Monday, August 3, 2015

Shelter Us - First Chapter / First Paragraph and Teaser Tuesday

Shelter Us is the story of a woman whose daughter died at the age of six weeks. Now, several years later, the mother of two preschool sons is still overwhelmed by her daughter's death and barely functioning. When she becomes obsessed with a young homeless woman and her baby, her life changes, and her marriage is in jeopardy.

I was hesitant to read this book, mainly because it involves the death of a child, but I'm glad I stayed with it. It was nicely written and edited, and the story was compelling. The author takes her readers deep inside her character, and the plot will stay with me for a long time.

First Paragraph:
     This Ferris wheel revolves faster than I remember. It was Robert's idea to come tonight. "A great way to say good-bye to the old year -- right kiddos?" Oliver and Izzy jumped up and down, squealing their agreement. There was no saying no. And so we ride.

Teaser from 11% on my Kindle (three sentences, instead of two):
True, I didn't plan on being a full-time mom, didn't expect my maternity leave to end in an abrupt resignation. But now that I have them, I wouldn't give up these days with my children, no matter how trying of my nerves and patience they can be. I should remember this feeling the next time Izzy throws a fit because I've sliced his sandwich the wrong way, or when I envy Robert's pristine law-school setting, where the young people in his charge respect his opinion, listen to every word--take notes, for Chrissake--and let him use the bathroom in private.

Amazon Link: Shelter Us
Length: 246 Pages
Genre: Women's Fiction

     Lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw is struggling to keep it together for her two young sons and law professor husband. Since the death of their infant daughter, her husband has been buried in his career, her friendships have withered, and Sarah remains lost in a private world of grief. Then one day walking in L.A., Sarah’s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller—and saving them becomes her obsessive mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the young mother, Josie. When tragedy threatens Josie, Sarah discovers that she is capable of deceptions and transgressions she never imagined. Her lies unleash a downward spiral that will threaten her marriage, family and her sanity.
     Shelter Us speaks to the quiet joys and anxieties of parenthood and illuminates a place all parents know: that shadowy space between unconditional love and fear of unbearable loss.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please!

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Rufus & Jack - Saturday Snapshots

I haven't taken any pictures lately, but I figured when all else fails, show pet photos! So here are a few pictures of our dog Rufus (white), along with our grand-dog Jack (black and white). FYI: Rufus is the boss. He's a mix of Maltese and Bichon Frise; Jack is a mix of Border Collie with a little Chow thrown in (we think!)

Rufus and the rhinoceros planter, on the lookout
for unauthorized cats or squirrels in the yard.
This window overlooks the street in front of our house.
We call it Doggie TV.
Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below.  

West Metro Mommy Reads
To participate in Saturday Snapshots: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) 
have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky on the host blogsite. 
Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate 
for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. 
Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Reluctant Midwife - Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

In The Reluctant Midwife, author Patricia Harman tells the story of a nurse during the Great Depression. As I followed the character's struggle to survive in severely depressed West Virginia and care for her ailing former employer (Dr. Blum), I wondered how we would cope if a similar economic catastrophe struck today. I'm afraid we wouldn't have the skills to fare as well people did in the 1930s.

The Reluctant Midwife is divided into five sections: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring Again. It is Book #2 in the Hope River series and it stands alone. I'm looking forward to reading Book #1 too.

Book Beginning:
"Holy hell, what's this?" I say to Dr. Blum, who doesn't seem to notice the beat-up black DeSoto with a table tied to the top that's pulled over on the side of the road. A young man, wearing a wool plaid jacket, stands on the berm, waving his hat. "Help. Stop!"
     The newspapers warn us about highwaymen out to do no good, robbers who pose as distressed travelers in these hard times, lure do-gooders to help them, and then at gunpoint take all their money and valuables. Slowing, I see a women in the front seat, her feet on the dashboard and her face wild with pain. It's only that face that compels me to stop.

The Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
"We all have hard lives, Becky. Don't you know that? Sometimes you just have to take your wounded heart out, stitch it up, stuff it back in your chest, and go on ...."

Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Amazon Link: The Reluctant Midwife
Length: 432 pages
Author Website: Patricia Harman

Synopsis: The USA Today bestselling author of The Midwife of Hope River returns with a heartfelt sequel, a novel teeming with life and full of humor and warmth, one that celebrates the human spirit.
The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy.
Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness-as tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer Dr Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience too has changed. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe.
But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. And she must find a way to bring Isaac back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on.
Full of humor and compassion, The Reluctant Midwife is a moving tribute to the power of optimism and love to overcome the most trying circumstances and times, and is sure to please fans of the poignant Call the Midwife series.


Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56.
Click HERE to connect to other Book Beginnings posts (sponsored by Rose City Reads) 
Click HERE to join other Friday 56 bloggers (sponsored by Freda's Voice)

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Of Human Bondage - Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph

Every once in a while I tackle one of those books that we're "supposed" to read, which is why I bought a copy of Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham for my Kindle. So far, I'm enjoying it, but it's much longer than books I usually read. It also took a while to get used to the author's writing style and point of view shifts. But the story is definitely interesting and relevant, even though it was written a hundred years ago. (And NO, it isn't that kind of bondage!)

Here's the first paragraph:

The day broke gray and dull. The clouds hung heavily, and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow. A woman servant came into a room in which a child was sleeping and drew the curtains. She glanced mechanically at the house opposite, a stucco house with a portico, and went to the child's bed.

I like the description in this Teaser from 20% on my Kindle: She was so thin that she seemed almost transparent, the arms she put round his neck were frail bones that reminded you of chicken bones, and her faded face was oh! so wrinkled. The gray curls which she still wore in the fashion of her youth gave her a queer, pathetic look; and her little withered body was like an autumn leaf, you felt it might be blown away by the first sharp wind.

Amazon link: Of Human Bondage

Length: 642 Pages
Genre: Literary Fiction / Classic

Synopsis from Goodreads:
 Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns for adventure, and at eighteen leaves home, eventually pursuing a career as an artist in Paris. When he returns to London to study medicine, he meets the androgynous but alluring Mildred and begins a doomed love affair that will change the course of his life.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please!

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.