Tuesday, September 19, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Deep Dark Descending; Allen Eskens

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. This one is a followup to The Heavens May Fall, which I really enjoyed.

Seventh Street Books - 2017

Chapter 1

Up North

"I raise the ax handle for the third time and my arm disobeys me.  It stiffens above my head, and my hand tangled in knots of shouldn't and should and all those second thoughts that I swore wouldn't stop me.  My chest burns to take in oxygen.  My body trembles with a crystalline rage, and my mind screams orders to my mutinous hand.  For Christ's sake, get it over with.  This is what you came here for. Kill him!"

Does this intro make you curious for more?

Please feel free to join in each Tuesday with your own "First Chapter, First Paragraph Intro" by linking your post from the book you are reading below. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Week in Review - Books and Movies

Hildene, Manchester, Vermont

This past week we got to enjoy the beauty of Vermont.  We stayed in Manchester, such a quaint town with lots to do and explore. We toured Hildene, the Lincoln Family home, saw a few covered bridges along the way, hit several shops, an Indie bookstore, great restaurants and The Vermont Country Store (a real blast from the past).  Driving to Vermont is stress free too with very little highway traffic  and well paved backroads. The foliage still has a way to go but, the Green Mountain State should be peak by the end of the month.  Hope to return to VT, perhaps a different town, one more time before ski season.

Lunch with friends, yoga and the new Jennifer Lawrence movie rounded out the rest of my week.  Have you seen the previews for the movie, "Mother?" OMG

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer

Overview: A couple's relationship is tested after uninvited guests show up and stay with them.

Opinion: The first hour of this movie was strange but wasn't bad. However, the longer we sat there, the more ridiculous the movie became. Definitely a movie that might appeal to fans of "experimental film", but we really disliked it ---pass

Books Read

I finished (2) books this week, one was an audiobook that we enjoyed on our drive to and from Vermont - that one, The Old Man, Thomas Perry, was a big hit.

The Old Man; Thomas Perry - 
Mysterious Press & Highbridge Audio - 2017

Dan Chase (AKA Michael Koehler) was once an Army Intelligence Officer. Some 30 years earlier he was supposed to deliver some 20 million dollars to Faris Hamza, an agent for rebel fighters, but things didn't go down exactly as planned.  Now, Chase, a retiree in a sleepy Vermont town, with a grown daughter and two huge dogs is a wanted man and suddenly on the run.

This audio book, narrated by Peter Berkrot was an excellent choice for our recent road trip, we both enjoyed it. The story held our interest and there was plenty of action.  The ending might have been a bit too neat but, so glad we listened to this one.  This author was new to us both.  4/5 stars

Death of a Busybody; George Bellairs
Poison Pen Press - 2017

Originally published in 1942, reprinted in 2017 by the Poison Pen Press as part of their British Library Crime Classics.

The 'busybody" who ends up dead, her body found in the cesspool of Reverend Claplady, was Miss Ethel Tither.  Miss Tither was a woman with more than a few enemies in the village of Hilary Magna.  She was a woman who couldn't resist sticking her nose in the "affairs" of others, always trying to reform the sinners of the town. Inspector Thomas Littlejohn from Scotland Yard is called in and as he soon finds out, there is no shortage of possible suspects.

Humorous, witty prose, town gossip, a cozy town made for a good old fashioned mystery.  I enjoyed the way this story unfolded, a well-scripted investigation.  4/5 stars

Currently Reading

Seventh Street Books - 2017

The Almost Sisters; Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow & Blackstone Audio - 2017

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Old Man; Thomas Perry

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'm 3/4 into the audiobook and enjoying it.)

The Old Man; Thomas Perry
Highbridge Audio - 2017 (Mysterious Press)


"An old man should have a dog. Dan Chases daughter had told him that ten years ago, after his wife died." The part that surprised him was the term "old man."  He had just turned fifty then.  But he supposed she was only giving him advance notice, time to get used to the idea and find a suitable dog.  After a man's wife died, he had to do something not to die too.

Does this intro make you curious for more?

Please feel free to join in each Tuesday with your own "First Chapter, First Paragraph Intro" by linking your post from the book you are reading below. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Week in Review - Books and Movies

The first week of September passed in a blur - Two granddaughters hit new milestones, one began preschool 3 days a week and absolutely loved it, and the oldest began kindergarten, another success.  The third granddaughter gets one more year home with mom and preschool next year; we are all getting older.

Yoga, dining out, movies out, pedicure and preparing for a Vermont getaway rounded out the week.  I also finished (2) books.  

This week with will include a hair appointment,  lunch with friends from high school, yoga and time in VT.

As we enjoy perfect early fall weather, (70 degree days and 45-50 degree nights) our hearts go out to those in Houston and Florida and elsewhere affected by the recent hurricanes.


Before, Durning and After by Richard Bausch
(2014) Knopf

Yet another more recent novel (2015) set against the backdrop of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A story in (3) parts: "Before, During and After" we meet Natasha Barrett, who works for a US Senator - her life in flux, after her most recent relationship with a married man ended.

AT a party, in April of 2001, Natasha meets Michael, a recently divorced Episcopalian priest, 16 years her senior. Great sex = plans to marry (be prepared for details). But, before they are scheduled to marry (and weeks before 9/11), she flies to Jamaica for a pre-wedding vacation while Michael stays back to attend a wedding in NYC.

Something awful happens to Natasha in Jamaica which she keeps to herself but, it's something that changes her and her relationship with Michael, leaving him confused and suspicious, leaving the reader with a story that is sure not to end well.

Great character development of flawed characters and, although the story seemed to veer off track at times and slow, for the most part it was a good story. I will say that because of all the detailed sex some readers will be put off by this novel.

4/5 stars

Penguin - Sept 12, 2018

Shaker Heights, OH touted as the perfect neighborhood for a happy life, well, maybe not for every family who lives there.  We learn from the very first page that the home of the Richardson Family burns to the ground and, that the fire was most likely set by their youngest child, Izzy.

The story takes place in 1997-1998, Shaker Heights  is a neighborhood with strict rules, and strict parents who expect their children to be high achievers. In fact, he oldest daughter, Lexie is expected to enter Yale in the fall. The two sons that follow are Tripp, a popular, athlete and Moody, quiet and shy but a good student. The youngest daughter Isabel (Izzy) is seen as somewhat out of control as she's not afraid to speak her mind, and feels like she's treated differently than her siblings. Father is a defense attorney,  and nosy mom works as a local reporter. 

When Mia Warren, an artist, and teenage daughter Pearl move into the Richardson's rental house, the two soon become more entwined in the Richardson's lives, which in unplanned and unintentional ways stokes the impending fire. To say more would really lead to spoilers.

I loved this book, carefully, crafted characters, dysfunctional families, race, prejudice, secrets, and more. This one would make for a fantastic book club discussion 

fantastic story - 5/5 stars

The Glass Castle (2017) - (Overview) A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who's an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children's imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty.

OMG - I loved the memoir by Jeanette Walls, and the movie was fantastic as well. Woody Harrelson plays the alcoholic father and the vivid dysfunction of this family at times brought me to tears. My husband thought it was excellent as well and we couldn't stop talking about it. Have you seen this one?

We decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary viewing of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) on the Big Screen and was happy we did. Believe it or not,  I don't think I ever saw the full movie before this - just bits and pieces. We really enjoyed this on the big screen.

Solitary Man (2009), starring Michael Douglas was one movie I had never seen, and, although it wasn't the best movie we ever saw, we enjoyed it.

(Overview) - A car magnate (Michael Douglas) watches his personal and professional life hit the skids because of his business and romantic indiscretions.

Have a Great Weekend