Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - The Longings of Women

I went by the used book store a couple of weeks ago and came home with some not-so-new books. Today's teaser is from The Longings of Women by Marge Piercy, and it was copyrighted in 1994. Although the book is almost 20 years old, I think this passage still works today. I'm enjoying the story.

     "... Didn't Shaw say that a woman would rather have a part of a good man than all of a boring one?"
     "I noticed he didn't say a man would rather have a good woman one day a week and share her with six other men, than have a stupid wife every day and night. I am sure he insisted on fidelity from Mrs. Shaw....." (Page 91)

Synopsis from Amazon: Her marriage over, her life unraveling, writer Leila Landsman turns to work, and finds herself drawn to the sensational story of Becky Burgess, a young woman accused of killing her husband with the help of her teenage lover. Becky thought she'd escaped the grim poverty of her childhood when she married up, but her husband was soon planning to trade her in for a newer model. And that's just what happened to Mary Burke, whose middle class life ended with her divorce. Now Leila's housecleaner, Mary has a secret: she is homeless.  
They are three very different women who share the same longings: to be seen for who they are, to be valued and loved, but most of all, to have a physical and emotional home that can't be taken away...
For more Teasers, visit Miz B's website and read the comments under today's post: Tuesday Teasers

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample - Feb 25

Welcome back and thank you for reading our Sweet Saturday Sample this week!

We all have memories of our high school and college years, and our friend June from I.O.U. Sex is no exception. Getting reacquainted with her former steady Denny after so many years apart has triggered memories from June’s past. She had moved to Berkeley to attend the University of California, to take advantage of a scholarship and to get away from her controlling mother. Unfortunately, that meant leaving her first love behind too.

In October, Denny drove all the way from Dallas just to see her. She signed out of the dorm for the night and met him on the steps. He took her hand and led her to his car, parked a block away.
“God, I’ve missed you, June Bug.” Denny leaned against the car and pulled June close, wrapping his arms around her as they kissed. 
“I’ve missed you too, Den.” 
They stood quietly for a while, talking and kissing, enjoying the familiar warmth of each other’s bodies.
Denny bent his head and whispered in June’s ear. “Do you want to go somewhere so we can be alone?”
June’s heart raced at the thought of spending the night with Denny. It felt so good to be with him—she’d missed him so—but she wasn’t sure she was ready for the next step. The good girl image in her mind fought with her desire.
“Yes, but would you mind if we found a place to eat first? I’m starving. There’s an Italian cafe nearby.” Somehow eating dinner seemed like a much safer and saner alternative just then.
Denny stared into June’s eyes. “I’m hungry, too . . . for you . . . but Italian sounds okay.”
The yearning in Denny’s eyes made her shiver.

After dinner, June agreed to spend the night with Denny at a local motel.

When Denny went inside the motel office to register, June waited in the darkened car, alone with her thoughts. Without him by her side, doubts and fears flashed through June’s mind as quickly as the blinking neon vacancy sign outside the car window. She thought of the other college co-eds who had surely been to this motel before her—maybe even girls from her dorm—and wondered whether they’d shared her misgivings. In late night confessionals, some of her dorm-mates had laughed at her naïveté, calling her old fashioned, amused by her good-girl ways. They shocked her with their drinking, cussing, and smoking, and their open attitudes towards sex left her wondering if she was the only virgin left in California. Though she’d moved to the most liberal college in America, she’d brought her Texas values with her.
June pushed back her worries. She told herself she was not like those other girls. If she and Denny made love, it wouldn’t be casual sex. She was with the man she loved—the man who loved her. That made all the difference.

We will leave out exactly what happened due to the PG 13 rating on this “Sweet” post and instead give you a glimpse of June’s thoughts afterward.
Just before daybreak, June awoke, showered, and dressed. She sat in a chair by the door, watching Denny sleep, her mind on the night before. Yes, their night together had been wonderful, but the thought of how close they’d come to having intercourse terrified her. She couldn’t let that happen again. The next time they might not be able to stop. And then what? What if she got pregnant? What if they had to get married? She’d have to give up school and move back to Dallas. And her dreams of a career would be over. 
            She shuddered and shook her head.
            I can't let this happen again. I just can't. The stakes are too high.

If you think you know what happened, perhaps you are correct. But then again, life is sometimes not as it seems. Is it?

For more Sweet Saturday Samples from other authors, click here: Sweets

Wednesday, February 22, 2012



We're tickled pink! Today "The Romance Writer's Reads" posted a glowing review of I.O.U. SEX. 

"I'm just going to get right into it and tell you that I adored this book. It was witty, smart, and unique in a way that kept me hooked right up until the end." 

Check out the entire review here:  The Romance Writer's Reads

Monday, February 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - The Borrower

The Borrower
I'm reading The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai and although I'm about halfway through, I haven't quite decided if I like it or not! I'm afraid the protagonist may fall into the TSTL (too stupid to live) category! In today's two sentences, the protagonist (a librarian) is wondering about stereotypes associated with being a librarian.

How strange, that this one profession should be so associated with loneliness, virginity, female desperation.... She sits at the circulation desk and dreams of love.
(Page 59)

Here's a synopsis from Rebecca Makkai's website:
     Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly anti-gay classes.

     Lucy, a rebel at heart beneath her librarian's exterior, stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on an improvised road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets and an inconvenient boyfriend thrown in their path. Along the way, Lucy struggles to make peace with her Russian immigrant father and his fugitive past, and is forced to use his shady connections to escape discovery.

For more Teaser Tuesday posts, click here: Teasers

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sweet Saturday Samples - Feb 18

¡Hola! ¡Bienvenidos!
Hello and welcome to another excerpt from I.O.U. Sex. After decades apart, June and Denny have just finished having lunch together at a Dallas Mexican restaurant. Will this reignite the heat that once simmered between them, a heat that rivaled the hot salsa on the table? Or will June’s long-held secret cool their ardor?

Denny's voice interrupted her thoughts. "I'm glad you came by today. I've enjoyed our lunch and I'd like to see you again. Real soon."
June was surprised at how much that pleased her. "I'd like that too."
God help me, it's almost as if we've never been apart.
She arranged her utensils neatly across her plate, avoiding Denny's eyes. "It's amazing, isn't it? So much time has passed since we've seen each other, and yet—"
Denny interrupted and it seemed as if he'd been reading her mind. "And yet here we are, talking like we've never been apart." He stood and then turned to give June his hand, helping her out of the booth. He continued to hold her hand all the way to the car.
That evening June sipped a glass of Chardonnay and mused about lunch. When Daisy jumped into her lap, demanding attention, June scratched the dog's ears, her thoughts far away.
"Sweet Daisy, is this whole thing a mistake? Let's face it, girl, I'm afraid. After getting rid of Stan, I thought I was through with drama in my life."
Daisy jumped to the floor and turned in a circle before settling at June's feet.
"I'm nuts, aren't I? Talking out loud to a dog and worrying about something that hasn't happened yet and may never happen at all."
      How could she explain it all to Denny? Would he believe her? Would he even remember that life-changing time?

Everyone remembers their teenage years, but will June’s memories destroy her future?

For more Sweet Saturday Samples, click here: Sweets

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lee's Favorite Titles

Do you have too many books and too little time? Then you might want to follow Lee Sinclair's example and just read book titles! Her post on the Boomers and Books blog gives her top five favorites, along with some delightful runners up. 

She writes:
Great titles relate to or reflect the content. So a well-named humorous book usually evokes a smile or even a laugh. A killer mystery title is intriguingly mysterious or perhaps has a dead body in it, while humorous mysteries slay you with  their mangled clichés or deadly puns. Literary titles should be profound, of course; nonfiction titles should be informative. Et cetera. 

It'll make you laugh. (My favorite: Thinner Thighs in Thirty Years.) Here's the link: Favorite Titles 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - The Do-Over

The Do-Over
Today's Teaser is from The Do-Over by Kathy Dunnehoff.

"She knew all about lines. She lived her life not crossing them, coloring only inside them, and never drawing them."
(At Location 1321 - approx 22% - on my Kindle)

Synopsis from Amazon:
Just before her fortieth birthday, Mara Jane Mulligan, devoted wife and mother, runs out of bubble bath, and the ensuing panic attack drives her to Canada for more. She realizes that one foamy soak probably won't cure what ails her, so she takes a 30 day vacation from her life. (What woman doesn't need one of those?)

Surely her family will understand. Her son's visiting Grandma, and maybe her husband won't even miss her. Unfortunately, her husband doesn't miss much and tracks her to Abundance, a Vancouver bubble bath company. 

As her 30 days sail by, Mara Jane Mulligan discovers she has a decision to make that even Dorothy couldn't avoid... Will she click her heels for home or kick them up for good?

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at 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.
To find more Teasers, click here: Teasers

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sweet Saturday Samples - Feb 11

Welcome to Dallas, Texas and a scene from   I.O.U. Sex. In today’s excerpt June has gathered her courage and driven across town to Reid Automotive for what she hopes will be a face-to-face meeting with her former steady. She hasn’t seen Denny since high school, so does she just want her car serviced, or is she after more?

When she walked into the waiting area, she saw Denny standing behind the counter. June's heart thumped in her chest. A surge of panic made her stop and wonder if she could leave before he noticed her. She took a step backwards.
That's when Denny looked up and stared. He seemed puzzled at first, then his smile stretched into an enormous grin. His dark eyes sparkled like the chrome on the hubcaps nailed to the wall above his head.
"I knew it," he said. "June, you called last week, right? After you hung up, I thought 'That sounded like Junie.' " He walked around the counter, hands outstretched.
June smiled—too nervous to speak. She watched her high school love come toward her and a collage of memories collided in her brain.
Denny enclosed both her hands in his. "Gosh, it's great to see you. You look terrific. It's been a long time since I've seen that smile."
June took a deep breath. Her inner voice told her to be calm. After all, he said she looked terrific and seemed happy to see her. "It's good to see you too, Denny. I thought this might still be your garage. I wasn't sure."
"Oh, yeah, I'm still a working man, though my son Marty has taken over most of the business." He nodded toward an open service bay to his left. "You wanted an oil change, right? How about you leave your car here, and we grab some lunch while Marty takes care of it? We can catch up with each other and share some laughs about old times."
June hesitated. This was all happening quicker than she'd planned. She'd just walked in the door and now he wanted to go to lunch?
Then Denny spoke again, disappointment evident in his voice. "Look, I'm sorry. You're probably busy."
Do it, June's mind shouted. "Actually, I don't have anything planned until later this afternoon. I'd love to have lunch with you."
Denny's face lit up with a smile that used to make her want to kiss him senseless. June's face felt warm, and she hoped she wasn't blushing.
Courage, girl. He can't read your thoughts. Everything's under control.
She looked down and rummaged through her purse, glad for an excuse to look away for a moment. "Here are my keys. Mine is the silver Camry." She pointed to the parking lot with a pink-manicured nail.
"Okay, give me five minutes. You can't imagine how glad I am to see you." Denny took her keys, then walked out of the office and into the garage.
June sank onto a vinyl-covered chair, her knees weak. She clasped her hands in her lap to keep them from shaking, but she couldn't stop grinning.
I've done it. I've taken the first step.

What will June do next? And will she find the courage to tell Denny what she wished she’d confessed so many years before?

For Sweet Saturday Samples from more writers, click here: Sweet Stuff

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quotes to Note

I heard this bit of wisdom on National Public Radio several days ago. The late Jay Trachman, host of the weekly "One on One" radio show for more than three decades, was quoted as saying:
"The formula for a happy marriage? It's the same as the one for living in California: when you find a fault, don't dwell on it."

National Public Radio (NPR)'s website: http://www.npr.org/

Monday, February 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Laid Out and Candle Lit


An older character from Laid Out and Candle Lit remembers the early years of her marriage ...

"You thought about it all day ... you couldn't wait for him to get home ... the minute he stepped in the door, you were tearing at each other's clothes ... he couldn't get to you quick enough ... Whew! Damn! I think I need a glass of sweet tea," she said, fanning her face with both hands.
(Page 28, Location 305 on my Kindle)

Laid Out and Candle Lit was a fun, light-hearted romance that I thoroughly enjoyed. Here what Ann Everett's website says about the book: 

What do Sweet Thangs, Orgasm Pie, and murder in Brownsboro, TX have in common?
ANSWER: Tizzy Donovan
Small town girl, Tizzy is a widow, single mother, sister to the county sheriff and known as the local girl who talks to the dead. After almost five years without a man, she's pent up and hot-to-trot, and in small town Brownsboro, the roster of available men is just plain lousy.
When Tizzy discovers a dead body in the cemetery, she quickly becomes a suspect. With each lead placing her credibility on the line, she knows there will be no talking her way out of this one with saucy come-backs and a helping of Better Than Sex Cupcakes.
Texas Ranger Ridge Cooper arrives in town to cut his teeth on his first murder case, and  becomes torn between duty and desire. His job gets a whole lot harder as he works to find a viable suspect other than the sexy woman with a sassy mouth.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at 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.
To find more Teasers, click here: Teasers

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sweet Saturday Samples - Feb 4

In this excerpt from I.O.U. Sex, June has decided to take the plunge and meet her former steady, Denny, face-to-face by going to his place of business to surprise him. But first she has to prepare….

Showered, buffed, and lotioned, June spritzed perfume over her naked body. I'll wear my most expensive lace bra and panties, she thought, though no one but me will know. They'll give me confidence. She took extra time with her hair, sweeping it behind her ears the way Denny used to like it. Her ex-husband Stan said older women shouldn't wear their hair long, but she still thought shoulder length suited her best. She rejected Stan’s opinion as just one more of his many chauvinistic ideas and wondered why she'd tolerated him as long as she had. The day she and Stan parted, she'd decided to let her hair grow long again, her first act of defiance in years. She leaned in for a closer look in the mirror, pleased that her blonde highlights covered most of her gray.
June went to the closet, wondering what a woman should wear to have her car serviced by an old boyfriend. The thought made her laugh.
That's not something you'd read about in Emily Post.
After trying on and discarding four outfits, she settled on a short denim skirt and a cotton-candy pink T-shirt. Why not accentuate the positive? Her legs were chemically tanned and firm from years of aerobics, and Denny had always liked her in pink. She added silver hoops to her ears and straightened her shoulders for a last look in the mirror. She turned sideways, patting her not-so-flat stomach, frowning at her not-so-perky breasts.
Stan's criticisms nagged: Is that cellulite on the back of your thighs?
Now she answered him in words she'd never spoken aloud. "Shut up, and get out of my mind. I may not be perfect, but for a woman my age, I look pretty damned good."
Then another worry surfaced. What exactly would she say to Denny?
"Hi, it's me. June. I'm a part-time writer, the mother of a grown son, and the survivor of a nasty divorce. Oh, and by the way, I’ve made a pact with Kiki and Peggy, and I’m here to offer you the very thing I wouldn’t do in high school. What’s new with you?”
She decided not to over-think their meeting but to play it by ear instead. After all, this was just an oil change. No big deal.
Yeah. Right.
She grabbed her purse, took a deep breath, and locked the door behind her.

Will June go forward and actually meet with Denny or will she chicken out at the last minute? And what will his reaction be? We’ll continue with June’s story in the weeks to come. Thanks for visiting our Sweet Saturday Sample!

[Note: The foregoing excerpt has been edited to maintain a PG-13 rating.]
Illustration source: "Woman looking at her reflection in mirror," (1918) by Frederic Dorr Steele.  From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

For more Sweet Saturday Samples, click here: