Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE POISON GARDEN”

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 Poison Garden, by A. J. Banner

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

I am running through the woods in the waning moonlight, splatters of blood on my hands, the wind whipping in from the sea.  Tall firs bend and sway, branches crackling, breaking in the gale.  I am lost but must keep moving. I once knew these trails, could find my way with my eyes closed, but that was long ago.

***

Friday 56:  She locked the door.  “It’s easy to hack into a Windows machine.  If we’re able to get our hands on the actual machine.” (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:  Elise Watters seems to have it all—a blissful marriage, a gorgeous Victorian home surrounded by lush gardens, and a dream job running her late mother’s herbal boutique.

But on the eve of her first wedding anniversary, Elise makes a shocking discovery that turns her life upside down and casts doubt on everything she thought she knew—about her marriage, her friends, and even herself. As she treads into dangerous territory, Elise is forced to wonder: Is her whole future at stake? Or is paranoia getting the best of her?

If she is to believe what she sees, Elise has every reason to fear for her life…

***

What do you think?  I know I can’t wait to dive into this one.

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Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “MY EX-LIFE”

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 book I’ve had on my Kindle for more than a year:  My Ex-Life, by Stephen McCauley.

***

Book Beginning:  No, it was not the happiest moment of David Hedges’s life.  Soren, his partner of five years, had left him, he’d gotten fat, and somewhere in the midst of that, he’d woken up one day and realized he was no longer in his twenties.  Or his forties.  The last person he expected to hear from was Julie Fiske.

***

Friday 56:  Amira curled up on the sofa like a frightened girl, and Julie was torn between wanting to lash out at her and wanting to comfort her and dry her beautiful hair.

***

Synopsis:David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.

The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.

Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her seventeen-year-old daughter.

That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices?

When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago—they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.

***

I am eager to finally read this book.  What do you think?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE PERFECT WIFE”

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 due to release on August 6:  The Perfect Wife, by J.P. Delaney.

***

Beginning:  You’re having that dream again, the one where you and Tim are in Jaipur for Diwali.  Everywhere you look, every doorway and window, there are lanterns and candles, firecrackers and fairy lights.  Courtyards have become flickering pools of flame, their entrances surrounded by intricate designs of colored rice paste.  Dreams and cymbals throb and sizzle.

***

Friday 56:  (FEEL FREE!)  was probably Abbie’s highlight as our artist-in-residence.  People would say to her, How’re you going to top that?” and she’d just smile and shrug.  “Something’ll come,” she’d reply.  “It always does.”

***

Synopsis:  Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.

She is a miracle of science. 

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives—and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?

Beware the man who calls you . . .
 
THE PERFECT WIFE

***

What do you think?  I am eager to dive into this one.

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “STONE MOTHERS”

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:  Stone Mothers, by Erin Kelly.

***

Beginning:  The blindfold hurts.  His inexperience shows in the knot.  It’s tight but crude, and has captured a hank of my hair.  Every time he takes a corner too fast, I rock to the side, the seatbelt slicing my shoulder and the tiny needlepoint pain in my scalp intensifying.  He brakes without warning:  I’m thrown forward.  A loosening of the purple silk near my right temple lets in a little light but no information.

***

Friday 56:  “I’m going after her again, Marianne, and if I mean anything to you, you’ll come in with me.”  Tears in his eyes undermine the threat.

***

Synopsis:  You can’t keep the secret.
You can’t tell the truth.
You can’t escape the past…

Marianne was seventeen when she fled her home in Nusstead – leaving behind her family, her boyfriend, Jesse, and the body they buried. Now, thirty years later, forced to return to in order to help care for her sick mother, she can feel the past closing around her. And Jesse, who never forgave her for leaving in the first place, is finally threatening to expose the truth.

Marianne will do anything to protect the life she’s built, the husband and daughter who must never know what happened all those years ago. Even if it means turning to her worst enemy for help… But Marianne may not know the whole story – and she isn’t the only one with secrets they’d kill to keep.

***

I am glued to the pages.  Would you keep reading?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “TELL ME LIES”

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 from a new-to-me author:  Tell Me Lies, by Carola Lovering, a keenly intelligent and staggeringly resonant novel that chronicles the yearning ambitions, desires, and dilemmas of young adulthood, and the difficulty of letting go, even when you know you should.

 

 

 

Beginning: (Lucy, August 2017)

I wake two minutes before my 5:45 a.m. alarm goes off, on instinct, like the neurotic, sleep-deprived New Yorker I’ve become.  My head kills from the wine—Dane and I split two bottles with the dinner that I paid for—but I force myself out of bed anyway.  Three Advil, two cups of coffee, and an Adderall and I’ll survive the day. And isn’t that what New York is all about anyway—surviving?

***

Friday 56:  I wasn’t attracted to Stephen.  I was just a drunk idiot mistaking nausea for butterflies.  Pippa was going to be thrilled, though.  I pulled out my phone, which was miraculously still intact, and texted Lydia.

***

Synopsis:  Lucy Albright is far from her Long Island upbringing when she arrives on the campus of her small California college, and happy to be hundreds of miles from her mother, whom she’s never forgiven for an act of betrayal in her early teen years. Quickly grasping at her fresh start, Lucy embraces college life and all it has to offer—new friends, wild parties, stimulating classes. And then she meets Stephen DeMarco. Charming. Attractive. Complicated. Devastating.

Confident and cocksure, Stephen sees something in Lucy that no one else has, and she’s quickly seduced by this vision of herself, and the sense of possibility that his attention brings her. Meanwhile, Stephen is determined to forget an incident buried in his past that, if exposed, could ruin him, and his single-minded drive for success extends to winning, and keeping, Lucy’s heart.

Lucy knows there’s something about Stephen that isn’t to be trusted. Stephen knows Lucy can’t tear herself away. And their addicting entanglement will have consequences they never could have imagined.

***

What do you think?  Are the excerpts and blurb enticing?  Would you keep reading?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “AFTER NIGHTFALL”

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 After Nightfall, by A.J. Banner, a gripping thriller about an engagement party gone fatally awry.

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  Lauren is flirting with my fiance over the dinner I spent hours preparing.  She gets this way when she’s had too much wine.  I’m not far behind her; I’m already into my second glass of merlot.  I’m not even sure why I’m drinking—I usually don’t.  But tonight, Nathan and I are planning to announce our engagement.  Our shared future shimmers on a single fragile thread—his daughter’s approval.  Anna is only nine years old and fiercely loyal to her mother.  He promised he’d broken the news to her earlier today, but she hasn’t said anything to me.

***

Friday 56:  He rubs his hands down his face, as if to erase his thoughts.  “Come on. I wouldn’t go that far.  I know what she did in college.  But now?  You think she was still like that?”

***

Synopsis:  Imagine your closest friend utterly betraying you. Years later, when she seeks forgiveness, you invite her to your engagement party as a gesture of reconciliation. But seething hostilities rise to the surface, ruining everyone’s evening. After an awful night, your friend’s battered, lifeless body is found at the bottom of a rocky cliff.

Newly engaged Marissa Parlette is living this nightmare. She should be celebrating her upcoming wedding, but she can’t shake the image of her friend lying dead on the beach. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or did she take a purposeful step into darkness? Desperate for answers, Marissa digs deep into the events of the party. But what she remembers happening after nightfall now carries sinister implications: the ugly sniping, the clandestine meetings, the drunken flirtations. The more she investigates, the more she questions everything she thought she knew about her friends, the man she once trusted, and even herself.

Bestselling author A. J. Banner keeps readers on a razor-sharp edge in this intricately plotted novel of psychological suspense…in which nothing is as it seems.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts and blurb grab you?

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Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “NIGHT OF MIRACLES”

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 Night of Miracles, by Elizabeth Berg,  a delightful novel of friendship, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change your life, by the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv.

 

 

 

Beginning:  Surely you’ve had this happen.  You are seated by choice or misfortune in a window seat on an airplane.  You look out as the plane takes off, rises up higher and higher, levels off.  If you chance to glance down, you see a particular kind of order not realized on earth.  You might feel a kind of hopefulness at the sight of houses clustered together in their various neighborhoods, at roads running straight or artfully curved, at what look like toy cars.

***

Friday 56:  “You mustn’t indulge in such things, Lucille.  And you must not speak of them to others.” 

Now Lucille rises slowly out of her chair to look over the half-curtain into the backyard.  Nothing.

***

Synopsis:  Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community—just when they need it the most.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts and blurb grab you?  Would you keep reading?

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Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE THREE BETHS”

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 Three Beths, by Jeff Abbott, a psychologically intense and emotionally gripping new suspense novel about a daughter’s desperate search for her missing mother—one that may lead her closer to home than she ever anticipated.

 

 

Beginning:  Mariah Dunning saw her missing mother standing on the other side of the crowd.

The food court at the mall—ugh—had been one of their mother-daughter hangouts.  Mom endured the food court because Mariah liked it.  Mom was particular about what she ate, while Mariah was not—chicken biscuits, Mongolian barbecue, pepperoni pizza, none of which Mom would touch and all of which Mariah would consume and then work off the calories playing basketball.

***

Friday 56%:  She texted Craig as Jake drove them in his Porsche:  I’m fine.  I’m going out to dinner with a friend.  I’ll check in again in a bit.  Don’t call,  I won’t answer.

***

Synopsis:  My mom would never leave me.
This has been Mariah Dunning’s motto. Her compass. Her belief. So when she glimpses her mother–who’s been missing for the past year–on the other side of a crowded food court, Mariah’s conviction becomes stronger than ever. Or is she losing her mind?

An unlikely coincidence?
When Beth Dunning disappeared without a trace, suspicion for her murder-despite the lack of a body or any physical evidence-immediately fell upon Mariah’s father. Until Mariah stumbles upon two other recent disappearances from Lakehaven. And all three women had the same name: Beth.

Or a sinister connection?
Mariah would give anything to find out what happened to her mother, and clear her father’s name. But the truth may be more devastating than she could have imagined…

***

Do the excerpts grab you?  Would you keep reading?

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Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “NINE PERFECT STRANGERS”

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 new download:  Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty, “A treat for Big Little Lies fans.” —People

 

 

 

Beginning:  (Yao)

“I’m fine,” said the woman.  “There’s nothing wrong with me.”

She didn’t look fine to Yao.

It was his first day as a trainee paramedic.  His third call-out.  Yao wasn’t nervous, but he was in a hypervigilant state because he couldn’t bear to make even an inconsequential mistake.  When he was a child, mistakes had made him wail inconsolably, and they still made his stomach cramp.

***

Friday 56%:  (Frances)

“Life is nothing but a scam,” said Gillian.  “It’s all just a giant illusion.”

“Scram, scam,” chuckled Sol.  “Good one.”

He and Henry fist-bumped.

***

Synopsis:  Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

***

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book.  Does it grab you?  Would you keep reading?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “TRY NOT TO BREATHE”

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 book that has been patiently waiting on my Kindle:  Try Not To Breathe, by Holly Seddon, an engrossing thriller full of page-turning twists and turns, richly imagined characters, and gripping psychological suspense.

 

 

Beginning:  (Amy, 18 July 1995)

Music thudded through Amy’s body and seized her heart.  Music so loud that her eardrums pounded in frenzy and her baby-bird ribs rattled.  Music was everything.  Well, almost everything.

Later, the newspapers would call fifteen-year-old Amy Stevenson a “ray of sunshine,” with “everything to live for.”  Her headphones buzzed with rock and pop as she trudged the long way home, rucksack sagging.

***

Friday 56:  His voice was once the source of such dizzying excitement.  That voice, her hanging up the phone with seconds to spare as Bob’s key clattered in the lock.  Leaving her so flustered she had to skirmish to her room to hide.

***

Synopsis:  Some secrets never die. They’re just locked away.
 
Alex Dale is lost. Destructive habits have cost her a marriage and a journalism career. All she has left is her routine: a morning run until her body aches, then a few hours of forgettable work before the past grabs hold and drags her down. Every day is treading water, every night is drowning. Until Alex discovers Amy Stevenson. Amy Stevenson, who was just another girl from a nearby town until the day she was found unconscious after a merciless assault. Amy Stevenson, who has been in a coma for fifteen years, forgotten by the world. Amy Stevenson, who, unbeknownst to her doctors, remains locked inside her body, conscious but paralyzed, reliving the past.
 
Soon Alex’s routine includes visiting hours at the hospital, then interviews with the original suspects in the attack. But what starts as a reporter’s story becomes a personal obsession. How do you solve a crime when the only witness lived but cannot tell the tale? Unable to tear herself away from her attempt to uncover the unspeakable truth, Alex realizes she’s not just chasing a story—she’s seeking salvation.
 
Shifting from present to past and back again, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer until its heart-stopping conclusion. The result is an utterly immersive, unforgettable debut.

***

What do you think?  I am wondering how I could leave this book hiding out on my Kindle.  I’m eager to start reading it.

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