FRIDAY POTPOURRI: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “AMHERST”

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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 an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Amherst, by William Nicholson.

 

 

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Beginning:  The screen is black.  The sound of a pen nib scratching on paper, the sound amplified, echoing in the dark room.  A soft light flickers, revealing ink tracking over paper.  Follow the forming letters to read:

I’ve none to tell me to be thee

The area of light expands.  A small maplewood desk, on which the paper lies.  A hand holding the pen.

***

56:  He formed his face into a smile and entered the room, prepared to be lighthearted.  At once the laughter died.  All eyes were on him, apprehensive.

“Don’t let me spoil the fun,” he said.

***

Blurb:  Alice Dickinson, a young advertising executive in London, decides to take time off work to research her idea for a screenplay: the true story of the scandalous, adulterous love affair that took place between a young, Amherst college faculty wife, Mabel Loomis Todd, and the college’s treasurer, Austin Dickinson, in the 1880s. Austin, twenty-four years Mabel’s senior and married, was the brother of the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, whose house provided the setting for Austin and Mabel’s trysts.

Alice travels to Amherst, staying in the house of Nick Crocker, a married English academic in his fifties. As Alice researches Austin and Mabel’s story and Emily’s role in their affair, she embarks on her own affair with Nick, an affair that, of course, they both know echoes the affair that she’s writing about in her screenplay.

Interspersed with Alice’s complicated love story is the story of Austin and Mabel, historically accurate and meticulously recreated from their voluminous letters and diaries. Using the poems of Emily Dickinson throughout, Amherst is an exploration of the nature of passionate love, its delusions, and its glories. This novel is playful and scholarly, sexy and smart, and reminds us that the games we play when we fall in love have not changed that much over the years.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts draw you in?  Pique your interest?

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: ENJOYING WHAT LIES AHEAD

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Here we are again, a Sunday afternoon, with the promise of good things ahead.

I just finished watching some episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and I am taking my time, in this 7th season, hoping to savor every moment, since once the seasons are over, it’s nothing but reruns in my future.

There is no more of this show.  Just like so many other shows that have bitten the dust, like Parenthood (recently), or Private Practice (a while ago), etc.

I hate when shows end.  Especially when I didn’t even know about them until they were over, like Gilmore Girls, or One Tree Hill.

So happy for Netflix!

Over on Chocolate & Mimosas, I chat about guilty pleasures, including some recent ones my daughter has enjoyed in her Nashville trip.

I have never been…to Nashville, I mean.  Although I have enjoyed some “girls gone wild” moments, that wasn’t one of them.

Let’s not go there, though, as today is not about my “wild” moments, but about enjoying what is ahead of us. 

Next, I plan to keep reading a book that has really captured my interest:  What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman.

 

 

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Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?

Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn’t a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end—a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household.

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I have had a difficult time putting this one down, and now that I have done some of my Sunday stuff, like watching Netflix and doing some shopping, I am eager to get back to this one.

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What are you enjoying on a Sunday near the end of February?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “ONE PLUS ONE”

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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 from JoJo Moyes, one of my new favorite authors.  One Plus One is the story of a single mom, a chaotic family, and one quirky stranger.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue – Ed)

Ed Nicholls was in the creatives’ room drinking coffee with Ronan when Sidney walked in.  A man he vaguely recognized stood behind him, another of the Suits.

“We’ve been looking for you,” Sidney said.

“Well, you found us,” Ed said.

“Not Ronan, you.”

Ed studied them for a minute, then threw a red foam ball at the ceiling and caught it.  He glanced sideways at Ronan.  Investacorp had bought half shares in the company a full eighteen months ago, but Ed and Ronan still thought of them as the Suits.  It was one of the kinder things they called them in private.

“Do you know a woman called Deanna Lewis?”

“Why?”

“Did you give her any information about the launch of the new software?”

“What?”

“It’s a simple question.”

***

Teaser:  (Chapter One – Jess)

Jess Thomas and Nathalie Benson slumped in the seats of their van, which was parked far enough away from Nathalie’s house that they couldn’t be seen from inside.  Nathalie was smoking.  She had given it up for the fourth time six weeks ago. (p. 4).

***

Blurb:  One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted Stateside she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

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What do you think?  Does this one grab you?

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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “JUBILEE’S JOURNEY”

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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?

Happy Friday!  I am eager to share my featured book…and then visit all of you, to see what you’ve got.  Mine is a book I have had on my shelves for a while, a contest win:  Jubilee’s Journey, by Bette Lee Crosby, Book Two in the Wyattsville Series.  I still haven’t read Spare Change, Book One, so that is on my list, too.

 

 

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Beginning:  (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.

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56:  The tiny shoes were still where they had fallen when Olivia removed them before carrying the child to bed.  From where she sat Olivia could see a small hole in the bottom of one shoe.

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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, Book Two in the Wyattsville Series, is the story of discovering lost family and finding love that reconnects readers with Ethan Allen and the other heart-warming characters of SPARE CHANGE.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts capture your interest?  I hope you’ll share your comments…and links.

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TIDBITS ABOUT CREATIVITY & QUIRKINESS

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Quirky creativity is a favorite passion of mine.  And I love this artistic creation (above) by my granddaughter Fiona; in some ways, it seems almost like a self portrait.  There are many versions of Fiona, like the one below:

 

 

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And then there is this one, which she captioned Bad Hair Day:

 

 

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She has no qualms about changing up her style on a regular basis.  Courage?  Creativity? Quirkiness?

Maybe all of the above.

When I started this blog in 2009, one of my earliest posts was on a Sunday…and Fiona, age twelve at the time, was watching over my shoulder, seemingly fascinated.  I wrote one of my earlier posts about her:  Sunday Morning Potpourri.

We have traveled so many Sundays since then, and I have added an additional seven or so blogs….(there were a few others in between then and now that no longer exist, but there are ten additional sites now).

And back to creativity…here is another version of Fiona’s creative explorations…this one was taken a couple of years ago.

 

 

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What are some of your quirky obsessions?  What people inspire you to write posts about the topic?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “VICTIMS”

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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 a book by an author I enjoy:  Jonathan Kellerman.  Victims is another book in the Alex Delaware series.

 

 

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Intro:  This one was different.

The first hint was Milo’s tight-voiced eight a.m. message, stripped of details.

Something I need you to see, Alex.  Here’s the address.

An hour later, I was showing I.D. to the uniform guarding the tape.  He winced.  “Up there, Doctor.”  Pointing to the second story of a sky-blue duplex trimmed in chocolate-brown, he dropped a hand to his Sam Browne belt, as if ready for self-defense.

Nice older building, the classic Cal-Spanish architecture, but the color was wrong.  So was the silence of the street, sawhorsed at both ends.  Three squad cars and a liver-colored LTD were parked haphazardly across the asphalt.  No crime lab vans or coroner’s vehicles had arrived, yet.

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Teaser:  Two women entered the Quigg condo. First through the door was a tall buxom redhead with short, feathered hair, wearing a green sweater over a black unitard and red Chinese slippers. (p. 101)

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Amazon Description:  Not since Jack the Ripper terrorized the London slums has there been such a gruesome crime scene. By all accounts, acid-tongued Vita Berlin hadn’t a friend in the world, but whom did she cross so badly as to end up arranged in such a grotesque tableau? One look at her apartment–turned–charnel house prompts hard-bitten LAPD detective Milo Sturgis to summon his go-to expert in hunting homicidal maniacs, Alex Delaware. But despite his finely honed skills, even Alex is stymied when more slayings occur in the same ghastly fashion . . . yet with no apparent connection among the victims. And the only clue left behind—a blank page bearing a question mark—seems to be both a menacing taunt and a cry for help from a killer baffled by his own lethal urges.

Under pressure to end the bloody spree and prevent a citywide panic, Milo redoubles his efforts to discover a link between the disparate victims. Meanwhile, Alex navigates the secretive world of mental health treatment, from the sleek office of a Beverly Hills therapist to a shuttered mental institution where he once honed his craft—and where an unholy alliance between the mad and the monstrous may have been sealed in blood. As each jagged piece of the puzzle fits into place, an ever more horrific portrait emerges of a sinister mind at its most unimaginable—and an evil soul at its most unspeakable. “This one was different,” Alex observes at the start of the case. This one will haunt his waking life, and his darkest dreams, long after its end.

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I am a fan of Alex Delaware and his sidekick Milo, but it’s been a while since I read one of the books.  I am looking forward to it.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: WAITING FOR “IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT”

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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.  And welcome back to Jill, who has had a brief vacation from the blog.  You were missed!

Today’s pick is an upcoming release from a favorite author I haven’t read in many years.  She is better known for her young readers’ selections, but I have always been fond of her occasional adult novels, like Wifey (Dec. 2011) and Smart Women (Dec. 2011).

Her new release, In the Unlikely Event, due out 6/2/15, is a story woven from some real life events in the early 1950s:  a series of airplane crashes in a three month period in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

 

 

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Amazon Description:  The new adult novel from the beloved and best-selling author Judy Blume

When a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey within a three-month period in 1951–1952, Judy Blume was a teenager. “These events have lingered in my mind ever since,” says Blume. “It was a crazy time. We were witnessing things that were incomprehensible to us as teenagers. Was it sabotage? An alien invasion? No one knew, and people were understandably terrified.” Against this background, Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly. But life goes on and Blume digs deep into her characters—we see them coping not only with grief but with first love, estranged parents, difficult friendships, familial obligations, divorce, career ambitions, a grandparent’s love, a widower’s hope, and everything in between. . . . Most important, In the Unlikely Event is filled with the same warmth and authenticity that have won Blume the hearts and minds of readers of all generations.

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What are you waiting for?  Why did you choose your selection today?

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