Posted in 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?

***

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Posted in 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?

***

Posted in 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?

***

Posted in 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?

***

Posted in 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?

***

Posted in 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?

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “MY ABSOLUTE DARLING”

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:  My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent, a brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  The old house hunkers on its hill, all peeling white paint, bay windows, and spindled wooden railings overgrown with climbing roses and poison oak.  Rose runners have prized off clapboards that now hang snarled in the canes.  The gravel drive is littered with spent casings caked in verdigris.  Martin Alveston gets out of the truck and does not look back at Turtle sitting in the cab but walks up the porch, his jungle boots sounding hollowly on the boards, a big man in flannel and Levi’s opening the sliding glass doors.  Turtle waits, listening to the engine’s ticking, and then she follows him.

***

Teaser:  The spider moves carefully.  Stricken, Turtle watches it circle the tuft of grass, drawing closer.  She hears then a noise from down the road—someone walking along the roadbed, and she thinks wildly of Martin.  It is more than possible that he has managed to follow her.  He has done it before. (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:  Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.

Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero—and in the process, becomes ours as well.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “CRIME SCENE”

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 from Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman:  Crime Scene, a psychological thriller from a father-son writing team that delivers “brilliant, page-turning fiction” (Stephen King).

 

Intro:  Don’t make assumptions.

Every now and then, I remind myself of that.

Every now and then, the universe does the reminding for me.

When I meet new people, they’re usually dead.

***

A young white male lies on his back in the parking lot of a Berkeley frat house.  According to the license in his wallet, his name is Seth Lindley Powell.  He is four months past his eighteenth birthday. The license gives a San Jose address.  It’s a fair bet his parents are at that address, right now, asleep.  Nobody has notified them yet.  I haven’t had a chance.

***

Teaser:  “The procedure itself was completed.  The full protocol’s not finished.  I’m ready for those codes if you have them.”

“I—right.  I gave you birthdays, I think.  What do you have?”

I read back the list.

***

Blurb:  Natural causes or foul play? That’s the question Clay Edison must answer each time he examines a body. Figuring out motives and chasing down suspects aren’t part of his beat—not until a seemingly open-and-shut case proves to be more than meets his highly trained eye.

Eccentric, reclusive Walter Rennert lies cold at the bottom of his stairs. At first glance the scene looks straightforward: a once-respected psychology professor, done in by booze and a bad heart. But his daughter Tatiana insists that her father has been murdered, and she persuades Clay to take a closer look at the grim facts of Rennert’s life.

What emerges is a history of scandal and violence, and an experiment gone horribly wrong that ended in the brutal murder of a coed. Walter Rennert, it appears, was a broken man—and maybe a marked one. And when Clay learns that a colleague of Rennert’s died in a nearly identical manner, he begins to question everything in the official record.

All the while, his relationship with Tatiana is evolving into something forbidden. The closer they grow, the more determined he becomes to catch her father’s killer—even if he has to overstep his bounds to do it.

The twisting trail Clay follows will lead him into the darkest corners of the human soul. It’s his job to listen to the tales the dead tell. But this time, he’s part of a story that makes his blood run cold.

***

Would you keep reading?  I know I’m eager to do just that.

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “THE LYING GAME”

 

 

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:  The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware.  Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

 

 

 

 

Intro:  The sound is just an ordinary text alert, a quiet beep beep in the night that does not wake Owen, and would not have woken me except that I was already awake, lying there, staring into the darkness, the baby at my breast snuffling, not quite feeding, not quite unlatching.

I lie there for a moment thinking about the text, wondering who it could be.  Who’d be texting at this hour?  None of my friends would be awake…unless it’s Milly gone into labor already…God, it can’t be Milly, can it?  I’d promised to take Noah if Milly’s parents couldn’t get up from Devon in time to look after him, but I never really thought…

***

Teaser:  “God,” he spits.  “I came to apologize.  I was trying to help.  Just once—just once—you’d think I’d learn from my mistakes.  But no—you haven’t changed, none of you.  She whistles, and you come running, all of you, like dogs.” (46%).

***

Synopsis:  On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

***

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

***

Posted in tuesday sparks

TUESDAY SPARKS: “HEARTBREAK HOTEL”

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 acquisition from a favorite writer of thrillers:  Heartbreak Hotel, by Jonathan Kellerman, a novel in which Alex Delaware and LAPD detective Milo Sturgis investigate the death of Alex’s most mysterious patient to date in the sensational new thriller from the master of suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman.

 

 

Intro:  I lead a double life.

Some of my time is spent using the doctorate I earned:  evaluating the mental health of injured, neglected, or traumatized children, making recommendations about parental custody, providing short-term treatment.  My own childhood was often nightmarish and I like to think I’m making a difference.  I keep my fees reasonable and bills get paid.

Then there’s the other stuff, initiated by my best friend, an LAPD homicide lieutenant.  Once in a while my name leaks into a news story.  Mostly I keep out of public view.  I doubt any of the families I see are aware of the murders I work on.  They’ve never commented on it and I think they would if they knew.

***

Teaser:  At four forty-five we took the unmarked to Ricki Sylvester’s office.  When we were moments away, I got a text.

Maxine Driver. Pitcairn has no idea who the palooka is.  She’ll look into Drancy.  Intrigued.  As am I. (53%).

***

Synopsis: At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered history.

What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions—about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.

When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman’s life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***