TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND”

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:  Before She Was Found, by Heather Gudenkauf,  about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence.

 

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Intro:  (Monday, April 16, 2018, 12:45 a.m.)

The air is cold, but she barely notices.  It’s the dark that fills her chest with terror, makes her limbs heavy with dread.  But she feels something else, too.  Something that she can’t quite name.  It reminds her of how she feels the night before her birthday or on Christmas Eve but not exactly the same.  Thinking about her birthday and Christmas makes her feel good, warm.  This feels more like slowly climbing the ladder to the high dive at the swimming pool or like when the roller coaster at Adventureland reaches its highest peak just before it plunges straight down and she just knows she is going to die.

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Teaser:  “It looks like this conversation is over,” I say, voice shaky with rage.  “Get out.”  My mind is reeling.

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Synopsis:  For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.

Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

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I love this author’s books, so I’m eager to dive right in.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE BETTER SISTER”

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:  The Better Sister, by Alafair Burke. Keep your enemies close and your sister closer.

 

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Intro:  (Fourteen Years Earlier)

I betrayed my sister while standing on the main stairs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a beaded Versace gown (borrowed) and five-inch stiletto heels (never worn again).

At the time, I never could have scored an invitation—or been able to afford a ticket—to the Met Gala in my own right.  I was the guest of my boss, Catherine Lancaster, the editor in chief of City Woman magazine.  She wasn’t even my boss.  She was my boss’s boss’s boss.  And somehow she personally invited me.

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Teaser:  Olivia had told us to expect an objection to the fact that Nicky and I were sitting in the courtroom.  I was expressly on the witness list, and Nicky could still potentially be called as well.  Even though Nunzio could obviously see us as he paced the courtroom, he said nothing to object. (59%).

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Synopsis:  Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be the one in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky—always restless and more than a little reckless—was the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.

For a while, it seemed that both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicky married promising young attorney Adam Macintosh and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ethan. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.

Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different—and Chloe is married to Adam. When he’s murdered by an intruder at the couple’s East Hampton beach house, Chloe reluctantly allows her teenage stepson’s biological mother—her estranged sister, Nicky—back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect in his father’s death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past.

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I have enjoyed several books by this author.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “SUNSET BEACH”

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 to be released on May 7:  Sunset Beach, by Mary Kay Andrews.  Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist.

 

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Intro:  (Sunset Beach, April 2018)

Drue turned the key in the ignition and the white Bronco’s engine gave a dispirited cough, and then nothing.

“Come on, OJ,” Drue muttered, trying again.  This time the engine turned over.  She gave it some gas and the motor roared to life.

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Teaser Tuesday:  Drue sat in the car for a few minutes, trying to decide on her next move.  She was now only a few blocks from the Silver Sands motel, where Jazmin’s boyfriend worked.  She called the motel and asked for Jorge Morales, but was told his shift didn’t start until 8:00 P.M. (52%).

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Synopsis:  Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “HERE’S TO US”

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 languishing on my Kindle for almost three years:  Here’s to Us, by Elin Hilderbrand. Three romantic rivals in one crowded house equals plenty of room for jealousy in this surprising and heartwarming story from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.

 

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Intro:  (Prologue:  One Perfect Day)

Deacon Thorpe is thirteen years old and still more a boy than a man when his father, Jack, tells Deacon they’re taking a day trip out of the city, just the two of them.

Deacon is intrigued by the idea of a day trip out of the city.  They rarely have money for anything other than minute-to-minute survival.  Jack works as a line chef at Sardi’s in Times Square, and he gets only three days off per month.

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Teaser:  As she climbed the stairs to her apartment, her vision started to splotch.  She was roasting in her jeans.  When she attacked the fifth flight of stairs, she thought she saw a man’s feet in flip-flops sticking out in front of her apartment door. (p. 60).

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Synopsis:  Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe–a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life–and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn’t be more different. Laurel: Deacon’s high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They’ve established a delicate understanding over the years–they avoid each other at all costs.

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon’s tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon’s final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantucket to say good-bye. Begrudgingly, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett gather on the island as once again, as in each of their marriages, they’re left to pick up Deacon’s mess. Now they’re trapped in the crowded cottage where they all made their own memories–a house that they now share in more ways than one–along with the children they raised with Deacon, and his best friend. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett each had an unbreakable bond with Deacon–and they all have secrets to hide.

Before the weekend is over, there are enough accusations, lies, tears, and drama to turn even the best of friends–let alone three women who married the same man–into adversaries. As his unlikely family says good-bye to the man who brought them together–for better or worse–will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to raise a glass in Deacon’s honor?

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What do you think?  I can’t believe I have waited so long to read this one.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND”

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:  The Perfect Girlfriend, by Karen Hamilton, is a “twisted page-turner that should appeal to fans of You”.—Entertainment Weekly.com

 

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Intro:  (Prologue, July 2000)

Looking down, there are two pairs of feet dangling.  My shoes are daisy-edged, white-and-yellow sandals.  His are a muddy brown with Velcro straps and a navy tractor on each side.  His socks don’t match; I can never find two the same.  One is crimson and the other one is black.  And they’re too tight—a ridged pattern has already formed a ring of little marks on his calves, just above the elastic.  He kicks the edge of the wall.  Thud, thud.  Thud, thud.  The noise bounces off the four walls….

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Teaser: His breathing is heavy, his face is flushed.  His eyes are bright.  I’ve only ever seen Nate properly drunk a few times and it’s usually been after nights out with his uni mates.  He stares at me as though ready to listen. (52%).

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Synopsis:  YOU’VE NEVER READ A LOVE STORY AS TWISTED AS THIS.

Juliette loves Nate.

She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

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What do you think?  I’ve heard good things about this book.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “AS YOU WISH”

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 I purchased a year ago:  As You Wish (A Summerhouse Novel #3), by Jude Deveraux.  Three women have the coveted opportunity to answer the age-old question: What would you do differently if you could do it all again?

 

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Intro:  (Langley, Virginia 1970)

“Get strong.  Get tan.  Think you’re smart enough to do those two things, kid?”

The man was as tall as Kit, a couple of inches over six feet, but he was very wide.  Kit wondered if three of himself, glued side by side, would be as wide as this officer.  With his short black hair, he looked like a cartoon bear.

“Yes, sir.”  Kit’s back was so straight it was like steel.

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Teaser:  She let out a scream and pushed so hard that Olivia fell backward onto the ground.

In the next minute, the children were clutching Uncle Freddy’s hand and laughing, crying, hiccuping. (51%).

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Synopsis:  One fateful summer, three very different women find themselves together in Summer Hill, Virginia, where they find they have much more in common than they realized…

Sixty-year-old Olivia’s first marriage was long and unhappy, but now she is a newlywed, thrilled to finally be starting her life with the man she’s always truly loved—even if they are getting a late start. Kathy is in her forties and married to a handsome, successful businessman. Theirs would be a fairy-tale romance if it weren’t for one problem: He’s passionately in love with someone else! Twenty-something Elise is also in a troubled marriage, stuck with the man her wealthy parents chose for her. Now that he has a pregnant mistress, he seems willing to go to drastic lengths to take Elise out of the picture.

Though each of them wound up at the Summerhouse for separate reason, it’s not long before they begin to open up about their regrets, their wishes and their dreams. And when they’re presented with the opportunity of a lifetime—a chance to right the wrongs of their past—all three discover what can happen when dreams really do come true.

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Would you keep reading?  It has been a while since I read this author.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE LIAR’S CHILD”

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:  The Liar’s Child, by Carla Buckley, in which a troubled woman faces a gripping moral dilemma after rescuing two abandoned children from a hurricane.

 

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Intro:  (Hank)

It wasn’t as though anyone came right out and said it in so many words.  That wasn’t how small towns worked.  No, it was mostly raised eyebrows, grunted half sentences.  People knocked on Hank’s door, shuffled on his porch.  They waylaid him at the post office.  They tried to be reassuring.  Not your fault, Hank, they’d say.  Could have happened to anyone.  They cleared their throats, squinted into the distance.  It was right under our noses, they murmured.  What they really meant was, Right under your nose.

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Teaser:  He looked around the deserted woods.  It was growing dark.  The ocean glimmered.  Finally, his eyes came back to her.  “I think people do what they have to do.” (p. 60).

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Synopsis:  On the outskirts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks sits the Paradise, an apartment complex where renters never stay long enough to call the place “home”—and neighbors are seldom neighborly. It’s ideal for Sara Lennox, who moved there to escape a complicated past—and even her name—and rebuild a new life for herself under the radar. But Sara cannot help but notice the family next door, especially twelve-year-old Cassie and five-year-old Boon. She hears rumors and whispers of a recent tragedy slowly tearing them apart.

When a raging storm threatens then slams the coastal community, Sara makes a quick, bold decision: Rescue Cassie and Boon from the storm and their broken home—without telling a soul. But this seemingly noble act is not without consequences. Some lethal.

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What do you think?  Would you go on reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “CALIFORNIA GIRLS”

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 featured book is a recent download:  California Girls, by Susan Mallery. The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

 

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Intro:  “They’re frying bacon!”

Finola Corrado tried not to smile at the panic in her assistant’s eyes.  “The cooking segment is potato salad five ways.  Bacon is the cost of doing business.”

Rochelle’s horror morphed into indignation.  “Yes, and right before that is the ‘What’s New in Sundresses’ segment.  I’m very familiar with the schedule.”  She set down her tablet, put her hands on her narrow hips and leaned forward, as if stressing the importance of her point.  Her long, dark braids moved with her.

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Teaser:  Zennie followed her sister into the dining room.  The table and chairs would be easy to get rid of, but the massive hutch was another issue. (70%).

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Synopsis:  Finola, a popular LA morning-show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by the news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

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I am looking forward to some delightful hours with these characters in this setting.  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP”

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 hiding out on Paige, my Kindle, for almost a year:  The Lost for Words Bookshop, by Stephanie Butland:  Witty and irreverent, funny and sad, this is a charming tribute to stories on the page and in our lives—and the powers they can hold over us.”—Matthew Sullivan author of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

 

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Intro:  (2016 – Unlooked-for)

A book is a match in the smoking second between strike and flame.

Archie says books are our best lovers and our most provoking friends.  He’s right, but I’m right, too.  Books can really hurt you.

I thought I knew that, the day I picked up the Brian Patten.  It turned out that I still had a lot to learn.

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Teaser:  Nathan and I were just too different.  In his world problems came with rescue squads, and solutions were white rabbits and home education.  (56%).

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Synopsis:  Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place—the bookstore where she works—come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “NEVER TELL”

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:  Never Tell, by Lisa Gardner, an unpredictable thriller that puts fan favorites D.D. Warren and Flora Dane on a shocking new case that begins with a vicious murder and gets darker from there.

 

 

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Intro:  (Evie)

By the time I pull my car into the garage, my hands are shaking on the wheel.  I tell myself I have no reason to feel so nervous.  I tell myself I’ve done nothing wrong.  I still sit there an extra beat, staring straight ahead, as if some magic answer to the mess that is my life will appear in the windshield.

It doesn’t.

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Teaser:  Samuel smiles.  It’s a devastating look on him.  Good luck to my mom, I think, because no man this beautiful can be easy to manage. (p. 61).

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Prognosis:  A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

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What do you think?  I know that I love every one of the D.D. Warren and Flora Dane books.

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