Tuesday, February 28, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Behind Closed Doors; B.A. Paris

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 just started this and I am alternating between the eGalley and audio version).

Behind Closed Doors; B.A. Paris
St. Martins Press and Macmillan Audio- 2016


" The champagne bottle knocks against the marble kitchen counter, making me jump. I glance at Jack, hoping he won't have noticed how nervous I am.  He catches me looking and smiles. 'Perfect', he says softly.

Taking my hand, he leads me to where our guests are waiting.  As we go through the hall, I see the flowering lily Diane and Adam brought us for our garden.  It's such a beautiful pink that I hope Jack will plant it where I 'll be able to see it from the bedroom window.  Just thinking of the garden makes tears well up from deep inside me and I swallow them down quickly.  With so much at stake tonight, I need to concentrate on the here and now."

Based on this intro, would you read more or pass on this book?

Feel free to join in by posting your own First Chapter First Paragraph Intro and linking below.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

How To Be a Bigger Bunny; Wendell and Florence Minor

How To Be a Bigger Bunny; Wendell & Florence Minor
Katherine Tegan Books - 2017

I was so excited to open a surprise package this week from a favorite author and illustrator team, Florence and Wendell Minor. It's the perfect new addition for that special little one of yours this Easter.

Tickles is the smallest bunny in her family. She also loves to read.  Unfortunately, her siblings often forget to include her in their outdoor, bunny adventures.  Tickles tries not to let it bother her and because she loves to read and keeps busy with her favorite books and new stories, Never Give Up, How to Be a Pirate  and How to Think Your Way Out of Tricky Places.  When her family does not return after some time on her own, she ventures out looking for them and she helps them out of a bit of a mess and saves the day.  From that day on her siblings always remembered to ask her to join them on their adventures. 

A very cute story about persistence which shows us how even the tiny ones among us can accomplish big things.  This lovely book should appeal to the toddler to age 6 range. The illustrations are marvelous.

Week in Review - W/E - 2/25/2017

First of all,  I wanted to thank all of you who took the time to leave very personal and heartfelt comments about our cat Lily who we lost last Friday. I shared these messages with my husband and although many of them made me tear up, they also were very comforting. Thank you so much!

I tried to keep busy last week which helped keep the sad moments at bay. This week was more yoga,  lunch with high school friends, and time sorting through lots of old photos of family and cats which brought back happy memories.  Our most senior cat, Buddy, age 15, seemed to sense that we were sad and became my new constant companion and lap cat -- so sweet --


Our other cat, Freckles, age 14, was never a lap cat, but started bringing my husband toys to get him to play.  I think cats are much smarter than many people think.


Books Read

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End; Atul Gawande
Metropolitan Books - 2014
(book group read )

I actually listened to this book last year in audio and loved it so when it ended up being our book group read for February, I didn't mind reading it in print.  I still liked it a lot and felt that Dr. Gawande did a great job giving several case study examples of individuals in declining health and making the reader think about prolonging life versus quality of life in each case. Lots of good info about health, health care, statistics and later year options.  My book group, which is all women ages 60 and older really disliked the book. I was the minority here but, also one of the youngest in the group.  Several of the women are dealing with serious medical issues and currently live alone so they found the entire topic depressing which is understandable.  The book did generate lots of end of life conversation about housing options like co-housing versus assisted living and nursing homes which was interesting to talk about.

Next month's selection a light weight work of fiction by Adriana Trigiani.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family & Culture in Crisis; J.D. Vance
Harper Audio - 2016

A memoir about class differences written by a self-proclaimed hillbilly, and former Marine who ended up graduating from Ohio State with a double major and then continuing on to Yale Law.  The author grew up poor in Appalachia and was raised largely by his grandmother as his father had abandoned them at a young age. Although his mother had once been at the top of her class in school and worked in nursing, she then turned to drugs, was in and out of rehab, and was married and divorced 5 times.

I expected this book to be somewhat of a political hotbed but, that was not the case. Vance offers his take on the decline of white, working class America over the last forty odd years as he shares his life story.  I downloaded the audio version of this from the library after seeing many positive reviews online.  I enjoyed it, but I must say Vance's outcome is certainly not the norm for someone growing up like he did. He did have encouragement and obviously the personal drive to make a better life for himself. The audio book is read by the author and thought it was well done (no accent which made it an easy listen). (4/5 stars)

Every Fifteen Minutes; Lisa Scottoline
(audio - from library read by George Newbern)

This was a DNF after 10 chapters. It was a story that seemed to be going no where fast and I lost interest very quickly. Has anyone read this one? DNF

(Here's a description from Goodreads) -----

Dr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife, Caitlin, he is doing his best as a single dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric's entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can't turn off the rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a "person of interest". Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric's life? 

New Books from Publishers

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday intros - Agnes; Peter Stamm

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 pick is just 147 pages, but it's a translated work (German to English) so I'm just not sure how this will flow.)

Other Press - 2016


"Agnes is dead.  Killed by a story.  All that's left of her now is this story.  It begins on that day, nine months ago, when we first met in the Chicago Public Library.  It was cold when we first met.  It is generally cold in this city.  But it's colder now, and it's snowing. The snow is blowing across Lake Michigan, on the gale-force wind I can hear even through the soundproof glass in my picture windows.  It's snowing, but the snow won't settle, it gets picked up and whirled on its way, and only settles where the wind can't get at it.  I've switched off the light, and look out at the illuminated tips of the skyscrapers, at the American flag that gets tugged this way and that by the wind, in the beam of a searchlight, and at the empty streets far below, where, even now, in the middle of the night, the lights change from green to red and red to green, as though nothing had happened, or was happening."

Based on this intro, would you read more or pass on this book?

Feel free to join in by posting your own First Chapter First Paragraph Intro and linking below.