Monday, February 8, 2016

The Giver - Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph

I don't often read science fiction or young adult novels, but after seeing the opening paragraph and synopsis of The Giver on someone's blog, I decided to give this book a try. I was blown away by this story! No wonder the book has won all kinds of awards. I highly recommend The Giver for readers of all ages. It is Book 1 in the Giver Quartet, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest ASAP.
FYI: I understand this book was made into a movie but when I watched the trailer, it seemed to encompass more than the story told in this book. Perhaps it is based on all the books in the series.

First Paragraph:
     It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. Frightened was the way he had felt a year ago when an unidentified aircraft had overflown the community twice. He had seen it both times. Squinting toward the sky, he had seen the sleek jet, almost a blur at its high speed, go past, and a second later heard the blast of sound that followed. Then one more time, a moment later, from the opposite direction, the same plane.

Teaser (from 51% on my Kindle):
"Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with differences."

Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Book Length: 204 Pages
Amazon Link: The Giver
More Books by This Author: Amazon Author Page

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The haunting story centers on Jonas who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

Read a National Public Radio (NPR) interview with the author here: Lois Lowry Interview. There's also an audio interview included here.

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.
Link at BibliophileByTheSea

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger

Friday, February 5, 2016

Road Signs - Saturday Snapshots

In an era of GPS and driverless cars, I think it's fun to think about how motorists navigated in the past. Here's a Texas roadway sign from the late 1940s or early 1950s. That's my grandmother, standing at the intersection of Highway 67 and 220. Perhaps my Papaw had a road map in the glove compartment of his car (Mamaw never learned to drive), or maybe someone told him to take the Highway 220 cutoff to get to wherever he was going. I wonder why they stopped at this particular spot.

Cool photo, isn't it?

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.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Girl in Hyacinth Blue - Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph

Have you ever read a book that goes backward in time instead of forward? That's the structure of Girl in Hyacinth Blue. In this story, the ownership of a painting is traced back through history, with each chapter revealing the effect the painting has on its owner, until the final chapter reveals the artist.

First Paragraph:
Love Enough
     Cornelius Engelbrecht invented himself. Let me emphasize, straight away, that he isn't what I would call a friend, but I know him enough to say that he did purposely design himself: single, modest dresser in receding colors, mathematics teacher, sponsor of the chess club, mild mannered acquaintance to all rather than a friend to any, a person anxious to become invisible. However, that exterior blandness masked a burning center, and for some reason that became clear to me only later, Cornelius Engelbrecht revealed to me the secret obsession that lay beneath his orderly, controlled design. 

Teaser (from Page 83, trade paperback edition):
And her headdress! She thought it clever to suggest her family's contributions to Dutch naval history by building a ship, a man-of-war I think it was, atop horizontal rows of cadogan curls - no one wore cadogan curls anymore - as if the vessel were bravely battling those ferocious blond waves. On its stern she flew a tiny flag. 
(In case you're curious, I did a Google search for "cadogan curls" and found this: "...the ladies adopted the "cadogan," an English style, similar to the wigs worn by the men. The hair was still powdered, but it was bunched out at the side and braided or curled, and looped up at the back.")  

Genre: Literature / Historical
Book Length: 196 Pages
Amazon Link: Girl in Hyacinth Blue
Author Website: Susan Vreeland

This luminous story begins in the present day, when a professor invites a colleague to his home to see a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer—but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of events that trace the ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work's inspiration. As the painting moves through each owner's hands, what was long hidden quietly surfaces, illuminating poignant moments in multiple lives. Susan Vreeland's characters remind us, through their love of this mysterious painting, how beauty transforms and why we reach for it, what lasts and what in our lives is singular and unforgettable.

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.
Link at BibliophileByTheSea

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Light of Hidden Flowers - The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings on Friday

     The Light of Hidden Flowers by Jennifer Handford is the story of an introvert whose life is overshadowed by her larger-than-life father. Her life changes dramatically when he becomes ill and eventually dies. But things get really complicated when she reconnects with her first love - a veteran from the war in Afghanistan who's going through a divorce. When she travels to Italy and then India, will she find her true calling?
     I enjoyed this story a lot - maybe because I'm not the most outgoing person myself! I also like second-chance love stories. The author did a good job of showing the main character's struggles, and I came to care about her.

Book Beginning:
I didn't usually mock my life. Really - my disposition was quite agreeable most of the time. In fact, people regarded me exactly that way: Missy Fletcher, a real sweetheart. The same way people described kindergarten teachers and puppies. And usually, I really did have an "attitude of gratitude," as my father had always taught me. Count your blessings, daughter, he was fond of saying. We have it so good. But today I felt a gremlin on my shoulder, egging me on.

The Friday 56 (from Page 256 in my hardback copy):
We bumped across town in his slightly off-odored town car. Was it traces of alcohol, vomit? The driver watched me from the rearview mirror.

Genre: Literary Fiction / Women's Fiction
Book Length: 358 Pages (hardback)
Amazon Link: The Light of Hidden Flowers
Author Website: Jennifer Handford
FYI: I won this book in a giveaway!

     Book-smart Melissa Fletcher lives a predictable life in her hometown, working behind the scenes for her charismatic father in a financial career that makes perfect sense. But when her dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Missy is forced to step up and take over as his primary caregiver and the principal of the firm.
     After her father’s death, Missy finds a letter from him in which he praises her for being a dutiful daughter but admonishes her for not taking any risks in life.
     Devastated, Missy packs her suitcase and heads for Italy. There she meets a new friend who proposes a radical idea. Soon, Missy finds herself in impoverished India, signing away her inheritance and betting on a risky plan while rekindling a lost love.
     The Light of Hidden Flowers is a deeply felt story of accepting who we are while pushing our boundaries to see how much more we can become. It’s a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue our dreams.

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
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger