TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR”

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 downloads:  The Other Side of the Door, by Nicci French.

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Intro:

(After)

I turned around and checked the door of the flat.  It was closed.  That wasn’t enough.  What if somebody arrived suddenly?  What if they had a key?  I pulled my sleeve over my hand so that I wouldn’t touch it directly and, awkwardly through the cloth, grasped the bolt and slid it across as quietly as I could.

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Teaser:

She sat on the other side of the boat and put her feet against the body, pushing it away from her.  I took the shoulders and tugged.  The boat rocked violently. (p. 59).

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Synopsis:

Who is more dangerous? An enemy, a friend, or a lover?

When Bonnie Graham arrives at her boyfriend’s apartment in London, she is horrified to discover a dead body in a pool of blood on the floor. But she doesn’t call the police. Bonnie hides the corpse and then carefully wipes away any evidence she was ever there.

Bonnie is a music teacher who spent a long, hot summer in London rehearsing with a band to play at a friend’s wedding. It was supposed to be fun, but the band members find the complicated knots of their friendships—some old, some new—unraveling as the days themselves unwind. What was meant to be a summer of happiness, love, and music turns deadly as lovers betray one another, passions turn murderous, and friendship itself becomes a crime.

Everyone tells lies. But is anyone prepared to tell the truth to uncover a murderer?

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What do you think?  I love this author, so I’m eager to keep going.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “ROCK PAPER SCISSORS”

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, which I am currently reading:  Rock Paper Scissors, by Alice Feeney.

Intro:

February 2020 (Amelia)

My husband doesn’t recognize my face.

I feel him staring at me as I drive, and wonder what he sees.  Nobody else looks familiar to him either, but it is still strange to think that the man I married wouldn’t be able to pick me out in a police lineup.

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Teaser:

I keep my jacket on—I’m freezing—and watch as he locks the front doors with a giant old key.  I’ve never seen it before, but I’m so tired, maybe it was there the whole time and I just didn’t notice.

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Synopsis:

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts–paper, cotton, pottery, tin–and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

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Would you keep reading?  I am enjoying it so far.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “A SLOW FIRE BURNING”

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:  A Slow Fire Burning, by Paula Hawkins.

 

Intro:

Blood-sodden, the girl staggers into the black.  Her clothes are disheveled, hanging off her young body, revealing expanses of pale flesh.  Shoe lost, foot bleeding.  She is in agony, but the pain has become inconsequential, eclipsed by other sufferings.

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Teaser:

Carla heard Daniel; he was crying, too.  “Leave her alone!  Uncle Theo!  Please!  Leave her alone!”

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Synopsis:

When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?
 
Look what you started.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “28 SUMMERS”

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 purchased a while ago:  28 Summers, by Elin Hilderbrand.

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Intro:

Summer #28: 2020

What are we talking about in 2020?  Kobe Bryant, Covid-19, social distancing, Zoom, TikTok, Navarro cheerleading, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and…The presidential election.  A country divided. Opinions on both sides.

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Teaser:

Summer #2: 1994

What are we talking about in 1994?  O.J. Simpson, Al Cowlings, LAPD chasing a white Bronco down the 405, the bloody glove, Mark Fuhrman, Marcia Clark, Johnnie Cochran, Robert Kardashian, Kato Kaelin, Judge Ito…

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Synopsis:

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.

There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere—through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise—until Mallory learns she’s dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

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I have had this book since July 2020,  but now I am excited to finally read it.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “HOME FIRES”

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:  Home Fires, by Fiona Lowe.

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Intro: 

The scent of the rainforest—leaf mulch, mud and a spritz of eucalyptus—prickled Claire’s nostrils.  A fine mist settled over her, the chill sneaking around the tops of her woolen socks and skating along her bones.

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Teaser:

Bec couldn’t remember exactly how or when she’d arrived at the hospital and she didn’t care.  There’d been road blocks and police cars and changing arrangements but none of it mattered. Nothing mattered when a nightmare of unfathomable dimensions had caught her up in its web. (44%).

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Synopsis:

When a deadly wildfire tears through Myrtle, nestled along Australia’s breathtaking Great Ocean Road, the town’s buildings — and the lives of its residents — are left as smoldering ash. Eighteen months later, Myrtle stands restored, shiny and new. But is the outside polish just a veneer? 

For four women in particular, the fire fractured their lives and their relationships. Julie thinks tourism could bring some financial stability to their town and soon prods Claire, Bec and Sophie into joining her community group. 

But the scars of trauma run deep and as secrets emerge and each woman faces the damage the wildfire wrought, a shocking truth will emerge that will shake the town to its newly rebuilt foundations… 

With her sharp eye for human flaws, bestselling author Fiona Lowe writes an evocative tale of everyday people fighting for themselves, their families and their town.  

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

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “GONE FOR GOOD”

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 my shelves:  Gone for Good, by Joanna Schaffhausen.

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Intro: 

Detective Annalisa Vega had sworn off dating when the third guy in a row ended the evening by asking to see her handcuffs.  Or maybe her stomach had turned during the last homicide she’d worked, in which the ex-husband blew out a glass door with a double-barreled shotgun, hunted down his terrified wife, and executed her as she cowered next to the bed they’d once slept in together.

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Teaser:

Nick looked out the window at the passing scenery, his expression inscrutable.  “Pretty bold move, targeting a cop’s wife.  Even an ex-cop.” (p. 60).

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Synopsis:

The Lovelorn Killer murdered seven women, ritually binding them and leaving them for dead before penning them gruesome love letters in the local papers. Then he disappeared, and after twenty years with no trace of him, many believe that he’s gone for good.

Not Grace Harper. A grocery store manager by day, at night Grace uses her snooping skills as part of an amateur sleuth group. She believes the Lovelorn Killer is still living in the same neighborhoods that he hunted in, and if she can figure out how he selected his victims, she will have the key to his identity.

Detective Annalisa Vega lost someone she loved to the killer. Now she’s at a murder scene with the worst kind of déjà vu: Grace Harper lies bound and dead on the floor, surrounded by clues to the biggest murder case that Chicago homicide never solved. Annalisa has the chance to make it right and to heal her family, but first, she has to figure out what Grace knew—how to see a killer who may be standing right in front of you. This means tracing his steps back to her childhood, peering into dark corners she hadn’t acknowledged before, and learning that despite everything the killer took, she has still so much more to lose.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE NECKLACE”

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 September 7, 2021:  The Necklace, by Matt Witten.

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Intro:

Sunday, April 7, Twenty Years Ago.

“Which do you like better?”  Amy asked.  “The purple dolphin or the pink duck?”

“Here’s the fun part,” said Susan, ruffling her daughter’s silky hair.  “We can get both.”

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Teaser:

She looked toward Danny’s house.  The lights were on in the living room and a couple of back rooms that were probably bedrooms.  All at once the living room had a burst of movement.  Emily raced in, wearing pink pajamas, with Danny right behind, chasing her around the sofa. (51%).

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Synopsis:

Susan Lentigo’s daughter was murdered twenty years ago—and now, at long last, this small-town waitress sets out on a road trip all the way from Upstate New York to North Dakota to witness the killer’s execution.

On her journey she discovers shocking new evidence that leads her to suspect the condemned man is innocent—and the real killer is still free. Even worse, her prime suspect has a young daughter who’s at terrible risk. With no money and no time to spare, Susan sets out to uncover the truth before an innocent man gets executed and another little girl is killed.

But the FBI refuses to reopen the case. They—and Susan’s own mother—believe she’s just having an emotional breakdown. Reaching deep, Susan finds an inner strength she never knew she had. With the help of two unlikely allies—a cynical, defiant teenage girl and the retired cop who made the original arrest—Susan battles the FBI to put the real killer behind bars. Will she win justice for the condemned man—and her daughter—at last?

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts capture your interest?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE HOUSE GUESTS”

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:  The House Guests, by Emilie Richards.

Intro:

Amber Blair had spent most of her thirty-four years trying not to think about luck.  Her daddy had told her there were only two kinds.  Either you came into the world with the luck of the early bird or the early worm.

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Teaser:

Since then she’d learned to stay away from tourist cities and small towns where everybody knew everybody’s business. Somehow she’d succeeded in choosing places where she and her son could fade into the woodwork. (p. 65).

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Synopsis:

In the wake of her husband’s sudden death, Cassie Costas finds her relationship with her teenage stepdaughter unraveling. After their move to historic Tarpon Springs, Florida, Savannah hates her new town, her school and most of all her stepmom, whom she blames for her father’s death. Cassie has enough to contend with as she searches for answers about the man she shared a life with, including why all their savings have disappeared.

When Savannah’s rebellion culminates in an act that leaves single mother Amber Blair and her sixteen-year-old son homeless, Cassie empathizes with the woman’s predicament and invites the strangers to move in. As their lives intertwine, Cassie realizes that Amber is hiding something. She’s evasive about her past, but the fear in her eyes tells a darker story. Cassie wonders what the woman living under her roof is running from…and what will happen if it finally catches up to her.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “SUCH A QUIET PLACE”

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 downloaded recently:  Such a Quiet Place, by Megan Miranda.

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Intro:

There was no party the day Ruby Fletcher came home.

We had no warning, no time to prepare ourselves.

I didn’t hear the slam of the car door, or the key in the lock, or the front door swinging open.  It was the footsteps—the familiar pop of the floorboard just outside the kitchen—that registered first.

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Teaser:

There was no sign of Ruby when I woke.  When I stepped out of my bedroom, groggy and light-headed, the house was eerily quiet.  No scent of coffee or sound of her milling about. (p. 64).

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Synopsis:

Welcome to Hollow’s Edge, where you can find secrets, scandal, and a suspected killer—all on one street.

Hollow’s Edge used to be a quiet place. A private and idyllic neighborhood where neighbors dropped in on neighbors, celebrated graduation and holiday parties together, and looked out for one another. But then came the murder of Brandon and Fiona Truett. A year and a half later, Hollow’s Edge is simmering. The residents are trapped, unable to sell their homes, confronted daily by the empty Truett house, and suffocated by their trial testimonies that implicated one of their own. Ruby Fletcher. And now, Ruby’s back.

With her conviction overturned, Ruby waltzes right back to Hollow’s Edge, and into the home she once shared with Harper Nash. Harper, five years older, has always treated Ruby like a wayward younger sister. But now she’s terrified. What possible good could come of Ruby returning to the scene of the crime? And how can she possibly turn her away, when she knows Ruby has nowhere to go?

Within days, suspicion spreads like a virus across Hollow’s Edge. It’s increasingly clear that not everyone told the truth about the night of the Truetts’ murders. And when Harper begins receiving threatening notes, she realizes she has to uncover the truth before someone else becomes the killer’s next victim.

Pulsating with suspense and with the shocking twists that are Megan Miranda’s trademark, Such a Quiet Place is Megan Miranda’s best novel yet—a twisty locked-box thriller that will keep you turning pages late into the night.

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I can’t wait to start reading this one!  What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “COUNT THE WAYS”

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:  Count the Ways, by Joyce Maynard.

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Intro: 

(Prologue)

Toby was just a baby—Alison four years old, Ursula not yet three—the first time they launched the cork people.  After that it became their annual tradition.

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Teaser:

“She had it all,” Darla said.  “Then she meets this guy and he takes her away and they start robbing banks.  Next thing you know, she’s calling herself Tania and she’s on the front page wearing some damned camo gear, holding an M16.” (p.61).

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Synopsis:

Eleanor and Cam meet at a crafts fair in Vermont in the early 1970s. She’s an artist and writer, he makes wooden bowls. Within four years they are parents to three children, two daughters and a red-headed son who fills his pockets with rocks, plays the violin and talks to God. To Eleanor, their New Hampshire farm provides everything she always wanted—summer nights watching Cam’s softball games, snow days by the fire and the annual tradition of making paper boats and cork people to launch in the brook every spring. If Eleanor and Cam don’t make love as often as they used to, they have something that matters more. Their family.

Then comes a terrible accident, caused by Cam’s negligence. Unable to forgive him, Eleanor is consumed by bitterness, losing herself in her life as a mother, while Cam finds solace with a new young partner. 

Over the decades that follow, the five members of this fractured family make surprising discoveries and decisions that occasionally bring them together, and often tear them apart. Tracing the course of their lives—through the gender transition of one child and another’s choice to completely break with her mother—Joyce Maynard captures a family forced to confront essential, painful truths of its past, and find redemption in its darkest hours.

A story of holding on and learning to let go, Count the Ways is an achingly beautiful, poignant, and deeply compassionate novel of home, parenthood, love, and forgiveness.

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What do you think?  I always eagerly anticipate books from this author.

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