Thursday, October 23, 2014

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind - The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings on Friday

     Miss Julia is a straight-laced Southern lady (in her 60s?) with a strong sense of what's proper and what isn't, a pillar of her small town's First Presbyterian Church, and a recent widow. But it isn't long before her late husband's mistress and illegitimate son show up on her front porch. Told with humor and a Southern voice, this book is the story of how Miss Julia copes with this situation, as well as deals with a hypocritical minister, crooked televangelist, kidnapping, and other surprises that surface.   
     Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind is the first book in a series of fifteen. I've read six or seven of them and although each book stands alone, they're more enjoyable if read in sequence.

Book Beginning:
I'd just caught my breath after the shock of my husband's sudden passing when his last legacy showed up on my front porch. We'd buried Wesley Lloyd Springer some few months before that hot, still morning in August, and I hoped I was through signing forms and meeting with lawyers and shuffling through various and sundry legal papers. I declare, this business of dying has more legal aspects to it than you would think. The deceased never knows what you have to go through to get his affairs in order, and Wesley Lloyd's were in as much order as they could get. I thought.

The Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
[Miss Julia is describing Pastor Ledbetter's secretary.]
She liked to make out like she was so professional, but she was the biggest gossip I knew. That's why she liked her job, since every Presbyterian in trouble sooner or later ended up talking to the preacher. I'd warned Pastor Ledbetter about her talkative tendencies, but he'd just patted my shoulder and told me he'd take care of it. Ever since then she'd flounced herself around anytime I was in her office, not that anybody with all that weight ought to do any flouncing.

Genre: Women's Fiction / Humor
Length: 273 Pages (Trade Paperback)
Amazon Link: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind
Author's Website: Ann B. Ross

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
      Miss Julia, a recently bereaved and newly wealthy widow, is only slightly bemused when one Hazel Marie Puckett appears at her door with a youngster in tow and unceremoniously announces that the child is the bastard son of Miss Julia's late husband. Suddenly, this longtime church member and pillar of her small Southern community finds herself in the center of an unseemly scandal - and the guardian of a wan nine-year-old whose mere presence turns her life upside down.
      With razor-sharp wit and perfect "Steel Magnolia" poise, Miss Julia speaks her mind indeed - about a robbery, a kidnapping, and the other disgraceful events precipitated by her husband's death. Fast-paced and charming, with a sure sense of comic drama, a cast of crazy characters, and a strong Southern cadence, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind will delight readers from first page to last.


Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings and The Friday 56.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Littlest Cowboy - Teaser Tuesday & First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros

Littlest Cowboy6
For once I actually read the first book in a series first! The Littlest Cowboy is Book #1 in the nine-book Texas Brands Series by Maggie Shayne. The story begins when a baby is left at the doorstep on Sheriff Garrett Brand's ranch. The plot develops to include an abusive father, a cattle stampede, and a mobster. Plenty of action and romance.

Right now the ebook is FREE on Amazon.

Book Beginning:
Garrett Brand awoke in a cold sweat, some foreign kind of dread gnawing at his stomach. Heart pounding, he sat up fast and wide-eyed, his fists clenching defensively before he got hold of himself. Blinking the sleep haze from his eyes and taking a few deep breaths, he let his tense muscles relax and unclenched his fists. There was nothing wrong. There was no reason for that panicky feeling that had slipped through him like a ghost slipping through a wall. No reason at all.

Teaser (from 43% on my Kindle):
Somebody wanted Chelsea Brennan dead. The voice on the phone had identified that somebody as Vincent de Lorean, a man as evil as Satan himself.

Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Book Length:  190 Pages
Amazon Link: The Littlest Cowboy
Author Website: Maggie Shayne
Author Blog: Maggie's Bliss Blog


Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please! Here's the link: Should Be Reading

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cinque Terre, Italy - Saturday Snapshot

Here are the last few photos from the Cinque Terre, Italy (2001). Today I'm featuring pictures from Riomaggiori, the easternmost town of the group. 
Click on photos to enlarge.

Riomaggiori, as viewed from the water taxi. Online sources say the town dates from the 13th century.
A closer view. Instead of rows of parked cars, the main thoroughfare
in Riomaggiori is lined with fishing boats.
I included this photo to show the terraced grapevines above the Cinque Terre towns.
They're accessed by foot paths and tiny cable cars just big enough to hold one person. 
Thank you for allowing me to revisit the Cinque Terre over the past few weeks. 
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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Not Yet - Friday 56 and Book Beginnings on Friday

NOT YET by Laura Ward is a touching coming-of-age romance in the New Adult genre. However, I believe the book will appeal to readers of all ages. (Warning: It does have steamy sex scenes and profanity.) The author's thoughtful portrayal of characters with Down Syndrome and other physical and emotional challenges sets this story apart from other romances. Each chapter includes a "Life Lesson" or "Lesson Learned"--some of them positive, some of them negative. Chapters are labeled "Lesson 1," etc., instead of "Chapter 1." 

First Paragraph:
Lesson 1
     Tightening the thin rubber strap that reached around the back of my head, I adjusted my goggles and stretched my arms, palms up and fingers interlocked, to the sky. I rolled my neck and shook my legs, one at a time, releasing the tension. Stepping to the edge of the pool, I curled my toes over the header and jumped, entering the water in a practiced, smooth glide.
     I was in my happy place.

Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):

     Many times during adolescent tiffs with friends, my mom would ask me, 'What would Evie say?' which always reminded me to get to the heart of the matter--what really is important. My big sister knew a lot. 

Genre: New Adult Romance
Length: 254 Pages
Amazon Link: Not Yet


Emma Harris is learning that life is just a series of lessons. 

Lesson #1: Nothing goes the way you plan. 
Lesson #2: You can’t trust men. Especially not the pretty ones. 
Lesson #3: Turns out, appearances are almost always deceiving. 

      Emma thinks she has life all figured out, and what she knows isn't good. For years, she’s put her big sister, who was born with Down syndrome, first. Now Emma’s ready to start her own life, but fate has other plans. To do the right thing for the sister she loves, Emma’s dreams will just have to wait. 
      She doesn't plan on meeting Landon — a rich, flirtatious jock, who never has to wait for anything. Not for attention, not for money, and certainly not for girls. Meeting Emma marks the first time in his life that he’s had to fight for something. And Landon doesn't know how to lose. 
      Emma has no interest in wasting her summer with a superficial guy like Landon. But very soon she realizes she is wrong about him. The question is, can she trust him? Or will he let her down like every other guy in her life? But most importantly, can Emma trust herself enough to live the life she's always dreamed of? 
      Life has a way of sneaking in the most important lessons when you aren't looking. And once the heart gets involved, that's when the real learning begins. 

*** This book is intended for mature audiences. 18 and over!


Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings and The Friday 56.
Click HERE to connect to other Book Beginnings posts (sponsored by Rose City Reader)
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