TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE NANNY”

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 Nanny, by Gilly Macmillan.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

Water closes over the body.  Swallows it.  The rocking of the boat subsides quickly.  Its occupant waits until the surface of the lake is still.  Her breathing sounds shockingly loud.  She takes the oars and rows away from the site with determined strokes. Her arms ache and she thinks:  I can’t believe I had to do this.  I hate to have done this.

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Teaser: My frustration levels are at peak.  I might have had a shot at getting this job if Mother hadn’t interfered.  I want to empty the basket of strawberries over her head, smash the fruits into her face, and rub them into her hair, but I keep control (p. 56).

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Synopsis:  When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind.

Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew.

Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…

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What do you think?  I know I’m eager to keep reading.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER”

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 The Favorite Daughter, by Patti Callahan Henry.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that. (Virginia Woolf, Orlando)

The wedding for Colleen Donohue, Lena to her family and friends, and Walter Littleton was ready to begin one spring afternoon.  The Lowcountry of South Carolina preened, the temperature in the seventies without a hint of the summer humidity that would arrive soon, the river shimmering with glints of sunlight captured in its crests, the blooms of the azaleas and gardenias competing for attention.  The air was soft as cashmere.

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Teaser:  Colleen tamped down the sadness that could quickly turn to grief and opened the old refrigerator—a white Kenmore with magnets of every variety stuck to its door.  The anthropology of the family could be charted in those magnets:  inspirational quotes from her mother’s collection; Irish shamrocks and leprechauns; names and phone numbers of house services. (p. 60).

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Synopsis:  Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home—until she learns of her dad’s failing health.

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family’s Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift. While Alzheimer’s slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “SEVEN LETTERS”

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 that will be released on 10/8/19:  Seven Letters, by J. P. Monninger.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

The Irish tell a story of a man who fell in love with a fairy woman and went with her to live on an island lost to time and trouble.  They lived in a thatched cottage overlooking the sea with nothing but donkeys and gulls and white chickens to keep them company.  They lived in the dream of all lovers, apart from the world, entire to themselves, their bed an island to be rediscovered each night.

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Teaser:  I took a cab to the grocery store on the second day of my return.  I stockpiled food and bought myself two dozen yellow tulips.  I stored the groceries carefully, as one would in a desert, then put the yellow tulips in jelly jars near my desk-table.  Later that day, I burned sage again.  It was ridiculous, more ridiculous than ever, but it brought me serenity. (58%).

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Synopsis:  Kate Moreton is in Ireland on sabbatical from her teaching position at Dartmouth College when she meets Ozzie Ferriter, a fisherman and a veteran of the American war in Afghanistan. The Ferriter family history dates back centuries on the remote Blasket Islands, and Ozzie – a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States – has retreated to the one place that might offer him peace from a war he cannot seem to leave behind.

Beside the sea, with Ireland’s beauty as a backdrop, the two fall deeply in love and attempt to live on an island of their own making, away from the pressures of the outside world. Ireland writes its own love stories, the legends claim, and the limits of Kate and Ozzie’s love and faith in each other will be tested. When his demons lead Ozzie to become reckless with his life—and Kate’s—she flees for America rather than watch the man she loves self-destruct. But soon a letter arrives informing Kate that her heroic husband has been lost at sea, and Kate must decide whether it is an act of love to follow him or an act of mercy to forget.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “29 SECONDS”

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 that will be released on 9/10:  29 Seconds, by T.M. Logan.

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Intro:  (For my Mum and Dad)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves…(Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus)

There were three conditions.

She had 72 hours to provide a name.

If she said no, the offer disappeared.  Forever.

And if she said yes, there was no going back.  No changing her mind.

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Teaser Tuesday:  Suddenly she thought:  That was the other thing I was supposed to do.  The SIM card.  Oh shit, I didn’t take the SIM card out.

Too late now. (51%)

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Synopsis:  Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.”

Sarah is a young professor struggling to prove herself in a workplace controlled by the charming and manipulative Alan Hawthorne. A renowned scholar and television host, Hawthorne rakes in million-dollar grants for the university where Sarah works—so his inappropriate treatment of female colleagues behind closed doors has gone unchallenged for years. And Sarah is his newest target.

When Hawthorne’s advances become threatening, Sarah is left with nowhere to turn. Until the night she witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young child on her drive home, and impulsively jumps in to intervene. The child’s father turns out to be a successful businessman with dangerous connections—and her act of bravery has put this powerful man in her debt. He gives Sarah a burner phone and an unbelievable offer. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that can make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No traces. All it takes is a 29-second phone call.

Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “KILLMAN CREEK”

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 the second book in the Stillhouse Lake Series:  Killman Creek, by Rachel Caine.

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Intro:  (Gwen)

On the twelfth night since my ex-husband escaped prison, I am in bed.  Not sleeping.  Watching the play of light and shadow on the curtains.  I’m lying on a narrow fold-out cot and feeling every twinge of spring poking through the thin mattress.  My kids, Lanny and Connor, occupy the two full-size beds in this midpriced motel room.  Midpriced is the best I can afford right now.

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Teaser Tuesdays:  Sam has just cleared the doorway when something picks us up and throws us, violently, across the room.  I lift and cross my arms in front of my face, draw my legs up in an instinctive attempt to protect my brain and belly, and I hardly feel it when I hit the wall. (p. 60).

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Synopsis:  Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

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I’m eager to dive into this second book in the series.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE LONG CALL

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 9/3/19:  The Long Call, by Ann Cleeves.

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Intro:  The day they found the body on the shore, Matthew Venn was already haunted by thoughts of death and dying.  He stood outside the North Devon Crematorium on the outskirts of Barnstaple, a bed of purple crocus spread like a pool at his feet, and he watched from a distance as the hearse carried his father to the chapel of rest.  When the small group of mourners went inside, he moved closer.

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Teaser Tuesday:  She pushed her hair away from her face.  He saw she had a small smudge of paint on her cheek.  It was green, the same shade as her coat. (75%).

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Synopsis:  In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.

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I loved the Netflix series based on books by this author, so I’m eager to dive in.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR”

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 new download from a favorite author:  Careful What You Wish For, by Hallie Ephron.

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Intro:  (Saturday)

Emily Harlow wasn’t convinced that her sock drawer sparked joy.  Her socks had once been a jumbled mess, stuffed in the top drawer of the mahogany bureau she’d inherited from her grandmother.  She’d tried to follow the decluttering guru’s mantra, keeping only those socks that “spoke to her heart” and arranging them so they stood at attention, paired and folded just so (starting at the toe) and sorted by color.Months later, bright and early on this muggy August morning, as she stood in her sunlit bedroom in shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops, the message those socks whispered to her heart was more about privilege than joy.  Who on earth needed so many pairs of socks?

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Teaser:  Headlights lit up the water-streaked windows as a white emergency van drove past, heading in the direction of Mr. Murphy’s storage unit.  Emily had no idea how long it took for a body to stiffen up, but the person rolled up in the rug could have been dead for quite some time. (51%).

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From the New York Times bestselling author of There Was an Old Woman comes a novel about a professional organizer with a deadly problem she may not be able to clean up.

Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. He’s filled their basement, attic, and garage with his finds.

Like other professionals who make a living decluttering peoples’ lives, Emily has devised a set of ironclad rules. When working with couples, she makes clear that the client is only allowed to declutter his or her own stuff. That stipulation has kept Emily’s own marriage together these past few years. She’d love nothing better than to toss out all her husband’s crap. He says he’s a collector. Emily knows better—he’s a hoarder. The larger his “collection” becomes, the deeper the distance grows between Emily and the man she married.

Luckily, Emily’s got two new clients to distract herself: an elderly widow whose husband left behind a storage unit she didn’t know existed, and a young wife whose husband won’t allow her stuff into their house. Emily’s initial meeting with the young wife takes a detour when, after too much wine, the women end up fantasizing about how much more pleasant life would be without their collecting spouses.

But the next day Emily finds herself in a mess that might be too big for her to clean up. Careful what you wish for, the old adage says . . . now Emily might lose her freedom, her marriage . . . and possibly her life.

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I can’t wait to read this one!  I love books about hoarding and organizing.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL”

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 The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman.

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Intro:  (In which we meet our heroine and witness a crime of thoughtlessness).

Imagine you’re a bird.  You can be any kind of bird, but those of you who’ve chosen ostrich or chicken are going to struggle to keep up.  Now, imagine you’re coasting through the skies above Los Angeles, coughing occasionally in the smog.Shiny ribbons of traffic spangle below you, and in the distance you see an impossibly verdant patch, like a green darn in a gray sock.

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Teaser:  Nina shook her head at him.  “No, I totally get it.  I think I was supposed to be born in the nineteenth century, or maybe Edwardian England.  I should be wearing empire-waisted tea dresses and sitting in a window seat watching for carriages.” (p. 61).

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Synopsis:The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
 
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
 
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
 
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

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Would you keep reading?  I can’t wait to dig into this book.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “SUMMER OF ’69”

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:  Summer of ’69, by Elin Hilderbrand.

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Intro:  (Prologue:  Fortunate Son)

When the Selective Service notice comes for Tiger, Kate’s first instinct is to throw it away.  Surely this is every American mother’s first instinct?  Pretend it got lost in the mail, buy Tiger a few more weeks of freedom before the U.S. Army sends another letter—by which time, this god-awful war in Vietnam might be over.  Nixon has promised to end it.

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Teaser Tuesday:  The expression on Angus’s face wasn’t one she remembered seeing before.  He looked…caught He looked…guilty of something.  And then Blair noticed he was in a state of disarray, his tie askew, his shirt misbuttoned, and his hair mussed.  Blair blinked. (p. 57).

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Synopsis:  Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.

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I am excited to dive into this one.  1969 was a pivotal year for me.  Would you keep reading?

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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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