Thursday, January 19, 2017

Smart Girls Read #Romance

What does The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel have to do with my granddaughter? Learn about "word pictures" on today's Smart Girls Read Romance blog post.

Link HERE.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Moonrise - #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph / Tuesday Intros

I stopped by the library recently to return some books and browsed the stacks. That's when I found Moonrise by Cassandra King. I grabbed it! Several years ago I read The Same Sweet Girls and loved King's writing. Now I'm wondering why I haven't read all her books. 
     Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the book is told through the eyes of three different characters: a society insider (Tansy), a local woman who works for the summer people (Willa), and a newcomer (Helen) who's trying to fit in. The book deals with love, loyalty, intrigue, and obsession. FYI: Moonrise is the name of the mansion where much of the action takes place. It was named after the estate's gardens where night-blooming plants grow. Readers who enjoyed Daphne de Maurier's Rebecca will love this story.

First Paragraph: (FYI: Helen is the newcomer to Moonrise)
Moon Gardens
     I sit up with a start, my heart pounding. A noise like a scraping of a chair against the wooden floor wakes me, and for a brief moment, I have no idea where I am. The fire has died out, and a melancholy whiff of woodsmoke lingers in the cool air. Woodsmoke and something else, like the pungent aroma of sage. Pushing aside the crocheted coverlet, I swing my legs over the side of the bed, a bed so high that my feet barely touch the floor. I wait for a minute and listen for the noise again, but the room is quiet and still. The only sound is the soft snoring of my husband, who always sleeps like the dead. His back is turned my way, and I watch the gentle rise and fall of his bare shoulders. He is not one to be disturbed by things that go bump in the night.

Teaser #1: (FYI: I couldn't resist posting two Teasers):
Willa (the local woman)
     I can't think of a blame reason for me to be so nervous, but I know what Momma'd say if she was still here. If you don't feel right about doing something, then you'd best stop and ask yourself how come. Could the Lord be trying to tell you to think twice?

Teaser #2:
Tansy (the society insider)
     Like most Southern women, I was raised to ingratiate myself. Speaking one's mind was unheard of in a well-bred lady of my generation, as was having an unlady-like opinion. As Noel constantly reminds me, I flunked out of -- or was kicked out of -- that course, yet I still can't bring myself to tell Kit what I think of her newly remodeled house.

Genre: Romance / Gothic 
Amazon link: Moonrise
Book Length: 400 Pages
Website: Cassandra King

When Helen Honeycutt falls in love with Emmet Justice, a charismatic television journalist who has recently lost his wife in a tragic accident, their sudden marriage creates a rift between her new husband and his oldest friends, who resent Helen’s intrusion into their tightly knit circle. Hoping to mend fences, the newlyweds join the group for a summer at his late wife’s family home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Helen soon falls under the spell not only of the little mountain town and its inhabitants, but also of Moonrise, her predecessor’s Victorian mansion, named for its unique but now sadly neglected nocturnal gardens. But the harder Helen tries to fit in, the more obvious it is that she will never measure up to the woman she replaced. Someone is clearly determined to drive her away, but who wants her gone, and why? As Emmet grows more remote, Helen reaches out to the others in the group, only to find that she can’t trust anyone. When she stumbles on the secret behind her predecessor’s untimely death, Helen must decide if she can ever trust—or love—again.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too.
Link up HERE
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.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Letters from #Paris - #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph / Tuesday Intros

I've always hoped to visit Paris, and Letters from Paris made me want to catch the next plane to France! Juliet Blackwell tells the story of a woman who leaves a high-powered job in Chicago to take care of her grandmother in Louisiana. That decision leads to a journey to Paris to track down the history of a mask of a woman called L'Inconnue (The Unknown Woman). The story of the creation of the original mask (100 years earlier) weaves through this contemporary tale.
     I enjoyed this love story/mystery a lot and will pick up The Paris Key when I return Letters from Paris to the library.

FYI: Juliet Blackwell also writes the Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series.

Genre: Women's Fiction

Book Length: 348 Pages (Trade Paperback)
Amazon Link: Letters from Paris
Author Website: Juliet Blackwell

First Paragraphs/Intro (Prologue):

February 27, 1898
     He sleeps.
     Sabine creeps across the dark studio before dawn, beseeching the silent faces not to betray her. They watch her every move, mute witnesses to her crime.
     Slipping through the door, she winces at the scraping sound of metal on metal as she pauses to latch it behind her. Fog envelops her, the mist cutting through her threadbare blouse and underthings, wet needles of cold air piercing her skin.

Teaser (from Page 111):

     But no matter the author, each of the tales ended in L'Inconnue meeting her watery death in the Seine at a brutally young age. Yet no one knew who she really was. How could so many have written about her, obsessed over her - including some of the greatest minds of Europe - and yet she remained inconnue?

Synopsis (from Amazon):

     After surviving the accident that took her mother’s life, Claire Broussard has worked hard to escape her small Louisiana hometown. But these days she feels something is lacking. Abruptly leaving her lucrative job in Chicago, Claire returns home to care for her ailing grandmother. There, she unearths a beautiful piece of artwork that her great-grandfather sent home from Paris after World War II. 
     At her grandmother’s urging, Claire travels to Paris to track down the century-old mask-making atelier where the object, known only as “L’Inconnue”—or The Unknown Woman—was created. Under the watchful eye of a surly mask-maker, Claire discovers a cache of letters that offers insight into the life of the Belle Epoque woman immortalized in the work of art. As Claire explores the unknown woman’s tragic fate, she begins to unravel deeply buried secrets in her own life.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too.
Link up HERE
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, December 30, 2016

Memory Tree - #SaturdaySnapshots

Our Christmas this year didn't work out exactly as we'd planned. In fact, we haven't exchanged gifts yet! That's because our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter have all been sick with a highly contagious virus. So we'll keep our tree decorated for another week and celebrate a delayed Christmas in a few days. In the meantime, here's a photo of our tree. It's artificial because of my allergies. [Click on photos to enlarge]

Our collection of ornaments has grown over the years and many of them represent a memory or were given to us by friends. This K├Ąthe Wohlfhart brewmeister (and a couple of miniature nutcrackers) came home with us from Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, Germany.

This guard left his post at Buckingham Palace to perch on our tree.

A side trip on our Alaska cruise resulted in this ornament.

Closer to home, we picked up this moose while skiing at Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My granddaughter loves it because the moose jumps when she pulls his string.

Since we're both native Texans, we have lots of ornaments from our home state, too.

And for many years my sister-in-law Judy has sent us official Texas capitol ornaments, each one with its own history. Here's the one for 2016.

When my son was young, I did a lot of crewel embroidery, including these two ornaments made from kits.

My friend Nan created this ornament for me because we share a love of quilting.

And Sandra gave me a herd of candy cane hobby horses.

Add in a bottle of wine, some jingle bells, and much, much more and we have a one-of-a-kind eclectic Christmas tree full of memories!

I hope your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or other holidays have brought you peace and joy. Wishing you a glorious 2017!
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.