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

 

 

***

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.

***

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: “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.

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE NEIGHBORS”

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 Neighbors, by Hannah Mary McKinnon, a book I purchased several months ago, in which Abby looks forward to meeting the family who just moved in across the street—until she realizes they’re the one couple who could expose her deepest secrets…

 

 

 

Beginning:  (THEN: JULY 18, 1992, ABBY)

“Help!”

The faint voice floated toward me. Gliding smooth as a paper airplane from somewhere in the midst of the fog swirling through my brain.  Orange lights flashed in a steady rhythm and —

“Please.”

I wondered if I’d uttered the words, but I hadn’t moved my lips.  Hadn’t moved at all.  Couldn’t.  It hurt too much.  Everything hurt too much.

***

Friday 56%:  (THEN – ABBY)

We talked about our guilt sometimes.  When I woke up screaming for the fifth night in a row, Nate held me.  He wept when I whispered it wasn’t his fault he hadn’t been able to save Tom.  He seemed so grateful, so overwhelmed I could forgive him, although there was nothing to forgive.

***

Synopsis:  After a night of fun back in 1992, Abby is responsible for a car crash that kills her beloved brother. It’s a mistake she can never forgive, so she pushes away Liam, the man she loves most, knowing that he would eventually hate her for what she’s done, the same way she hates herself.

Twenty years later, Abby’s husband, Nate, is also living with a deep sense of guilt. He was the driver who first came upon the scene of Abby’s accident, the man who pulled her to safety before the car erupted in flames—the man who could not save her brother in time. It’s this guilt, this regret, that binds them together. They understand each other. Or so Nate believes.

In a strange twist of fate, Liam moves into the neighborhood with his own family, releasing a flood of memories that Abby has been trying to keep buried all these years. Abby and Liam, in a complicit agreement, pretend never to have met, yet cannot resist the pull of the past—nor the repercussions of the terrible secrets they’ve both been carrying…

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts draw you in?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “AN ANONYMOUS GIRL”

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; the book will be released on 1/8/19.  An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, is “a fiendishly smart cat-and-mouse thriller” —New York Times Book Review

 

 

Book Beginnings:  (From Chapter One)

Friday, November 16

A lot of women want the world to see them a certain way.  It’s my job to create those transformations, one forty-five minute session at a time.

My clients seem different when I’ve finished helping them.  They grow more confident, radiant.  Happier, even.

But I can only offer a temporary fix.  People invariably revert to their former selves.

True change requires more than the tools I wield.

***

Friday 56%:  Monday, December 17

A sharp, sudden noise alerts me to the presence of someone in the town house.

The cleaning lady does not come on Mondays.

The rooms are still, and bathed in shadows.  The noise originated from the left.

***

Synopsis:  Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

***

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book for a while.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE PERFECT COUPLE”

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 downloaded in June:  The Perfect Couple, by Elin Hilderbrand, a novel about the many ways family can fill our lives with love…if they don’t kill us first.

 

 

Book Beginning:  (Saturday, July 7, 2018, 5:53 a.m.)

The Chief:  A phone call before six on a Saturday morning is never a good thing, although it’s not unheard of on a holiday weekend.  Too many times to count, Chief Ed Kapenash of the Nantucket Police Department has seen the Fourth of July go sideways.  The most common accident is a person blowing off a finger while lighting fireworks.   Sometimes things are more serious.

***

Friday 56:  (Nantucket)

At the hospital, the Greek is greeted by a trio of nurses—Margaret, Suzanne, and Patty.  Nick has been on dates with both Suzanne and Patty—nothing serious, just fun.  He smiles at all three and says, “Where am I going and what do I need to know?” (56%).

***

Synopsis:  It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer—the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

But it’s going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom’s famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect.

***

What grabs you?  The synopsis, the promise of a beautiful setting, or an unexpected murder?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “JUST BETWEEN US”

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 downloaded several months ago…and decided it needed attention.  Just Between Us, by Rebecca Drake,  is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

 

 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

Funerals for murder victims are distinguished from other services by the curiosity seekers.  Those who come even though they have no real relationship with the victim, but have been fooled by the publicity surrounding the death into thinking that they had a personal connection.

Chapter One: (Alison)

Sometimes I play the what-if game and wonder, what if we hadn’t moved to Sewickley when I got pregnant, and what if I hadn’t gone into labor in early August, and what if Lucy hadn’t slipped, wet and wailing, into this world a full three weeks early?  If my oldest child had been born on her due date or after, then she wouldn’t have been eligible for school a full year earlier than expected, and I wouldn’t have met the women who became my closest friends, and what happened to us might never have happened at all.

(Thoughts:  I love playing “what-if” games, but they seldom bring any kind of relief!).

***

Friday 56:  (p. 57 – there is no p. 56)

(Alison) The shock of finding out that Daniel was not Heather’s birth child was as great, in many ways, as seeing that vast and lovely kitchen covered in broken glass.  Sarah swung the car off the side of the road, screeching to a halt along the berm, before reaching for my phone to confirm for herself.

***

Synopsis:  Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

***

This book has been a neglected one, since I purchased it in January.  As I re-read the blurb and the excerpts, I had to chide myself at how long I’ve waited.  What do you think?  Do the snippets grab you?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “ALL YOUR PERFECTS”

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 from a favorite author:  All Your Perfects, by Colleen Hoover, is a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

 

 

 

Beginning:  (Then)

The doorman didn’t smile at me.

That thought plagues me during the entire ride up the elevator to Ethan’s floor.  Vincent has been my favorite doorman since Ethan moved into this apartment building.  He always smiles and chats with me.  But today, he simply held the door open with a stoic expression.  Not even a, “Hello, Quinn.  How was your trip?”

***

Friday 56%: (Now)

“You don’t hate me,” he says quietly.  “In order to hate me you’d have to love me.  But you’ve been indifferent toward me for a long time now.”

***

Synopsis:  Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

***

What do you think?  I’ve been waiting for this one for a long while.

***

 

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SURPRISE ME”

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 recently downloaded library book:  Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella, a witty and emotionally charged novel that delves into the heart of a marriage, and how those we love and think we know best can sometimes surprise us the most…

 

 

 

 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

I have this secret little vocabulary for my husband.  Words I’ve invented, just to describe him.  I’ve never even told him about them:  They just pop into my head now and then.  Like…

Scrubcious:  the adorable way he scrunches up his face when he’s confused, his eyebrows akimbo, his gaze imploring, as if to say:  Explain!

***

Friday 56:  My smile is still fixed on my face.  I feel slightly surreal.  But I don’t hesitate for a moment.

***

Synopsis:  After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls, and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years . . . and panic sets in. 
           
They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me—from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots—mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all.
           
With a colorful cast of eccentric characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.

***

I’m eager to start reading this book.  What do you think?

***

Bookish Friday

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE HOUSE SWAP”

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 House Swap, by Rebecca Fleet, is the eerie backdrop to a chilling look inside a broken marriage filled with tantalizing secrets.

 

Beginning: (Away: Caroline, May 2015)

When we turn into the street my first thought is that the houses around here all look the same.  Neat whitewashed rectangles with boxy little windows and flatly sloping roofs.  They almost all have window boxes, too—lined up along the lower sills and filled uniformly with white and purple pansies, like they’re subject to some sort of dress code.

***

Friday 56:  Just before she comes in I get up and look in the mirror that hangs over the mantelpiece.  I don’t know who I’m expecting to see inside it.  Not this man with the graying puffy skin and the grooves of worry sunk deep into the corners of his eyes, his face familiar yet strange, like a surreal caricature of myself.

***

Synopsis:  When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap–from their city apartment to a house in a leafy, upscale London suburb–they jump at the chance for a week away from home, their son, and the tensions that have pushed their marriage to the brink.

As the couple settles in, the old problems that permeate their marriage–his unhealthy behaviors, her indiscretions–start bubbling to the surface. But while they attempt to mend their relationship, their neighbor, an intense young woman, is showing a little too much interest in their activities.

Meanwhile, Caroline slowly begins to uncover some signs of life in the stark house–signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music might seem innocent to anyone else–but to her they are clues. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone who knows her, someone who knows the secrets she’s desperate to forget. . . .

***