Friday, March 30, 2018

Auburn #Art - #SaturdaySnapshots

I took advantage of a brisk sunshiny day to check out some of the public art in downtown Auburn, WA. The city displays sculptures that change annually, most of them along Main Street, along with several permanent installations. (I previously posted photos of some of the permanent sculptures HERE.) More info about these creations (as well as links to the artists) are on the city's website. I've included descriptions of these works beneath each picture. Click on photos for a closer look.


Artist: Jenny Ellsworth
Title: Hoppy
Medium: Old metal shovels

Finding nature's form in recycled material is Jenny Ellsworth's passion. "Hoppy" was created with over 80 shovels. The piece also lights up at night!  
(FYI: Hops were a major crop in the Auburn/Kent area of Washington in the past.)

Artist: Sharon Agnor
Title: Living Water
Medium: Cast glass and stainless steel
This sculpture is a contemplation of our dependence on water for life. It is also a celebration of water’s life giving properties, abundance, and the spiritual renewal it can bring.  Subjecting glass and steel to extreme heat brings changes to the materials that enhance their beauty. Agnor enjoys the undeniable parallel between this process, and the effects life has on us as we move forward.



Artist: Ben Dye
Title: Icarus
Medium: Stainless and steel
"Icarus" is another step in the artist Ben Dye’s exploration of "form". The biggest challenge in working with flat plate is to give it shape. Dye’s approach to this challenge is to quilt the exterior of the sculpture.



I couldn't find anything about this specific "story pole," but I believe the artist is Garth Edwards. 

Because this artwork was located on street corners, I found it difficult to separate the sculptures from the busy backgrounds. I need to do more experimenting with my camera to learn how to blur the background and focus only on the subject. Regardless, taking these pictures was a fun excuse to get out of the house on a beautiful day.


Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. 
To participate: 
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 West Metro Mommy Read's website (link: HERE) 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, March 26, 2018

The Butterfly's Daughter - #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph / Tuesday Intros

I enjoy books where I learn something while being engrossed in a good plot. In The Butterfly's Daughterthe subject was monarch butterflies. Mary Alice Monroe takes readers on a young woman's journey to fulfill her recently-deceased grandmother's wish for the two of them to go to Mexico. The granddaughter's quest parallels the flight of monarch butterflies in their annual migrations south. This is also a coming-of-age story. 

The book begins with a prologue, in which the grandmother tells an ancient fable to her 21-year-old granddaughter. Each chapter also begins with brief factual information about the monarch butterfly's migration. The action in Chapter One starts like this:


First Paragraph(s):

    Esperanza Avila had told the story so many times over the years that it was accepted as truth--even by herself. She'd meant only to blanket her granddaughter's frightening loss, not to mislead her. She saw the story she'd created as a safe, happy cocoon for her to grow up in.
    But in the end, she'd created a lie. Now she was caught in her own trap of deception. The only way out was to tell Luz the truth, no matter how painful that truth might be.

Teaser (from page 256 in trade paperback):

There were moments in the past three years of recovery when she felt such despair that she didn't think she could make it past another day without using. Moments like now. At these low points when her hands shook and her gut roiled, she'd go to the garden and put her hands deep into the earth. 

Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

Book Length: 382 Pages (trade paperback) plus a reader's group guide.
Amazon Link: The Butterfly's Daughter
I picked this up from the book exchange shelf at the senior center. It was published in 2012.

Synopsis: Every year, the monarch butterflies - las mariposas - fly more than two thousand miles on fragile wings to return to their winter home in Mexico. Now Luz Avila makes that same perilous journey south as she honors a vow to her beloved abuela - the grandmother who raised her - to return her ashes to her ancestral village. As Luz departs Milwaukee in a ramshackle old VW Bug, she finds her heart opened by a series of seemingly random encounters with remarkable women. In San Antonio, however, a startling revelation awaits: a reunion with a woman from her past. Together, the two cross into Mexico to await the returning monarchs in the little village Abuela called home, but they are also crossing a border that separates past from present . . . and truth from lies.

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 I'd Rather Be At The Beach. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Plants and Flowers - #Kauai, #Hawaii - #SaturdaySnapshots

Continuing with our recent trip to Kauai, today I'm posting pictures of plants and flowers from that beautiful island. Even though a few springtime bulbs are beginning to emerge at home in the Pacific Northwest, it was such a pleasure to see so many things in bloom during our vacation. I'll do my best to identify the flora I photographed.
(Click on photos for an even closer look.)

I think this could be Pandanus tectorius, AKA "screw pine" although it
looks nothing like a pine or a screw! Several of these small trees were planted on the grounds of the resort where we stayed. The fruit is about eight inches in diameter.
Hibiscus everywhere in every color imaginable.
Clusia rosea AKA "signature tree" or "autograph tree." People scratch love notes, messages, etc., on the tree's rubbery leaves where they stay for months. We had some of these rugged trees in our yard when we lived in Miami. The autographs don't seem to harm them.

Codiaeum variegatum AKA "croton" - The sap from these plants can be toxic,
but they sure are striking. They formed a hedge along one side of our home in Miami. It was fun to see familiar (and unfamiliar) tropical plants.
I haven't been able to identify this plant. Some kind of lily?
It's obvious where the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) got its name.
This is the only one I saw in bloom during our trip.
I started to include photos of palm trees, but there are too many varieties. Maybe next week...






Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. 
To participate: 
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 West Metro Mommy Read's website (link: HERE) 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, March 19, 2018

Slightly South of Simple - #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph / Tuesday Intros

I expected the characters in this book to have more of a Southern "voice" (it takes place in Georgia) but they didn't. That's okay. I still enjoyed the story. My big complaint was that it ended a little too abruptly for me. However, it's the first book in a series, so maybe that's why everything wasn't as neatly tied up as I wanted.

First Paragraph:
    I still have dreams about that yellow-and-white striped bikini, the one I was wearing the night I met Jack, my first bona fide summer love. I was fifteen going on sixteen, the perfect age, when your hair tints that summer blond that hairstylists become super-stars for emulating. You have filled out enough not to be gangly but not so much that you can imagine a one-piece being in your future.

Teaser at 83% on my Kindle (I stretched the excerpt to three sentences instead of just two):
    I knew already from having children and grandchildren that time moved quickly; the days were long, but the years were short. And I knew for certain that no matter how many fights they had or how many times I had to change sheets or clean up dirty dishes or babysit all day for one grandchild after I'd been up all night with another, I would look back on these months of having my children home with me, back where they belonged, with incredible joy and wistfulness. These were the good times, even when they were hard.

Genre: Women's Fiction
No. of Pages:  479 Pages
Amazon Link: Slightly South of Simple
Copyright: 2017

Synopsis:
     Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she'd spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.
     Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley's life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open.
     Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters, this engaging novel is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart.


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 I'd Rather Be At The Beach. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger

Friday, March 16, 2018

Kilauea #Lighthouse, #Kauai, Hawaii - #SaturdaySnapshots

One of the most interesting places we visited on Kauai was also about the windiest place I've ever been. A docent who volunteered on the grounds offered to take our picture, which was nice, but we both felt as if our hair was standing on end and our clothes were about to be ripped from our bodies. Everyone said the strong winds were very unusual. They were definitely unusual for me! The views from the point were dramatic, however, and well worth the windy buffeting. 
[Click on photos to enlarge.]

The lighthouse became operational in 1913. It was decommissioned in 1976 and a three-year restoration was completed in 2013.

The lighthouse is located within the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

I zoomed in a little to capture waves crashing against the cliffs.
The seas all around us roared and churned. Those white spots on the hillside are birds.
Even the birds were having a hard time with the wind.
Until I saw this picture, I didn't realize how dorky I looked
in my black sneakers and socks. Oh, well. What the heck.
I did a lot of walking that day, and my feet were comfortable.

The lighthouse interior was not accessible.

We were told that whales were probably in the area. It was the right time of year. However, with the white-capped waves, we couldn't distinguish a whale spout from spray from the breakers! Our resort was in Princeville, and the lighthouse was only about seven miles down Highway 56.






Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. 
To participate: 
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 West Metro Mommy Read's website (link: HERE) 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, March 15, 2018

Before We Were Yours - #BookBeginnings on Friday and The #Friday56

I enjoy books where there are two plots going on at the same time. In Before We Were Yours, one of the stories takes place in the late 1930s. The second one is set in present day. Slowly the relationship between the two plot lines is revealed.

Before We Were Yours is a 5-star book, based on a true story, that I won't soon forget.

Beginning:

Prelude
Baltimore, Maryland
August 3, 1939

My story begins on a sweltering August night, in a place I will never set eyes upon. The room takes life only in my imaginings. It is large most days when I conjure it. The walls are white and clean, the bed linens crisp as a fallen leaf. The private suite has the very finest of everything. Outside, the breeze is weary, and the cicadas throb in the tall trees, their verdant hiding places just below the window frames. The screens sway inward as the attic fan rattles overhead, pulling at wet air that has no desire to be moved.

56% on my Kindle:
I spin around and bolt for the backyard, but I'm running in sand, the long wrap dress clinging around my legs, my flip-flops slapping. I catch the flash of a blue shirt near my grandmother's palmetto hedge just in time to put on the brakes and act casual coming up the boardwalk.

Genre: Women's Fiction / Family Saga
Pages: 339
Amazon Link:  Before We Were Yours
Copyright 2017

Synopsis:

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancĂ©, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.


              


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

Friday, March 9, 2018

Beaches - #Kauai, #Hawaii - #SaturdaySnapshots

Recently my husband and I spent six days and five nights in beautiful Kauai, Hawaii. For the next several weeks I'll feature photos from our vacation.

Today's subject is Kauai's beaches. Having spent many childhood vacations at Padre Island and Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast, I'm accustomed to those gentle waves and warm shallow waters.  Kauai's breakers are much more dramatic. They roar, smash into rocks, surge toward the shore, and send clouds of spray skyward. I love that! 

The photos below were taken on the eastern half of the island. We stayed in Princeville on the northern shore of Kauai and explored up and down the coast.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Anahola Beach Park

Nice paved walking trail overlooking 
this section of beach.

Spouting Horn Park, near Koloa

View from the grounds of our resort.
I believe that's Kalihiwai Bay.

We had hoped for sunny skies, an escape from the rainy Pacific Northwest. That's not the way things worked out. However, even though rain fell almost every day during our vacation, we ignored the weather and had a great time.


Click on the + or - to enlarge or shrink the map.







Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. 
To participate: 
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 West Metro Mommy Read's website (link: HERE) 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, March 8, 2018

The Marsh King's Daughter - #BookBeginnings on Friday and The #Friday56

    Karen Dionne is a master at leaving "hooks" at the end of each chapter. One time I got to the end of a chapter and the cliffhanger was so intense that I was forced to take a break and stop reading for a while, just to catch my breath. I didn't intend to spend all day reading this book, even though I had a cold and wasn't leaving the house, but I just couldn't stop. If you like novels with unique characters, a strong female protagonist, twists and turns, and plenty of suspense, you'll definitely enjoy this thriller.
    A short fantasy by Hans Christian Andersen, also titled "The Marsh King's Daughter," is the source of the book's title. That story weaves through the book. The opening of Andersen's story forms the prologue of this book. The first actual chapter starts like this:

Book Beginning:

Helena

     If I told you my mother's name, you'd recognize it right away. My mother was famous, though she never wanted to be. Hers wasn't the kind of fame anyone would wish for. Jaycee Dugard, Amanda Berry, Elizabeth Smart - that kind of thing, though my mother was none of them.
     You'd recognize my mother's name if I told it to you, and then you'd wonder - briefly, because the years when people cared about my mother are long gone, as she is - where is she now? And didn't she have a daughter while she was missing? And whatever happened to the little girl?

Friday 56 from 56% on my Kindle:

The ice moved up and down as I walked, like the river was breathing, like it was a living thing and it was offended by this arrogant human girl-child who dared to walk across its frozen surface. I imagined the River Spirit reaching an icy hand up out of the water from one of the many gaps in the ice, grabbing my ankle, and pulling me in. 

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Length: 314 Pages
Amazon Link: The Marsh King's Daughter
I borrowed this ebook from my local library.

Synopsis (from Amazon): 
Helena Pelletier has a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a business that fills her days. But she also has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature, and despite her father’s sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too...until she learned precisely how savage he could be.

More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marsh. The police begin a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King—because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.

                             


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

Monday, March 5, 2018

Good Grief - #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph / Tuesday Intros

Author Lolly Winston does a great job of taking readers through a grieving widow's mourning. I enjoyed this touching and realistic novel. The writer's style and humor appealed to me too.

Opening:


How can I be a widow? Widows wear horn-rimmed glasses and cardigan sweaters that smell like mothballs and have crepe-paper skin and names like Gladys or Midge and meet with their other widow friends once a week to play pinochle. I'm only thirty-six. I just got used to the idea of being married, only test-drove the words my husband for three years: My husband and I, my husband and I... after all that time being single!


Teasers:

Page 118 in Trade Paperback (LOVE this description):
We creak past the living room, which is crowded with antiques that remind me of old ladies. Wingback chairs with tea party posture. Pedestal tables with demure padded feet.

Page 151:

You think, This is it: I'm at the bottom now. It's all uphill from here! Then you discover the escalator goes down one more floor to another level of bargain-basement junk.


Genre:  Women's Contemporary Fiction
Amazon Link: Good Grief
Book Length: 355 Pages (including reading group guide)
Copyright 2004

Synopsis:
The brilliantly funny and heartwarming New York Times bestseller about a young woman who stumbles, then fights to build a new life after the death of her husband. Thirty-six-year-old Sophie Stanton loses her young husband to cancer. In an age where women are expected to be high-achievers, Sophie desperately wants to be a good widow - a graceful, composed Jackie Kennedy kind of widow. Alas, Sophie is more of a Jack Daniels kind. Downing cartons of ice-cream for breakfast, breaking down in the produce section of supermarkets, showing up to work in her bathrobe and bunny slippers--soon she's not only lost her husband, but her job and her waistline as well. In a desperate attempt to reinvent her life, Sophie moves to Ashland, Oregon. But instead of the way it's depicted in the movies, with a rugged Sam Shepherd kind of guy finding her, Sophie finds herself in the middle of Lucy-and-Ethel madcap adventures with a darkly comic edge. Still, Sophie proves that with enough humor and chutzpah, it is possible to have life after loss.










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 I'd Rather Be At The Beach. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger