TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “FLY GIRL”

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 memoir from a favorite author: Fly Girl, by Ann Hood.

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Intro:

(Prologue)

A friend of mine recently said to me, “I love when you start a story with ‘When I was a flight attendant…’ because I know it’s going to be a good story.”

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Teaser:

The sightings of the ghosts of the captain and the flight engineer began just a few months later, and only on planes that used salvaged parts from Flight 401.

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Synopsis:

In 1978, in the tailwind of the golden age of air travel, flight attendants were the epitome of glamor and sophistication. Fresh out of college and hungry to experience the world—and maybe, one day, write about it—Ann Hood joined their ranks. After a grueling job search, Hood survived TWA’s rigorous Breech Training Academy and learned to evacuate seven kinds of aircraft, deliver a baby, mix proper cocktails, administer oxygen, and stay calm no matter what the situation.

In the air, Hood found both the adventure she’d dreamt of and the unexpected realities of life on the job. She carved chateaubriand in the first-class cabin and dined in front of the pyramids in Cairo, fended off passengers’ advances and found romance on layovers in London and Lisbon, and walked more than a million miles in high heels. She flew through the start of deregulation, an oil crisis, massive furloughs, and a labor strike.

As the airline industry changed around her, Hood began to write—even drafting snatches of her first novel from the jump-seat. She reveals how the job empowered her, despite its roots in sexist standards. Packed with funny, moving, and shocking stories of life as a flight attendant, Fly Girl captures the nostalgia and magic of air travel at its height, and the thrill that remains with every takeoff.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE PATIENT”

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 one of my new books:  The Patient, by Jane Shemilt.

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Intro:

(Prologue – June 2017)

The footsteps were buried inside other sounds to start with:  rain pattering on leaves, branches sighing in the wind, a truck in the distance on the Blandford road.  I thought I was hearing things again, things that Nathan had told me weren’t really there.

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Teaser:

“I heard footsteps, then I saw someone, or the shadow of someone.”  My words sounded mad even to myself, but he nodded seriously, he didn’t think I was imagining anything. (p. 64).

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Synopsis:

What price would you pay for falling in love?

Rachel is a respected doctor who lives in a picturesque and affluent English village where her husband Nathan teaches at an elite private school. Competent, unflappable, and nearing 50, Rachel has everything in her life firmly in her control, even if some of its early luster has worn off. But one day a new patient arrives at her practice for emergency treatment. Luc is a French painter married to a wealthy American woman who’s just bought and restored a historic home on the edge of Rachel’s posh neighborhood. The couple has only recently arrived, but Luc is struggling with a mental disorder, and so he goes to the nearest clinic…to Rachel.

Their attraction is instant, and as Rachel’s sense of ethics wars with newly awakened passion, the affair blinds her to everything else happening around her. A longtime patient appears to be following her every movement, turning up unexpectedly wherever she goes. Her somewhat estranged adult daughter Lizzie is hiding a secret—or at least, hiding it from Rachel. Nathan has grown sour and cold as well—or is that merely Rachel’s guilty conscience weighing on her? But when one of her colleagues winds up murdered and Luc is arrested for the crime, everything Rachel didn’t know about her life explodes into the open—along with her affair with her patient—a disgrace and scandal that will have consequences no one could have predicted.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETTS”

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 from What Happened to the Bennetts, by Lisa Scottoline.

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Intro:

I glanced in my review mirror at the pickup truck, which was riding my bumper.  I hated tailgaters, especially with my family in the car, but nothing could ruin my good mood.

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Teaser:

I didn’t know whether to be happy or heartbroken.  I rested my hand on the laptop, its metallic surface smooth under my fingertips.  “Okay.  Thanks.”

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Synopsis:

Jason Bennett is a suburban dad who owns a court-reporting business, but one night, his life takes a horrific turn. He is driving his family home after his daughter’s field hockey game when a pickup truck begins tailgating them, on a dark stretch of road. Suddenly two men jump from the pickup and pull guns on Jason, demanding the car. A horrific flash of violence changes his life forever.
 
Later that awful night, Jason and his family receive a visit from the FBI. The agents tell them that the carjackers were members of a dangerous drug-trafficking organization—and now Jason and his family are in their crosshairs.
 
The agents advise the Bennetts to enter the witness protection program right away, and they have no choice but to agree. But WITSEC was designed to protect criminal informants, not law-abiding families. Taken from all they know, trapped in an unfamiliar life, the Bennetts begin to fall apart at the seams. Then Jason learns a shocking truth and realizes that he has to take matters into his own hands.
 
Sometimes justice is a one-man show.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW”

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 one of my new books:  The Next Thing You Know, by Jessica Strawser.

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Intro:

(Mason, Then)

Mason had already promised himself he wouldn’t make any decisions today.

He scuffed his Vans on the side porch of the old house, facing the office entrance, and told himself again:  He was here only for the free consult.

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Teaser:

I won’t tell him everyone becomes a cliche when staring down their own mortality.  Thanks to Tim McGraw, living like you’re dying is itself a cliche.

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Synopsis:

As an end-of-life doula, Nova Huston’s job—her calling, her purpose, her life—is to help terminally ill people make peace with their impending death. Unlike her business partner, who swears by her system of checklists, free-spirited Nova doesn’t shy away from difficult clients: the ones who are heartbreakingly young, or prickly, or desperate for a caregiver or companion.

When Mason Shaylor shows up at her door, Nova doesn’t recognize him as the indie-favorite singer-songwriter who recently vanished from the public eye. She knows only what he’s told her: That life as he knows it is over. His deteriorating condition makes playing his guitar physically impossible—as far as Mason is concerned, he might as well be dead already.

Except he doesn’t know how to say goodbye.

Helping him is Nova’s biggest challenge yet. She knows she should keep clients at arm’s length. But she and Mason have more in common than anyone could guess… and meeting him might turn out to be the hardest, best thing that’s ever happened to them both.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “INSOMNIA”

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 one of my new books:  Insomnia, by Sarah Pinborough.

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Intro:

(Prologue)

The other car comes out of nowhere.

There’s no warning screech of brakes, not even a sideways what the glance through the window, just the hard whoomph of metal hitting metal at high speed, an explosion of energy, a symphony of disaster.

Teaser:

I am not going mad, I tell myself for the thousandth time this afternoon as I get out of the car—new expensive tire attached—and lean on it for a moment before heading inside.

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IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT, MADNESS LIES . . .

Emma can’t sleep.

CHECK THE WINDOWS.

It’s been like this since her big 4-0 started getting closer.

LOCK THE DOORS.

Her mother stopped sleeping just before her own fortieth birthday.

She went mad and did the unthinkable because of it.

LOOK IN ON THE CHILDREN.

Is that what’s happening to Emma?

WHY CAN’T SHE SLEEP?

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE ACCOMPLICE”

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 one of my new books:  The Accomplice, by Lisa Lutz.

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Intro:

September 2002

Owen Mann first noticed Luna Grey in an Intro to Ethics seminar.  He would watch her, fascinated by the way she hunched over her notebook, scribbling, glancing up occasionally to see if anyone was watching her.

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Teaser:

Ted had heard otherwise but was only interested in the subject as a gateway to another topic.  “So there’s nothing going on with you and Luna?”  Ted asked. (p. 58).

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Description:

Owen Mann is charming, privileged, and chronically dissatisfied. Luna Grey is secretive, cautious, and pragmatic. Despite their differences, they form a bond the moment they meet in college. Their names soon become indivisible—Owen and Luna, Luna and Owen—and stay that way even after an unexplained death rocks their social circle.

They’re still best friends years later, when Luna finds Owen’s wife brutally murdered. The police investigation sheds light on some long-hidden secrets, but it can’t penetrate the wall of mystery that surrounds Owen. To get to the heart of what happened and why, Luna has to dig up the one secret she’s spent her whole life burying.

The Accomplice brilliantly examines the bonds of shared history, what it costs to break them, and what happens when you start wondering how well you know the one person who truly knows you.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE SUMMER 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 NetGalley ARC:  The Summer Place, by Jennifer Weiner.

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Intro:

(Prologue)

For forty years, the house had stood, silvery cedar and gleaming glass, on the edge of the dune, overlooking the waters of Cape Cod Bay. Over time, the dune had eroded, shearing away in gentle showers of grains.

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Teaser:

Ronnie gave what she hoped looked like an indifferent shrug and kept her tone light.  “Ran out of stories.”

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Description:  When her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarah’s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the family’s beach house in Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market.

But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. Ruby has always known exactly what she wants, but as the wedding date approaches, she finds herself grappling with the wounds left by the mother who walked out when she was a baby. Veronica ends up facing unexpected news, thanks to her meddling sister, and must revisit the choices she made long ago, when she was a bestselling novelist with a different life. Sarah’s twin brother, Sam, is recovering from a terrible loss, and confronting big questions about who he is—questions he hopes to resolve during his stay on the Cape. Sarah’s husband, Eli, who’s been inexplicably distant during the pandemic, confronts the consequences of a long ago lapse from his typical good-guy behavior. And Sarah, frustrated by her husband, concerned about her stepdaughter, and worn out by challenges of life during quarantine, faces the alluring reappearance of someone from her past and a life that could have been.

When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “MOMENT IN TIME”

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 excerpts are from Moment in Time, by Suzanne Redfearn.

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Intro:

(Chloe)

The first thing Chloe sees when she walks into the alley is a gate someone forgot to close.  The sign reads NO TRESPASSING KEEP OUT, but of course dogs don’t read.  And even if they did, most dogs wouldn’t consider themselves trespassers, only humble guests, as is their nature when they are hungry and looking for food—quick to befriend anyone who might offer a morsel to fill their empty bellies.

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Teaser:

Hazel is about to say something else when a knock at the door interrupts, startling Ruby and sending her toppling drunkenly from the wagon. (p. 60).

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Synopsis:

It’s been eight years since a tragic accident changed Mo Kaminski’s and Chloe Miller’s lives forever. Now in their midtwenties, they’re sharing an apartment in San Francisco and navigating the normal challenges of early adulthood. Along with their roommate, Hazel, they are making their marks on the world—Mo revolutionizing the news with her media start-up, Hazel using her big brain to anticipate the future, and Chloe rescuing abandoned strays in the city.

But when Hazel disappears after being sexually assaulted, Mo’s and Chloe’s lives are again suddenly ripped apart. And when the perpetrator turns up drugged and beaten, the mystery of where Hazel is deepens. Intensely worried and desperate to discover the truth, they set out to find Hazel and bring her home.

Mo and Chloe are no strangers to tragedy, but this journey will test them in ways they never imagined. The stakes are high; the future uncertain; the need for justice essential.

Will their commitment to their friend bring them closer together—or ultimately drive them apart?

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What do you think?  Will you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “HOUR OF THE WITCH”

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 book I just finished reading and reviewing:  Hour of the Witch, by Chris Bohjalian.

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Intro: (The Book of the Wife)

There were two mistakes young men would make when they would first pick up a scythe:  they would try to do all the work with their arms, and they would make their swathes far too wide. They would attack the grass, as if they thought it would get up and run away if they didn’t kill it quickly.

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Teaser:

As Catherine stood, her eyes grew wide.  Mary could see that a revelation had come to her.  “Thou killed my brother.  Thou weren’t assisting the physician with thy simples; thou were killing him.”

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Synopsis: Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary’s hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life.

But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary—a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony—soon becomes herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary’s garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows.

A twisting, tightly plotted novel of historical suspense from one of our greatest storytellers, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying story of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “SHELL GAME”

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 book that has been languishing on my Kindle since 2018:  Shell Game, by Sara Paretsky.

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Intro: 

Babe in the Woods

The deputy turned without warning into an uncut thicket.  Felix and I stumbled after him, following his bobbing flashlight as best we could, the suckers from the bushes and trees snapping back to whip our faces.

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Teaser:

My arm was cramping from holding her, but I sat still, letting her talk to my shoulder, which couldn’t judge her.

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Description:  Acclaimed detective V. I. Warshawski tackles a pair of perplexing cases involving those closest to her in this compelling and timely adventure that centers on some of the most divisive and pressing issues of our time

When V. I Warshawski gets word that her closest friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a suspect in a murder, the legendary detective will do everything she can to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why.

As Vic digs deeper, she discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archaeology—the first clue in a bewildering case that leads to a stolen artifact and a shadowy network of international criminals. But the trouble multiplies when Vic’s long-lost niece, Reno, goes missing. A beautiful young woman with a heartbreaking past and a promising future, Reno is harboring a secret that may cost her her life. V.I. can hear the clock ticking on her niece’s safety and is frantic in her efforts to find her.

Vic won’t leave any stone unturned until these very personal cases are cleared—a complex investigation that will entangle the Russian mob, ISIS backers, rogue ICE agents, a nefarious corporation preying on the poor, and a shady network of stock scams and stolen antiquities stretching from Chicago to the East Indies and the Middle East.

In Shell Game, no one can be trusted and nothing is what it seems, except for the indomitable detective and her thirst for justice.

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I am a fan of V.I. Warshawski, so I am sad that I haven’t yet read this one.  Would you keep reading?

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