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: “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: “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 YOUNGER 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 NetGalley ARC that will be released on April 5, 2022:  The Younger Wife, by Sally Hepworth.

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Intro:

(Prologue)

I always cry at weddings.  Nothing original there, I know—except, perhaps, the reason.  Most people cry for joy apparently, or because they’ve been catapulted back to their own wedding day and are overwhelmed by the emotion of it all.  I cry because I am sad.

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Teaser:

They waited in the windowless room for what felt like an eternity.  It must have been part of the process:  trying to “sweat them out.” (61%).

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Synopsis:

THE HUSBAND
A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself.

THE DAUGHTERS
Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money.

THE FORMER WIFE
With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the
truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is.

THE YOUNGER WIFE
Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses
in all of them?

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I can’t wait to dive into this one.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE OTHER FAMILY”

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 Other Family, by Wendy Corsi Staub.

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Intro:

(Nora)

The Howell family moves into 104 Glover Street in Brooklyn on the Friday before Labor Day.

Overnight storms have scoured summer stagnancy from the air and the sky begs contemplation, no matter how fatigued one might be from a sleepless red-eye cross-country flight in the middle coach seat.

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Teaser:

Wrapped in a towel, she digs through the countertop disorder for her La Prairie night cream.  Besides Keith’s collection of vitamins and homeopathic remedies, there are too many toiletries and cosmetics, hairbrushes and hair products, two bottles of contact lens solution and cases, her own and Stacey’s.

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Synopsis: The watcher sees who you are…and knows what you did. 

It’s the perfect home for the perfect family: pretty Nora Howell, her handsome husband, their two teenage daughters, and lovable dog. As California transplants making a fresh start in Brooklyn, they expected to live in a shoebox, but the brownstone has a huge kitchen, lots of light, and a backyard. The catch: its previous residents were victims of a grisly triple homicide that remains unsolved.  

Soon, peculiar things begin happening. The pug is nosing around like a bloodhound. Nora unearths a long-hidden rusty box in the flowerbed. Oldest daughter Stacey, obsessed with the family murdered in their house, pokes into the bloody past and becomes convinced that a stranger is watching the house. Watching them.

She’s right. But one of the Howells will recognize his face. Because one of them has a secret that will blindside the others with a truth that lies shockingly close to home—and to this one’s terrifying history.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “WITH LOVE FROM LONDON”

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:  With Love from London, by Sara Jio.

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Intro:

Valentina, London, England

November 3, 2013

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind,” says the stranger sitting next to me on the airplane—a sixtysomething woman with feathered bangs and a hair tie clinging so tightly to her left wrist that I’ve spent most of the flight worried it might turn into a medical emergency.

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Teaser:

We arrive at the bookstore shortly after noon.  It’s cozy and effortlessly charming, like a page torn from a beloved anthology of nursery rhymes, with no shortage of floor pillows, ottomans, tufted chairs, and sofas where you can sit down with a book and stay awhile.

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Synopsis:  When Valentina Baker was only eleven years old, her mother, Eloise, unexpectedly fled to her native London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, fresh out of a failed marriage and still at odds with her mother’s abandonment, Val feels disenchanted with her life.

In a bittersweet twist of fate, she receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the Book Garden, the storied bookshop she opened almost two decades prior. Though the news is devastating, Val jumps at the chance for a new beginning and jets across the Atlantic, hoping to learn who her mother truly was while mourning the relationship they never had.

As Val begins to piece together Eloise’s life in the U.K., she finds herself falling in love with the pastel-colored third-floor flat and the cozy, treasure-filled bookshop, soon realizing that her mother’s life was much more complicated than she ever imagined. When Val stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, she sets out to locate the book’s mysterious former owner, though her efforts are challenged from the start, as is the Book Garden’s future. In order to save the store from financial ruin and preserve her mother’s legacy, she must rally its eccentric staff and journey deep into her mother’s secrets. With Love from London is a story about healing and loss, revealing the emotional, relatable truths about love, family, and forgiveness.

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What do you think?  I am already feeling the cozy ambience of the setting.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE MAID”

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 Maid, by Nita Prose.

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Intro:

(Prologue)

I am your maid.  I’m the one who cleans your hotel room, who enters like a phantom when you’re out gallivanting for the day, no care at all about what you’ve left behind, the mess, or what I might see when you’re gone.

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Teaser:

I followed breathlessly as Mr. Preston led me through the ornate ground-floor corridors, decorated with dark wainscoting, clamshell wall sconces, and the kind of dense carpet that absorbs all sound, leaving radiant silence to delight the ears. (p. 60).

***

Synopsis:

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

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What do you think?  I know I’m eager to dive in.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “STATE OF TERROR”

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

My feature today is my First Book of the Year:  State of Terror, by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny.

Intro:

“Madame Secretary,” said Charles Boynton, hurrying beside his boss as she rushed down Mahogany Row to her office in the State Department. “You have eight minutes to get to the Capitol.”

“It’s ten minutes away,” said Ellen Adams, breaking into a run.  “And I have to shower and change.  Unless…” She stopped and turned to her Chief of Staff. “I can go like this?”

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Teaser:

Gil stood in line at the bus terminal, no longer bothering to hide.  In fact, he wanted her to see him.  To know.  To feel that hot breath.

By now the woman certainly knew he was following her.  But he also knew she could not deviate from her plan.  And neither could he. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.

Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state.

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I am loving this book, my First Book of the Year.  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “A SIMPLE FAVOR”

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 on my Kindle for a while:  A Simple Favor, by Darcey Bell.

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Intro:

My Mother used to say:  Everyone has secrets.  That’s why you can never really know anyone else.  Or trust anyone.  It’s why you can never know yourself.  Sometimes we even keep secrets from ourselves.

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Teaser:

So you could say that we are in a holding pattern, stalled in midair, waiting for something to decide our destination and promise a safe, if turbulent, landing. (p.59).

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She’s your best friend.

She knows all your secrets.

That’s why she’s so dangerous.

A single mother’s life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

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

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE COLLECTIVE”

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 just downloaded:  The Collective, by Alison Gaylin.

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Intro:

The ceremony starts in twenty minutes.  I’m climbing out of the subway tunnel, a thousand unwanted smells in my hair.  I’m not used to being around this many people—the stink of them, the heat, the noise.

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Teaser:

I stare at her.  The pink cashmere gloves.  The pink nose.  The shiny blond hair and the spotless white wool coat, like a giant white rabbit.

***

Synopsis:

Just how far will a grieving mother go to right a tragic wrong?

Camille Gardener is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.

When her rash actions draw the attention of a secret group of women—the collective— Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their wildly different stories of loss as well as their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability. Fueled by mutual rage, the collective members devise and act out retribution fantasies via precise, anonymous, highly coordinated revenge killings.

As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive

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Would you keep reading?

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