First Lines Friday – 12/6/19

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Well, now Thanksgiving is safely past,
more turkey eaten this year than last,
more stuffing stuffed, more yams jammed
into our mouths, and using both hands,
coleslaw in slews, biscuits by twos,
all of us too fat to fit in our shoes.

I’m going with a bit of a theme this month…or at least that’s the plan as of right now.

Any guesses?

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Considering the time of year, and the theme of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’m thinking this one should be pretty simple to suss out.

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Yep, it’s winter.  Yep, it’s December. Yep, it’s almost Christmas.  You’ve almost got it!

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That’s right, we’re talking Santa here.

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Santa’s Twin by Dean Koontz

I’ve gotten a few messages from other book lovers and Koontz readers after mentioning this book earlier this week, so I thought I’d give it another shout out.  A little known fun Christmas read from an author you don’t expect to be publishing rhyming, illustrated books. Fun fact, the illustrator hid a little snowman on every page. So when you’re done reading though the first time, it’s fun to go back and search them out.

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One Day in December

42382386._SX318_One Day in December
by Josie Silver
Release Date:  October 16, 2018
Publisher:  Broadway books
Standalone
Number of pages:  394
Kindle Edition
Source: MCL
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: PG-13
Read 11/28/19 to 11/30/19

 

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

I kept seeing this book on other book blogs so added it to my TBR list.  It sounded like something that was right up my alley.  I even went a step further than just putting it on a list, I actually went on a waiting list at my online library.  I was very busy and actually had only days left before this book was due back and I knew I’d be stuck on the waiting list for months again once it went back.  But I knew I could fit it in, and I’m glad I did.

This story isn’t your typical love story, but it’s definitely a love story.  There is so much angst through the middle section of this story that it was actually difficult for me to read.  As much as I wanted to know what was going to happen, as much as I wanted to see some kind of HEA for every character in this story, I just couldn’t see it and it made my gut hurt.  Not only do I love Laurie and Jack, but Sarah is a wonderful person as well.  Which is part of what hurt so much about this story.

The way Laurie and Jack “meet” is beyond amazing.  Once their meeting doesn’t actually happen, I realized what was going to happen and really, really didn’t want to be right.  The author does such an amazing job with the twists and turns and keeping loyalties split between the three main characters also making them all have real problems that I could totally understand and sympathize with.  Sure, I was always rooting for a Laurie/Jack pairing, but I never wanted anyone else to get hurt in the process.

While I was a fan of all three characters, Jack would sometimes get under my skin.  He definitely was not good at handling certain situations.  But the same could be said for Laurie.  So many times I wanted her to just speak up, but she let things go for far too long.  The funny thing is, Sarah is the only one who truly didn’t ever do anything wrong (unless being oblivious to her best friend’s feelings is wrong, which I guess it is in a way) yet I was starting to root against her at one point.  Which, later, made me feel terrible.  Sarah really is a one of a kind friend who anyone would be lucky to have in their corner.

If you’re like me and have a hard time with these gut wrenching stories, it’s worth every angsty page to read this one.  Through the highs and the lows, you have to read it all. The author really writes well-rounded characters. I’ll be keeping my eye on this author in the future.

4 stars

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A Coyote Ridge Christmas (The Walkers of Coyote Ridge)

48064162._SY475_A Coyote Ridge Christmas
by Nicole Edwards
Release Date:  November 26, 2019
Publisher: Nicole Edwards Limited
Book #6.5 of the Coyote Ridge series
Number of Pages:  112
Kindle Edition
Source:  Amazon Pre-Order
Contemporary Romance/Holidays M/M M/F
Rating:  XXX
Read 11/26/19 to 11/27/19

 

When Travis Walker finds himself uninspired about gifts for his family, he realizes what he wants to give them doesn’t come wrapped in a box with a shiny bow on top.

This year, with the help of his brothers, Travis is going to pull off a surprise that’ll lay the groundwork for the Walker Christmas tradition going forward.

Of course, Travis won’t consider it a success unless he moves a few pieces on the proverbial chessboard while he’s at it. As for where those will eventually land … well, that’s anyone’s guess.

It’s been a minute since Nicole Edwards wrote one of her holiday stories. They’ve all been excellent, and this one is no exception.  If you’re a fan of the Walker family (Alluring Indulgence series) you will love this peek at where they are now.

Sawyer spawns an idea in Travis’ head for a Christmas surprise for the family and, in true Travis fashion, he grabs hold of it and dives all in…and then some.  Of course, all of his brothers jumped right on board with him. 

Let’s be clear, this is a story for those who have read the Alluring Indulgence series.  Others most likely will not get the same feelings from this book.  This is a fun and light tale that Nicole Edwards fans will truly enjoy.  Plus, it gives some teasing of the upcoming story of Mack and Jeff.  That alone is worth the read.

4 stars

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TTT: Holiday Reads

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  There is a new topic each week for bloggers to join in with their own top ten. If you’re looking for some new or different book blogs to read, hop on over to her site and check out some of the links.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is going to be six instead.  Since I got home from Washington state a little over a week ago I hit the ground running getting a million and one things done.  (Save the second full day home when I was in a minor fugue state due to jet lag.) Ask I was unpacking the Christmas decorations I remembered to snap the following picture of our Christmas books in case I decided to use it for this post. 

Truth be told, I cannot think of any other books, other than these, that I look forward to reading every holiday.  While I’ve read classics such as A Christmas Carol and The Gift of the Magi, those are not stories I return to every year.  But the books I’m listing here are books I read to my boys year after year until they were well past the age most boys would enjoy having their mom read to them. So these are the books I’m using for this TTT, some of my favorite holiday reads.

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Santa’s Evil Twin and Robot Santa by Dean Koontz

I was a big reader of Dean Koontz back in the 90’s.  I don’t remember how I found out he had these books, but they’re a lot of fun.  And the illustrations are amazing and bold. (If you seek these books out and enjoy them, I’d also recommend his story The Oddkins.)

Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh

About 10 years ago my sister-in-law sent this to the family for Christmas.  While it’s geared toward the preschool set and we no longer had preschoolers at the time, she knew it was also a wonderful family story.

The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury by Alice Low

This is not the type of book you sit and read straight through.  But it’s a good one to grab and read bits here and there with the family between baking cookies and wrapping presents.  Short stories, poems, and songs fill the pages.

The Story of Santa Claus

My older sister got this for my oldest son, Josh, when he was only a couple years old.  We read it many times through the years.  I’ll warn you, it’s much longer than it looks.  Best to break it up into a few nights if your kids are still pretty young.  But it’s a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations.  

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

We’ve had this book, illustrated by Ted Rand, since Josh’s first Christmas.  And it was read every Christmas Eve for years until Griffin was in middle school some time.  Which was often tricky since my family’s big holiday celebration is held on Christmas Eve, hosted by us for numerous years.  The boys would often fall asleep as I was reading, and I was often struggling to stay away myself.  But the memories are lasting.

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I’m hoping to read many of these stories to my new granddaughter for years to come.  I’m also looking forward to helping her and her parents to accumulate their own stash of Christmas books.

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Rancher’s Wild Secret (Gold Valley Vineyards)

45481891._SY475_Rancher’s Wild Secret
by Maisey Yates
Release Date:  November 5, 2019
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Book #1 in the Gold Valley Vineyards series
Number of Pages: 224
Kindle Edition
Source:  Amazon purchase
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating:  NC-17
Read 11/25/19

 

Emerson Maxfield is the perfect pawn for rancher Holden McCall’s purposes. She’s engaged to a man solely to win her father’s approval, and the sheltered beauty never steps out of line. Until one encounter changes everything. Now this good girl must marry Holden to protect her family—or their desire could spell downfall for them all…

This is the first book in a new series by one of my favorite authors, Maisey Yates.  The series is a spin-off of the Gold Valley series (which is a spin-off of the Copper Ridge series).  As usual when it comes to this author’s writing, this story sucked me in and held on tight all the way through.

Emerson and Holden are both so deeply flawed but, of course, look at these flaws as strengths.  It’s not until their relationship holds a mirror up to each of them that they start to see everything they hold true isn’t so black and white.

Holden has so much anger and resentment toward the world, but most especially toward Emerson’s father.  Which I honestly don’t blame him for, her father is not a good man.  Emerson has blinders to who her father truly is. In fact, she has blinders to how her father treats her…like a pawn in building his empire.  She thinks all he does is because he loves her and wants the best for her.  While I won’t deny her father loves her, I don’t believe he understands unconditional love and letting your children do what makes them happy instead of what makes you happy. It’s quite a shock to Emerson when that curtain falls and the sees her family dynamics are not what she thought.

Although the relationship between Emerson and Holden starts in a very unconventional way, with no promises of love, they help each other deal with the fallout of all they learn about family and themselves.  The problem I have is that I don’t feel the chemistry between them as I would have hoped to feel.  I find the couple perfect for each other in many ways, but I’m not feeling the spark.  BUT, and it’s a big but, I still got warm-fuzzies.  Odd, I know.  While I didn’t feel a constant chemistry with the two, I did feel a connection.  And certain scenes still caused the butterflies to take flight in my belly.

With the new characters introduced in the Gold Valley/Copper Ridge universe with this new series I am excited to see what is to come, especially with Emerson’s sisters and possibly her mom.  There’s definitely some history with the Maxfield family and their rivals and I’m looking forward to learning more.

4 stars

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First Lines Friday – 11/29/19

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

I was born without a voice, one cold, overcast day in Brooklyn, New York. No one ever spoke of my condition. I did not know I was mute until years later, when I opened my mouth to ask for what I wanted and realized no one could hear me. Where I come from, voicelessness is the condition of my gender, as normal as the bosoms on a woman’s chest, as necessary as the next generation growing insider her belly.

When I stared reading this book, I knew I had to use it for First Lines Friday. Those lines are just so impactful, even if you don’t know what the story is about yet.

Any guesses???

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I’m actually in middle of reading this one, so haven’t posted any reviews yet.

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This is a HUGE hint…it’s a book I’m reading for book club.

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I basically handed that to you on a silver platter.

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A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

So far, I’m really enjoying this story.  I cannot wait until book club (not until January 26!) to discuss this one.  I usually don’t post my reviews of book club picks until after our meeting date so I can give feedback on what the rest of my book club thought, so it’ll be a while before the review for this one is posted.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a peaceful and plentiful day with friends, family, or friends that are family.

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I am quite aware that I haven’t posted much personal info lately.  I was out in Washington visiting my son, daughter-in-law, and new baby granddaughter for over 5 weeks.  While my intent was to takes tons of pictures and do at least one Random Rambling post, that never happened.  Instead, I took some picture but not tons. In fact, while on the plane going home I realized I never even got a picture of Hazel with me or my husband (who joined me out there for the last 10 days of my trip).  Good thing we’ll be getting a Christmas visit! I found I’d rather spend time comforting and/or cuddling her than taking time for photo ops.

Don’t worry, I still have some super adorable pictures for you.  Hazel turned 2 months old yesterday and her mama posted these super smiley pictures.  I already miss her so much!  (Not the crying, lol. The smiles and coos and watching her learn, that I miss tons.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all stay safe and happy.

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