CURL UP WITH INTROS/TEASERS: “THE SUMMER GIRLS”

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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 A Daily Rhythm.

It’s time to share!  Today’s featured book is The Summer Girls, by Mary Alice Monroe, Book I of a trilogy.

 

 

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Intro:  (Sea Breeze, Sullivan’s Island, SC)

April 5, 2012

My darling granddaughters—Dora, Carson, and Harper,

Greetings, my precious girls!  On May 26 I celebrate my eightieth birthday—can you believe I’m so ancient?  Will you come home to Sea Breeze and your old mamaw and help me celebrate?  We will do it proper with a lowcountry boil, Lucille’s biscuits, and most of all, each other.

My dears, like an overripe peach, I’m past my prime.  My mind remains sharp and my health is good, considering.  Yet, with an eye to the future, I’ve decided to move to a retirement community, and it’s time to sort through all that I’ve managed to clutter my house with all these years.

(I love stories about decluttering, as there is usually some hidden treasure somewhere).

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Teaser:  (Carson) Never, not even as a little girl, had she hesitated to leap into the salt water, as eager as any other creature of the sea that had been on land too long.  The ocean, the Atlantic especially, was her motherland. (p. 49).

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Blurb:  From New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe, the heartwarming first installment in the Lowcountry Summer trilogy, a poignant series following three half-sisters and their grandmother.

Three granddaughters. Three months. One summer house.

In this enchanting trilogy set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe captures the complex relationships between Dora, Carson, and Harper, three half-sisters scattered across the country—and a grandmother determined to help them rediscover their family bonds.

For years, Carson Muir has drifted, never really settling, certain only that a life without the ocean is a life half lived. Adrift and penniless in California, Carson is the first to return to Sea Breeze, wondering where things went wrong…until the sea she loves brings her a minor miracle. Her astonishing bond with a dolphin helps Carson renew her relationships with her sisters and face the haunting memories of her ill-fated father. As the rhythms of the island open her heart, Carson begins to imagine the next steps toward her future.

In this heartwarming novel, three sisters discover the true treasures Sea Breeze offers as surprising truths are revealed, mistakes forgiven, and precious connections made that will endure long beyond one summer.

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Would you keep reading?  I know I am already hooked.

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REVIEW: AT RISK, BY ALICE HOFFMAN

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Set in the 1980s, when HIV and AIDS were greatly misunderstood, and when fear clouded the minds of people who were first aware of it, At Risk: A Novel shows us an ordinary New England family under siege by the terror of the disease.

In Morrow, Massachusetts, Ivan and Polly Farrell are stunned at their eleven-year-old daughter’s diagnosis. Amanda had contracted the virus after a blood transfusion.

A talented gymnast, Amanda’s world collapses from the effects of the disease…but more importantly, from the stigma of it.

What unfolds in this gripping novel is a story that might seem dated in our more knowledgeable times, but it is a stark reminder of what fear and ignorance can do.

Multiple perspectives are offered from Polly, Ivan, and Amanda, with further glimpses from Charlie, Amanda’s brother; Ed Reardon, her doctor; and Laurel Smith, a young medium with whom Amanda feels a special connection.

As I read this story, which can be relevant even now, when one considers anything that ignites fear in others, I felt a full gamut of emotions as I watched this family cope. Recommended for Hoffman fans, as her brilliant prose kept the story moving along. 5 stars.

MONTHLY WRAP-UP: GOODBYE JULY!

July was a somewhat skimpy reading month, partially due to house guests and fun in the sun.  But the books I read were enjoyable.

Check out my reviews by clicking the titles.

Hope you all had a great month!

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JULY 2015:

1.     Blood Red, by Wendy Corsi Staub – 389 pages – (mystery/thriller) – July 1, 2015

2.     Freedom’s Child, by Jax Miller – 308 pages – (suspense) – July 20, 2015

3.     Hour of Need (e-book), by Melinda Leigh – 327 pages – (romantic suspense) – July 18, 2015

4.     It’s You (e-book), by Jane Porter – 321 pages – (contemporary fiction) – July 31, 2015

5.     Murderer’s Daughter, The (e-book), by Jonathan Kellerman – 352 pages – (mystery/suspense) – July 23, 2015

6.     Pretty Baby (e-book), by Mary Kubica – 384 pages – (psychological thriller) – July 6, 2015

7.     Rumor, The (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand – 369 pages – (contemporary fiction) – July 26, 2015

8.    Those Secrets We Keep, by Emily Liebert – 311 pages – (contemporary fiction) – July 4, 2015

9.    Watermelon (e-book), by Marian Keyes – 417 pages – (family drama/women’s fiction) – July 15, 2015

10.  Wrong Man, The (e-book), by Kate White – 336 pages – (suspense thriller) – July 28, 2015

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BOOKS READ IN JULY 2015:  10

PAGES READ IN JULY 2015:   3,514

BOOKS READ YTD:  109

FAVORITE FICTION READ IN JULY:  Tied:  Pretty Baby and The Murderer’s Daughter

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CURL UP WITH EXCERPTS FROM “DUNE ROAD”

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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 A Daily Rhythm.

It’s time to share!  Today’s featured book is by Jane Green, and it was published in 2009.  Dune Road is another captivating tale about starting over.

 

 

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Intro:  One of the unexpected bonuses of divorce, Kit Hargrove realizes, as she settles onto the porch swing, curling her feet up under her and placing a glass of chilled wine on the wicker table, is having weekends without the children, weekends when she gets to enjoy this extraordinary peace and quiet, remembers who she was before she became defined by motherhood, by the constant noise and motion that come with having a thirteen-year-old and an eight-year-old.

In the beginning, those first few months before they worked out a custody arrangement, when Adam, her ex, stayed in the city Monday to Friday and collected the children every weekend, Kit had been utterly lost.

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Teaser:  She still blames the house for the ending of the marriage.  A huge white clapboard house, with black shutters, and a marble-tiled double-height entrance, it was impressive, and empty.  Much the way Kit felt about her life while she was living there. (p. 1).

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Blurb:  An ever-growing legion of fans greets the publication of each new tale from the inimitable Jane Green. Her latest gem, Dune Road, is set in tony Highfield, Connecticut, where recent divorcee Kit Hargrove has joyfully exchanged the requisite diamond studs and Persian rugs of a Wall Street Widow for a clapboard Cape with sea-green shutters and sprawling impatiens. Her kids are content, her ex cooperative, and each morning she wakes up to her dream job: assisting the blockbuster novelist Robert McClore. Then an unexpected series of events forces Kit to realize that her blissfully constructed idyll and blossoming new romance aren’t as perfect as she thought. A warm, witty, and gloriously observed meditation on the challenges of starting over, Dune Road is Jane Green at her absolute best.

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I saw this novel on a blog recently, and realized I had missed it somewhere along the way.  Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: THE RUMOR, BY ELIN HILDERBRAND

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Summer in Nantucket brings out the best and the worst in the residents.

Grace and Eddie Pancik are an acknowledged “power couple.” He, with his real estate/construction business and Grace with her gardening business, their names are on everyone’s lips that particular summer.

Madeline Llewelyn is Grace’s best friend. They share confidences and keep each other’s secrets. Until they don’t.

Trevor, Madeline’s husband is a pilot and away a lot. He doesn’t figure into the story very much. But he is supportive of Madeline’s writing and her need for a “room of her own,” so when she rents an apartment for her writing space, he is completely behind it. She is determined to write something worthy of the generous advance she has received after the success of her dystopian novel, Islandia. So will she cross a line to achieve her goal?

Then when Eddie stops by Madeline’s apartment to ask why she used another agent to rent the space, busybody eyes notice him there, and the first “rumor” springs to life. Soon many are chatting about the supposed affair between them.

Meanwhile, however, Grace and Benton Coe, the landscape architect helping her redesign her garden, seem to be spending an awful lot of time together, aside from their gardening.

What is going on? Can the rumor mill spin its wheels fast enough?

Meanwhile, the teenagers are stirring up their own brand of trouble. Eddie and Grace’s twins, Allegra and Hope, are nothing alike. Allegra is narcissistic, spoiled, and cheating on her boyfriend Brick, Trevor and Madeline’s son. Hope, quiet and studious, has her eye on Brick for herself, but she won’t betray her sister.

The Rumor: A Novel is an intriguing story with twists and turns that kept me guessing, even as I suspected where much of it would go before the end. But there were a few surprises, and I liked the ending. A 4 star read for me.

REVIEW: HOUR OF NEED, BY MELINDA LEIGH

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When Lee and Kate Barrett head out for a night to celebrate their 10th anniversary, they are each thinking of some of the obstacles in their lives. Even a year ago, they weren’t sure the marriage would continue. So the night is bittersweet.

At home, their two children, Carson, 6, and Faith, 4 months, are with the teenage babysitter, Julia, who lives next door.

Before the night is over, the two of them will be dead, shot by an unknown assailant.

In Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett, Lee’s brother, receives the call that sends him back home to Scarlet Falls, NY, to help pick up the pieces. He finds that handling the traumatized children is a huge challenge…but he also discovers help from Ellie Ross, Julia’s mother, and eventually from his siblings Hannah and Mac.

But none of them are really equipped to handle the long term care of the children. What will happen to them? And how does a case Lee was working on figure into the murders? Why is someone stalking and threatening Ellie, an administrative assistant at the law firm?

Hour of Need (Scarlet Falls) is told from multiple perspectives, including one narrative from a man named Donny, presumably the killer/stalker. But who is he working for? And what mysteries in Lee’s life will lead them all to the answers?

A case of bullying amongst a group of ice skaters, a girl’s presumed suicide, and some parents willing to do anything for their guilty daughters add intriguing layers to the story. As each potential killer is exposed, I thoroughly enjoyed trying to guess who was behind it all. The surprising reveal was satisfying, and so were the romantic developments between Grant and Ellie. I found the interludes between them fun to watch, even as they thought that any future between them was impossible due to Grant’s eminent return to Afghanistan.

As with every book I have read by this author, I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of mystery and romance. 5 stars.

LET’S CURL UP WITH “WATERMELON” – TUESDAY EXCERPTS

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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 A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one I’ve had on Pippa for a while.  This will be my first time reading this author, Marian Keyes, and Watermelon sounds like a book that I will enjoy.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

February the fifteenth is a very special day for me.  It is the day I gave birth to my first child.  It is also the day my husband left me.  As he was present at the birth I can only assume the two events weren’t entirely unrelated.

I knew I should have followed my instincts.

I subscribed to the classical or, you might say, the traditional role fathers play in the birth of their children.  Which goes as follows.

Lock them in a corridor outside the delivery room.  Allow them admittance at no time.  Give them forty cigarettes and a lighter.  Instruct them to pace to the end of the corridor.  When they reach this happy position, instruct them to turn around and return to whence they came.

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Teaser:  I felt at a great disadvantage.  That I wasn’t doing myself justice.

To put it simply, I was not looking my best.  As I say, a humiliating kind of a business. (p. 2).

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Blurb:  Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he’s leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he’s in for a bit of a surprise.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I am definitely curious about how events will unfold.

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