlife crises come in all shapes and sizes.  They can manifest in the form of a shiny red sports car, a distant mountain peak demanding to be scaled, a new head of hair, or a plastic bottle of little blue pills.  Bertrand Baynard’s starred an exotic dancer named Delilah with whom he fell in love, fathered a child, and ran away.

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56:  “No.  I said I don’t believe in forcing things.  That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with making someone so comfortable they want to share what’s bothering them.”

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Synopsis:  Before you can fix it up, you might have to tear it down…
 
Embroiled in a battle to regain control of their renovation-turned-reality TV show, Do Over, Maddie, Avery, Nikki, and Kyra find themselves holding tight to the frayed ends of their friendship and relationships.
 
Maddie must face the realities of dating a rock star once again topping the charts and dealing with her hapless ex-husband, while Avery is caught up in family drama even as she attempts to transform a tiny cottage into a home for the newly impoverished heiress who helped bankroll their last renovation. Put on bedrest, a hugely pregnant Nikki can’t quite believe love can last, or trust in her own maternal instinct. And Kyra, who has secretly put Bella Flora at risk in an attempt to salvage Do Over, must decide whether to accept a desperately needed bail out from her son’s famous father that comes with far too many strings attached…
 
But friendship is made for times like these, to keep each other—and their dreams—from crumbling.

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I love this series, so I’m excited to begin another “episode” in the lives of four women trying to make over their lives.  What do you think?

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REVIEW: THE FUTURES, BY ANNA PITONIAK

Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a rural Canadian town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia–blond, beautiful, and rich–fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan lands a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, whose privileged upbringing grants her an easy but wholly unsatisfying job with a nonprofit, feels increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.

With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in a high-stakes deal at work–a deal that, despite the assurances of his Machiavellian boss, begins to seem more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of life. As the economy craters, and as Evan and Julia spin into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more–good and bad–than they’d ever imagined.

My Thoughts: As I began reading The Futures, I was drawn in by the NYC setting, the financial crisis that would soon be erupting all around the characters, and that ongoing sense of actually living the story along with them.

Julia and Evan could be any young couple starting out, fresh from university with all their ideals guiding them. Julia came from a privileged life with a well-to-do family in Boston, ready to pick up the pieces for her if she ran into problems. A sense of entitlement certainly contributed to how she handled the events that unfolded over the months following the beginning of their seemingly perfect life.

Evan had a different kind of upbringing. From a small town in British Columbia, he depended upon his employment to maintain his visa, so he was in a more tenuous position. But he, too, had the strong ideals of a new graduate, and he certainly had the naivete of someone from small town life set down in the midst of a sophisticated and high-pressured environment.

It wasn’t surprising that Julia and Evan had a failure to communicate, partially due to their parallel lives. Evan worked until late at night, and Julia, with a shorter work day and time on her hands, fell prey to a burgeoning tendency to feel sorry for herself for not having the attention she thought she deserved.

When secrets and betrayals brought their relationship to a crashing halt, Julia escaped back to Boston, while Evan tried to keep his head down at work, as if hoping that everything would blow over eventually.

Alternately narrated by Julia and Evan, the reader has the opportunity to live inside their individual heads throughout the story, feeling empathy for each of them, while wondering how they would extricate themselves from their bad choices. Definitely engaging, I could not put this book down. 5 stars.

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WHEN AUTUMN SLIPS TOWARD WINTER: MEMORIES & AN EXCERPT

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Fall is the season of new beginnings.  For me, that has always been the case, starting back in childhood when the season brought release from the long hot summer days…and the endless chores.  Living on a farm was like being on a treadmill of continuous chores.

Above is a photo of my second son and his daughter Aubrey, years ago when I still lived in my house in the foothills.  This snap was captured at Thanksgiving.  Aubrey is now in college, so you get the sense of the passage of time.

In the background, note the climbing device…my youngest son built that, and the grandchildren all clamored to it.

In my first published book, An Accidental Life, one of my characters lives in an A-frame house with a guest house next door.  Like mine.  Here’s an excerpt:

 

Autumn slipped toward winter, its days beginning with that hideous, low-hanging fog that characterized this part of the valley.   But Melody woke in the mornings feeling something akin to happiness.  Taking her large mug of coffee over near the tall side windows, where she had set up a little table and wicker chair, she would spread out the newspaper.  Reading, sipping her coffee, and occasionally glancing toward the guesthouse, waiting for the first sign of Hugh so she could invent some excuse to saunter on over.

Since their first encounter a few months back, the two of them had established a more or less regular routine.  One or the other would initiate contact, they would chat for a bit, and then they would end up in bed.  Melody still felt wonder when she reflected on their moments together.  What an unlikely pairing they were.

She felt the heat rising in her face as her thoughts raced backward and she quickly fanned herself with the front page of the paper.  Despite all the passion the two of them generated, however, she sometimes walked away afterwards wondering who Hugh Kincaid really was…They never really talked about anything substantive.  Oh, they had shared the superficial biographical sketches.  He knew that she had been in Haight-Ashbury in the sixties and on the road for awhile in the seventies.  He knew about the trust fund that had brought her this house.  She knew that he’d retired from a state job as an engineer, that he loved photography as art, and that he had been married once…But had no children.

Her brow furrowed as she tried to focus on the newspaper.  Her thoughts refused to cooperate, continuing instead to ramble in Hugh’s direction.  She realized that she wanted to know more.  And she was even willing to share more of herself.  The realization surprised and worried her at the same time.  What did it mean?

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What does Fall bring to you?  Family moments?  New beginnings? 

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