Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings #67

16

It's Friday . . . time to share excerpts from a current or upcoming read with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring a book I borrowed from a friend.  So many people are reading The Girl on the Train, the psychological thriller by Paula Hawkins.  It's a real page-turner.  

The Girl on the Train 

BeginningShe's buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn.  Not more than a little pile of stones, really.  I didn't want to draw attention to her resting place, but I couldn't leave her without remembrance.
 
******************** 
Page 56:  "But even if he could tell someone, I don't think he would.  I trust him, I really do."
*********************   


My thoughts: I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it.  There are few books that I feel so compelled to get my hands on.  The library hold list is so long, that when I found out that a friend had bought her own copy, I convinced her to lend it to me before she has the chance to read it herself.  That's what I call a good friend.

 
 
Which book are you reading now or about to start?
 

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings #67 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com. This post cannot be republished without attribution.    

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Last One Home

 

 
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature of the Breaking the Spine blog.  It's a great way to share information about forthcoming books with other readers.  Today I'm featuring Last One Home, a stand-alone novel by best-selling author Debbie Macomber.

 Last One Home 
Publisher:  Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date:  March 10, 2015

From barnesandnoble.comDebbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Blossom Street and Cedar Cove series, delivers an inspiring new stand-alone novel about the enduring bond between sisters, the power of forgiveness, and a second chance at love.

Growing up, Cassie Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole, were incredibly close—until one fateful event drove them apart. After high school, Cassie ran away from home to marry the wrong man, throwing away a college scholarship and breaking her parents’ hearts. To make matters worse, Cassie had always been their father’s favorite—a sentiment that weighed heavily on her sisters and made Cassie’s actions even harder to bear.

Now thirty-one, Cassie is back in Washington, living in Seattle with her daughter and hoping to leave her past behind. After ending a difficult marriage, Cassie is back on her own two feet, the pieces of her life slowly but surely coming together. Despite the strides Cassie’s made, she hasn’t been able to make peace with her sisters. Karen, the oldest, is a busy wife and mother, balancing her career with raising her two children. And Nichole, the youngest, is a stay-at-home mom whose husband indulges her every whim. Then one day, Cassie receives a letter from Karen, offering what Cassie thinks may be a chance to reconcile. And as Cassie opens herself up to new possibilities—making amends with her sisters, finding love once more—she realizes the power of compassion, and the promise of a fresh start.

A wonderful novel of perseverance and trust, and an exciting journey through life’s challenges and joys,
Last One Home is Debbie Macomber at the height of her talents.


Which book are you waiting for?
...Will you add this one to your list of must-reads?



Waiting on Wednesday: Last One Home was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph #91

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . .

                                                      

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.

Today I'm featuring the opening from a book I recently borrowed from the library . . .


The Strange Library  
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

The library was even more hushed than usual.

My new leather shoes clacked against the gray linoleum.  Their hard, dry sound was unlike my normal footsteps,  Every time I get new shoes, it takes me a while to get used to their noise.

A woman I'd never seen before was sitting at the circulation desk, reading a thick book.  It was extraordinarily wide.  She looked as if she were reading the right-hand page with her right eye, and the left-hand page with her left.

 
What do you think?  Would you continue reading?  
 
What are you reading now or planning to read soon?
 
 
First Chapter ~ First Paragraph #91 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekly Book Recap #95

Another quiet week, except for the weather.  We had two inches of snow Friday night into Saturday morning, and another storm is predicted for Monday night.  Other than going to work, I spent lots of time indoors, binge watching House of Cards (Season One) and reading.  The plan for the rest of the weekend is binge watching HoC Season Two, other programs I have recorded, and more reading.  Not a bad form of hibernation. 

Here's my latest book recap, which is being shared on these blogs:
 Showcase Sunday banner
2a  Week of January 18-24, 2015


Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer  
Showcase Sunday hosted by Vicky at  Books, Biscuits, and Tea
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey 
 
 
Finished reading . . .
 The Witness   The Witness by Nora Roberts, which held my interest to the very end.
The Paying Guests  The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, which one of my book clubs will be discussing on Friday night.  It was a slow starter and about 125 pages too long.  While the ending was wishy-washy, the plot and characters provide interesting points for discussion.
 
Reading now . . .
Trust No One  Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz
 
Downloaded . . .
After The Ending (The Ending #1)    After the Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue 
 


What did you read this week?  
. . . What did you add to your shelves or wish list?  
. . . . . . What are you reading next?

Enjoy life with books . . .

Catherine

Weekly Book Recap #95 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.
 
 
 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings #66

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It's Friday . . . time to share excerpts from a current or upcoming read with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring a book I borrowed from the library.  Trust No One is the latest suspense novel from best-selling author Jayne Ann Krentz . . . 
 
 Trust No One 

Beginning:   The note pinned to the front of the dead man’s silk pajamas was a one-sentence email printed out from a computer: Make Today a Great Day the Witherspoon Way.

******************** 
Page 56:  "'A long time ago I was warned not to get personally involved with the people who work for me.  That way madness lies.'"
*********************   


My thoughts: Jayne Ann Krentz's books and characters are completely engaging.  As the opening sentence illustrates, this masterful storyteller sets a suspenseful mood. 
 
 
Which book are you reading now or about to start?
 

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings #66 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com. This post cannot be republished without attribution.    

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Unraveling of Mercy Louis

 

 
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature of the Breaking the Spine blog.  It's a great way to share information about forthcoming books with other readers.  Today I'm featuring The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen.


The Unraveling of Mercy Louis: A Novel
Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date:  March 10, 2015 
 
From barnesandnoble.com:   In this intricate novel of psychological suspense, a fatal discovery near the high school ignites a witch-hunt in a Southeast Texas refinery town, unearthing communal and family secrets that threaten the lives of the town’s girls.

In Port Sabine, the air is thick with oil, superstition reigns, and dreams hang on making a winning play. All eyes are on Mercy Louis, the star of the championship girls’ basketball team. Mercy seems destined for greatness, but the road out of town is riddled with obstacles. There is her grandmother, Evelia, a strict evangelical who has visions of an imminent Rapture and sees herself as the keeper of Mercy’s virtue. There are the cryptic letters from Charmaine, the mother who abandoned Mercy at birth. And then there’s Travis, the boy who shakes the foundation of her faith.

At the periphery of Mercy’s world floats team manager Illa Stark, a lonely wallflower whose days are spent caring for a depressed mother crippled in a refinery accident. Like the rest of the town, Illa is spellbound by Mercy’s beauty and talent, but a note discovered in Mercy’s gym locker reveals that her life may not be as perfect as it appears.

The last day of school brings the disturbing discovery, and as summer unfolds and the police investigate, every girl becomes a suspect. When Mercy collapses on the opening night of the season, Evelia prophesies that she is only the first to fall, and soon, other girls are afflicted by the mysterious condition, sending the town into a tailspin, and bringing Illa and Mercy together in an unexpected way.

Evocative and unsettling, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis charts the downfall of one town’s golden girl while exploring the brutality and anxieties of girlhood in America.


Which book are you waiting for?
...Will you add this one to your list of must-reads?



Waiting on Wednesday: The Unraveling of Mercy Louis was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph #90

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . .

                                                      

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.

Today I'm featuring the opening from a book I recently borrowed from the library . . .

Saving Grace 
Saving Grace  by Jane Green 

One

There are only so many hours Grace can stay away from home.  Her husband's car is still in the driveway when she pulls in, her heart sinking at the sight.  As if she should be surprised.   Where did she think he'd be going at six o'clock in the evening?  It was the triumph of hope over experience, she thought to herself.

Luck was not on her side today.  It wasn't on her side this morning when she woke up to hear a door slamming downstairs and her husband bellowing her name, and it isn't on her side now.

 
What do you think?  Would you continue reading?  
 
What are you reading now or planning to read soon?
 
 
First Chapter ~ First Paragraph #90 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekly Book Recap #94

It's been a quiet week, with the weather settling into a pattern of steady coldness.  While I went to two book discussion group meetings, I definitely spent more time watching television than reading.  Still haven't found the perfect balance between the two activities.  Oh well . . . maybe next week??

Here's my latest book recap, which is being shared on these blogs:
 Showcase Sunday banner
2a

Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer  
Showcase Sunday hosted by Vicky at  Books, Biscuits, and Tea
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey 
 
Finished reading . . .
A Spool of Blue Thread   A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler's books have always been hit or miss for me, and this one was somewhat disappointing.  I found the story and characters unengaging, although there are plenty of GoodReads 4-5 star ratings.  
 
Reading now . . .
The Paying Guests   The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Downloaded . . .
 The Stones Cry Out (Raleigh Harmon Mystery #1)   The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello

Borrowed from the library . . .
Meet Your Baker Trust No One The Strange Library
Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander, Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz, and The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

 
What did you read this week?  
. . . What did you add to your shelves or wish list?  
. . . . . . What are you reading next?

Enjoy life with books . . .

Catherine

Weekly Book Recap #94 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings #65

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It's Friday . . . time to share excerpts from a current or upcoming read with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring a book I downloaded from the library.  Meet Your Baker is the first book in the new Bakeshop cozy mystery series . . .
Meet Your Baker 

Beginning:   They say it takes a while to recover your land legs after years spent at sea.  I sure hoped mine would come back soon.
 
It had been twenty-seven hours and forty-two minutes (not that I was counting) since I left the ship, my husband, and everything I'd known for the last ten years.
 
******************** 
Page 56:  "She ran her hand up and down Andy's arm.  'I'm going to grab you a Kleenex.  Would you be willing to tell Juliet what you shared with me?'"
*********************   
 
My thoughts: I'm always thrilled to discover a new cozy mystery series.  After seeing this one on many, many blogs, I thought I'd give it a try. 
 
 
Which book are you reading now or about to start?
 

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings #65 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com. This post cannot be republished without attribution.    

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: A Touch of Stardust

 

 
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature of the Breaking the Spine blog.  It's a great way to share information about forthcoming books with other readers.  Today I'm featuring A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott.


A Touch of Stardust   
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication Date:  February 17, 2015

From barnesandnoble.com From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker comes a blockbuster novel that takes you behind the scenes of the filming of Gone with the Wind, while turning the spotlight on the passionate romance between its dashing leading man, Clark Gable, and the blithe, free-spirited actress Carole Lombard.  

When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana, for Hollywood, she never imagines she’ll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress from Julie’s provincial Midwestern hometown. The young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, but the only job Julie’s able to find is one in the studio publicity office of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick, who is busy burning through directors, writers, and money as he films Gone with the Wind.

 Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and the soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world of
Gone with the Wind come to life. Julie’s access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world Carole shares with Clark Gable, who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler. 

Carole Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio because Gable is technically still married—and the last thing the film needs is more negative publicity. Julie is there to fend off the overly curious reporters, hoping to prevent details about the affair from slipping out. But she can barely keep up with her blond employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole’s mouth, and—as their friendship grows—Julie soon finds she doesn’t want to. Carole, both wise and funny, becomes Julie’s model for breaking free of the past.

 In the ever-widening scope of this story, Julie is given a front-row seat to not one but two of the greatest love affairs of all time: the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Scarlett and Rhett, and offscreen, the deepening love between Carole and Clark. Yet beneath the shiny fa├žade, things in Hollywood are never quite what they seem, and Julie must learn to balance her career aspirations and her own budding romance with the outsized personalities and overheated drama on set. Vivid, romantic, and filled with Old Hollywood details,
A Touch of Stardust will entrance, surprise, and delight.

Which book are you waiting for?
...Will you add this one to your list of must-reads?



Waiting on Wednesday: A Touch of Stardust was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph #89

It's Tuesday . . . and I'm participating in . . .

                                                      

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.

Today I'm featuring the opening from an upcoming read for one of my book clubs . . .

The Paying Guests  
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters 

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***
Copyright © 2014 Sarah Waters

Part One
One

The Barbers had said they would arrive by three. It was like waiting to begin a journey, Frances thought. She and her mother had spent the morning watching the clock, unable to relax. At half-past two she had gone wistfully over the rooms for what she’d supposed was the final time; after that there had been a nerving-up, giving way to a steady deflation, and now, at almost five, here she was again, listening to the echo of her own footsteps, feeling no sort of fondness for the sparsely furnished spaces, impatient simply for the couple to arrive, move in, get it over with.

She stood at a window in the largest of the rooms—the room which, until recently, had been her mother’s bedroom, but was now to be the Barbers’ sitting-room—and stared out at the street. The afternoon was bright but powdery. Flurries of wind sent up puffs of dust from the pavement and the road. The grand houses opposite had a Sunday blankness to them—but then, they had that every day of the week. Around the corner there was a large hotel, and motor-cars and taxi-cabs occasionally came this way to and from it; sometimes people strolled up here as if to take the air. But Champion Hill, on the whole, kept itself to itself. The gardens were large, the trees leafy. You would never know, she thought, that grubby Camberwell was just down there. You’d never guess that a mile or two further north lay London, life, glamour, all that.

What do you think?  Would you continue reading?  
 
What are you reading now or planning to read soon?
 
 
First Chapter ~ First Paragraph #89 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.




Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekly Book Recap #93

This past week has been all about dismantling and storing the holiday decorations and getting the house back in order.  While I've made good progress on those fronts, it hasn't left much time for reading.  The return of a few favorite television programs (most notably Downton Abbey) has also cut into my reading time.  During the coming week I plan to fine tune my routine to create a better balance.

The weather has been bitterly cold here and we had two dustings of snow during the week, with more in the forecast.  The snow has been very manageable--the light fluffy kind that disappears quickly from the roads and sidewalks.  I don't mind this kind of snow at all, but I am not a fan of the arctic blast.  How many days until spring???


Here's my second recap of the new year, which is being shared on these blogs:
 Showcase Sunday banner
2a
Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer  
Showcase Sunday hosted by Vicky at  Books, Biscuits, and Tea
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey 
 
Reading now . . .
 A Spool of Blue Thread   A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
 
Downloaded . . .
                               Hoist on My Own Petard: Or: How Writing 10% Happier Threw My Own Advice Right Back in My Face Agnes Grey
Hoist on My Own Petard  by Dan Harris; Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Borrowed from the library . . .
                               As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, #7) Saving Grace
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley; Saving Grace by Jane Green

Reading next: The books I hope to finish during the month of January . . .
                               The Paying GuestsOne Hundred Years of Solitude
                               A Spool of Blue ThreadMy Sunshine Away 

What did you read this week?  
. . . What did you add to your shelves or wish list?  
. . . . . . What are you reading next?

Enjoy life with books . . .

Catherine

Weekly Book Recap #93 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph #88

It's Tuesday . . . and I'm participating in . . .

                                                         

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.

Today I'm featuring the opening from an upcoming read that I checked out of the library last week . . .

 One Hundred Years of Solitude  
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.  At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs.  The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.  Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions.  First they brought the magnet.  A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquiades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia.  He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs, and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquiades' magical irons.  "Things have a life of their own," the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent.  "It's simply a matter of waking up their souls."  Jose Arcadio Buendia, whose unbridled imagination always went beyond the genius of nature and even beyond miracles and magic, thought that it would be possible to make use of that useless invention to extract gold from the bowels of the earth.  Melquiades, who was an honest man, warned him: "It won't work for that."  But Jose Arcadio Buendia at that time did not believe in the honesty of gypsies, so he traded his mule and a pair of goats for the two magnetized ingots.  Ursula Inguaran, his wife, who relied on those animals to increase their poor domestic holdings, was unable to dissuade him.  "Very soon we'll have gold enough and more to pave the floors of the house," her husband replied.  For several months he worked hard to demonstrate the truth of his idea.  He explored every inch of the region, even the riverbed, dragging the two iron ingots along and reciting Melquiades' incantation aloud.  The only thing he succeeded in doing was to unearth a suit of fifteenth-century armor which had all of its pieces soldered together with rust and inside of which there was the hollow resonance of an enormous stone-filled gourd.  When Jose Arcadio Buendia and the four men of his expedition managed to take the armor apart, they found inside a calcified skeleton with a copper locket containing a woman's hair around its neck.  


What do you think?  Would you continue reading?  
 
What are you reading now or planning to read soon?
 
 
First Chapter ~ First Paragraph #88 was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com.  This post cannot be republished without attribution.