BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BEST BEACH EVER”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a recent purchase, a book in a delightful series I am following:  Best Beach Ever (e-book, Ten Beach Road Series), by Wendy Wax, features the ladies of Ten Beach Road who confront choppy seas in this latest outing.

 

Book Beginning:  Nicole Grant Giraldi stood in front of a far-too-full-length mirror that hung on a wall of the too-small cottage where she, her husband special agent Joe Giraldi, and their twin daughters currently lived.  It exposed two primary reasons women were not designed to give birth at forty-seven:  lack of elasticity and surplus gravity.  She closed one eye and shifted slightly, but the expanse of flesh did not become easier to contemplate.

***

Friday 56: (Kyra) –  She pushed some hair off her forehead and plopped down on a chair.  Her mother had taken Dustin out for a day filled with all his favorite things including breakfast at Paradise Grille, a sandcastle built on the beach, a swim in the pool, and a shopping trip to the Dollar Store.

***

Synopsis:  Forced to rent out or lose their beloved Bella Flora after the loss of their renovation-turned-reality-TV show Do Over, Maddie, Nikki, Avery, Kyra, and Bitsy move into cottages at the Sunshine Hotel and Beach Club believing the worst is over. Only to discover just how uncertain their futures really are.

Maddie struggles with the challenges of dating a rock star whose career has come roaring back to life while Nikki faces the daunting realities of mothering twins at forty-seven. Avery buries herself in a tiny home build in an attempt to dodge commitment issues, and Kyra battles to protect her son from the Hollywood world she once dreamed of joining. And Bitsy is about to find out whether the rewards of seeking revenge will outweigh the risks.

Luckily, when the going gets tough, the ladies of Ten Beach Road know that their friendship–tried and tested–can chase away the darkest clouds and let the sun shine in…

***

I love this series.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE HOUSE SWAP”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a recent download:  The House Swap, by Rebecca Fleet, is the eerie backdrop to a chilling look inside a broken marriage filled with tantalizing secrets.

 

Beginning: (Away: Caroline, May 2015)

When we turn into the street my first thought is that the houses around here all look the same.  Neat whitewashed rectangles with boxy little windows and flatly sloping roofs.  They almost all have window boxes, too—lined up along the lower sills and filled uniformly with white and purple pansies, like they’re subject to some sort of dress code.

***

Friday 56:  Just before she comes in I get up and look in the mirror that hangs over the mantelpiece.  I don’t know who I’m expecting to see inside it.  Not this man with the graying puffy skin and the grooves of worry sunk deep into the corners of his eyes, his face familiar yet strange, like a surreal caricature of myself.

***

Synopsis:  When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap–from their city apartment to a house in a leafy, upscale London suburb–they jump at the chance for a week away from home, their son, and the tensions that have pushed their marriage to the brink.

As the couple settles in, the old problems that permeate their marriage–his unhealthy behaviors, her indiscretions–start bubbling to the surface. But while they attempt to mend their relationship, their neighbor, an intense young woman, is showing a little too much interest in their activities.

Meanwhile, Caroline slowly begins to uncover some signs of life in the stark house–signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music might seem innocent to anyone else–but to her they are clues. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone who knows her, someone who knows the secrets she’s desperate to forget. . . .

***

 

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BRING ME BACK”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is one of my June ARCs from NetGalley, coming out on June 19:  Bring Me Back, by B. A. Paris, is a tour de force of psychological suspense that will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.

 

 

Beginning:  (Twelve Years Before)

Interview:  Finn McQuaid; Date:  15/03/2006; Time:  03:45; Location:  Fonches

We were on our way back from skiing in Megeve.  I decided to stop in Paris on the way up as a surprise for Layla, because she had never been there before.  We had dinner in a restaurant by the Notre-Dame cathedral and then went for a walk along the Seine.  We could have stayed the night there—now, I wish we had—but we were both eager to get home to our cottage in St. Mary’s, in Devon.

***

Friday 56 (56%): (Finn)

I can’t believe that I’m thinking like this but it’s the truth.  When Ellen and I had first begun spending time together, the thing I’d been most afraid of was that she would talk about Layla nonstop, or ask about my relationship with her.  I didn’t want to discuss Layla with anyone and, sensing my reticence, Ellen hadn’t asked any questions at all.

***

Synopsis:  Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts and the blurb tempt you to keep reading?  I loved two previous books by the author, so I’m definitely eager to follow the twists and turns.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LYING IN WAIT”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a NetGalley ARC that will be released on 6/12/18:  Lying in Wait, by Liz Nugent, a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre” (Sunday Mirror).

 

 

Book Beginning:  (1980, Lydia)

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.  After we had overcome the initial shock, I tried to stop him speaking of her.  I did not allow it unless to confirm alibis or to discuss covering up any possible evidence.  It upset him too much and I thought it best to move on as if nothing had happened.  Even though we did not talk about it, I couldn’t help going over the events of the night in my mind, each time wishing that some aspect, some detail, could be different, but facts are facts and we must get used to them.

***

Friday 56:  I raised my voice in anger.  It is something I do very seldom.  “Laurence, I am trying to protect you.  If this gets out, you will go to jail.” (56%).

***

Synopsis:  On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn, this novel is a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre” (Sunday Mirror).

***

I was captured by the “seductively sinister story” and a “superbly scary denouement.” Now I must know more!  What do you think?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a recent acquisition.  I was drawn to the quirky title…and the blurb:  The Smell of Other People’s Houses, by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, is “a seamless and continually surprising story of risk, love, redemption, catastrophe, and sacrifice.”

 

Beginning:  (Prologue, The Way Things Were Back Then)

Ruth, 1958-63

I can’t stop remembering the way things were back then.  How my father hunted for our food.  How he’d hang the deer in the garage to cure and how the deer’s legs would splay out when its belly was sliced open, its hooves pointy like a ballerina’s toes.  I watched him dozens of times as he cut the meet off the animal’s backside.  I can still hear how the knife sounded when metal scraped bone.

***

Friday 56:  She was looking deep into her cup of Hills Bros. coffee.  As if that cup of coffee was the only thing in the world that understood her now.  At that moment, I kind of hated her for being the one who lived.

***

Synopsis:  This deeply moving and authentic debut set in 1970s Alaska is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.

Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable William C. Morris Award finalist is about people who try to save each other—and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed.

***

I’m eager to read this book.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

 

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “EVERY NOTE PLAYED”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a library book I recently borrowed:  Every Note Played, by Lisa Genova,  a powerful exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.

 

 

Book Beginning: (Prologue)

Richard is playing the second movement of Schumann’s Fantasie in C Major, op. 17, the final piece of his solo recital at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.  The concert hall is sold-out, yet the energy here doesn’t feel full.  This venue doesn’t carry the prestige or intimidating pressure of Lincoln Center or the Royal Albert Hall.  Maybe that’s it.  This recital is no big deal.

***

Friday 56:  He remembers thinking, At least I still have my left arm.  He glances now at his left hand, defeated and shamed by his side, and he knows what this profoundly simple exercise will look like in three months’ time.

***

Synopsis:  An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.

***

Do the excerpts draw you in?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE BOOK CLUB”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is The Book Club, in which Mary Alice Monroe invites you to meet five remarkable characters as she explores the power of friendship with tenderness, honesty and understanding. 

 

 

Beginning:  PROLOGUE (Eve of Return)

January 7, 1998

Tonight, I will return to my Book Club. 

It’s been half a year since I’ve been to a meeting.  The women will be kind, I know.  Solicitous, perhaps even wary not to say anything that will bring to mind my tragedy.  I hope I don’t see pity in their eyes.  It is not pity I need now but understanding.  Tender words and outstretched hands that will help me break my long isolation and rekindle the kinship with my friends.

***

Friday 56:  “Don’t you see, sweetie, that’s what I’m talking about.  No more excuses.  Tom’s dead.  Gone.  You have to pick up the pieces and move forward.  Not just for you, but for the children’s sake.  You’re stagnant here.  Going under.”

***

Synopsis:  On the surface, it is a monthly book club. But for five women, it is so much more. For Eve Porter, whose husband’s sudden death cheats her of every security she had planned on, the club is a place of sanctuary. For Annie Blake, a brilliant attorney intent on starting a family late in life, it is the chance to finally let down her guard and dream of other possibilities. For Doris Bridges, it is her support group as she acknowledges her dying marriage and finds the ultimate freedom in her husband’s betrayal. For Gabriella Rivera, the “perfect” wife, mother and friend who offers support to everyone but is afraid to ask for it herself, it is a sense of community. And for Midge Kirsch, an artist who has always lived her life against the grain, it is a haven of acceptance.

They are five women from different walks of life, embracing the challenge of change. And as they share their hopes and fears and triumphs, they will hold fast to the true magic of the book club—friendship.

***

I’m eager to read this book.  What do you think?

***

HUMP DAY SPARKS: THOUGHTS OF SPRING…

Welcome to April!  Since Spring is officially here, I thought it was time to change up my blog header…from this one…

To this one:

I’ve been neglecting this blog lately…sigh.   So…time to change that!

***

Let’s talk about books that remind us of Spring…and even Summer.  Yesterday, I was granted a library book that I had on hold….

A Nantucket Wedding, by Nancy Thayer

Synopsis:  A few years after losing her beloved husband, Alison is doing something she never thought she would do again: getting married. While placing the finishing touches on her summer nuptials, Alison is anxious to introduce her fiancé, David, to her grown daughters: Felicity, a worried married mother of two, and Jane, also married but focused on her career. The sisters have a somewhat distant relationship and Alison hopes that the wedding and the weeks leading up to the ceremony will give the siblings a chance to reconnect, as well as meet and get to know David’s grown children.

As the summer progresses, it is anything but smooth sailing. Felicity stumbles upon a terrible secret that could shatter her carefully cultivated world. Jane finds herself under the spell of her soon-to-be stepbrother, Ethan, who is as charming as he is mysterious. And even Alison is surprised (and slightly alarmed) by her new blended family. Revelations, intrigue, resentments—as the Big Day approaches, will the promise of bliss be a bust?

Against the gorgeous backdrop of the sunswept island of Nantucket, Nancy Thayer sets the stage for a walk down the aisle no one will ever forget.

***

I am ready for a delightful story set on Nantucket.  What books remind you of Spring…and/or Summer?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “ALTERNATE SIDE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a NetGalley ARC of a book to be released on 3/20/18:  Alternate Side, by Anna Quindlen, a provocative novel about money, class, and self-discovery, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miller’s Valley and Still Life with Bread Crumbs.

 

 

Beginning:  “Just look at that,” Charlie Nolan said, his arm extended like that of a maitre d’ indicating a particularly good table.

“Oh, my God, stop,” said Nora Nolan, looking through the narrow opening of the parking lot, at the end of which she could just glimpse the front bumper of their car.

***

Friday 56:  “I don’t know what to say,” Nora said.  She was painfully aware of the Andy Warhol four-panel portrait above the office sofa, the portrait that Bebe had had hung recently to, in her words, “dress up the place.”  The father’s last wife, times four, in neon colors. (56%).

***

Synopsis:  Some days Nora Nolan thinks that she and her husband, Charlie, lead a charmed life—except when there’s a crisis at work, a leak in the roof at home, or a problem with their twins at college. And why not? New York City was once Nora’s dream destination, and her clannish dead-end block has become a safe harbor, a tranquil village amid the urban craziness. The owners watch one another’s children grow up. They use the same handyman. They trade gossip and gripes, and they maneuver for the ultimate status symbol: a spot in the block’s small parking lot.

Then one morning, Nora returns from her run to discover that a terrible incident has shaken the neighborhood, and the enviable dead-end block turns into a potent symbol of a divided city. The fault lines begin to open: on the block, at Nora’s job, especially in her marriage. With an acute eye that captures the snap crackle of modern life, Anna Quindlen explores what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a woman at a moment of reckoning.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts draw you in and make you want to keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE SIXTH WINDOW”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book is The Sixth Window, by Rachel Abbott:  “A properly addictive, leave-the-light-on thriller.“ Red Magazine

 

 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

It had been a night like so many others over the past few weeks, and as the woman looked down on the narrow street below her second-floor window, still dark at this pre-dawn hour, she finally admitted that she couldn’t take any more.

(Chapter 1)  Eighteen Months Later

The sound of a door closing upstairs should have given Natalie Gray sufficient warning that she wasn’t going to be alone for much longer, but her eyes were locked on to the computer screen and her heart was pounding.

***

Friday 56:  “This is what happens to those who can’t mind their own fucking business,” a voice whispered close to his ear.  “They die.”

His world went black as the blows rained down on his head.

***

Synopsis:  Every instinct told her to run…

Natalie Grey is living a nightmare. She has discovered a disturbing website link on her new partner’s computer and fears he has a dark side, and even darker intentions. When her husband died in a hit and run accident, Ed had seemed like a safe harbour. Now where can she turn?

Concerned for the safety of her fifteen-year-old daughter Scarlett, she moves them both to a new home beyond his reach, unaware that the apartment holds secrets of its own. Left alone during the long days of the school holiday, Scarlett investigates strange sounds coming from the other side of the wall, never anticipating the danger that awaits her there.

DCI Tom Douglas’s investigation into the apparent suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the danger they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?

Will they ever feel safe again?

***

Exciting, right?  Would you keep reading?  I know that I will!

***