WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATE: NEWS, UNEXPECTED HEAT, & BOOKISH DELIGHTS

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Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  and Book Journey, for What Are You Reading?

**Mailbox Monday is now hosted at the home site:  Mailbox Monday.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee, and let’s talk about our weeks.

 

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A few days ago, my newest novel, Interior Designs, became available on Kindle.  It is also available in paperback.

 

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For those of you out there still waiting for spring, today feels like a summer here in the Central Valley.  Too much of a good thing?

 

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Monday Potpourri:  Time with Fiona

Let’s Curl up with “True Blend” – Intros/Teasers

News from the Interior:  Kindle Version Is Now Available

A Cup of Coffee & a Chat:  An Excerpt from “Interior Designs”

Friday Potpourri:  Book Beginnings/The Friday 56 – “Keep Quiet”

Creative Saturday:  Shopping!

Review:  That Night, by Chevy Stevens

Review:  Invisible Ellen, by Shari Shattuck

Review:  The Peach Keeper (e-book), by Sarah Addison Allen

 

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

 

One book came in my mailbox, unexpectedly, from St. Martin’s Press.  Strangely enough, I had just downloaded that very book onto Sparky!  So I have two copies of this one:

Keep Quiet, by Lisa Scottoline

 

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And then, because I had heard so many good things about this one, I downloaded it as well:

 

The Headmaster’s Wife (e-book), by Thomas Christopher Greene

 

 

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WHAT’S UP NEXT ON THE BLOGS? (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

 

Safe with Me (e-book), by Amy Hatvany

 

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True Blend, by Joanne DeMaio

 

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Dancing in the Streets, by Steven P. Unger

 

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That was my week!  What did yours look like?

 

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS – “JUBILEE’S JOURNEY”

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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 spotlighted book is one I won in a contest from Kimba, Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Jubilee’s Journey is authored by Bette Lee Crosby.

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Intro:  (As It Was…)

On an icy cold November morning in 1956, Bartholomew Jones died in the Poynter Coal Mine.  His death came as no surprise to anyone.  He was only one of the countless men forever lost to the mine.  They were men loved and mourned by their families, but to the world they were faceless, nameless people, not worthy of mention in the Charleston Times.

Morning after morning those men descended into the belly of the mountain, into a world of black dust that clung to their skin with a fierceness that no amount of scrubbing could wash away.  In the winter the sky was still black when they climbed into the trolley cart that carried them into the mountain.  And when they returned twelve hours later, daylight had already come and gone.

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Teaser:  When Mahoney left Anita’s apartment he couldn’t stop wondering what angry words had torn the two sisters apart.  Anita’s bitterness was so thick you could almost see it seeping from her skin.  (p.206).

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Blurb:  When tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mining family, two children start out on a trek that they hope will lead them to a new life. Before a day passes, the children are separated and the boy is caught up in a robbery not of his making. If his sister can find him, she may be able to save him. The problem is she’s only seven years old, and who’s going to believe a kid? Jubilee’s Journey is Book Two in the Wyattsville Series. This story of discovering lost family and finding love reconnects readers with Ethan Allen and the other heart-warming characters of the bestselling novel SPARE CHANGE.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  Come on by and share your excerpts.

 

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS – “BEACH MUSIC”

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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 chunkster I plan to read early in the New Year.  (768 pages).  It’s Beach Music, by Pat Conroy.

 

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Intro:  In 1980, a year after my wife leapt to her death from the Silas Pearlman Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina, I moved to Italy to begin life anew, taking our small daughter with me.  Our sweet Leah was not quite two when my wife, Shyla, stopped her car on the highest point of the bridge and looked over, for the last time, the city she loved so well.  She had put on the emergency brake and opened the door of our car, then lifted herself up to the rail of the bridge with the delicacy and enigmatic grace that was always Shyla’s catlike gift.  She was also quick-witted and funny, but she carried within her a dark side that she hid with bright allusions and an irony as finely wrought as lace.  She had so mastered the strategies of camouflage that her own history had seemed a series of well-placed mirrors that kept her hidden from herself.

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Teaser: “Do you remember how much I loved you as a baby, Leah?” Lucy asked, hugging the child to her.

“I can’t remember anything about South Carolina,” Leah said.  “I’ve tried, but I just can’t.” (p. 275).

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Blurb:  PAT CONROY, America’s preeminent storyteller, delivers a sweeping novel of lyric intensity and searing truth–the story of Jack McCall, an American expatriate in Rome, scarred by tragedy and betrayal. His desperate desire to find peace after his wife’s suicide draws him into a painful, intimate search for the one haunting secret in his family’s past that can heal his anguished heart.

Spanning three generations and two continents, from the contemporary ruins of the American South to the ancient ruins of Rome, from the unutterable horrors of the Holocaust to the lingering trauma of Vietnam, Beach Music sings with life’s pain and glory. It is another masterpiece in PAT CONROY’S legendary list of beloved novels.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading, or does the chunkster aspect of the book give you pause?  For some reason, I feel more ready to read a hefty book at the beginning of the New Year.

 

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS – “LEAVING HAVEN”

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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 Amazon Vine:  Leaving Haven, by Kathleen McCleary.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue) – Georgia – June 19, 2012

Georgia sat up in her hospital bed, holding her baby.  She studied his little face—just visible beneath the striped blue and pink knit cap the nurse had pulled over his head after cleaning him off.  She tried to remember how Liza had looked as a newborn, all those years ago.  But this baby didn’t look like Liza, maybe because there was nothing of her, Georgia, in this baby.  Instead John’s features bloomed on this tiny boy—the ears that stuck out just slightly, the dark hair, the full lips.

Outside the window the sun broke through the clouds and streamed into the room.  Georgia noticed the shift in the light, but didn’t take her eyes off the baby in her arms.  She picked up one of his hands, rubbed his palm with her thumb.  His fingers were long—she could see that even in such new, tiny hands—nothing at all like Georgia’s own hands.  The baby opened his eyes.

Georgia gazed at him.  “Hi?”  she said.  “Who are you?”

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Teaser:  (Alice – June 24, 2012)

The one thing Alice had learned since her affair was that no matter how well you thought you knew someone (whether another person or yourself), you could still be surprised, very surprised. (p. 243).

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Blurb:   In Leaving Haven, Kathleen McCleary, author of A Simple Thing, explores the intricacies of love, friendship, and parenthood.

Georgia longs for a baby, but she’s had miscarriage after miscarriage since her daughter was born more than a decade ago. Through a miraculous egg donation, Georgia is thrilled to find herself pregnant—until she makes a startling discovery that changes her mind about how much she really wants the baby…

Georgia’s best friend, Alice, has a happy teenage daughter, a faithful husband, and a perfectly organized life. But her world spins off its axis when she falls for a man who is everything she knows she doesn’t want…

Leaving Haven is a provocative and touching novel that will appeal to readers of contemporary fiction and fans of Jodi Picoult, Luanne Rice, and Kristin Hannah.

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Would you keep reading?  I know that I can’t wait to immerse myself in this story.

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: INTROS/TEASERS – HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE

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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 feature is one of my books for this week:  How To Be a Good Wife, by Emma Chapman, an ARC from Amazon Vine.

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Intro:  Today, somehow, I am a smoker.

I did not know this about myself.  As far as I remember, I have never smoked before.

It feels unnatural, ill-fitting, for a woman of my age:  a wife, a mother with a grown-up son, to sit in the middle of the day with a cigarette between her fingers.   Hector hates smoking.  He always coughs sharply when we walk behind someone smoking on the street, and I imagine his vocal cords rubbing together, moist and pink like chicken flesh.

I rub the small white face of my watch.  Twelve fifteen.  By this time, I am usually working on something in the kitchen.  I must prepare supper for this evening, the recipe book propped open on the stand that Hector bought me for an early wedding anniversary.  I must make bread:  mix the ingredients in a large bowl, knead it on the cold wooden worktop, watch it rise in the oven.  Hector likes to have fresh bread in the mornings.  Make your home a place of peace and order.

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Teaser:  The glow of the shop emerges out of the lowering fog.  My headlights make it swirl, the light losing itself in the opaque white air.  When I turn off the engine, the silence is total.  (p. 136).

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Blurb:   In the tradition of Emma Donoghue’s Room and S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman is a haunting literary debut about a woman who begins having visions that make her question everything she knows

Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after university. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife—as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector’s aloof mother on their wedding day.

But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can’t recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember—or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta’s visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it’s unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is growing more real every day, and she wants something.

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What do you think?  Haunting?  Eerie?  Crazy?  I know I can’t wait to read it.

WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATES: READING, BLOGGING, & A GIVEAWAY AHEAD

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Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  Book Dragon’s Lair, for Mailbox Monday, and Book Journey, for What Are You Reading?

This week sped by, and as I examine my accomplishments, I am pleased.  And tired!  Remember the stress of last week, and my DMV exam?  Well, this week brought opportunities to read and blog; a coffee meeting with an old friend; and my actual driver’s license in the mailbox!

Meanwhile…I also had some fun serving up coffee in my more elegant cup and saucer.  For a change.

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Bookish Journey:  Musings

Tuesday Potpourri:  Intros/Teasers – Woman on Top

Waiting for “Keep Quiet”

Thursday Potpourri:  Whimsical Thoughts

Favorite Characters Return in New Wendy Wax Book

Friday Potpourri:  Spontaneity & Structure – An Unlikely Mix

Coming Next Week:  4-Year Blogoversary @ Curl up and Read

Guest Post – Author of Sinnerman – Jonathan M. Cook

Once Upon a Time – An Excerpt from An Accidental Life

Review:  The Whole Golden World, by Kristina Riggle (Vine Review)

Review:  Two Sisters, by Mary Hogan (Vine Review)

Review:  Sinnerman, by Jonathan M. Cook (Blog Tour)

Review:  Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert (Mt. TBR Challenge)

Review:  The Night Guest, by Fiona McFarlane (Vine Review)

Review:  Murder at Castle Rock (e-book), by Anne Marie Stoddard (Author Review Request)

INCOMING BOOKS: (All titles/covers linked to Amazon)

I received two review books in the mail…and one review book for Sparky.

Mother, Mother, by Koren Zailckas (Amazon Vine)

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How To Be a Good Wife, by Emma Chapman (Amazon Vine)

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Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes (e-book), by Joanne DeMaio

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UPCOMING WEEK ON THE BLOGS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Blog Tour Stop for The Thunderbird Conspiracy, by R. K. Price (at Rainy Days and Mondays on Friday, 10/25)

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Reading List:

Circling My Mother (e-book), by Mary Gordon (Mt. TBR Challenge)

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Woman on Top, by Deborah Schwartz (Blog Tour Stop on 11/14/13)

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Mother, Mother, by Koren Zailckas (Amazon Vine)

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And don’t forget:  My 4-Year Blogoversary at Curl up and Read!  Tuesday, October 22, 2013

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There will be a giveaway and two winners!  Stop by and find out the details.  And bring your own coffee and/or mimosas!

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SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAYS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – THE NIGHT GUEST

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Welcome to some bookish 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!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I’m spotlighting an ARC of The Night Guest, by Fiona McFarlane.

 

 

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Beginning:  Ruth woke at four in the morning and her blurry brain said, “Tiger.”  That was natural; she was dreaming.  But there were noises in the house, and as she woke she heard them.  They came across the hallway from the lounge room.

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56:  Now Frida held a hand to her dark hair and produced a sigh so bitter, so exhausted, and at the same time so sweet, that Ruth was tempted to reach out and comfort her.

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Amazon Description:   A mesmerizing first novel about trust, dependence, and fear, from a major new writer

Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. Her routines are few and small. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. This woman—Frida—claims to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in.
Now that Frida is in her house, is Ruth right to fear the tiger she hears on the prowl at night, far from its jungle habitat? Why do memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency? How far can she trust this mysterious woman, Frida, who seems to carry with her own troubled past? And how far can Ruth trust herself?
The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane’s hypnotic first novel, is no simple tale of a crime committed and a mystery solved. This is a tale that soars above its own suspense to tell us, with exceptional grace and beauty, about ageing, love, trust, dependence, and fear; about processes of colonization; and about things (and people) in places they shouldn’t be. Here is a new writer who comes to us fully formed, working wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to describe the mysterious workings of our minds.

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I am eager to delve into this story.  What are you sharing today?

WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATES: BANNED BOOKS, BLOGGIESTA, & MORE — SEPT. 22

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Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  Notorious Spinks Talks Books, , Beauty in Ruins, for Mailbox Monday, and Book Journey, for What Are You Reading?

This has been quite the week!  Between reading and reviewing a “banned/challenged book,” (hosted by Sheila) and participating in Bloggiesta, there was plenty of reading that engaged me.  I did my work for Bloggiesta on this blog.  Note the changes in theme, header, sidebar, and pages.  Not to mention the background.  Hope you like it.

Last week found me “hunkering down,” with the month half over, and this week revealed how many review books are still left to devour.  Forging ahead!

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Monday Potpourri:  Musing About “A Dark Mind”

Serendipitous Tuesdays:  Intros/Teasers – “Cleans Up Nicely”

Join Our Journey:  Waiting for Wednesday

Bookish Descriptions:  Imagery Part 2

Thursday Potpourri:  Cozy Reading, Pivotal Moments, & Coincidences

Go out on a Limb for Book Beginnings & The Friday 56

Establishing Connections:  An Excerpt from “Chasing Stardust”

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Review:  Happy All the Time, by Laurie Colwin

Review:  A Dark Mind, by T. R. Ragan

Review:  Cross-Stitch Before Dying, by Amanda Lee

Review:  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (For Banned Book Week)

Read:  Sinnerman, by Jonathan M. Cook (Review will be posted for blog tour stop – 10/17 Rainy Days and Mondays)

AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE:

Rita, My Home of Books, reviewed my book Web of Tyranny.

INCOMING BOOKS: (All Covers/Titles Link to Amazon)

All of my incoming books came via download onto Sparky this week.  The first is a review book, the other two are my purchases.

Murder at Castle Rock (e-book), by Anne Marie Stoddard (Author Request)

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Final Sentence (e-book), by Daryl Wood Gerber (My Purchase)

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The Girl You Left Behind (e-book), by JoJo Moyes (My Purchase)

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UPCOMING WEEK ON THE BLOGS: (TITLES/COVERS linked to Amazon)

Cleans Up Nicely, by Linda Dahl (Won from Rose City Reader — thanks!)

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Diary of a Wildflower (e-book), by Ruth White (Author Review Request)

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Cold Winter Rain (e-book), by Steven P. Gregory (Author Review Request)

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I have plans to hurry through these books and pick up one or two more…to whittle down those review books on the stacks so I can grab one that I’m drooling over…a book that came in the mailbox last week.  Can you guess which one?

Come on by and let’s chat.  Bring coffee, because I might be curled up with my breakfast in bed.

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SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — SEPT. 6

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Welcome to some bookish 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!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s featured book is another ARC from Amazon Vine:  Just What Kind of Mother Are You?, by Paula Daly.

 

 

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Beginning:  Day One:  Tuesday

I wake up more tired than when I went to sleep.  I’ve had five and a half hours and, after hitting the snooze button for the third time, I lift my head.

It’s the kind of tired I’m beyond finding reasons for.  You know the sort, you first notice it and you think:  What is wrong with me?

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56:  Alexa had turned her back and was taking another taste from the pot on the stove.  ‘Kate,’ she said, her voice snippy with criticism, ‘these onions are not completely softened, you can’t serve the tagine like this, it’ll be awful.’

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Amazon Blurb:  Lisa Kallisto—overwhelmed working mother—is the not-so-perfect model of the modern woman. She holds down a busy job running an animal shelter, she cares for three demanding children, and she worries that her marriage isn’t getting enough attention. During an impossibly hectic week, Lisa takes her eye off the ball for a moment and her world descends into a living nightmare. Not only is her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter missing, but it’s Lisa’s fault. To make matters worse, Lucinda is the second teenage girl to disappear within the past two weeks. The first one turned up stripped bare and abandoned on the main street after a horrible ordeal. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, and after having been publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. As she begins digging under the surface, Lisa learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be.

In Paula Daly’s heart-stopping debut novel, motherhood, marriage, and friendship are tested when a string of abductions tear through a small-town community. Gripping and fast-paced, Just What Kind of Mother Are You? introduces an outstanding new thriller writer with a terrifying imagination for the horrors that lurk in everyday lives.

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What do you think?  I know that I’m eager to plunge into this one.  Enjoy your weekend, and I hope you’ll share your comments and links.

 

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

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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.

 

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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.”

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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).

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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.

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