TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “FRIENDS & STRANGERS”

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 Friends and Strangers, by J. Courtney Sullivan.

 

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Intros:  (2014-2015) (Elisabeth)

She awakened to silence.  Nobody up at this hour besides mothers and insomniacs.  She did not need to look at the clock to know that within seconds the baby would cry, and she would lift him from his bassinet before her eyes were quite open, exhaustion giving way to acceptance, devotion, as she held the warm heft of him in her arms.

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Teaser:  Finally, Sam had said, “We have to get it together.  Trust me.  I can do this.  My mother’s a nurse.” (p.60).

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Synopsis:  Elisabeth, an accomplished journalist and new mother, is struggling to adjust to life in a small town after nearly twenty years in New York City. Alone in the house with her infant son all day (and awake with him much of the night), she feels uneasy, adrift. She neglects her work, losing untold hours to her Brooklyn moms’ Facebook group, her “influencer” sister’s Instagram feed, and text messages with the best friend she never sees anymore. Enter Sam, a senior at the local women’s college, whom Elisabeth hires to babysit. Sam is struggling to decide between the path she’s always planned on and a romantic entanglement that threatens her ambition. She’s worried about student loan debt and what the future holds. In short order, they grow close. But when Sam finds an unlikely kindred spirit in Elisabeth’s father-in-law, the true differences between the women’s lives become starkly revealed and a betrayal has devastating consequences.

A masterful exploration of motherhood, power dynamics, and privilege in its many forms, Friends and Strangers reveals how a single year can shape the course of a life.

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Would you keep reading?  I am eager to explore this one.

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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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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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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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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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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.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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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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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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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “A GOOD MARRIAGE”

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 recent acquisition:  A Good Marriage, by Kimberly McCreight.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

I never meant for any of this to happen.  That’s a stupid thing to say.  But it is true.  And obviously, I didn’t kill anyone.  Would never, could never. You know that.  You know me better than anyone.

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Teaser:  I felt suddenly like a key was slipping through my fingers, about to be lost forever to some crack in the floor.  Whatever I’d gone into that office to accomplish was no longer in my control.  I was being cross-examined by someone of far superior skill. (p. 58).

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Synopsis:  Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Brooklyn Country Day school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

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What do you think?  I have loved other books by this author, so I’m eager to immerse myself in this one.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE SWEENEY SISTERS”

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 another new download:  The Sweeney Sisters, by Lian Dolan.

 

 

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Intro: ” Does this come in teal?”

Liza looked up from her computer and tried not to make any noise that would indicate her disdain.  In the decade since she’d opened the Sweeney Jones Gallery, she’d heard them all before—Does this come in teal?  Do you have this one in a larger size?  Can you find me something that goes with chocolate brown?—questions that indicated the customer had a limited knowledge of art, but quite possibly an unlimited budget for it.

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Teaser:  Maybe it was for the best.  Maggie knew this wasn’t an ideal time for a new relationship, but that was usually when she plunged in anyway. (50%).

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Synopsis:  Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor—Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney—one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister—a blond among redheads—fit into their story?

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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