TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “BLOOD ORANGE”

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 acquisition:  Blood Orange, by Harriet Tyce.

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Intro:  The October sky lies gray above me and my wheelie bag’s heavy but I wait for the bus and count my blessings.  The trial is finished, kicked out at halftime after a legal argument on the basis of insufficient evidence.  It’s always pleasing to get one up on the prosecution and my client’s over the moon.

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Teaser:  Madeleine’s words echo through my mind while the stark letters of the text message dance in front of my eyes.  Patrick gestures impatiently for me to start talking again once she settles herself at the table but my words come out in incoherent jumps.  Eventually he takes over.  (p.70).

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Synopsis:  A young lawyer’s outwardly perfect life spirals out of control as she takes on her first murder case in this “dark, original and utterly compelling” domestic noir for readers of Paula Hawkins, A.J. Finn, or Shari Lapena. (Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone)

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise–she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

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Would you keep reading?  I am eager to find out more.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “PRETTY LITTLE WIFE”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is another new book:  Pretty Little Wife, by Darby Kane.

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Intro:  A Monster.

She missed the signs before.  Maybe ignored them without fully realizing it.   Now she couldn’t unsee them.

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Teaser:  She possessed the perfect mix of pretty with a whiff of mystery.  Ginny could imagine men at the yacht club falling over themselves to flirt with her, and her not reacting at all.  (p. 63).

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Synopsis:  Lila Ridgefield lives in an idyllic college town, but not everything is what it seems. Lila isn’t what she seems.

A student vanished months ago. Now, Lila’s husband, Aaron, is also missing. At first these cases are treated as horrible coincidences until it’s discovered the student is really the third of three unexplained disappearances over the last few years. The police are desperate to find the connection, if there even is one. Little do they know they might be stumbling over only part of the truth….

With the small town in an uproar, everyone is worried about the whereabouts of their beloved high school teacher. Everyone except Lila, his wife. She’s definitely confused about her missing husband but only because she was the last person to see his body, and now it’s gone.

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What do you think?  I am intrigued.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “SHELTER IN 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 recent acquisition:  Shelter in Place, by David Leavitt.

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Intro:  “Would you be willing to ask Siri how to assassinate Trump?”  Eva Lindquist asked.

It was four o’clock on a November afternoon, the first Saturday after the 2016 presidential election, and Eva was sitting on the covered porch of her weekend house in Connecticut with her husband, Bruce; their houseguests, Min Marable, Jake Lovett, and a couple named Aaron and Rachel Weisenstein, both book editors; Grady Keohane, a bachelor choreographer who had a place down the road; and Grady’s houseguest, his cousin Sandra Bleek, who had recently left her husband and was staying with him while she got herself sorted out.

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Teaser:  For Min, the disparity between Matt’s looks—he was six foot three and bore a distinct resemblance to the young Glenn Ford—and his fastidious manner, which expressed itself most obviously in his cooking, was troublesome. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  It is the Saturday after the 2016 presidential election, and in a plush weekend house in Connecticut, an intimate group of friends, New Yorkers all, has gathered to recover from what they consider the greatest political catastrophe of their lives. They have just sat down to tea when their hostess, Eva Lindquist, proposes a dare. Who among them would be willing to ask Siri how to assassinate Donald Trump? Liberal and like-minded-editors, writers, a decorator, a theater producer, and one financial guy, Eva’s husband, Bruce-the friends have come to the countryside in the hope of restoring the bubble in which they have grown used to living. Yet with the exception of one brash and obnoxious book editor, none is willing to accept Eva’s challenge.

Shelter in Place is a novel about house and home, furniture and rooms, safety and freedom and the invidious ways in which political upheaval can undermine even the most seemingly impregnable foundations. Eva is the novel’s polestar, a woman who moves through her days accompanied by a roving, carefully curated salon. She’s a generous hostess and more than a bit of a control freak, whose obsession with decorating allows Leavitt to treat us to a slyly comic look at the habitués and fetishes of the so-called shelter industry. Yet when, in her avidity to secure shelter for herself, she persuades Bruce to buy a grand if dilapidated apartment in Venice, she unwittingly sets off the chain of events that will propel him, for the first time, to venture outside the bubble and embark on a wholly unexpected love affair.

A comic portrait of the months immediately following the 2016 election, Shelter in Place is also a meditation on the unreliable appetites-for love, for power, for freedom-by which both our public and private lives are shaped.

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What do you think?  Does the blurb grab you?  Do you like the snippets?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE ARRANGEMENT”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent acquisition from an author I enjoy:  The Arrangement, by Robyn Harding.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

“Daddy?”

Nat’s voice on the phone was small and tremulous.  She hadn’t called her father daddy since she was a little girl.  Hadn’t called him at all since she’d graduated from high school, since she’d moved to New York, since she’d started her new life.

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Teaser:  (The Drink)

Natalie’s gloved hand gripped the railing as she descended the front steps to her Uber.  To calm her nerves, she’d had a coffee mug full of vodka and Sprite while she’d straightened her hair. (p. 60).

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Synopsis:  Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favors are optional.

Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.

So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.

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Would you keep reading?  I am already hooked.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “BEHIND THE RED 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 a new book:  Behind the Red Door, by Megan Collins

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Intro:  Now that it’s summer, it’s not my job to protect the children.  I have finished the follow-ups on the girl who submitted a suicide note for her English essay.  I have closed the file on the boy who came to school with rope burns on his neck.

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Teaser:  My heart thumped when I read that.  My stomach roiled.  I had to set the book aside, curl into myself, wrap my arms around my knees. (p.59).

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Synopsis:  When Fern Douglas sees the news about Astrid Sullivan, a thirty-four-year-old missing woman from Maine, she is positive that she knows her. Fern’s husband is sure it’s because of Astrid’s famous kidnapping—and equally famous return—twenty years ago, but Fern has no memory of that, even though it happened an hour outside her New Hampshire hometown. And when Astrid appears in Fern’s recurring nightmare, one in which a girl reaches out to her, pleading, Fern fears that it’s not a dream at all, but a memory.

Back at her childhood home to help her father pack for a move, Fern purchases a copy of Astrid’s recently published memoir—which may have provoked her original kidnapper to abduct her again—and as she reads through its chapters and visits the people and places within it, she discovers more evidence that she has an unsettling connection to the missing woman. With the help of her psychologist father, Fern digs deeper, hoping to find evidence that her connection to Astrid can help the police locate her. But when Fern discovers more about her own past than she ever bargained for, the disturbing truth will change both of their lives forever.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE PUSH”

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:  The Push, by Claire McGowan

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Intro:  (Prologue)

The babies all look the same.  They lie in a circle on a patterned rug, heads in, legs fanning out like a star.  They will grow up to be so different; some rich, some poor, some happy some sad, some hearty some sickly.

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Teaser Tuesday:  I sat up in bed in the dark, pulling the dream’s remnants from me like cobwebs.  Beside me, Aaron breathed peacefully. (p. 57).

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Synopsis:  The party should have been perfect: six couples from the same baby group, six newborns, a luxurious house. But not everything has gone to plan, and while some are here to celebrate, others have sorrows to drown. When someone falls from the balcony of the house, the secrets and conflicts within the group begin to spill out …

DS Alison Hegarty, herself struggling with infertility, is called in to investigate. She’s convinced the fall was not an accident, and finds the new parents have a lot to hide. Wealthy Ed and Monica show off their newborn while their teenage daughter is kept under virtual house arrest. Hazel and Cathy conceived their longed-for baby via an anonymous sperm donor—or so Hazel thinks. Anita and Jeremy planned to adopt from America, but there’s no sign of the child. Kelly, whose violent boyfriend disrupted previous group sessions, came to the party even though she lost her baby. And then there’s Jax, who’s been experiencing strange incidents for months—almost like someone’s out to get her. Is it just a difficult pregnancy? Or could it be payback for something she did in the past?

It’s a nightmare of a case, and as events get even darker it begins to look impossible. Only one thing is clear: they all have something to hide. And for one of them, it’s murder.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL”

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:  Goodnight Beautiful, by Aimee Molloy

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Intro:  (Prologue, October 20)

I look up as a man with ruddy cheeks and a crew cut walks into the restaurant, shaking rain from his baseball cap.  “Hey, sweetheart,” he calls to the pink-haired girl mixing drinks behind the bar.  “Any chance you can hang this in the window?”

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Teaser Tuesdays:  They share a hearty chuckle, and I notice how relaxed he sounds.  In fact, I’d say he’s more relaxed than he’s been in days. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  A handsome psychotherapist. His lonely wife. And in his home office ceiling, a vent …

You’d listen too, wouldn’t you? (You know you would.)

Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York City and start a life together in Sam’s sleepy hometown upstate. Or, it turns out, a life where Annie spends most of her time alone while Sam, her therapist husband, works long hours in his downstairs office, tending to the egos of his (mostly female) clientele. Little does Sam know that through a vent in his ceiling, every word of his sessions can be heard from the room upstairs. The pharmacist’s wife, contemplating a divorce. The well-known painter whose boyfriend doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Who could resist listening? Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie’s happily ever after. 

Showcasing Molloy’s deft ability to subvert norms and culminating in the kind of stunning twist that is becoming her trademark, Goodnight Beautiful is a thrilling tale of domestic suspense that not only questions assumptions but defies expectations.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR”

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:  The Girl in the Mirror, by Rose Carlyle.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

For the first twelve days of our life, we were one person.  Our father’s brains and our mother’s beauty swirled into one blessed embryo, the sole heir to the Carmichael fortune.

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Teaser:  It was a recent transformation.  I don’t know whether Summer had noticed, but I had seen the way boys looked at her. (p. 66).

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Synopsis:  Twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam.

Called to Thailand to help her sister sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. When she makes it to land, Iris allows herself to be swept up by Adam, who assumes that she is Summer.

Iris recklessly goes along with his mistake. Not only does she finally have the golden life she’s always envied, with her sister gone, she’s one step closer to the hundred-million-dollar inheritance left by her manipulative father. All Iris has to do is be the first of his seven children to produce an heir.

Iris’s “new” life lurches between glamorous dream and paranoid nightmare. On the edge of being exposed, how far will she go to ensure no one discovers the truth?

And just what did happen to Summer on the yacht?

Only Iris knows . . .

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

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

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a recent acquisition:  I Was Told It Would Get Easier, by Abbi Waxman.

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Intro:  Jessica Burnstein, 45, Full of Optimism:

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

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Teaser Tuesday:  (Jessica)

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

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

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

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

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

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What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “I’LL BE SEEING YOU”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, now hosted by  Socrates Book Reviews; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a new book from a favorite author:  I’ll Be Seeing You, by Elizabeth Berg.

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Intro:  October 30, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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