Tuesday, April 25, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Down City; Leah Carroll

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon. 

Grand Central - 2017


On the night she died, my mom drove to a motel to buy cocaine with two men: Peter Gilbert and Gerald Mastracchio.  Once inside, Gilbert watched television while Masttracchio spread the cocaine on a table and demanded sex from my mother.  She complied.  Years later, Gilbert would testify that "Mastracchio emerged from the bathroom with a towel, threw it around Carroll's neck and yanked. Mastracchio grunted to Gilbert to help as Carroll's face turned purple. ' Come you rat', Mastracchio wheezed. 'Give me the death rattle.'"

This happened at the Sunset View Motel in Attleboro, Massachusetts, just minutes from the Rhode Island border.  It was October 18, 1984.  My mother was thirty. Her name was Joan Carroll.  I had just turned four years old.

Would you read more or pass on this one?

Feel free to join in by linking your INTRO Post below.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Books Read - Week in Review - W/E 4/22/2017

This past week started with all of us together for a nice Easter Brunch. It was 80 degrees outside so the little ones did lots of bubble blowing and running around the yard after we ate.  On Monday I met a former coworker for coffee, hit the outlet malls and had lunch out. On another day we went to the movies to see Going in Style (silly but fun), and then there was yoga, which always makes me feel good. This weekend the sisters are celebrating their 5th and 3rd birthdays (their birthdays are 5 days apart), so we'll be at the party.  It's amazing how fast those years have past.

Finished (2) books this past week and, I loved them both.

White Fur; Jardine Libaire
Hogarth - 2017

(My Thoughts) - This is an addictive debut novel: a love story that is raw, gritty and sexually explicit.  Jamey Hyde and Elise Perez were neighbors in New Haven, CT. They meet and fall in lust love but, their backgrounds couldn't be more different.  It's 1986, Jamey is white and a junior at Yale. His family is extremely wealthy. Elise is bi-racial and never even graduated from high school. She grew up in a Bridgeport, CT housing project.  Somewhat blinded by the chemistry,  Jamey decides to leave Yale in the hopes of building a life with Elise. The couple moves to Manhattan to begin their life together.  Without giving away too much I'll just say that all does not go smoothly for this young couple. White Fur is a terrific character driven novel with flawed characters who struggle to keep it together despite prejudices over gender, race and class differences. I was impressed with the writing and thought that the character development and back stories were very well done. The romp around New York City in the mid 1980s made for some great reading.  (5/5 stars)

Britt Collins - Atria Books - 2017

(My Thoughts) - You don't have to be a cat lover to be moved by this story. It's a true story about (2) men and one cat: the man who lost the cat and one who found it.  Michael King, was a depressed alcoholic, homeless and living in Portland, Oregon.  One rainy night he finds a skinny, dirty, injured cat who he begins to feed and care for. He names the cat Tabor and day by day Tabor shows his appreciation by staying close by. He gives Michael a new sense of purpose - someone to care for.  In another area of Portland is another man, the one who misses and longs to see his missing cat once again. Tabor is an amazing cat, who obviously becomes very attached to his new caretaker and also learns to be a very good cross country traveler, hitch-hiking to various locales in his carrier with Michael.  Reading about the plight of both homeless people and homeless cats was both heart-warming and heart-wrenching.  Well-written, so happy I read this one. (4.5/5 stars)

Have a Great Weekend!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - White Fur; Jardine Libaire

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that I'm reading or plan to read soon. (I actually started this book last night and I'm liking it a lot - it's that train wreck you can't quite look away from).

White Fur; Jardine Libaire
Crown - 2017

June 1987

"OUTSIDE THEIR MOTEL WINDOW, WYOMING IS LURID WITH SUNSET.  A billboard for Winstons simmers on the horizon of highway as if the cigarettes might ignite in their box.

Standing rain has collected in the sagebrush close to the road, and heat makes a perfume from these puddles: herbal, medicinal, other-worldly.

Inside Room 186 of the Wagon Wheel Inn, Elise will be kneeling on the carpet, which is orange like a tangerine.  Her hair is greasy and braided, and a name--tattooed in calligraphy on her neck--is visible.  She keeps both hands on the shotgun--the muzzle is pressed into Jamey's breast."

Would you read more or pass on this one?

Feel free to join in by linking your INTRO Post below.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Books Read - Week in Review - W/E 4/15/2017

Well, I'm pleased to announce every last bit of snow has melted and daffodils were spotted on my walk today. Sunday is Easter and we are supposed to hit 80 degrees, perfect weather for opening the windows for our Easter brunch. This past week was lunch with little ones and lunch with old high school friends, yoga and some time spent at the park.  I managed to finish (2) books as well. Here's what I read:

 Riverhead Books - 2016

(My Thoughts) - As I began this novel, I immediately thought of a novel called, The Nest, by Cynthia Sweeney which I had read last year, a book about rich entitled siblings that I wasn't thrilled about.  In this novel, set in mostly the 1970s, the unlikeable rich couple is Edgar and Fern who reside in Cambridge and an ocean front home on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.  Both come from money but, Edgar said NO to his parents steel industry riches hoping to live a different life and write a book.  Ferns parents have died and the couple and their 3 young children have been living off her parent's money until one day they learn that the money is all gone. We get a good glimpse at the life of the couple's parents and begin to understand why Edgar has shunned his family's lifestyle.  When Fern suggests Edgar may have to get into his family business after all, he begins an affair with a woman who understands him. Meanwhile, it's the children who suffer while the parents are wrapped up in their own misery and new circumstance.  The story alternated from present to flashbacks of their earliest times together and, although I really enjoyed the first half of the novel, I really grew to detest the parents and I began to lose interest a bit.  If you like stories of rich people behaving badly, then this one might be for you. (3.5/5 stars)

Brilliance Audio - 2016

(My Thoughts) - As a huge fan of his comedy show, since he replaced Jon Stewart on the Daily Show at Comedy Central in 2015, I couldn't wait to read Trevor Noah's memoir. This book is read by the author and is pitch perfect.  Noah who is 32 years old, tells his story of growing up in South Africa during apartheid.  Noah's mother is black and his father white and, mixed parentage was illegal when he was born.  His story is both serious and humorous and, the chapters are both informative and compelling, focusing on specific topics. Each chapter focuses on a specific story that deals with matters like parenting, racism, love, crime, punishment, and teen antics and teen angstSome of the people who played a significant role in his life are spoken of in multiple chapters.  His mother was a strong-willed but stern woman. A deeply religious woman who loved her son and tried to show give him a good foundation for success. It amazed me how well the author could take a sad or tragic event and turn the experience into a positive. I was also surprised to learn that Noah was fluent in six languages.  This book was amazing in every way, a history lesson and a wonderful memoir as well.  BTW: If you've never seen The Daily Show, you are missing out on some terrific comedy. (5/5 stars)

(2) new books arrived by mail last week:

Have a good weekend and Happy Easter!