PLAYING AROUND WITH PHOTOS…AND POSTS…

Good morning!  There is sunshine outdoors today, but in the past week, we have had rain…and even hail.  I will never get used to that sound!

Since I’ve been playing around with this blog (new header above), I also plumbed the depths and I am posting an excerpt from  2015.   Four years ago looked quite different around my house…and also with my granddaughters, who were high school seniors then.

2015:

First feature for today:  my two lovely granddaughters, Aubrey and Fiona, are enjoying their “bookish” senior year doing some non-bookish things.

In this photo, Aubrey and friends are enjoying some free time from bookish pursuits:

 

 

Aubrey and Friends - Seniors

 

And in this one, Fiona, with another of her various “new looks,” is enjoying some time with her mom, while letting us know, by flaunting her Monster Java drink, that she has non-bookish things on her mind.

 

 

Fiona & another new look and her mom

 

And on to some bookish shots:  Here is one of my bookish corners, with some of my older books…and a few family photos.

 

 

bookish corner

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Shortly after I took the photo of the corner bookshelf above, I purged it…and now it looks like this:

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I do enjoy looking back in the past, even as I am plotting the future.  What does your past (and present) look like?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “I’VE GOT MY EYES ON YOU”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new e-book:  I’ve Got My Eyes on You, by Mary HIggins Clark, a thrilling investigation asking what we truly know about the those we trust, and the secrets lying in even the most idyllic of neighborhoods.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  Jamie was in his room on the second floor of his mother’s small Cape Cod house in Saddle River, New Jersey, when his life changed.

For a while he had been looking out the window to watch Kerry Dowling’s backyard.  She was having a party and Jamie was mad because she hadn’t invited him.  When they were in high school together, she was always nice to him even though he was in special classes.  But Mom had told him that it was probably just a party only for Kerry’s classmates who would be leaving for college next week.  Jamie had graduated from high school two years ago and now had a good job stocking shelves in the local Acme supermarket.

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Teaser:  “We try to avoid fixating on one obvious suspect.  We’re determined to pursue any relevant leads.”

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Synopsis:  When a terrible crime shocks a New Jersey community, all signs point to one suspect. But if he’s innocent as he claims, it means the murderer is still out there…

After throwing a party when her parents were away, 18-year-old Kerry Dowling is discovered lifeless at the bottom of the family pool. The police immediately question Kerry’s boyfriend, who—despite proclaiming his love for her—was seen arguing with Kerry that night. As neighbors and classmates grieve the loss of their friend, Kerry’s 28-year-old sister Aline, a guidance counselor, searches for answers. She’ll do anything to help the Detective Mike Wilson learn what really happened the night Kerry was killed.

Was someone watching Kerry the night of the murder? For Aline, the truth could be deadly.

***

I’m enjoying this one so far.  What do you think?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “THE LIAR’S WIFE”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new download:  The Liar’s Wife,  by Samantha Hayes, a jaw-dropping novel about the dangerous secrets behind a perfect marriage.

 

 

 

Intro:  (Prologue)

I glance at the office clock then check the time on my monitor for what feels like the hundredth time.  I swear the hands are moving backwards.  The conversation brewing around me is making me anxious, worrying how I’ll deflect yet another invitation without seeming rude, stand-offish, ungrateful.

I just want to go home.

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Teaser:  There was no doubting it, Diana McBride was in a mess.

Made even more poignant after Ella had worked her magic on the film. (61%).

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Synopsis:  When Ella wakes up in hospital following a hit and run incident, she is scared and confused. Close to tears, her eyes fall on a get-well-soon card on the window sill and the nurse reassures her that her loving husband will be back soon.

But Ella has never been married…

Absolutely love twisty and unputdownable psychological thrillers like Girl on the Train, The Wife Between Us and Gone Girl? Then you will be totally hooked by this jaw-dropping novel about the dangerous secrets behind a perfect marriage.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “GONE SO LONG”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent acquisition:  Gone So Long, by Andre Dubus III:  his first novel in a decade is a masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  My father’s parole officer had an office above a shoe store in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  The street was a wide two-lane of sparse traffic, cars parked in front of parking meters built in the 1950s, and the buildings on both sides were made of the same red brick as the mills along the river.  There were rectangular blocks of granite above each window, the roofs flat, and on the first floors were one shop after another, leather goods and a bakery, an office supply next to an Army and Navy outlet next to a jewelry store, its display window a dusty glass case whose shelves held little.

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Teaser:  The dealer’s shop is in an old warehouse on the river, its parking lot half asphalt, half rain-rutted gravel, and Daniel stays on the asphalt as he backs his Tacoma slowly into the bay.  The dealer steps out of his small office. (p. 142).

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Synopsis:  Daniel Ahearn lives a quiet, solitary existence in a seaside New England town. Forty years ago, following a shocking act of impulsive violence on his part, his daughter, Susan, was ripped from his arms by police. Now in her forties, Susan still suffers from the trauma of a night she doesn’t remember, as she struggles to feel settled, to love a man and create something that lasts. Lois, her maternal grandmother who raised her, tries to find peace in her antique shop in a quaint Florida town but cannot escape her own anger, bitterness, and fear.

Cathartic, affirming, and steeped in the empathy and precise observations of character for which Dubus is celebrated, Gone So Long explores how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become, and probes the limits of recovery and absolution.

***

What do you think?  I loved a previous book by this author, House of Sand and Fog, so I was eager to delve into this one.

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “THE FAMILY AT NO. 13”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a book I have had for a while:  The Family at No. 13,  by S.D. Monaghan, a twist-filled thriller with an ending that will shock you to the core. Perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door, Lies and Behind Closed Doors.

 

 

 

Intro:  (Connor) (The Day of)

The blood welled up as a desolate cold crept into the wound like a ghost.  Connor stared down at the corpse.  It had a face he recognized; a face he knew too well.  Then he nodded, his shocked body agreeing with his composed mind that—yes, a knife will do this to flesh.   Connor gripped the camouflage-green handle, looked at the steel and then down to the injury as if finding it difficult to believe that this same tool had only moments before knifed spinewards through reefs of ribs.

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Teaser:  Fergus bristled at the words, the implication that the money he’d made, continued to make and would always make was somehow worthless to Connor.  His eyes had already dried. (p. 67).

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Synopsis:  Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

***

What do you think?  I’m not even sure about this one, but I’m curious.

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “HEAVEN ADJACENT”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download: Heaven Adjacent, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, a bittersweet novel about healing old wounds and finding a new place to call home…

 

 

 

 

Intro:  (Three Months After the Move)

(When Somebody Hands You a Fish)

Roseanna was standing under the barely warm water in her tiny, cold makeshift shower when the bell at the gate began to clang.

She cursed to herself a few times, under her breath but out loud, rinsing off more or less all at once and grabbing a towel.  She stepped out into her shabby and small add-on bathroom, toweled her hair briefly, then wrapped the towel around herself.

***

Teaser:  “That might be a bridge too far,” Roseanna said, almost without considering her words.  Then, remembering the feeling of freedom everywhere, she added, “But I guess I could think about it.” (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:  Roseanna Chaldecott spent her life as a high-powered lawyer in Manhattan. But when her best friend and law partner dies suddenly, something snaps. Unsure of her future, Roseanna heads upstate on one tank of gas and with no plans to return.

In the foothills of the Adirondacks, Roseanna discovers the perfect hideout in a ramshackle farm. Its seventy-six acres are rich with possibilities and full of surprises, including a mother and daughter squatting on the property. Although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she reluctantly lets them stay.

Roseanna and the young girl begin sculpting junk found around the farm into zoo animals, drawing more newcomers—including her estranged son, Lance. He pleads with Roseanna to return to the city, but she’s finally discovered where she belongs. It may not provide the solitude she originally sought, but her heart has found room for much more.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “SHELL GAME”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent acquisition:  Shell Game, by Sara Paretsky, is a compelling and timely adventure centers on some of the most divisive and pressing issues of our time…

 

 

 

Intro:  (Babe in the Woods)

The deputy turned without warning into an uncut thicket.  Felix and I stumbled after him, following his bobbing flashlight as best we could, the suckers from the bushes and trees snapping back to whip our faces.  When I called to him to slow down, he merely picked up his pace.

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Teaser:  It was my turn to pause while I went back over my conversations with McGivney.  Simone had told the state’s attorney she had an investigator digging into Fausson’s associates; McGivney had made the leap, but it was a reasonable guess. (56%).

***

Synopsis:  When V. I Warshawski gets word that her closest friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a suspect in a murder, the legendary detective will do everything she can to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why.

As Vic digs deeper, she discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archeology—the first clue in a bewildering case that leads to a stolen artifact and a shadowy network of international criminals. But the trouble multiplies when Vic’s long lost niece, Reno, goes missing. A beautiful young woman with a heartbreaking past and a promising future, Reno is harboring a secret that may cost her her life. V.I. can hear the clock ticking on her niece’s safety and is frantic in her efforts to find her.

Vic won’t leave any stone unturned until these very personal cases are cleared—a complex investigation that will entangle the Russian mob, ISIS backers, rogue ICE agents, a nefarious corporation preying on the poor, and a shady network of stock scams and stolen antiquities stretching from Chicago to the East Indies and the Middle East.

In Shell Game, no one can be trusted and nothing is what it seems, except for the indomitable detective and her thirst for justice.

***

Do the excerpts grab you?  Do you want to keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “UNDER MY SKIN”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is Under My Skin, by Lisa Unger,  an addictive psychological thriller about a woman on the hunt for her husband’s killer.

 

 

 

Intro:  (Prologue)

I like him.  I do.

But.

There’s always a but, isn’t there?

He’s talking and I should be listening.  I’m not.  Does he see it, that I’m scattered, distracted?  Doubtful.  He doesn’t seem especially observant, has that way about him that people do now.  As if they are putting on a show of themselves, as if the moment is being watched rather than lived.

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Teaser Tuesday:  The sun is dipping low when I find myself back in front of my apartment building.  My reflection in the glass doors stares back at me, and I must confront the fact that I have no memory of the last couple of hours. (66%).

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Synopsis:  It’s been a year since Poppy’s husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run through Manhattan’s Riverside Park. In the immediate aftermath, Poppy spiraled into an oblivion of grief, disappearing for several days only to turn up ragged and confused wearing a tight red dress she didn’t recognize. What happened to Poppy during those lost days? And more importantly, what happened to Jack?

The case was never solved, and Poppy has finally begun to move on. But those lost days have never stopped haunting her. Poppy starts having nightmares and blackouts—there are periods of time she can’t remember, and she’s unable to tell the difference between what is real and what she’s imagining. When she begins to sense that someone is following her, Poppy is plunged into a game of cat and mouse, determined to unravel the mystery around her husband’s death. But can she handle the truth about what really happened?

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “A SPARK OF LIGHT”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download:  A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult, a powerful and provocative new novel about ordinary lives that intersect during a heart-stopping crisis.

 

 

 

Intro:  Five p.m.

The Center squatted on the corner of Juniper and Montfort behind a wrought-iron gate, like an old bulldog used to guarding its territory.  At one point, there had been many like it in Mississippi—nondescript, unassuming buildings where services were provided and needs were met.  Then came the restrictions that were designed to make these places go away:  The halls had to be wide enough to accommodate two passing gurneys; any clinic where that wasn’t the case had to shut down or spend thousands on reconstruction.  The doctors had to have admitting privileges at local hospitals—even though most were from out of state and couldn’t secure them—or the clinics where they practiced risked closing, too.  One by one the clinics shuttered their windows and boarded up their doors.

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Teaser Tuesdays:  As he expected, his grandmama started to cry.  I lost my baby and my grandbaby, she said after a long moment.  Maybe now some other woman won’t. (p.56).

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Synopsis:  The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester, disguised as a patient, who now stands in the crosshairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

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Would you keep reading?

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RAINY DAY EXCERPTS: “FIRST FLURRIES”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a review book from a favorite author:  First Flurries, by Joanne DeMaio, a novel snow-dusted with love and possibility.

 

 

Intro:  It’s time to leave.

Lindsay passes red barns and white picket fences along the winding country road.  When she drives by a man raking the last of autumn’s brown leaves, or a young couple walking a dog, they all stop and wave at her.  She gives her horn a friendly tap, accustomed to the attention now.  Something about seeing the tiny house towed behind her SUV brings out that happy response in passersby.  Might as well call her tiny house a happy house.  It makes people smile.

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Teaser:  Together, they rumble into Snowflake Lake’s little parking area in twilight’s shadows.  Minutes later, Greg walks in the late-afternoon darkness directly to Gus’ Blue Jay Bungalow. (p. 58).

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Synopsis:  Lindsey Haynes’ father once gave her a snow globe with the note: “Unsure where to go? Give a little shake … and your heart will always know.” On a whim, those words lead her to the quaint New England town of Addison. It’s a place straight out of a storybook with its twinkling town green, decorated Main Street, and secluded lakeside cabin community.

But an encounter with a dejected doctor named Greg Davis turns Lindsey’s days upside down, much like a snow globe in motion. With a little nudge from endearing townsfolk, and a few chance meetings of their own, a magical flurry of emotions suddenly swirls around them.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts draw you in?  Do you want to keep reading?  I love revisiting the storybook town of Addison, with friendly characters and settings.

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