TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “RUIN FALLS”

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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.

Tuesdays are great!  Don’t you love them?  The week is in full swing, and it’s our opportunity to visit blogs and read excerpts.  Today I am sharing one of my review books, an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Ruin Falls, by Jenny Milchman.

 

 

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Intro:  The children had never been this far from home before.  Liz had spent most of yesterday driving around, hunting for no-mess Crayola coloring books, praying they weren’t too juvenile to keep a six- and eight-year-old occupied in the car, then running up and down the supermarket aisles in search of bars and snack pouches in case they couldn’t find food on the road.  Or in case they did find something, and Paul wouldn’t allow the kids to eat it.

Now the hours had ticked by, four of them, and it seemed they were no closer to their destination than they had been when they left home.  Descending from the mountains of Wedeskyull had presented a stark contrast and it felt like they were really traveling.  But the view outside the windows ever since had been made up of little besides cornfields.  Liz wouldn’t have believed how bleak acres and acres of green could appear when the crop was so unvarying.  The road they were driving on hadn’t dipped or risen for thirty minutes.  It was a flat length of asphalt, inky mirages always shimmering just ahead.

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Teaser:  In the few moments she’d been able to attain unconsciousness last night, her rest had been overrun by what she’d learned on that website Paul had visited.  Or what she hadn’t learned.  Letters danced through the shards of her dreams.  P’s and E’s and W’s. (p. 123).

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Blurb:  Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz’s husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood.

On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in.

Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz’s mind—but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her. Though she knows that Ally and Reid are safe, Liz will stop at nothing to find them and get them back. From her guarded in-laws’ unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her own hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.

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Doesn’t this sound intense?  I am so looking forward to it.  Would you keep reading?  What are you sharing today?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS — THE INTERESTINGS — AUGUST 6

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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 spotlight is on The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer, a story of bonds that develop for six teens in the 70s; bonds that are strengthened over the years.

 

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Intro:  On a warm night in early July of that long-evaporated year, the Interestings gathered for the very first time.  They were only fifteen, sixteen, and they began to call themselves the name with tentative irony.  Julie Jacobson, an outsider and possibly even a freak, had been invited in for obscure reasons, and now she sat in a corner on the unswept floor and attempted to position herself so she would appear unobtrusive yet not pathetic, which was a difficult balance.   The teepee, designed ingeniously though built cheaply, was airless on nights like this one, when there was no wind to push in through the screens.  Julie Jacobson longed to unfold a leg or do the side-to-side motion with her jaw that sometimes set off a gratifying series of tiny percussive sounds inside her skull.  But if she called attention to herself in any way now, someone might start to wonder why she was here; and really, she knew, she had no reason to be here at all.  It had been miraculous when Ash Wolf had nodded to her earlier in the night at the row of sinks and asked if she wanted to come join her and some of the others later.  Some of the others.  Even that wording was thrilling.

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Teaser:  Then, soon, everything, the six of them, was over.  Or if not over, then changed into something so different from what it had originally been as to be unrecognizable.  (p. 135)

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Blurb:  The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.

Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.

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Have you read this book?  Would you keep reading?  I have had my eye on this one for awhile, and finally got a copy from the library.

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS: ROSE HARBOR IN BLOOM — JULY 2

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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:  Rose Harbor in Bloom, by Debbie Macomber.

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Intro:  Rose Harbor was in bloom.  Purple rhododendrons and red azaleas dotted the property.  I stood on the porch, leaning against the thick white post, and looked over the property for my bed-and-breakfast.  The Inn at Rose Harbor was beautifully scripted on the wooden sign and was prominently displayed in the front of the yard along with my name, Jo Marie Rose, as proprietor.

I never planned on owning or operating a bed-and-breakfast.  But then I never expected to be a widow in my thirties, either.  If I’d learned anything in this road called life it’s that it often takes unexpected turns, rerouting us from the very path that had once seemed so right.  My friends advised me against purchasing the inn.  They felt the move was too drastic:  it meant more than just moving and leaving my job; it would mean an entire life change.  Many thought I should wait at least a year after losing Paul.  But my friends were wrong.  I’d found peace at the inn, and somewhat to my surprise, a certain contentment.

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Teaser:  Annie whirled around.  Sure enough, just as she’d feared—Oliver Sutton.  He was the last person she wanted to see this weekend.  Their history was long and troubled.  (p. 81)

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Blurb:  Since moving to Cedar Cove, Jo Marie Rose has truly started to feel at home, and her neighbors have become her closest friends. Now it’s springtime, and Jo Marie is eager to finish the most recent addition to her inn. In memory of her late husband, Paul, she has designed a beautiful rose garden for the property and enlisted handyman Mark Taylor to help realize it. She and Mark don’t always see eye-to-eye—and at times he seems far removed—yet deep down, Jo Marie finds great comfort in his company. And while she still seeks a sense of closure, she welcomes her latest guests, who are on their own healing journeys.

Annie Newton arrives in town to orchestrate her grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. While Annie is excited for the festivities, she’s struggling to move on from her broken engagement, and her grandparents themselves seem to be having trouble getting along. Worse, Annie is forced to see Oliver Sutton, with whom she grew up and who has always mercilessly teased her. But the best parties end with a surprise, and Annie is in for the biggest one of all.

High-powered businesswoman Mary Smith, another Rose Harbor Inn guest, has achieved incredible success in her field, yet serious illness has led her to face her sole, lingering regret. Almost nineteen years ago, she ended her relationship with her true love, George Hudson, and now she’s returned to Cedar Cove to make amends.

Compassion and joy await Jo Marie, Annie, and Mary as they make peace with their pasts and look boldly toward their futures. Rose Harbor in Bloom is Debbie Macomber at her heartwarming best.

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What do you think?  Delightful?  Sappy?  Would you keep reading?  Right now, I’m reading a book about a serial killer, so I’m ready for this one.

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS — THE GLASS WIVES — JUNE 11

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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.

My selection today is The Glass Wives, by Amy Sue Nathan.

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Intros/Beginning:

Evie picked up a small, silver-framed photo and wiped away invisible dust.  The groom towered over the groomsmen, his hair windblown without any wind, his smile slightly askew, big blue eyes staring and pensive.  She knew it all too well, but the tug of familiarity was not deja vu.  Evie had been there before, decades earlier, with the same groom.  But in this picture she was not the bride.

No one noticed Evie put back the photo or swish her hand on her pant leg, pretending now to wipe off the nonexistent dust.  She walked through the crowd toward the floor-to-ceiling window.  No one noticed her do that, either.  Burgundy velour curtains tied back with thick, black tassels framed a six-foot, imitation pine tree.  Hallmark ornaments masquerading as heirlooms dangled from its branches.  Gold tinsel fringe and shiny red balls sparkled.  It all seemed out of place, yet Evie knew it belonged.  Probably more than she did.

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Teaser:  Laney saw the world in black and white.  Right and wrong.  Good and bad.  Evie’s life was shades of gray.  Like her hair.  (p. 6)

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Amazon Blurb:  Evie and Nicole Glass share a last name. They also shared a husband.

When a tragic car accident ends the life of Richard Glass, it also upends the lives of Evie and Nicole, and their children. There’s no love lost between the widow and the ex. In fact, Evie sees a silver lining in all this heartache—the chance to rid herself of Nicole once and for all. But Evie wasn’t counting on her children’s bond with their baby half-brother, and she wasn’t counting on Nicole’s desperate need to hang on to the threads of family, no matter how frayed. Strapped for cash, Evie cautiously agrees to share living expenses—and her home—with Nicole and the baby. But when Evie suspects that Nicole is determined to rearrange more than her kitchen, Evie must decide who she can trust. More than that, she must ask: what makes a family?

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I felt drawn to this book as soon as I first saw it on someone’s blog.  Soon I will be reading it!  What are you spotlighting today?  Come on by and share….

 

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS — HE’S GONE — MAY 28

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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’m featuring my next read:  He’s Gone, by Deb Caletti.

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Intro:  I used to imagine it sometimes, what would happen if one day I just didn’t come home.  Not that I ever considered running off—I could never actually do that, even if I occasionally had that fantasy about driving south and checking in to some hotel.   Someplace with bathrobes, for sure.  I love those.  But, no, the thought was less about escape and more about some cruel intervention of fate.  What if, say, the cliched bus hit me as I crossed the cliched street?  The Mack truck.  Whatever it was, something terrible would happen and my family would have to return home to find all the daily pieces of my interrupted life.  My husband would see my cup of coffee, half finished, a curve of my lipstick on the brim.  My mother would see my flannel pajamas with the Eiffel Towers on them in the laundry basket and the ChapStick on my nightstand.  My book would be on the bed, open to the place I’d left off, and my hair would still be entwined in my brush.  There would be my really expensive wrinkle minimizer, which honestly didn’t minimize much of anything, and my phone charger still plugged into the wall.  This is how it would look, I would think.  This stuff here.

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Teaser:  I step over my heels, which have been abandoned by the door.  What a night.  I can’t remember ditching them there, or even coming home and getting into bed, to tell you the truth.  (2%)

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Amazon Description:  “What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?”
 
The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I know that I’m intrigued….

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS — “SOMEWHERE OFF THE COAST OF MAINE” — MAY 14

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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 Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine, by Ann Hood, which I have downloaded for Sparky.

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Intro:  To Sparrow, her father was a man standing in front of a Day-Glo green VW van in a picture dated June 1969.  The picture had been taken the year before Sparrow was born.  In it, her father’s hair was bushy and blond and he had a big droopy mustache.  Sparrow liked the way he was looking up, with his head tilted back and his mouth open in a wide smile.

Sparrow’s mother, Suzanne, never talked about Sparrow’s father.  Suzanne was a serious businesswoman.  She dressed in pleated skirts and Oxford shirts with little bow ties.  She would tell Sparrow to forget about the past and look ahead.  “Don’t worry,” she would say, “about things that happened a long time ago.”  Sparrow’s obsession with her father began to grow when her mother started to date Ron.

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Teaser:  For the past year or so, Sparrow’s mother called her Susan.  She said that the name Sparrow was too dated, too silly. (4%)

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Amazon Description: “Brilliant….[The Vietnam era] is vividly captured by Ann Hood.”—New York Times Book Review

In 1969, as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest antiwar slogans, three friends find love. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a child she will call Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. Elizabeth and her husband marry, organize protests, and try to rear two children with their hippy values. By 1985, things have changed: Suzanne, now with an MBA, calls Sparrow “Susan.” Claudia spirals backward into her sixties world—and into madness. And Elizabeth, fatally ill, watches despairingly as her children yearn for a split-level house and a gleaming station wagon. Reading group guide included.

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I love revisiting this era through books and movies.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS — INSTRUCTIONS FROM A HEATWAVE — MAY 7

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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.

My feature today is Instructions for a Heatwave, by Maggie O’Farrell, an ARC from Amazon Vine.

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Intro:  Highbury, London

The heat, the heat.  It wakes Gretta just after dawn, propelling her from the bed and down the stairs.  It inhabits the house like a guest who has outstayed his welcome:  it lies along corridors, it circles around curtains, it lolls heavily on sofas and chairs.  The air in the kitchen is like a solid entity filling the space, pushing Gretta down into the floor, against the side of the table.

Only she would choose to bake bread in such weather.

Consider her now, yanking open the oven and grimacing in its scorching blast as she pulls out the bread tin.  She is in her nightdress, hair still wound into curlers.  She takes two steps backwards and tips the steaming loaf into the sink, the weight of it reminding her, as it always does, of a baby, a newborn, the packed, damp warmth of it.

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Teaser:  He puts a hand to his brow.  Conversations with his mother can be confusing meanders through a forest of meaning in which nobody has a name and characters drop in and out without warning. (p. 33)

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Blurb:  Sophisticated, intelligent, impossible to put down, Maggie O’Farrell’s beguiling novels—After You’d Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of the Costa Novel Award; and her unforgettable bestseller The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox—blend richly textured psychological drama with page-turning suspense. Instructions for a Heatwave finds her at the top of her game, with a novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976.

Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta’s three grown children converge on their parents’ home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adored; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret.

Maggie O’Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our lives—the secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City’s Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O’Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are.

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I’m loving it already!  What do you think?  Come on by and let’s chat.

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