Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Beginnings & Friday 56 - Tangled Ashes


Tangled Ashes Cover
Author: Michele Phoenix
Genre: Women's Fiction
Number of Pages: 384
Amazon Link: Tangled Ashes

Book Beginnings on Friday: 
(Prologue)
Marie stood in the shadow of the grand staircase and held her breath. The lights were out--they had been all evening--but the ochre glow from the flames on the patio illuminated the polished wood and chiseled stone that loomed around her with threatening austerity. Beyond the window, two columns of wide-spaced guards funneled a stream of nurses and maids from the castle's rear entrance to the fire that burned like a funeral pyre, exploding tiny, arcing embers into the warm night sky. 

Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
As Beck got to the final cellar that led to the space under the ballroom, he noticed that the stack of old bookshelves he and Jacques had displaced Monday afternoon had fallen. They'd been propped up against the wall when the two men had left, but now they were scattered on the floor. He stepped into the dark and musty room ahead with a little less confidence in his gait, grabbing a two-by-four from the pile near the destroyed wall. 

Amazon Synopsis: When Marshall Becker arrives in Lamorlaye, France, to begin the massive renovation of a Renaissance-era castle, he unearths a dark World War II history few in the village remember. The project that was meant to provide an escape for Becker instead becomes a gripping glimpse into the human drama that unfolded during the Nazi occupation and seems to live on in midnight disturbances and bizarre acts of vandalism.

My Thoughts: The novel is set in France and two plots intertwine--one taking place in the 1940s during World War II and the other in current times. The WWII tale is told by Marie during the Nazi occupation, while the contemporary part is from the point of view of architect Michael Becker who has been hired to restore the castle where both stories take place.  I enjoyed reading a story told from a man's perspective for a change. Although I wish I'd known what was causing Michael's angst a little earlier in the book, both plots held my interest until the end. Overall, I enjoyed this book. (I just noticed that one of the tags on Amazon for this book is "inspirational romance," which surprised me. Yes, the author did mention religious beliefs, but the result was not preachy or overdone.) 




Anyone can participate in 
Book Beginnings and Friday 56. 
Click here to connect to other Book Beginnings posts (hosted by Rose City Reader.)
Find other Friday 56 bloggers here (hosted by Freda's Voice). 

                

Monday, November 26, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - The Samurai's Garden

The Samurai's Garden  
I'm about halfway through this lovely book and I'm enthralled. This love story is set in rural Japan when its feudal system ended and rogue samurai (ronin) terrorized villagers, destroying farms and taking lives. The unusual setting, time period (1870s), and strong characters have held my interest from the first page. Beautiful writing and good reading.


Genre: Historical Romance (Japan)
Author: Patricia Kiyono
Amazon Link:
The Samurai's Garden

Teaser:
He hadn't intended to do more than help her make her purchase, but the chance to get acquainted intrigued him. Working on her farm would allow him to pass the time while he decided on his life's course, as well as pay penance for the wrongs done by his former comrades.
[at 5% on my Kindle]

Goodreads Synopsis: 
Hiro Tanaka prepared for a life as a samurai warrior. But his world changed when Japan's feudal system was abolished by the Emperor. Now, he must find a new vocation. Disillusioned with fighting and violence, he travels alone, going north to the island of Hok-kaido. Many other samurai wander through the country and are known as ronin. Some have forsaken their honorable way to prey on the less fortunate.

Hanako Shimizu experienced first-hand the devastation caused by these disreputable wanderers. The previous winter, they raided her farm and killed her husband. Now, she needs to rebuild but has no money and no prospects -- except for the dubious intentions of the town merchant.

When Hiro, tired of his wandering, encounters Hanako in the market, arguing with the merchant, he poses as her late husband’s cousin then offers to help her on the farm in exchange for a place to stay. Working on the land, Hiro finally finds the peace he has been seeking. But the reappearance of the rogue ronin, led by an unscrupulous leader from Hiro’s past, forces him to take up his swords again. But now, the stakes are higher.

This time, he's fighting from the heart.


Teaser Tuesdays
 is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away -- you don't want to ruin the book for others)
  • Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Beginnings & Friday 56: Midwives


Midwives
For today's Book Beginnings on Friday and Friday 56 memes, I'm featuring MIDWIVES by Chris Bohjalian. I read this excellent book several years ago and just picked it up to read again. 

BOOK BEGINNINGS:
Throughout the long summer before my mother's trial began, and then during those crisp days in the fall when her life was paraded publicly before the county--her character lynched, her wisdom impugned--I overheard much more than my parents realized, and I understood more than they would have liked.

FRIDAY 56: 
My mother believed a home birth was an extremely empowering and invigorating experience, and gave fragile women energy, confidence, and strength: They learned just what their bodies could do, and it gave them comfort.

Author: Chris Bohjalian
Genre: Women's Fiction
Number of Pages: 372
Amazon Link: Midwives

SYNOPSIS FROM AMAZON (partial):
The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby's life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if--as Sibyl's assistant later charges--the patient wasn't already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?

As recounted by Sibyl's precocious fourteen-year-old daughter, Connie, the ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt except for the fact that all its participants are acting from the highest motives--and the defendant increasingly appears to be guilty. As Sibyl Danforth faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.


MY THOUGHTS:
Published in 1997, MIDWIVES was an Oprah Book Club selection. I have to agree with Oprah -- I love this book! Yes, some parts of it are gritty, but they also reflect reality. I learned a lot about midwifery from this book, which came in handy because a midwife brought my granddaughter into the world!
  


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings and Friday 56. 
Click here to connect to other Book Beginnings posts 
(hosted by Rose City Reader.)
Find other Friday 56 bloggers here (hosted by Freda's Voice). 

                

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Come Fly With Me

Remember how air travel used to be? Then you'll enjoy my post on the Boomers & Books blog. Here's the link: Come Fly With Me


Monday, November 19, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Stealing Mercy

Stealing Mercy


For those of you who are new to this meme: every Tuesday a group of readers posts a two-sentence teaser from a book they're reading. Here's mine from STEALING MERCY.

TEASER: She did not have a romantic interest in Miles, although she wondered why not. Tall, handsome and kind, yes, but he had the sense of humor of a toad. 
(at 11% on my Kindle)

GENRE: Historical Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES:  195
AMAZON LINK: Stealing Mercy

MY THOUGHTS:
I've just barely started reading this book so it's too soon to say much about it! I like the idea for the story, especially since I live in the Pacific Northwest where it takes place. 

AMAZON SYNOPSIS:
A girl disguised as a boy.
A villain with a brothel to fill.
A hero wondering why he’s in love with a lad in breeches.
Serving murder, mayhem and pies, Stealing Mercy is a romantic adventure set in 1889—on the eve of the Great Seattle Fire, when more than a city is set on fire.

After a night of terror, Mercy Faye flees New York. Disguised as a boy, she sets sail for a new life in Seattle, but her nightmare, Mr. Steele, follows close behind. Armed with only her chocolates, laced tarts and wits, Mercy sets out to destroy Mr. Steele and his Lucky Island brothel.

Trent Michaels is searching for his missing cousin. He can't afford complications - or romance - yet, at every turn he finds Mercy Faye. The night before the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, flames spark between Mercy and Trent leaving the life they know and the city they love in ashes.

Their story reaches forward through time to Bette Michaels, a genealogist, struggling with grief after the sudden death of her husband. Although generations apart, as Bette unravels Mercy's story, she learns that a life can be rebuilt - even after everything is lost.

Through Mercy, Bette discovers that sometimes the only way to find happiness is to steal it.

Teaser Tuesdays
 is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences on your blog from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away -- you don't want to ruin the book for others)
  • Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.
  • Leave a comment on the Should Be Reading blog post (here), including a link to your post.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Beginnings on Fridays and Friday 56: Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior
BOOK BEGINNINGS: A certain feeling comes from throwing your good life away, and it is one part rapture. Or so it seemed for now, to a woman with flame-colored hair who marched uphill to meet her demise. Innocence was no part of this. She knew her own recklessness and marveled, really, at how one hard little flint of thrill could outweigh the pillowy, suffocating aftermath of a long disgrace.

FRIDAY 56: Butterflies crossed her field of vision continuously at close range, black-orange flakes that made her blink, and they merged in a chaotic blur in the distance, and she found it frankly impossible to believe what her eyes revealed to her. Or her ears: the unending rustle, like a taffeta dress.

GENRE: Literary / Women's Fiction / Political
NUMBER OF PAGES: 416
AMAZON LINK: Flight Behavior

MY THOUGHTS: Ever since I read The Poisonwood Bible, I've been a Barbara Kingsolver fan. Although I'm only on Page 75 of Flight Behavior, I can tell it's going to be another favorite. I love her humor and the way she captures the beliefs, superstitions, and daily life of an Appalachian farming community - and that's just in the first 75 pages.

AMAZON SYNOPSIS (partial): 
Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.



~~~~~~

Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56. Just click on the links below and add your blog post to the lists.
                




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Many thanks to Peggy Strack for naming
I.O.U. SEX as one of her 
Top Five Favorite Reads for 2012. 

We are honored to be among those chosen. 

To see Peggy's other selections and to learn more about her, click here. Peggy is the author of A STOP IN THE PARK, which has been featured on this blog here. I highly recommend her book.

I.O.U. SEX is available in paperback and ebook formats on Amazon (here
and so is A STOP IN THE PARK (here.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Three Moons Over Sedona

Three Moons Over Sedona
TEASER: Back inside her room, Georgia folded herself into the claw foot tub in the closet-sized bathroom. She pulled her legs into her chest as tears trickled down her cheeks. Holding her shins tight with her arms, she rocked back and forth, wondering just how and when she'd grown to be a fifty-three year old widow with grown children and grandchildren. 
(at 5% on my Kindle)

AUTHOR: Sherry Hartzler
GENRE: Women's Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 313
AMAZON LINK:
 Three Moons Over Sedona

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS: 
Georgia slides behind the wheel of her husband’s beloved 1976 Fleetwood convertible, starts the engine and just keeps driving. Georgia Mae Brown has always lived an ordinary life. That is, until her husband dies in the arms of a younger woman. Six weeks after his death, empowered by a volatile mix of freedom and retribution, Georgia begins a journey of a lifetime. 

Traveling two thousand miles to Sedona, Arizona, Georgia finds work in a cafĂ© managed by the kooky proprietor, Trish Martin. Next door, the Moon Tide Gift Shop is owned by the exotic Zoe Atwater, the daughter of screen legend, Gloria Atwater. Befriended by these two flamboyant characters, Georgia finds new life in Sedona, an artisan town surrounded by the magnificent red rock scenery of Oak Creek Canyon. This energizing landscape of mysterious vortexes and new-age spiritualism revitalizes her soul. However, her two new friends have their own agendas, generating a major crisis that takes the three women to LA and a media Hollywood funeral. Georgia is suddenly thrust into the surreal world of A-list movie stars, glamorous Rodeo Drive, and tabloid hell. 

Three Moons Over Sedona is an odyssey of the human heart, filled with secrets, regrets and finally forgiveness. Georgia is a survivor who learns that although you can never run away from yourself, you can—through pure determination—become the person you were always meant to be.


Teaser Tuesdays
 is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences on your blog from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away -- you don't want to ruin the book for others)
  • Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.


Thank You, Micki Peluso!

A big hug to Micki Peluso for her FIVE-STAR REVIEW of I.O.U. SEX. 
Micki says:

Authors Sandra Nachlinger and Sandra Allen tell a romantic and often humorous story of three friends, unhappy with their lives, who go back to the past -- a past that has brought through the years incredible twists that will keep the reader turning the pages in anticipation.
(Micki's complete review is here.)

We're so glad you enjoyed the book and we sincerely appreciate such a nice review.

Micki is an author too. You'll find her true story, AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Beginnings on Friday and Friday 56 - A RELIABLE WIFE

A Reliable Wife

BOOK BEGINNINGS: 
Wisconsin, Fall, 1907. It was bitter cold, the air electric with all that had not happened yet. The world stood stock still, four o'clock dead on. Nothing moved anywhere, not a body, not a bird; for a split second there was only silence, there was only stillness. Figures stood frozen in the frozen land, men, women, and children.

FRIDAY 56: 
"Sister, sit. I'm sorry. I'm bad and I'm sick and I say things. But just sit by me. I'm never alone, but I always feel so lonely. So far away from everybody. Nobody holds me. Nobody touches me or calls my name...."
[At 56% on my Kindle]

GENRE: Historical Fiction
LENGTH: 320 Pages
AMAZON LINK: A Reliable Wife

AMAZON SYNOPSIS:
He placed a notice in a Chicago paper, an advertisement for "a reliable wife." She responded, saying that she was "a simple, honest woman." She was, of course, anything but honest, and the only simple thing about her was her single-minded determination to marry this man and then kill him, slowly and carefully, leaving her a wealthy widow, able to take care of the one she truly loved.

What Catherine Land did not realize was that the enigmatic and lonely Ralph Truitt had a plan of his own. And what neither anticipated was that they would fall so completely in love. 

Filled with unforgettable characters, and shimmering with color and atmosphere, A Reliable Wife is an enthralling tale of love and madness, of longing and murder.


MY THOUGHTS: The author does a great job of setting the scene in his opening, doesn't he? He also establishes the tone of the book: dark and brooding. Although the beginning was slow and seemed repetitious to me, I kept reading and I'm glad I did. Once I got into it, the story kept me riveted, wondering what would happen in the end. 



*****

Anybody can participate in 
Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56. 
Click here to connect to other Book Beginnings posts.
Find other Friday 56 bloggers here.
                






Monday, November 5, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Slightly Cracked


After reading a very good but very dark book (A RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick), I needed something lighter. So, I've just barely started SLIGHTLY CRACKED by Susan Whitfield. I'm enjoying it so far. 

TEASER:
They'd grown up climbing trees, shooting B-B guns with the boys in the neighborhood, and pillow fighting when they had sleep overs. "I double-dog dare you" could be heard on a daily basis when one challenged the other.
[at 2% on my Kindle]


Genre: Women's Fiction
No. of Pages: 308
Amazon Link: Slightly Cracked


Goodreads Synopsis:
Lifelong friends Sugar Babe Beanblossom and Daisy Marie Hazelhurst are in the throes of menopause. If that's not enough, they suspect their husbands of cheating, they're gaining weight in spite of walking and working out at the gym, and life is just not a bed of roses.


Teaser Tuesdays
 is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away -- you don't want to ruin the book for others)
  • Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hey, Y'all

When someone posted the link to this video on Facebook, I knew I had to share it on our blog!


This is how the women in I.O.U. SEX sound. I hope y'all will enjoy the Southernisms and have a laugh.

Bless your hearts!