BOOKISH FRIDAYS: “EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I enjoy sharing excerpts from books…and connecting 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!

Today I am reading Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave, a book that takes me to the heart of California wine country.  My excerpts are from an ARC.

 

 

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Beginning:  Sebastopol, California.  Six months ago.

My father has this great story about the day he met my mother, a story he never gets sick of telling.  It was a snowy December morning and he was hurrying into his co-worker’s yellow Volkswagen bug parked in front of Lincoln Center, holding two cups of coffee and a massive slew of newspapers.  (His first wine, Block 14—the only wine in his very first vintage—had gotten a small mention in the Wall Street Journal).  And between the excitement of the article and the steaming coffee, Daniel Bradley Ford didn’t notice that there were two yellow bugs parked in front of Lincoln Center.  That his East Coast distributor was not the one huddling for warmth in the yellow bug’s driver’s seat.  But, instead, his future wife, Jenny.

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56:  We headed up into the hills to a private estate owned by Murray Grant Wines.  The lush vineyards surrounded a Spanish mansion that could have held five of my parents’ houses.  All the lights were on, a party in action.

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Blurb (from Goodreads):  Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.

But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.

Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…

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I am loving how the story is unfolding.  A nice light read, after my dark thrillers of this week, I can’t wait to get back to it.  What do you think?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS”

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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 book that has been in my pile for a while:  The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud.

 

 

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Beginning:  How angry am I?  You don’t want to know.  Nobody wants to know about that.

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56:  It was the fortune cookie that felled my mother.  Mine said simply “Hallelujah!,” and Matt’s promised, “A short vacation is in order for you.”

***

Blurb:  Nora Eldridge, an elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, long ago compromised her dream to be a successful artist, mother and lover. She has instead become the “woman upstairs,” a reliable friend and neighbor always on the fringe of others’ achievements. Then into her life arrives the glamorous and cosmopolitan Shahids—her new student Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale, and his parents: Skandar, a dashing Lebanese professor who has come to Boston for a fellowship at Harvard, and Sirena, an effortlessly alluring Italian artist.

When Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies, Nora is drawn deep into the complex world of the Shahid family; she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora’s happiness explodes her boundaries, and she discovers in herself an unprecedented ferocity—one that puts her beliefs and her sense of self at stake.

Told with urgency, intimacy and piercing emotion, this brilliant novel of passion and artistic fulfillment explores the intensity, thrill—and the devastating cost—of embracing an authentic life.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts capture your interest?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfriday 56 - spring and summer logo

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?

Have you noticed how quickly the weeks are going by?  It’s a good thing (IMO) that there is always something fun to do on the blogs, all seven days of the week.

Today’s spotlight is zooming in on an ARC I just received last week:  The One That Got Away, by Bethany Chase.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  Every woman has one.  That name you Google at two o’clock in the morning.  That intoxicating connection that somehow never solidified into anything real; that particular memory you still visit every now and then, for that guaranteed hit of pure, sugar-packed dopamine.  It’s that story that starts with “There was this one time” and ends, reluctantly, with “but I guess…”

***

56:  Gardening is as close as I get to meditation.  Instead of chanting, I have the texture of the earth in my hands, the varied colors and textures of the plants, the rich smell of mulch.  The solitude and simple repetition allow my knotted mind to uncoil like nothing else.

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Blurb:  Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer—and former flame—Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn. Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices—and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life—and in love.

***

What do you think?  I love stories about the “what ifs” in life, those unexpected twists and turns.  That unique something that comes around the bend and changes everything.

What are you sharing today?

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LET’S CHASE AWAY THE BLUES: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “CATCH ME”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfriday 56 - spring and summer logo

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?

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday, and I am eager to move on.  Yes, there can be too much of a good thing…LOL.

Today I have grabbed a book from my stack to feature:  Catch Me, by Lisa Gardner.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

The little girl woke up the way she’d been trained:  quickly and quietly.  She inhaled once, a hushed gasp in the still night, then her eyes fixed on her mother’s drawn face.

Chapter One:

My name is Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant.

I live in Boston, work in Boston, and in four days, will probably die here.

I’m twenty-eight years old.

And I don’t feel like dying just yet.

***

56:  My Taurus semiauto had a nickel finish with rosewood grip.  It weighed twelve ounces, fit snug in the palm of my hand, and I’d come to welcome the feel of the warm wood against my fingers.

***

Goodreads Blurb:  In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s latest D.D. Warren thriller, the relentless Boston investigator must solve a coldly calculated murder–before it happens.

In four days, someone is going to kill me . . .

Detective D. D. Warren is hard to surprise. But a lone woman outside D.D.’s latest crime scene shocks her with a remarkable proposition: Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant believes she will be murdered in four days. And she wants Boston’s top detective to handle the death investigation.

It will be up close and personal. No evidence of forced entry, no sign of struggle.
Charlie tells a chilling story: Each year at 8:00 p.m. on January 21st, a woman has died. The victims have been childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire; the motive remains unknown. Now only one friend, Charlie, remains to count down her final hours.

But as D.D. quickly learns, Charlie Grant doesn’t plan on going down without a fight. By her own admission, the girl can outshoot, outfight, and outrun anyone in Boston. Which begs the question, is Charlie the next victim, or the perfect perpetrator? As D.D. tracks a vigilante gunman who is killing pedophiles in Boston, she must also delve into the murders of Charlie’s friends, racing to find answers before the next gruesome January 21 anniversary. Is Charlie truly in danger, or is she hiding a secret that may turn out to be the biggest threat of all?

In four days, someone is going to kill me. But the son of a bitch has gotta catch me first.

***

Are you drawn to this book through these excerpts?  What are you sharing today?

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FRIDAY FUN: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “WALKING ON TRAMPOLINES”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfriday 56 - spring and summer logo

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?

Wow, what a week this has been!  If you are visiting here right now, you might recognize my “old” blog is in a new space.  I completed the move earlier this week.

I hope that you will come often, and follow me here if you were a previous follower…or even if you just like the look of my space.

Today my featured book is another ARC, and this one is not my usual genre, but I’m looking forward to it.

Walking on Trampolines, by Frances Whiting, is praised as “a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love” (Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret); this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Frances Whiting is equal parts heartwarming, accessible, and thought provoking.

 

 

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Beginning: (Prologue)

His skin.

My fingers could trace the path it has traveled.

Comma-shaped scar on left knee—bike crash, “Red Demon” dragster, 1974; stitches above right eyebrow—surfboard fin chop, Cabarita, 1982; faint outline of navy blue, homemade tattoo on left wrist—high school, my name.

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56:  Later, when the stars came out, the DJ would say:  “All right, young lovers, don’t be shy—choose your partner for the couples’ session,” and Josh and I would skate out together.

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Amazon Description:  “Tallulah de Longland,” she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgment. “That,” she announced, “is a serious glamorgeous name.”

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah ‘Lulu’ de Longland is bewitched: by Annabelle, by her family, and by their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small coastal town of Juniper Bay. But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgivable…

It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

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What do you think?  Do these excerpts tease you?  Make you want to read more?  I hope you will share your thoughts and links.

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