TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE PUSH”

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

Today’s feature is a new book:  The Push, by Claire McGowan

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Intro:  (Prologue)

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

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

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

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

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

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL”

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

Today’s feature is a new book:  Goodnight Beautiful, by Aimee Molloy

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Intro:  (Prologue, October 20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR”

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

Today’s feature is a new book to my shelves:  The Girl in the Mirror, by Rose Carlyle.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

And just what did happen to Summer on the yacht?

Only Iris knows . . .

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

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

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

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

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Intro:  Jessica Burnstein, 45, Full of Optimism:

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

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Teaser Tuesday:  (Jessica)

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

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

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

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

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

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What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “I’LL BE SEEING YOU”

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

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

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Intro:  October 30, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE NEXT WIFE”

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

Today’s feature is a new book I am eager to read:  The Next Wife, by Liz Lawler.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

What was she thinking?

Did she honestly think he would just let her walk out and live a life without him?  That there would be no consequences?  No price to pay for destroying his life?

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Teaser:  Thinking back to how they were, Tess could see now that the complex part of loving him hadn’t presented itself.  They hadn’t uncovered enough layers to know one another well enough before taking the leap. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  My husband is everything I ever dreamed of. A handsome, successful doctor who swept me off my feet.

Our new life together is perfect.

He’s perfect.

But am I good enough for him? I never seem to get anything right. And I’m starting to feel a little afraid of the man I married.

He’s taken away my bank card and my phone. I don’t know what to think or what to do. I gave up everything for him and now I’m trapped.

Then a stranger comes to our door. She tells me that I can’t trust my husband.

That I should ask him what happened to his first wife.

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What do you think?  Keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “GIRLS OF BRACKENHILL”

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

Today’s feature is a new book:  Girls of Brackenhill, by Kate Moretti

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Intro:  September 2, 2001

I didn’t mean to kill the girl.

I found her skulking around the woods, hiding behind trees, darting behind the shed.

Hey, I called.  Dizzy with panic when I saw who it was.  I waved the shovel in her direction.  I’d been turning over the compost.

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Teaser: The floor shifted under Hannah’s feet.  The room blurred, then focused. (p. 60).

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Synopsis:  When Hannah Maloney’s aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to her family’s castle in the Catskills and the epicenter of a childhood trauma: her sister’s unsolved disappearance. It’s been seventeen years, and though desperate to start a new life with her fiancé, Hannah is compelled to question the events of her last summer at Brackenhill.

When a human bone is found near the estate, Hannah is convinced it belongs to her long-lost sister. She launches her own investigation into that magical summer that ended in a nightmare. As strange happenings plague the castle, Hannah uncovers disturbing details about the past and startling realizations about her own repressed childhood memories.

Fueled by guilt over her sister’s vanishing, Hannah becomes obsessed with discovering what happened all those years ago, but by the time Hannah realizes some mysteries are best left buried, it’s too late to stop digging. Overwhelmed by what she has exposed, Hannah isn’t sure her new life can survive her old ghosts.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE UNDOING”

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 have had for a while, and decided to read because of a miniseries based on it: 

You Should Have Known (The Undoing), by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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Intro: Usually people cried when they came here for the first time, and this girl looked as if she’d be no exception.  She walked in with a briefcase and a swagger and shook Grace’s hand like the cool professional she clearly was, or at least wished to be.

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Teaser:  And they didn’t have enough money to mitigate her nonparticipation.  He knew that, too. (p.73).

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Synopsis:  Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended.

Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

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What do you think?  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, 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 June 2018:  The Lost for Words Bookshop, by Stephanie Butland.

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Intro:  (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.

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Teaser:  He laughed.  ‘No, I can’t go back to work, and neither can the man who hit me.  We’ve had our justice.’

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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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Would you keep reading?  I know that I am intrigued.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45”

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 am currently reading:  Confessions on the 7:45, by Lisa Unger.

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Intro:  (Selena)

Selena loved the liminal spaces.  Those precious slivers of time between the roles she played in her life.

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Teaser Tuesdays: (Geneva)

Geneva hated the way winter afternoons started to darken around three.  As the light leaked out of the sky, a kind of heaviness descended on her spirit. (p.63).

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Synopsis:  Be careful to whom you tell your darkest secrets…

Selena Murphy is commuting home from her job in the city when the train stalls out on the tracks. She strikes up a conversation with a beautiful stranger in the next seat, and their connection is fast and easy. The woman introduces herself as Martha and confesses that she’s been stuck in an affair with her boss. Selena, in turn, confesses that she suspects her husband is sleeping with the nanny. When the train arrives at Selena’s station, the two women part ways, presumably never to meet again.

But days later, Selena’s nanny disappears.

Soon Selena finds her once-perfect life upended. As she is pulled into the mystery of the missing nanny, and as the fractures in her marriage grow deeper, Selena begins to wonder, who was Martha really? But she is hardly prepared for what she’ll discover.

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Would you keep reading?  I am loving this book so far.

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