TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE FIANCEE”

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 one of my new books:  The Fiancee, by Kate White

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Intro:

(Prologue)

The first thing that seems wrong to her is the vultures.

There are five or six of them, perched in a cluster on the peaked roof of the old bird blind, which sits at the edge of the woods and to the right of the stream.

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Teaser:

That’s exactly what I told her last night, and she knows it.  Her lips curve up in the tiniest of smiles, and I realize she’s not just lying now.  She’s trying to gaslight me. (p. 60).

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Synopsis:

They had everything they needed for a perfect family vacation: close-knit relatives, a bucolic setting . . . and a murderer in their midst?

Summer’s looking forward to a break from hustling for acting work in Manhattan when she, her husband Gabe, and Gabe’s nine-year-old son arrive at the annual family get-together at her in-laws’ sprawling estate. On the agenda are leisurely gourmet meals, tennis matches, and plenty of relaxation by the pool.

But this year, Gabe’s brother Nick has invited his new flame Hannah, whom Summer immediately recognizes from a few years before. Oddly, her brother-in-law’s girlfriend claims not to know her. Yet she charms the other family members, and after Nick announces that he’s proposed to Hannah, Summer doesn’t have much choice but to grin and bear it.

Then the reunion is rocked by tragedy when a family member is found dead. Though the doctors attribute the loss to natural causes, a grieving Summer fears that the too-good-to-be-true Hannah is involved, even as Gabe dismisses her suspicions.

How far will Summer go to expose the truth? As she investigates just what Nick’s fiancée might have done to keep her perfect image intact, she begins to fear that the first death might only be the beginning . . .

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What do you think?  I love this author’s books, so I’m eager to dive in.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “DREAM GIRL”

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:  Dream Girl, by Laura Lippman.

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Intro: (Prologue)

Gerry dreams.

In a rented hospital bed, high above the city, higher than he ever thought possible in stodgy, low-slung Baltimore, Gerry is asleep more often than he’s awake.  He floats, he rouses, he drifts, he dreams.

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Teaser:

But why was Tara telling this story again, here at this new club, Dante’s?  They were only twenty-eight, after all.  Weren’t they too young to be repeating themselves?

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Synopsis:

In the end, has anyone really led a blameless life?

Injured in a freak fall, novelist Gerry Andersen is confined to a hospital bed in his glamorous high-rise apartment, dependent on two women he barely knows: his incurious young assistant, and a dull, slow-witted night nurse.

Then late one night, the phone rings. The caller claims to be the “real” Aubrey, the alluring title character from his most successful novel, Dream Girl. But there is no real Aubrey. She’s a figment born of a writer’s imagination, despite what many believe or claim to know. Could the cryptic caller be one of his three ex-wives playing a vindictive trick after all these years? Or is she Margot, an ex-girlfriend who keeps trying to insinuate her way back into Gerry’s life?

And why does no one believe that the call even happened?

Isolated from the world, drowsy from medication, Gerry slips between reality and a dreamlike state in which he is haunted by his own past: his faithless father, his devoted mother; the women who loved him, the women he loved.

And now here is Aubrey, threatening to visit him, suggesting that she is owed something. Is the threat real or is it a sign of dementia? Which scenario would he prefer? Gerry has never been so alone, so confused – and so terrified.

Chilling and compulsively readable, touching on timely issues that include power, agency, appropriation, and creation, Dream Girl is a superb blend of psychological suspense and horror that reveals the mind and soul of a writer.

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What do you think?  I am eager to start reading this one.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE THERAPIST”

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 review ARC that will be released on July 13, 2021:  The Therapist, by B.A. Paris.

 

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Intro:  One: 

The sound of excited voices draws me away from the box of books I’m unpacking.  It has been so quiet all day that it’s hard to believe I’m actually in London.  Back in Harlestone, there would have been familiar external noises; birds, the occasional car or tractor, sometimes a horse going past.  Here, in The Circle, everything is silent.

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Teaser:

“Leo, you can’t!”  I said, mortified that people would think he was rude.  So he’d agreed to mute the group instead. (76 %).

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Synopsis:

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “PACK UP THE MOON”

 

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 Pack up the Moon, by Kristan Higgins.

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Intro: 

(Joshua-February 14)

On their third wedding anniversary, Joshua Park came home to Providence, Rhode Island, from a meeting in Boston with a medical device company.  They’d bought his design, and he was glad to be done being around people, and very, very glad to go back home to his wife.

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Teaser:

He closed his eyes, summoning her.  Be with me, he thought.  He might not believe in God, but he did believe in Lauren.  Come to me, honey. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they’re wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

As Lauren’s disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future–a future without the only woman he’s ever loved. He’s so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.

But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It’s a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed…from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn’t Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren’s most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn’t follow a straight line.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE NEWCOMER”

 

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 Newcomer, by Mary Kay Andrews. 

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Intro:

It was still dark when Letty pulled into the parking lot. The car bumped slowly over the rutted oyster-shell pavement and she turned around to check on Maya, grateful that the child was finally sleeping. Her head slumped against the side of the car seat, her curls dampened with sweat, her rosebud lips pursed as she softly snored, and Ellie, her ever-present toy stuffed elephant, was clutched tightly to her chest.

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Teaser:

“Not in so many words,” Evan said.  “Tanya was determined to move out to L.A.  She thought she’d get more acting jobs there.  I was happy to let her go….” (p. 61).

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Synopsis:

In trouble and on the run…

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me—it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.”

With a trunkful of emotional baggage…

So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road with her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring—but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel.

The No Vacancy sign is flashing & the sharks are circling…

And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn—or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past.

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What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “MY LIES, YOUR LIES”

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’ve had around for a while:  My Lies, Your Lies, by Susan Lewis.

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

“I’m leaving,” he said.

She kept her head down as though working on the pages in front of her.  She’d heard the “you” even though he hadn’t said it.  I’m leaving you.

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Teaser:

As they drove slowly on they finally realized that down to their right, tucked securely against the protective wall of rocks was a house where it seemed no house should be. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  Joely tells other people’s secrets for a living. As a ghost writer, she’s used to scandal – but this just might be her strangest assignment yet. Freda has never told her story to anyone before. But now she’s ready to set the record straight and right a wrong that’s haunted her for forty years. 

Freda’s memoir begins with a 15-year-old girl falling madly in love with her male teacher. As Joely sets out to write this troubling love story, she is spun into a world of secrets and lies she could never have imagined, causing her to question everything she thought she knew about her own family.

Delving further into Freda’s past, Joely’s sure she can uncover the truth—but at what cost?

Breathlessly intriguing from the first page to the last, My Lies, Your Lies is a gripping novel that intertwines the tumultuous past of one mysterious woman to the present of another with a harrowing, unexpected twist.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “LOCAL WOMAN MISSING”

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 from a favorite author:  Local Woman Missing, by Mary Kubica.

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Intro:  (Prologue – 11 Years Before)

There’s a smudge of lipstick on the collar of his shirt.  She sees it.  She says nothing about it.  Instead, she stands there, bobbing the crying baby up and down like the needle of a sewing machine piercing fabric. She listens to his lame lies, his same, dispassionate Sorry I’m late, buts he reels off almost every night.

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Teaser:  (Kate – 11 Years Before)

But now, in light of Meredith and Delilah’s disappearance, a thought sows fear into my mind.  What if it wasn’t domestic violence?  What if there’s a serial kidnapper on the loose? (p.60).

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Synopsis:  People don’t just disappear without a trace…

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “FIND YOU FIRST”

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:  Find You First, by Linwood Barclay.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

Outside Springfield, MA

Todd listened to the phone ring, waited for a pickup.  Two rings, three.  You had to give these old folks time to get to the phone.  Maybe they had to use a walker, or were in a wheelchair.

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Teaser: 

As Miles approached the reception counter, he could heard the man whispering to her, “It’s going to work this time.  I know it.  Third time’s a charm.”

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Synopsis:  Tech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of—except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a fifty percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past . . .

Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids—nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him—maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse.

As Miles begins to search for the children he’s never known, aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that twenty-two years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant.

When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles’s other potential heirs are vanishing—every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all.

Who is the vicious killer—another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even more sinister going on?

It’s a deadly race against time . . .

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE LAST NIGHT IN LONDON”

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 one of my new books:  The Last Night in London, by Karen White.

Intro:

(Prologue)

London, April 1941

The cool, clear night shuddered, then moaned as the fluctuating drone of hundreds of engines eclipsed the silence.  A wave of planes like angry hornets slipped through the darkened sky over a city already wearing black in preparation for the inevitable mourning.

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Teaser:

Precious tucked her chin.  “I sure hope not, because that man had eyes for nobody but you.  No other girl would stand a chance—if I were a betting girl, I’d bet on you for sure.” (p.56)

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Synopsis:  London, 1939. Beautiful and ambitious Eva Harlow and her American best friend, Precious Dubose, are trying to make their way as fashion models. When Eva falls in love with Graham St. John, an aristocrat and Royal Air Force pilot, she can’t believe her luck—she’s getting everything she ever wanted. Then the Blitz devastates her world, and Eva finds herself slipping into a web of intrigue, spies, and secrets. As Eva struggles to protect her friendship with Precious and everything she holds dear, all it takes is one unwary moment to change their lives forever…

London, 2019. American journalist Maddie Warner, whose life has been marked by the tragic loss of her mother, travels to London to interview Precious about her life in pre-WWII London. Maddie has been careful to close herself off to others, but in Precious she recognizes someone whose grief rivals her own—but unlike Maddie, Precious hasn’t allowed it to crush her.  Maddie finds herself drawn to both Precious and to Colin, her enigmatic surrogate nephew.  As Maddie gets closer to her, she begins to unravel Precious’s haunting past—a story of friendship, betrayal, and the unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE PERFECT DAUGHTER”

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 relatively new book:  The Perfect Daughter, by D.J. Palmer.

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Intro:

At thirty minutes past eight o’clock, red and blue strobe lights lit up the sky outside Grace Francone’s modest Cape house with the frenzy of a fireworks display. A quick check out the window revealed two cars parked in their driveway, one a sedan, a single twirling red light mounted on its dashboard, and the other a black-and-white from the Lynn Police Department, lights also flashing.

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Teaser: 

The way Eve studied Mitch, a coquettish glimmer in her eyes, made him shudder.  It was an alluring stare, one brimming with a poise that was startling to see in a seventeen-year-old girl just coming into her own. (p.67

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Synopsis:  Penny Francone, age sixteen, is a murderer. Her guilt is beyond doubt: she was found alone in the victim’s apartment, covered in blood, holding the murder weapon. The victim’s identity and her secret relationship to Penny give Penny the perfect motive, sealing the deal. All the jury needs to decide now is where Penny will serve out her sentence. Will she be found not guilty by reason of insanity, as her lawyer intends to argue? Or will she get a life sentence in a maximum-security prison?
Already reeling from tragedy after the sudden passing of her beloved husband a few years before, now Grace is on her knees, grateful that Massachusetts doesn’t allow the death penalty.

As Penny awaits trial in a state mental hospital, she is treated by Dr. Mitchell McHugh, a psychiatrist battling demons of his own. Grace’s determination to understand the why behind her daughter’s terrible crime fuels Mitch’s resolve to help the Francone family. Together, they set out in search of the truth about Penny, but discover instead a shocking hidden history of secrets, lies, and betrayals that threatens to consume them all.

The perfect daughter. Is she fooling them all?

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Would you keep reading?

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