CURL UP AND READ

My Ubiquitous Journey


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LET’S CURL UP WITH “TRUE BLEND”: INTROS/TEASERS

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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 one I’m reviewing for the author, and since I have enjoyed her previous books, I am definitely looking forward to this one.  True Blend, by Joanne DeMaio, is a compelling love story where truth is veiled by secrets.

 

 

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Intro:  The wishing fountain sprays silver water droplets arching high above it, looking like liquid stars.  Grace wants to toss in a coin, eager to watch it loll back and forth down through the water until it settles with the other coins below.  In that pool of shimmering wishes, small hopes and secrets are gathered together.  Amy lifts her onto the low stone wall circling the fountain and wraps her arms around her daughter’s waist.  She bends, her mouth near Grace’s ear, her breath tickling loose wisps of hair.  Her fingers find Grace’s palm and press a penny into it.  “Make a wish,” she softly says.  There is only the sound of falling water then as Grace drops the penny in, silently captivated by its descent, and Amy wonders what she might wish for, if she even knows what a wish is.

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Teaser:  Finally Amy moves to the kitchen, picks up a knife and begins slicing celery at the counter.  She slices only half a stalk before setting the knife down and turning to pull a bottle of Scotch from the high cabinet.  (p. 51)

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Amazon Description:  Vintage bridal shop owner Amy Trewist thinks she’ll never recover her quiet life at her beloved farmhouse on an old country road. Not after her two-year-old daughter Grace is kidnapped in an elaborate crime. On one clear morning, in mere minutes, Grace is gone and Amy’s world spins into a heartbreaking new place.

George Carbone often spends easy time with his brother. Whether at a ballgame or taking a day trip, it’s how they connect. Until one sunny day when the trip is to a bank parking lot and George is drawn into a crime he never sees coming. And into a stricken mother’s life he cannot ignore.

In a summer that simmers with the unsolved crime, George is haunted by a bankroll hidden behind kitchen tiles, by a brother who dragged him into this, and by a father who instilled in him a conscience. A conscience challenged when a young child and beautiful woman crossed paths with him and unexpectedly took hold of his heart.

Set among the red barns, lush cornfields and sparkling wishing fountain of Addison, Connecticut, True Blend is a captivating novel that steals your heart and does not let go. Because like the lace wedding gowns hanging on Amy’s clothesline, waltzing in the summer breeze, love and secrets twist and spin together in their own mesmerizing dance.

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What do you think?  Do you want to know more?  Come on by and share your thoughts…and your links.

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REVIEW: DEAD WEIGHT, BY T. R. RAGAN

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Lizzy Gardner’s world is populated by flawed and damaged people, and she, too, is one of them. She was abducted years before, but her interior world is still dark.

However, she is a successful Private Investigator, determined to help those in need. And her two assistants, Jessica and Hayley, bring a unique style as they join in the adventures.

In Dead Weight (The Lizzy Gardner Series #2), Lizzy and her associates are in search of missing persons. One disappeared twenty years ago, while still another seems to have gone missing after joining a weight loss program known for its drastic measures.

Why is Andrea, who hired Lizzy to find her missing sister Diane, behaving so strangely? Why is she so hostile to the very person she has hired? Will her secret agenda lead Lizzy to finding the answers?

As we follow Lizzy, Jessica, and Hayley, we learn more about what drives them, and in Hayley’s case, we are seeing a very dark downward descent as she pursues her own goals.

In the end, we find answers…and some of them are unexpected. I enjoyed Lizzy, a down-to-earth woman with the ordinary needs of any woman, but with the quirks one might find in someone with her history. I am eager to read about more of her adventures. 4.0 stars.


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WRAPPING UP MARCH — LET’S CURL UP AND READ AGAIN IN APRIL!

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It’s time to say goodbye to March and welcome in April.  Here’s what my reading looked like for the month of March.  I had planned to finish one more book before yesterday ended, but instead, I reviewed the physical proof of my new novel…and this morning, sent it off for “publish” on Amazon.  Yay!

 

 

MARCH 2014

1.     And the Dark Sacred Night, by Julia Glass – 376 pages – (literary fiction) – 3/23/14

2.     Blonde, The, by Anna Godbersen – 390 pages – (historical fiction/thriller) – 3/21/14

3.    Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey – 301 pages – (psychological suspense) – 3/18/14

4.    Gods of Second Chances, The, by Dan Berne – 293 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/6/14

5.    Lost Years, The, by Mary Higgins Clark – 292 pages – (mystery, murder) – 3/2/14 (Mt. TBR Challenge)

6.    Love Story, with Murders, by Harry Bingham – 391 pages – (suspense, murder mystery) – 3/14/14

7.    No Book but the World, by Leah Hager Cohen – 301 pages – (literary fiction) – 3/27/14

8.    Reconstructing Amelia (e-book), by Kimberly McCreight – 380 pages – (contemporary/suspense fiction) – 3/25/14 – (Mt. TBR Challenge)

9.    Save Yourself, by Kelly Braffet – 308 pages – (suspense/contemporary fiction) – 3/11/14

10.  Sure Signs of Crazy (e-book), by Karen Harrington – 282 pages – (contemporary fiction/YA) – 3/16/14  (Mt. TBR Challenge/Southern Literature Challenge)

11.  Then Again, by Diane Keaton – 256 pages – (memoir) – 3/4/14

12.  Theory of Opposites, The (e-book), by Allison Winn Scotch – 308 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 3/30/14 - (Mt. TBR Challenge)

13.  Twelve to Murder (Mac Faraday), by Lauren Carr – 263 pages – (mystery) – 3/9/14

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BOOKS READ IN MARCH 2014:               13

PAGES READ IN MARCH 2014:            4,141

BOOKS READ YTD:                                        40

CHALLENGE PROGRESS:

         MT. TBR — 13/36

SOUTHERN LITERATURE — 4/4

FAVORITE FICTION BOOK:    Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey

FAVORITE NONFICTION BOOK:   Then Again, by Diane Keaton

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What did your month look like? 


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BLOGGIESTA FINISH LINE! OLE!

 

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It is time to finish our Bloggiesta weekend.  Check out the Finish Line sign-up.

Here’s what I accomplished this weekend.  What did you do?

 

 

My List:

❏  Do two mini challenges  -  Done! 1)  River City Reading – Pic Monkey; 2)The Steadfast Reader:Creating an Attractive Page
❏  change or fix one or more things on my sidebar-Done!  Removed three items
❏  add a page (about me, contact, policy, etc)  Done!  Added contact page!
❏  comment on other Bloggiesta participants’ blogs (at least 20!)   Done!  Still going, too!
❏  change one thing on my layout and/or look (header, theme, background)  Done! New theme, new header, new background!
❏  work on some of my other blogs   Done!  Changed headers on Rainy Days and Mondays & Story Corner!  Changed background on Creative Journey using Digital Scrapbook Images.
❏  delete irrelevant pages   Done!  Removed Reading Room (It is now at An Interior Journey blog)!
❏  create a new gravatar (favicon) to include latest book  Done! Using image of latest book cover
❏  participate in at least one Twitter chat  Done!

 

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MARCH MT. TBR CHECKPOINT: MILES TO GO!

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Bev, at My Reader’s Block has called for a Checkpoint Post for our Mt. TBR Challenge 2014.

Here are the tasks to complete.

 

1. Tell us how many miles you’ve made it up your mountain (# of books read).  If you’re really ambitious, you can do some intricate math and figure out how the number of books you’ve read correlates to actual miles up Pike’s Peak, Mt. Ararat, etc. And feel free to tell us about any particularly exciting adventures you’ve had along the way. (I’m not a mathematician, so I’ll just say that I have completed 12/36 books.)
 
2. Complete ONE (or more if you like) of the following:
 A. Post a picture of your favorite cover so far.
 B. Who has been your favorite character so far? And tell us why, if you like.
 C. Have any of the books you read surprised you–if so, in what way (not as good as anticipated? unexpected ending? Best thing you’ve read ever? Etc.)
 D. Which book (read so far) has been on your TBR mountain the longest? Was it worth the wait? Or is it possible you should have tackled it back when you first put it on the pile? Or tossed it off the edge without reading it all?  I am answering this one…the book on my TBR the longest was Beach Music, by Pat Conroy, and while it was quite a chunkster, (768 pages), I did enjoy it.
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I have a ways to go, but I am determined to make it!  What about you?
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REVIEW: NO BOOK BUT THE WORLD, BY LEAH HAGER COHEN

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Ava and Fred Robbins grew up surrounded by woods and lovely places to explore. They had the freedom to wander, as their parents schooled them at home in an experimental fashion. Their parents believed that the best learning comes through experience. No Book but the World: A Novel is set somewhere in upstate New York, in a place called Batter Hollow. Clustered around the compound that is now a defunct school were buildings with names like The Annex and Art Barn. After the school shut down, families lived in the cottages, including the Robbins and Manseau families. Dennis and Kitty were two of the Manseau children.

But something was not right with Fred. And apparently there was no diagnosis, as this freedom also extended to a life without labels.

Now Ava and Fred are adults, and a tragedy results in Fred’s arrest. Ava leaves her home and her husband for a time to drive up to Perdu, where he is in jail, to try to help “explain” Fred to his attorney. But in the process, she realizes that much of her childhood is unexplainable.

Narrated in four sections from the perspectives of Ava, Dennis (her husband), Kitty (her best friend & sister-in-law), and Fred, we discover bits and pieces of what that world was like through their eyes and their memories of that time.

Was it really all that idyllic? What emotions are now aroused for each of them as Fred’s situation turns even more serious?

I liked Ava, who suffered from a feeling of responsibility for Fred, something that had informed her life even in adulthood. Dennis, as Kitty’s older brother, had seemed an unlikely spouse for Ava, but he had a special understanding of her experiences. His kindness and empathy made him a likeable character. However, I found Kitty to be condescending, with a superior and antagonistic attitude. Her master’s degree in psychology lent an expertise to her approach, but sometimes it seemed to merely hide her arrogance. I had to wonder if she was covering something through this defensive posture. In the flashbacks to their childhood, there was a kind of cruelty in Kitty’s behavior, perhaps covering her discomfort with Fred and with the Robbins approach to parenting.

As the story winds down, inexplicable events turn everything we thought we’d sorted into more of a puzzle. With just a few words, the author turns it all upside down. As we contemplate what life was like for these characters, we learn some conclusions in Ava’s voice, as she dismisses the notion of freedom, in terms of her parents’ efforts to provide it:

“I see now they were mistaken. We are none of us free. We are tethered by our connections to other people, those we know as well as those we will never meet. What tethers us is our ability–our responsibility–to imagine them, to fathom their lives, their circumstances, what we have in common, what sets us apart.”

With these thoughts to ponder, I conclude the story with a final word: what is truth, what is imagining, and what memories can we trust? This story is one that will linger in my memory. 4.5 stars.


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LET’S GET READY, SET, & GO! – MARCH 27-30 BLOGGIESTA

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Okay, I’m jumping the gun with this post already…but I’m eager to begin the Spring Bloggiesta.  So I’m writing this…and when the Starting Gate opens, I’ll be there!

As we discussed in our sign-up posts, there are a number of to-do tasks we will be focusing on.  I tend to start with a small list and add to it, if I have time.

So here goes:

 

My List:

❏  Do two mini challenges  -  Done! 1)  River City Reading – Pic Monkey; 2)The Steadfast Reader:Creating an Attractive Page
❏  change or fix one or more things on my sidebar-Done!  Removed three items
❏  add a page (about me, contact, policy, etc)  Done!  Added contact page!
❏  comment on other Bloggiesta participants’ blogs (at least 20!)   Done!  Still going, too!
❏  change one thing on my layout and/or look (header, theme, background)  Done! New theme, new header, new background!
❏  work on some of my other blogs   Done!  Changed headers on Rainy Days and Mondays & Story Corner!  Changed background on Creative Journey using Digital Scrapbook Images.
❏  delete irrelevant pages   Done!  Removed Reading Room (It is now at An Interior Journey blog)!
❏  create a new gravatar (favicon) to include latest book  Done! Using image of latest book cover
❏  participate in at least one Twitter chat  Done!

 

*For River City Challenge:  Created the button below to use on my Potpourri blog on Mondays:

 

PicMonkey Collage-Monday Potpourri

 

 

 

Let’s get ready to celebrate!

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