TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “I WAS TOLD IT WOULD GET EASIER”

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 recent acquisition:  I Was Told It Would Get Easier, by Abbi Waxman.

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Intro:  Jessica Burnstein, 45, Full of Optimism:

I left the house this morning, determined to take the day by the horns and throw it over my shoulder like a scarf, if necessary.  I’d had two cups of coffee, I’d remembered to floss, and I was going to tell my boss the crap with Valentina simply wasn’t going to fly anymore.

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Teaser Tuesday:  (Jessica)

It’s amazing how much I can hate a child.  Alice purposely embarrassed Emily, and I would happily reach along the row of chairs and punch her in the throat.  If Em came home from school and told me that story, I would have told her to shrug and rise above it, but it’s very hard to rise above an intense desire to protect your cub in the moment. (p. 59).

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Synopsis:  Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?

For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers–and two familiar enemies–Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever.

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What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “I’LL BE SEEING YOU”

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:  I’ll Be Seeing You, by Elizabeth Berg.

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Intro:  October 30, 2010

The failing of an aging parent is one of those old stories that feels abrasively new to the person experiencing it.  At eighty-nine years of age, my father has begun, in his own words, to “lose it.”  This is a man who was for so many years terrifying to me.  He was tall and fit, a lifer in the U.S. Army whose way of awakening me in the morning when I was in high school was to stand at the threshold of my bedroom and say, “Move out.”

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Teaser:  This morning, I awakened wondering if my mother will be mad at me for doing this, and if my father will be confused by it.  I hope not. (p.73).

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Synopsis:  Elizabeth Berg’s father was an Army veteran who was a tough man in every way but one: He showed a great deal of love and tenderness to his wife. Berg describes her parents’ marriage as a romance that lasted for nearly seventy years; she grew up watching her father kiss her mother upon leaving home, and kiss her again the instant he came back. His idea of when he should spend time away from her was never.

But then Berg’s father developed Alzheimer’s disease, and her parents were forced to leave the home they loved and move into a facility that could offer them help. It was time for the couple’s children to offer, to the best of their abilities, practical advice, emotional support, and direction—to, in effect, parent the people who had for so long parented them. It was a hard transition, mitigated at least by flashes of humor and joy. The mix of emotions on everyone’s part could make every day feel like walking through a minefield. Then came redemption.

I’ll Be Seeing You charts the passage from the anguish of loss to the understanding that even in the most fractious times, love can heal, transform, and lead to graceful—and grateful—acceptance.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE NEXT WIFE”

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 I am eager to read:  The Next Wife, by Liz Lawler.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

What was she thinking?

Did she honestly think he would just let her walk out and live a life without him?  That there would be no consequences?  No price to pay for destroying his life?

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Teaser:  Thinking back to how they were, Tess could see now that the complex part of loving him hadn’t presented itself.  They hadn’t uncovered enough layers to know one another well enough before taking the leap. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  My husband is everything I ever dreamed of. A handsome, successful doctor who swept me off my feet.

Our new life together is perfect.

He’s perfect.

But am I good enough for him? I never seem to get anything right. And I’m starting to feel a little afraid of the man I married.

He’s taken away my bank card and my phone. I don’t know what to think or what to do. I gave up everything for him and now I’m trapped.

Then a stranger comes to our door. She tells me that I can’t trust my husband.

That I should ask him what happened to his first wife.

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What do you think?  Keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “GIRLS OF BRACKENHILL”

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:  Girls of Brackenhill, by Kate Moretti

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Intro:  September 2, 2001

I didn’t mean to kill the girl.

I found her skulking around the woods, hiding behind trees, darting behind the shed.

Hey, I called.  Dizzy with panic when I saw who it was.  I waved the shovel in her direction.  I’d been turning over the compost.

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Teaser: The floor shifted under Hannah’s feet.  The room blurred, then focused. (p. 60).

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Synopsis:  When Hannah Maloney’s aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to her family’s castle in the Catskills and the epicenter of a childhood trauma: her sister’s unsolved disappearance. It’s been seventeen years, and though desperate to start a new life with her fiancé, Hannah is compelled to question the events of her last summer at Brackenhill.

When a human bone is found near the estate, Hannah is convinced it belongs to her long-lost sister. She launches her own investigation into that magical summer that ended in a nightmare. As strange happenings plague the castle, Hannah uncovers disturbing details about the past and startling realizations about her own repressed childhood memories.

Fueled by guilt over her sister’s vanishing, Hannah becomes obsessed with discovering what happened all those years ago, but by the time Hannah realizes some mysteries are best left buried, it’s too late to stop digging. Overwhelmed by what she has exposed, Hannah isn’t sure her new life can survive her old ghosts.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE UNDOING”

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 have had for a while, and decided to read because of a miniseries based on it: 

You Should Have Known (The Undoing), by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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Intro: Usually people cried when they came here for the first time, and this girl looked as if she’d be no exception.  She walked in with a briefcase and a swagger and shook Grace’s hand like the cool professional she clearly was, or at least wished to be.

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Teaser:  And they didn’t have enough money to mitigate her nonparticipation.  He knew that, too. (p.73).

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Synopsis:  Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended.

Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP”

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 that has been languishing on my Kindle since June 2018:  The Lost for Words Bookshop, by Stephanie Butland.

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Intro:  (Unlooked-for)

A book is a match in the smoking second between strike and flame.

Archie says books are our best lovers and our most provoking friends.  He’s right, but I’m right, too.  Books can really hurt you.

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Teaser:  He laughed.  ‘No, I can’t go back to work, and neither can the man who hit me.  We’ve had our justice.’

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Synopsis:  Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?

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Would you keep reading?  I know that I am intrigued.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45”

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 am currently reading:  Confessions on the 7:45, by Lisa Unger.

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Intro:  (Selena)

Selena loved the liminal spaces.  Those precious slivers of time between the roles she played in her life.

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Teaser Tuesdays: (Geneva)

Geneva hated the way winter afternoons started to darken around three.  As the light leaked out of the sky, a kind of heaviness descended on her spirit. (p.63).

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Synopsis:  Be careful to whom you tell your darkest secrets…

Selena Murphy is commuting home from her job in the city when the train stalls out on the tracks. She strikes up a conversation with a beautiful stranger in the next seat, and their connection is fast and easy. The woman introduces herself as Martha and confesses that she’s been stuck in an affair with her boss. Selena, in turn, confesses that she suspects her husband is sleeping with the nanny. When the train arrives at Selena’s station, the two women part ways, presumably never to meet again.

But days later, Selena’s nanny disappears.

Soon Selena finds her once-perfect life upended. As she is pulled into the mystery of the missing nanny, and as the fractures in her marriage grow deeper, Selena begins to wonder, who was Martha really? But she is hardly prepared for what she’ll discover.

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Would you keep reading?  I am loving this book so far.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “LIFE IN PIECES”

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 featured book is a new one that speaks to what is happening in our world these days:  Life In Pieces, by Dawn O’Porter.

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Intro:  (Introduction)

Dear 2020,

Earlier this year I got myself a paper diary.  I wanted to go back to writing things down, rather than having everything on my phone.  I found it today and got so sad when I saw how empty it was.  Just months of nothing.  No people, no meetings, no life.  I sat and looked at it and got a little weepy.  There was supposed to be all this other stuff, and it just wasn’t there.  There was only emptiness.

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Teaser:  4 April

Isolation Update – The bee was on the SOCK

Chris has just handed me the strongest margarita I’ve ever had in my life, so apologies in advance for any typos in this entry.

Hiccup. (p. 71).

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Synopsis: From reflections on grief and identity, bad hair and parenting, sleep and spirituality, to the things we can control and the things we cannot, Dawn has been doing a lot of thinking about life in lockdown. Mostly from a cupboard. Discover the daily diaries that track the journey – for a hilarious, heartbreaking and highly entertaining glimpse into the new normal.

‘There’s been a lot of well-meaning but mad advice on how to contend with the strangest period of human history any of us has ever lived through. Dawn O’Porter redresses the balance by telling it as it really has been: holding out for 5pm to crack open the tequila’ Mark Watson

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Would you keep reading? I think many of us will find that it resonates.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH”

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:  To Tell You the Truth, by Gilly Macmillan.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

There are the facts, and then there is the truth.

These are the facts.

It is the summer solstice, June 1991.

You’re only nine years old.  You’re short for your age.  The school nurse has recommended that you lose weight.  You struggle to make friends and often feel lonely.  You have been bullied.  Teachers and your parents frequently encourage you to participate more in group activities, but you prefer the company of your imaginary friend.

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Teaser:  I loved our life then.  If you’ve experienced trauma as a kid, what you want most as an adult is a still pool to bathe in, one where you can see the edges, where the surface of the water is glassy. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  To tell you the truth . . . everybody lies.

Lucy Harper’s talent for writing bestselling novels has given her fame, fortune and millions of fans.  It’s also given her Dan, her needy, jealous husband whose own writing career has gone precisely nowhere.

Now Dan has vanished. But this isn’t the first time that someone has disappeared from Lucy’s life. Three decades ago, her little brother Teddy also went missing and was never found. Lucy, the only witness, helplessly spun fantasy after fantasy about Teddy’s disappearance, to the detectives’ fury and her parents’ despair. That was the start of her ability to tell a story—a talent she has profited from greatly. 

But now Lucy’s a grown woman who can’t hide behind fiction any longer. The world is watching, and her whole life is under intense scrutiny. A life full of stories, some more believable than others. Could she have hurt Teddy?  Did she kill Dan?  Finally, now, Lucy Harper’s going to tell the truth.

Cross her heart.

And hope to die.

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Would you keep reading?  I am definitely eager to do so.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “ANXIOUS PEOPLE”

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 Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman.

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Intro:  A bank robbery.  A hostage drama.  A stairwell full of police officers on their way to storm an apartment.  It was easy to get to this point, much easier than you might think.  All it took was one single really bad idea.

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Teaser:  So what do you do?  You struggle on.  Hope that’ll be enough.  Then you receive another threatening letter from the lawyer. (p.60).

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Synopsis:  Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

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Would you keep reading?  I’ve heard really good things about this one.

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