Rave Reviews Book Club’s
BOOK, BLOG & TRAILER BLOCK PARTY.
Announcing the winners of my block tour stop!
3 Audiobooks of Shadowed by Death: An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery
Charles Jones, Janay Mack, Marlena Smith
$25 Amazon Gift Card
I have posted a selection from Shadowed by Death. Sophia and Marek are Polish resistance fighters who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising and are in Point Richmond, California. The year is 1944. I hope you enjoy it and that you win a door prize for stopping by. (At the end of the selection, you will find a quiz about first lines of famous books, just for fun!)
The World of Good Memories
Sophia scowled at the bowl of hot chocolate as if she were willing it to curdle, to form a scum, to do something besides torment her with its deep chocolate smell, the smell that reminded her of flannel nightgowns and her father reading to her by the fire. She swallowed her pain and the saliva that flowed unbidden into her mouth.
“Eat, Sophia. For you to be hungry will not help anyone.” Marek chided her gently. “Do you not know to eat when you can?”
“Only when food is scarce, not…” She gestured around the cafe. Captain Buonarotti had sent them to the Cafe Avellino to meet his aunt, Mrs. Forgione, who had welcomed them as if they were guests in her home.
The cafe was designed to satisfy appetites. Pastry filled a glass case, plates of pasta and greens sat on tables, and the steaming espresso machine gurgled and hissed. The patrons may have had luxuries like butter and sugar rationed, but their faces were rounded and healthy. Some had even left food on their plates.
She looked out the window into the night, but the aroma of abundance was as substantial as the sight of it. Perhaps more so. The smells, the food, the inlaid marble floor and tables reminded her of Europe. Maybe that was why Captain Buonarotti had sent them there. Maybe he thought they were homesick, but you can’t be homesick when you no longer have a home, only heartsick. She caught herself going down that bitter path of regret and longing. Stop it, Sophia. Accept what is good.
She cleared her throat. “We could be in Paris, Marek. Or Vienna. Before the war.”
“Yes. We will be there again one day. After the war.”
“After the war.” She knew he had seen the bitterness in her smile when he shook his head at her. How could he still be optimistic?
“Eat.” He gestured at the chocolate and the bun beside it. “We are in civilization, so we will behave in a civilized manner. I will buy pastry to bring to our host.”
“I am certain Andrew will not expect us to bring him anything but good news.” Her mouth twitched. “Buy the pastry. At least we will not disappoint him completely.”
While Marek chose pastry, she swallowed the chocolate and ate the bun. The smells of garlic and spices had stirred memories of being in Rome with Ary, memories of romantic dinners in Trastevere, coffee in the Piazza Navona, a stormy day at the Pantheon watching their children tilt their faces up to the opening in the roof, waiting for raindrops to fall on them. That’s where she had to live to survive. In the world of good memories.
Marek set a white box tied with string on the table and smiled when he saw her empty plate. He helped her with her coat and pushed through the cafe doors into the foggy night where Christmas lights swayed in the wind and danced above the wet pavement.
She took his arm, and they walked along as if they were lovers, as they had been taught to do, even when they thought no one was watching. In Warsaw, they had learned to behave like ordinary people in an ordinary city, to forget they were the hunted, to hide their eyes of pain, to keep up their guard, no matter how safe they might feel.
“How quiet and peaceful it is,” she whispered, then glanced behind her at the sound of a motor accelerating. Lights flashed on and blinded her. “Marek!”
He pushed her toward the building. The car struck him, then sideswiped a row of garbage cans and sent lids clattering along the street. Brake lights flared in the dark, and the car reversed and fishtailed toward them. It hit the curb and bounced back into the street, wide of its target. Marek lay motionless half off the sidewalk. Sophia crawled to him and tried to drag him to safety. She heard the car accelerate toward them again.
Then gun shots.
First Lines Quiz
It is a truth universally acknowledged––to steal a line–– that good writers are well-read. Fellow writers (and readers) see if you are able to match the first lines with their titles and authors. The first lines are numbered; the authors are lettered (scroll down); and the answer key is at the bottom. Some of the selections were inspired by the famous question on the quiz show You Bet Your Life: “Who was buried in Grant’s tomb?” It was hosted by Groucho Marx who also said,
Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
- “Where’s Papa going with that axe” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
- You better not never tell nobody but God.
- Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
- A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
- It was a pleasure to burn.
- He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
- Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.
- Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
- You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter.
- I am an invisible man.
- It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
- Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
- Call me Ishmael.
- It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
- Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
- In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
- I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.
- Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
- The pretty little Swiss town of Mayenfield lies at the foot of a mountain range, whose grim rigged peaks tower high above the valley below.
- If you are interested in stories with happy endings you would be better off reading some other book.
A) E.B.White, Charlotte’s Web. B) JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. C) George Orwell, 1984 D) Graham Greene, The End of the Affair. E) Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 F) Nabokov, Lolita G) Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea. H) Lemony Snickett, A Series of Unfortunate Events. I) Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote. J) Charles Dickens, David Copperfield. K) Alice Walker, The Color Purple. L) Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. M) Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. N) Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man. O) JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit. P) Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway. Q) Herman Melville, Moby-Dick. R) Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game. S) Johanna Spyri, Heidi T) Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (Bonus question: Who played Rebecca in the movie of the same name?)
1-A; 2-K; 3-B; 4-D; 5-E; 6-G; 7-I; 8-J; 9-L; 10-N; 11-C; 12-F; 13-Q; 14-M; 15-T; 16-O; 17-R; 18-P; 19-S; 20-H. (No one. She was dead before the movie began.)
Once again, thanks for stopping by. Please share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this post. Good luck on winning my giveaways! I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BLOCK PARTY!
(If you would like to read my reviews of some great RRBC/RWISA Indie books, click here.)