Posted in Tuesday Excerpts

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE GIRL FROM WIDOW HILLS”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new download, The Girl from Widow Hills, by Megan Miranda.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

I was the girl who survived.

The girl who held on.  The girl you prayed for, or at least pretended to pray for—thankful most of all that it wasn’t your own child lost down there, in the dark.

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Teaser:  He turned on his stool, facing me, knees bumping mine.  “Is it more awkward if I go say hi or pretend I don’t see them?”

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Synopsis: Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I know I can’t wait to dive in.

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Posted in Tuesday Excerpts

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE GOLDEN CAGE”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a NetGalley ARC that will be released on July 7, The Golden Cage, by Camilla Lackberg.

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Intro:  “Couldn’t she just be injured?”  Faye said.

She looked down at the table, unable to meet their gaze.

A brief moment of hesitation.  Then a sympathetic voice.

“There’s an awful lot of blood.  From such a small body.  But I don’t want to speculate until a medical examiner has made an evaluation.”

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Teaser Tuesday:  “When Jack and I separated I hadn’t a clue what to do with my life.  I started a dog-walking business and spent my days doing that.  In the evenings I worked on my business plan.” (64%).

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Synopsis:  Faye has loved Jack since they were students at business school. Jack, the perpetual golden boy, grew up wealthy, unlike Faye, who has worked hard to bury a dark past. When Jack needs help launching a new company, Faye leaves school to support him, waitressing by day and working as his strategist by night. With the business soaring, Faye and Jack have a baby, and Faye finds herself at home, caring for their daughter, wealthier than she ever imagined, but more and more removed from the excitement of the business world. And none of the perks of wealth make up for the fact that Jack has begun to treat her coldly, undermining her intelligence and forgetting all she sacrificed for his success. When Faye discovers that he’s having an affair, the polished façade of their life cracks wide open. Faye is alone, emotionally shattered, and financially devastated–but hell hath no fury like a woman with a violent past bent on vengeance. Jack is about to get exactly what he deserves–and so much more. In this splashy, electrifying story of sex, betrayal, and secrets, a woman’s revenge is a brutal but beautiful thing.

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Would you keep reading?  I am intrigued.

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Posted in book review

REVIEW: SWAN SONG, BY LISA ALTHER

Dr. Jessie Drake, in her mid-sixties, following the sudden deaths of her parents and Kat, her partner of twenty years, has fled the Vermont life she has known for decades.

In an effort to escape the oppressive constancy of grief, she accepts a job from an old flame from her residency in New York City’s Roosevelt Hospital, and agrees to assist Ben as the ship’s doctor on a British liner. Jessie boards in Hong Kong, and, as the Amphitrite sails throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East, cruise ship antics ensue. Jessie is lulled back into a long-ago romance with the ship’s co-doctor, and both she and her new/old beau become enmeshed with the ship’s lead (female) singer/entertainer. Among the passengers who fling socialized behavior aside on the high seas: a former Florida beauty queen (Miss Florida Power and Light) on a second honeymoon with her husband, as she causes high-velocity scandal, while juggling onboard affairs with a suicidal golf pro, and a defrocked priest hired as one of the liner’s gentleman hosts, until she vanishes–poof!–from the ship off the coast of Portugal . . . As the ship sails through the Gulf of Aden and into a possible hijacking by Somali pirates, Jessie retreats into her lover’s journals, written during her final months, journals filled with sketches of potential characters, observations on life and love–as well as drafts of a long new poem in progress, “Swan Song,” that seems to be about being in love with someone else, someone new. As Jessie’s grief turns to suspicion about the woman she thought she knew so well, her illumination of the poem’s meaning begins to lift the constraints of the past and make clear the way toward the future.

 

 

As Jessie begins her journey beyond the grief of her recent years, we join her as she strives to make sense of her life and her loves. In Swan Song, she discovers a series of poems written by Kat, and in trying to make sense of them, she wonders if Kat had had a new love at the end.

Meanwhile, she works on the ship doing medical tasks and meeting new people, some of whom are potential friends and/or lovers.

Can she really move beyond Kat with someone she meets on the journey? Or is she meant to be finding answers to life’s journey, especially the journey that ends with death? Eventually, after a number of events, all of which make her think, she comes to a decision. A contemplative read that earned 4.5 stars.

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Posted in Tuesday Excerpts

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “STRANGER IN THE LAKE”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is Stranger in the Lake, by Kimberly Belle.

 

 

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First Paragraph:  I untie the dock cleats and shove the boat into water as gray as the sky.  Sometime in the past few hours, gunmetal clouds have rolled over the mountaintops, shooting down icy gusts that froth the surface of Lake Crosby into a million white peaks.  My stomach churns, and not from the water’s chop.

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Teaser:  In the dim study light, I survey the contents:  a gun, a box of bullets, a neat pile of papers and files a few inches thick, stacks of crisp bills held together with green rubber bands, and a small red box, the kind that contains jewelry.  (55%).

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Synopsis:  When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

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Would you keep reading?  I have heard really good things about this book.

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Posted in book review

REVIEW: A WEEK AT THE SHORE, BY BARBARA DELINSKY

One phone call is all it takes to lure Mallory Aldiss back to her family’s Rhode Island beach home. It’s been twenty years since she’s been gone—running from the scandal that destroyed her parents’ marriage, drove her and her two sisters apart, and crushed her relationship with the love of her life, Jack Sabathian. Twenty years during which she lived in New York, building her career as a photographer and raising her now teenage daughter Joy.

But that phone call makes it clear that something has brought the past forward again—something involving Mallory’s father. Compelled by concern for her family and by Joy’s wish to visit her mother’s childhood home, Mallory returns to Bay Bluff, where conflicting loyalties will be faced and painful truths revealed.

In just seven watershed days at the Rhode Island shore, she will test the bonds of friendship and family—and discover the role that love plays in defining their lives.

A Week at the Shore opens up with family history and years of secrets, all set aside for one week at the small Rhode Island town. The patriarch, Tom Aldiss, is failing and his recent actions may have put him in jeopardy.

Mallory has been away from the shore for twenty years, and she has loved her life with daughter Joy in Manhattan. But reuniting with her sister Anne, and possibly Margot as well, might be a place to start. But then there are memories and issues to deal with about Mallory’s first love Jack. Their differences involve her father and his mother, so there may be no way to patch up those old hurts.

In this engaging story about family, missteps, secrets, and possible betrayals kept me rapidly turning pages. I didn’t like Mallory’s sisters, who were too bossy, and being the one in the middle, Mallory had often become the peacemaker. The sisters were blunt and sometimes abrasive with one another. The family felt real, so I was hoping they would find ways to overcome their issues…and find the answers to the past. I was also rooting for Mallory to reconnect with Jack. A 5 star read.

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Posted in Tuesday Excerpts

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “REMAIN SILENT”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new book in one of my favorite series:  Remain Silent, A Manon Bradshaw Novel, by Susie Steiner.

Day 1, Midnight (Matis)

His key in the door, he shoulders across the threshold, stumbles wildly up the stairs to the bathroom.  He can’t risk being beaten for soiling the carpet.  His stomach is coiling and despite it being empty, he vomits into the toilet:  acid bile.  In a strange way, the retching comforts him.

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Teaser Tuesday:

(Manon) They are in something called a “breakout zone”—a shabby common room with a worn sofa and tub chairs.  In the old days it would’ve been a smoking room, and it still has that nicotine-yellow tinge. (p. 63).

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Synopsis:Newly married and navigating life with a preschooler as well as her adopted adolescent son, Manon Bradshaw is happy to be working part-time in the cold cases department of the Cambridgeshire police force, a job that allows her to potter in, coffee in hand, and log on for a spot of Internet shopping—precisely what she had in mind when she thought of work-life balance. But beneath the surface Manon is struggling with the day-to-day realities of what she’d assumed would be domestic bliss: fights about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen, the bewildering fatigue of having a young child while in her forties, and the fact that she is going to couples counseling alone because her husband feels it would just be her complaining.

But when Manon is on a walk with her four-year-old son in a peaceful suburban neighborhood and discovers the body of a Lithuanian immigrant hanging from a tree with a mysterious note attached, she knows her life is about to change. Suddenly, she is back on the job full-force, trying to solve the suicide—or is it a murder—in what may be the most dangerous and demanding case of her life.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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Posted in Tuesday Excerpts

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “A WEEK AT THE SHORE”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is A Week at the Shore, by Barbara Delinsky.

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Intros:  (Prologue)

I remember the smell of sea salt on my skin and the rolling tumble of the surf.  I remember the brilliance of a sun that popped the colors of our towels, boogie boards, and bikinis.  I remember my sisters’ impatient hands pulling me toward the waves, my mother’s appreciative laughter, my father’s guarded eyes.

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Teaser:  Tamping down my unease, I breathe deeply of the sea smell that may be more faint here than outside, but that walls can’t completely block.  Salt air works for me.  I cling to it for strength as I look around. (p. 59).

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Synopsis:  One phone call is all it takes to lure Mallory Aldiss back to her family’s Rhode Island beach home. It’s been twenty years since she’s been gone—running from the scandal that destroyed her parents’ marriage, drove her and her two sisters apart, and crushed her relationship with the love of her life, Jack Sabathian. Twenty years during which she lived in New York, building her career as a photographer and raising her now teenage daughter Joy.

But that phone call makes it clear that something has brought the past forward again—something involving Mallory’s father. Compelled by concern for her family and by Joy’s wish to visit her mother’s childhood home, Mallory returns to Bay Bluff, where conflicting loyalties will be faced and painful truths revealed.

In just seven watershed days at the Rhode Island shore, she will test the bonds of friendship and family—and discover the role that love plays in defining their lives.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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Posted in Tuesday Excerpts

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE DILEMMA”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is the NetGalley ARC of a book that will be released on 6/30/20:  The Dilemma, by B.A. Paris.

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Intro:  Sunday, June 9, 3:30 a.m., Livia

It’s the cooling bathwater that wakes me.  Disorientated, I sit up quickly, sploshing suds up the sides, wondering how long I’ve been asleep.  I release the plug and the drain gurgles, a too-loud sound in a silent house.

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Teaser:  My fingers are shaking so much I can hardly hold my phone.  I scroll back to the news report and scan the text, searching, searching for the information that will tell me that I’m right and everyone else is wrong, that the plane didn’t crash just after take-off but twenty minutes into its flight. (40%).

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Synopsis:  Knowing the truth will destroy her. Keeping it secret will destroy him.

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday, and her husband Adam is throwing her the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding they never had. Everyone she loves will be there, except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But Livia is secretly glad Marnie won’t be there.

Livia has recently uncovered a secret about their daughter which, if revealed, will shake the foundation of their family to its core. She needs to tell Adam, but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam, meanwhile, has his own surprise for Livia: he’s arranged for Marnie to secretly fly back for the party. But before Marnie arrives, Adam hears some terrible news. Now he too is faced with a dilemma: Does he share what he’s learned with his wife? Is hiding the truth the same as telling a lie? And how far are Adam and Livia willing to go to protect the ones they love—and give each other a last few hours of happiness?

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Would you keep reading?  I know that I am eager to immerse myself in this book.

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Posted in book review

REVIEW: THE LAST HOUSE GUEST, BY MEGAN MIRANDA

 
Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.

Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.

In The Last House Guest, we follow a story that takes us back and forth in time, from a fatal party in the summer of 2017 to the present. Each time the story circles forward, we learn more tidbits. As if we bring fresh eyes to the scene.

I liked watching Avery as she pieces things together, circling through events and clues like the detectives who know that “follow the money” will take us where we need to go.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, we leaped to a final reveal that shone a bright light on the corruption in small town life. 5 stars.

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Posted in Tuesday Excerpts

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE LAST HOUSE GUEST”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a book I just borrowed from the library using my Libby app:  The Last House Guest, by Megan Miranda.

 

 

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Intro:  (Summer 2017, The Plus-One Party)

I almost went back for her.  When she didn’t show.  When she didn’t answer her phone.  When she didn’t reply to my text.

But there were the drinks, and the cars blocking me in, and the responsibility—I was supposed to be keeping an eye on things.  I was expected to keep the night running smoothly.

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Teaser:  I couldn’t see it at first, the signs of someone else, like Detective Collins had said.  The chairs off center in the dining room, probably from the Donaldson family.  Same with the dirty fingerprints on the surfaces and the corner of the living room rug, flipped up and inverted. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.

Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.

Another thrilling novel from the bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, Megan Miranda’s The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read with a strong female protagonist determined to make her own way in the world.

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I am glad that I finally got this book from the library.  I have enjoyed several books by this author.  What do you think?

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