tuesday sparks

TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE COMFORTS OF HOME”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new acquisition:  The Comforts of Home, by Susan Hill:  Simon Serrailler faces his most difficult case yet in the ninth installment of Susan Hill’s gripping mystery series.

 

 

  Intro: (Prologue)

For a long time, there had been blackness and the blackness had no form or shape.  But then a soft and cloudy greyness had seeped in around the edges of the black, and soon, the images had come and these had moved forward very fast, like the pages of a child’s flip book.  At first he could not catch any, or distinguish between them, but gradually their movement had slowed and he had made out faces, and parts of bodies—a hand, a thumb, the back of a neck.  Hair.  The images had begun to pulse, and balloon in and out, like a beating heart, the faces had swirled together, mingled then separated, and once or twice they had leered at him, or laughed silently out of mouths full of broken teeth.

***

Teaser:  He was very hot, his skin dry.  When he got back into bed sweat was running down his face. (59%).

***

Synopsis:  Susan Hill—the Man Booker Prize nominee and winner of the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards—returns with a hair-raising new novel, the ninth book in one of the most acclaimed mystery series of our time. Featuring the enigmatic and brooding chief police inspector Simon Serrailler, this intricate and pulse-pounding series follows a collection of grisly crimes plaguing the city of Lafferton—and The Comforts of Home is the most chilling and unputdownable installment yet.

In this gripping new thriller, Simon, eager to be back at work after recovering from a near-fatal injury, takes on a cold-case review for the Lafferton police about a girl who disappeared some years before. Meanwhile, his family adjusts to changes of its own; namely his sister’s marriage to Chief Constable Kieron Bright. But when events take an unfavorable turn for the Chief Constable and an arsonist goes on a deadly rampage in Lafferton, Simon’s personal and professional lives intertwine in more complex and devastating ways than ever before.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts compel you to keep reading?

***

tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “AN UNWANTED GUEST”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new download from a favorite author:  An Unwanted Guest, by Shari Lapena:  A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away

 

 

 

Intro:  (ONE, Friday, 4:45 p.m.)

The road curves and twists unexpectedly as it leads higher and deeper into the Catskill Mountains, as if the farther you get from civilization, the more uncertain the path.  The shadows are deepening, the weather worsening. The Hudson River is there, appearing and disappearing from view.  The forest that rises on either side of the road has a lurking quality, as if it might swallow you whole; it is the forest of fairy tales.  The softly falling snow, however, lends it all a certain postcard charm.

***

Teaser:  She walks quietly into the bathroom, leaving the door open.  She doesn’t want to turn on the light—she doesn’t want to wake Ian.  It’s damn cold.  She brushes her hair quickly.  Her illuminated watch face says it’s just before six. (p. 60).

***

Synopsis:  It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm.

***

Do the excerpts draw you in?  Do you want to know more?

***

 

tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “WHISTLE IN THE DARK”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download:  Whistle in the Dark, by Emma Healey, is a wry, poignant, and masterfully drawn story that explores the bonds and duress of family life, the pain of mental illness, and the fraught yet enduring connection between mothers and daughters…

 

 

Intro:  (The end)

“This has been the worst week of my life,” Jen said.  Not what she had planned to say to her fifteen-year-old daughter after an ordeal that had already covered four days.

“Hi, Mum.”  Lana’s voice emerged from blue-tinged lips.

***

Teaser:  “I just don’t see why you won’t talk to anyone, Lana,” Meg was saying, as Jen walked in.  “Have you done something bad?  Something illegal?  Did you hurt someone?  Are you ashamed?”  She had her back to the sitting-room door, but had surely heard her mother come in (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:  Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.

Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.

Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: “I can’t remember.”

For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana’s steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.

***

I loved the author’s previous book, Elizabeth Is Missing, so I was eager to grab this one.  What do you think?

***

tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “FEARED”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a NetGalley ARC:  Feared, by Lisa Scottoline, will be released on 8/14/18.  The book explores what happens when we are tempted to give in to our own inner darkness.

 

 

 

Intro:  “Surprise!” everyone shouted, as Mary DiNunzio opened the door to the conference room.  The office was throwing her a baby shower, and she almost burst into tears of joy.  Pregnancy had boosted her emotions past normal Italian-American levels, and for the past seven months, she’d been a walking bowl of estrogen.

***

Teaser:  It wasn’t until two o’clock in the morning that Mary finally slipped into bed, having stayed up to decompress with Judy in the guest bedroom, flopping around with her gaseous golden retriever, talking about John, William, and theories of the murder.  They had searched John’s file cabinet in his apartment, but they hadn’t been able to find a William file or emails from John to Mike Shanahan, so they’d resolved to look at the office at work tomorrow (54%).

***

Synopsis:  When three men announce that they are suing the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that they were not hired because they were men—Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato are outraged. To make matters worse, their one male employee, John Foxman, intends to resign, claiming that there is some truth to this case.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer is Nick Machiavelli, who has already lost to Mary once and is now back with a vengeance —determined not to not only win, but destroy the firm. It soon becomes clear that Machiavelli will do anything in his power to achieve his end…even after the case turns deadly. The stakes have never been higher for Mary and her associates as they try to keep Machiavelli at bay, solve a murder, and save the law firm they love…or they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Told with Scottoline’s trademark gift for twists, turns, heart, and humanity, this latest thriller asks the question: Is it better to be loved, or feared…

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “GENUINE FRAUD”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a book that has been on Pippa since September 2017:  Genuine Fraud, by e. lockhart, a perfectly plotted, well-written novel with a surprise twist.

 

 

Intro:  Begin here:

Third Week in June, 2017

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

It was a bloody great hotel.

The minibar in Jule’s room stocked potato chips and four different chocolate bars.  The bathtub had bubble jets.  There was an endless supply of fat towels and liquid gardenia soap.  In the lobby, an elderly gentleman played Gershwin on a grand piano at four each afternoon.  You could get hot clay skin treatments, if you didn’t mind strangers touching you.  Jule’s skin smelled like chlorine all day.

***

Teaser:  People needed to protect themselves.  It was human nature, and Jule had spent years training to make herself especially good at it.  The events of today were proof that she was even more capable than she’d hoped. (46%).

***

Synopsis:  Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

***

I enjoyed We Were Liars, so I was eager to add this book to my shelves.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “LOST & FOUND SISTERS”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a book that has been languishing on Pippa:  Lost and Found Sisters, by Jill Shalvis, an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  Here was the thing:  life sucked if you let it.  So Quinn Weller usually worked really hard to not let it.  Caffeine helped.  For up to thirty-eight blissful minutes it could even trick her into thinking she was in a decent mood.  She knew this because it took forty-eight minutes to get from her local coffee shop through LA rush-hour traffic to work, and those last ten minutes were never good.

***

Teaser Tuesdays:  Quinn sighed and watched Mick pull his shirt back on.  “I’ll be right there.”  She disconnected and met Mick’s gaze.  “I feel like I should call my mom and apologize for ever being a teenager.”

***

Synopsis:  They say life can change in an instant… 

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find? 

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked. 

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

***

This book has been languishing on Pippa for a while.  I am now ready to dive in!  Would you keep reading?

***

tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “I AM WATCHING YOU”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s featured book is a relatively new download:  I Am Watching You, by Teresa Driscoll…

 

 

 

 

 

Intro: (July 2015 -The Witness)

I made a mistake.  I know that now.

The only reason I did what I did was what I heard on that train.  And I ask you, in all truthfulness—how would you have felt?

Until that moment, I had never considered myself prudish.  Or naive.  OK, OK, so I had a pretty conventional—some might say sheltered—upbringing but…Heavens.  Look at me now.  I’ve lived a bit.  Learned a lot.  Pretty average, I would argue, on the Richter scale of moral behavior, which is why what I heard so shook me.

I thought they were nice girls, you see.

***

Teaser: You disgust me.  Anna’s voice again.  In his head.  In his car.  In the passenger seat, refusing to look him in the face.

And in this moment he realises that there isn’t anything Barbara can say or the police can say to possibly make him feel worse than he already does. (p.100).

***

Synopsis: What would it take to make you intervene?

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.

***

Would you keep reading?  Do the excerpts tempt and tease you?

***

tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “SING, UNBURIED, SING”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent download:  Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward, is a majestic new work and an unforgettable family story.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  (Jojo)

I like to think I know what death is.  I like to think that it’s something I could look at straight.  When Pop tell me he need my help and I see that black knife slid into the belt of his pants, I follow Pop out the house, try to keep my back straight, my shoulders even as a hanger; that’s how Pop walks.  I try to look like this is normal and boring so Pop will think I’ve earned these thirteen years, so Pop will know I’m ready to pull what needs to be pulled, separate innards from muscle, organs from cavities.  I want Pop to know I can get bloody.  Today’s my birthday.

***

Teaser:  (Jojo)

Kayla need to eat.  I can tell by the way she keep crying, the way she keep hunching over and then knocking her head back and arching against her seat once we get back on the road.  And screaming.  I can tell there’s something wrong with her stomach. (p. 107).

***

Synopsis:  In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

***

What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?

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tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “EVEN IF IT KILLS HER”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new download:  Even If It Kills Her, by Kate White, who returns to her New York Times bestselling Bailey Weggins’ Mystery series, with this favorite true-crime journalist turned sleuth’s most chilling case to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intro: I don’t have a ton of regrets to show for my thirty-six years on the planet, but the ones that I do have seem to possess a determined and sneaky resilience.  Every once in a while, say, when I’m working on a crime story that’s particularly soul-sucking, and I’ve been on the road far longer than planned—holed up in Beyonce-style luxury at  Best Western or DoubleTree Suites—one of them will resurface, like a lake snake coming up for air, raising its snout above the waterline and forcing me to stare it in the face.

I regret not knowing my father well, though there was nothing I could have done about that one.  He died of a brain aneurysm while on a fishing trip with a friend when I was twelve.

***

Teaser:  He abruptly walked away and ducked into what I guessed was the powder room.  Three minutes later he emerged looking grim.  My stomach sank. (58%).

***

Synopsis:  Bailey Weggins’ great new friend in college, Jillian Lowe, had everything going for her. Pretty, popular, and whip-smart, she lit up any room that she walked into. All of that dramatically changed during her sophomore year, when a neighbor became unhinged and murdered her family. Jillian immediately left school, and ever since, Bailey has felt guilty for not staying in closer contact and being a greater support to her friend.

Now, sixteen years later, Bailey is shocked to see Jillian at her book event, and even more stunned when her still-gorgeous friend approaches her with a case. The man accused of murdering her family is on the brink of being cleared of the crime through new DNA evidence. With the real killer walking free, Jillian is desperate for Bailey’s help to identify him and allow her the closure she yearns for.

As the two women return to Jillian’s childhood town to investigate, it doesn’t take long for their sleuthing to cause shock waves. Someone starts watching their every move. As they uncover deeply-guarded secrets, so shocking that they make Jillian rethink her entire relationship to her family, Bailey and Jillian find themselves in great peril. They must decide just how much they’re willing to risk to finally discover the truth about the Lowe family’s murder.

***

Do you like the snippets?  Would you keep reading?

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tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE STOLEN MARRIAGE”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a NetGalley ARC:  The Stolen Marriage, by Diane Chamberlain: release date, 10/3/17.  Steeped in history and filled with heart-wrenching twists, The Stolen Marriage is an emotionally captivating novel of secrets, betrayals, prejudice, and forgiveness. It showcases Diane Chamberlain at the top of her talent.

 

 

 

Intro:  (June 1944 – Prologue – Hickory, North Carolina)

It’s a terrible feeling, being despised.  From the moment I set foot in Hickory, I felt the suspicion, distrust, and outright hostility of most of the people I met.  Even my new sister-in-law regarded me with disdain.  When Henry told me Lucy was just a few years younger than me, I thought, How wonderful!  We can be friends.  But we were not anywhere close to being friends.

I was making my bed one bright June morning when I heard footsteps in the hall outside the room I shared with Henry.  Lucy pushed open the door, walking into the room without knocking, and I tightened the sash of my robe.  Neither Henry nor I were happy about living with his mother and sister.  In a month or so, we would move into our own home.  I hoped that would make things better.  Our marriage.  My relationship with my mother-in-law, Ruth.  My heavy heart.  I hadn’t been happy in so long.  I doubted a new house was going to fix what was wrong with me.

***

Teaser:  I sat still for a long time after hanging up the phone, wishing I could miraculously change the last few minutes.  Hattie was at the store and I was glad she wasn’t home.  I dreaded telling her. (55%).

***

Synopsis:  One mistake, one fateful night, and Tess DeMello’s life is changed forever.

It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess knows she is needed and defies Henry’s wishes to begin working  there. Through this work, she begins to find purpose and meaning. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love—and the life—she was meant to have?

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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