TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “THE CORN MAIDEN”

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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 I’d like to share excerpts from a book that has been waiting rather impatiently for me to get to it:  The Corn Maiden (and Other Nightmares), by Joyce Carol Oates, is a book I purchased three years ago!  It is a collection of seven short stories, tales of suspense, “that will keep you riveted to the page.”

 

 

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Intro:  (From the story “The Corn Maiden:  A Love Story”)

April:  You Assholes!

Whywhy you’re asking here’s why her hair.

I mean her hair!  I mean like I saw it in the sun it’s pale silky gold like corn tassels and in the sun sparks might catch.  And her eyes that smiled at me sort of nervous and hopeful like she could not know (but who could know?) what is Jude’s wish.  For I am Jude the obscure, I am the Master of Eyes.  I am not to be judged by crude eyes like yours, assholes.

There was her mother.  I saw them together.  I saw the mother stoop to kiss her.  That arrow entered my heart.  I thought I will make you see me.  I would not forgive.

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Teaser:  The Corn Maiden had never been to Jude’s house before.  But Jude was friendly to her beginning back in March.  Told us the Master of Eyes had granted her a wish on her birthday.  And we were counted in that wish. (p. 4).

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Blurb:  “The Corn Maiden” is the gut-wrenching story of Marissa, a beautiful and sweet eleven-year-old girl with hair the color of corn silk. Taken by an older girl from her school who has told two friends in her thrall of the Indian legend of the Corn Maiden, in which a girl is sacrificed to ensure a good crop, Marissa is kept in a secluded basement and convinced that the world has ended. Marissa’s seemingly inevitable fate becomes ever more terrifying as the older girl relishes her power, giving the tale unbearable tension with a shocking conclusion. In “Helping Hands,” published here for the first time, a lonely woman meets a man in the unlikely clutter of a dingy charity shop and extends friendship. She has no idea what kinds of doors she may be opening. The powerful stories in this extraordinary collection further enhance Joyce Carol Oates’s standing as one of the world’s greatest writers of suspense.

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What do you think?  I am definitely not sure about this collection, hence the long period of time I waited before picking it up to read.  I have had a precarious relationship with this author’s works.  When I love one of her books or collections, I am enthralled.  When I do not connect with the stories or characters, I am sitting there going “huh?”

I don’t know which one this will be.  Have any of you read this?  Any thoughts?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: WAITING FOR “UNBECOMING”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

I discovered this book on another blog the other day, and got really excited.  I’d hoped I could buy it right then, but discovered it isn’t coming out until January 27, 2015!  But judging by the way time seems to fly lately, that should not be a problem.  Here it is:  drum roll, please!  Unbecoming, by Rebecca Scherm.

 

 

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Blurb:  A major new debut thriller about a small-town girl who charms her way into the world of international art fraud.

On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.

Unbecoming is an intricately plotted and psychologically nuanced heist novel that turns on suspense and slippery identity. With echoes of Alfred Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca Scherm’s mesmerizing debut is sure to entrance fans of Gillian Flynn, Marisha Pessl, and Donna Tartt.

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Why do I want this book?  Check out that cover, for one thing.  And then I was drawn in by the blurb and the idea of an unassuming woman who restores bric-a-brac, but is secretly and furtively planning her next heist…or perhaps not.  Perhaps she is just hiding out.  But I know that I want to follow her journey!

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “HELLO FROM THE GILLESPIES”

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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, from an author that is new to me:  Hello from the Gillespies, by Monica McInerney.

 

 

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Intro:  It was December first.  Angela Gillespie did as she’d done on that date for the past thirty-three years.  She sat down at her desk before dinner and prepared to write her annual Christmas letter.

After doing so many, she had the process down to a fine art.  It was a matter of leafing through her diary to recall the year’s main events, writing an update about each member of the family—herself, her husband and their four children—attaching a photo or two, then sending it off.

She’d written her first Christmas letter the same year she was married.  Transformed from single traveler Angela Richardson of Forest Hill, London, to newlywed Mrs. Nick Gillespie of Errigal, a sheep station in outback South Australia, she couldn’t have been further from her old life, in distance or lifestyle.  She’d decided an annual letter was the best way of keeping in contact with her friends and relatives back home.  As the years went by, she’d added Nick’s relatives, their neighbors and her new Australian friends to the mailing list.  It now went to more than a hundred people worldwide.

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Teaser:  Angela was in her pottery studio.  She’d been there for the past hour, ever since she’d reread her letter.  She wasn’t working.  She was hiding. (p.118).

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Blurb:  For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth….

The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.

Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways…

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I was first drawn to this book by the memories of those Christmas letters I used to receive from friends…usually the people weren’t all that close, and the letters always sounded as though the families depicted in them were perfect, with flawless lives.  Of course I knew that couldn’t be, but sometimes, we see what people want us to see.

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: WAITING FOR “CRAZY LOVE YOU”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

Today I’m excited about the newest release coming from Lisa Unger, Crazy Love You.  Release Date:  February 10, 2015.

 

 

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Blurb:  No one writes “good scary fun” (The Washington Post) better than New York Times bestselling master of psychological suspense Lisa Unger. With more than 1.8 million books sold in more than thirty countries, it’s clear why USA TODAY declared that her thrillers “should be on everyone’s to-read list.”

Falling in love can feel like a dream…or a living nightmare.

Darkness has a way of creeping up when Ian is with Priss. Even when they were kids, playing in the woods of their small Upstate New York town, he could feel it. Still, Priss was his best friend, his salvation from the bullies who called him “loser” and “fatboy”…and from his family’s deadly secrets.

Now that they’ve both escaped to New York City, Ian no longer inhabits the tortured shell of his childhood. He is a talented and successful graphic novelist, and Priss…Priss is still trouble. The booze, the drugs, the sex–Ian is growing tired of late nights together trying to keep the past at bay. Especially now that he’s met sweet, beautiful Megan, whose love makes him want to change for the better. But Priss doesn’t like change. Change makes her angry. And when Priss is angry, terrible things begin to happen…

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I have been a fan of this author ever since I read some of her previous books, like Beautiful Lies and Sliver of Truth.  It has been too long since I cracked open one of her books, so I am very excited about this one.

What are you waiting for?  Come on by and share, please!

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: NIGHT READING & NETFLIX WATCHING

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Last night, I kept waking up so that I could read some more.  The book I am currently reading is one that took me a while to connect with, although I am quite fond of British mysteries.  A Question of Guilt, by Frances Fyfield, is quite different from the ones I’ve read before.

 

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But I really like the MC Helen West.  The author describes her appearance, her settings, and her routines in such a way that I feel as though I know her.  And that I’d like to curl up on her sofa and chat.

Do you get that comfy feeling with favorite characters?  Does it make you want to enter the book and join them?

Unfortunately, when I read throughout the night, I often dream about the book afterwards…and in this case, I dreamed that I was writing the review, and trying to get the words just right.

Sometimes I have a really tough time capturing what I love about a book.

Next I hope to read Then and Always, by Dani Atkins, a Vine review. 

 

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Speaking of Vine, I am totally miffed about the infamous queue…which never has any books on mine.  Yes, I can go to Vine for All, but I’m wondering why they thought this was a good idea?  And how the queue is supposed to work for us?

Anyway…rant over.  The member forums show others feeling frustrated, but some of them believe there is a system…

I may have to opt out of the program…although as long as I can get books on VFA, I probably shouldn’t.

This past week, I actually read two books from my Mt. TBR Stack (for the challenge).  Books purchased before 2014.

Here’s my Weekly Update.

 

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Today I want to hook up my laptop to the big TV and watch Netflix.  Lately I’ve been too lazy…and there is always the pull toward whatever book I’m reading.  Maybe I can do both.

 

 

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On October 1st, Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix!  All seven seasons, which I know I haven’t seen.  I never watched it until it came to ABC Family, where I started recording it.

 

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Yes, sometimes they annoy me…LOL.  But they are kind of fun, too…and now they feel like friends.  What do you think of them?

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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “MIDNIGHT BETRAYAL”

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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 feature is a review book I just started reading, from the fabulous Melinda Leigh:  Midnight Betrayal.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Two weeks ago)

She died faster than I’d expected.  In fact, the whole abduction and killing scheme was easier than I’d anticipated.  I’d allowed several hours for tonight’s task but finished well ahead of schedule.

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56:  But the simultaneous disappearances of the replica knife and two young women tainted his pleasure.  There were too many twisted connections in the events with Louisa, her intern, and the museum for Conor’s comfort.  Something was brewing.

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Blurb:  Curator Dr. Louisa Hancock left behind Maine and her troubled past for Philadelphia and a job at a prominent museum. Just when it seems that Louisa’s new life is safe from her dark secrets, the body of a museum intern is found—the victim of a brutal and baffling murder.

Louisa realizes this is no random crime. And when another intern goes missing, the abduction is linked to the only man who has ever tempted Louisa’s heart—Conor Sullivan, the sexy owner of a Philly sports bar. Louisa’s past has taught her to be wary, but her heart refuses to believe Conor is guilty.

Now Conor and Louisa must dodge a police investigation—and their growing desire—as they race to find the real killer before another girl turns up dead. But trusting Conor could be deadly, especially as the evidence against him mounts…and as a merciless killer targets Louisa as the next victim.

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I love this series, and this newest book promises to be a wonderful addition.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: ACCEPTANCE!

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Surrounded by my memorabilia and pondering the book stacks in my office, I realize that I have no room to complain.

 

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I recently wrote about my obsession with completing my Mt. TBR Challenge for the year, with ten more books to go.

And I have been striving to request fewer review books, meaning Vine, since those are most often the books I select.

So why am I chomping at the bit when my Vine Queue has NO BOOKS IN IT?

Yes, they supposedly appear suddenly, with no apparent plan…or rhyme or reason.  Vine for All is still full of books, but I want some in my Queue!  Even though I don’t plan to request any more books.

Could the Book Gods be watching out for me?  Trying to help me curtail my requests?

I received two books from Vine yesterday, and now have a total of three Vine review books on my stacks.  That should be enough to satisfy me, especially since I have been on a downloading spree lately, requesting several last week and two this week already.

This week’s downloads:

 After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

 

 

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And then, a book I’ve been ogling for a while:  The Children Act, by Ian McEwan:  spotlighting a judge with her own issues that may or may not affect some of her decisions.

 

 

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Meanwhile, from the aforementioned TBR Stacks, I am reading Gringa in a Strange Land, by Linda Dahl.

 

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I purchased this one after reading another book by the author:  Cleans Up Nicely.

 

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I could relate to the times featured in both books…and after reading the second one (above), I wanted to know what happened before….Here are some conclusions in my review of the second book:

“The author has created very true-to-life characters that bring into focus the scenes in this story, reminding me of the times in which they are living. As if I were there with them. Sometimes I feel as though I am those characters, and the slide downward is mine. I almost inhabit their worlds. The bottoming out process is described with such accuracy, revealing much about the author’s ability to explore that universe. A compelling and captivating five star read.”

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Now that I have ranted a bit, I am arriving at a point where I can see that my queue is what it is, and that I should accept it.  How zen of me!

What are your thoughts, if any, on the new Vine system?

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