TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “ROCK PAPER SCISSORS”

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, which I am currently reading:  Rock Paper Scissors, by Alice Feeney.

Intro:

February 2020 (Amelia)

My husband doesn’t recognize my face.

I feel him staring at me as I drive, and wonder what he sees.  Nobody else looks familiar to him either, but it is still strange to think that the man I married wouldn’t be able to pick me out in a police lineup.

***

Teaser:

I keep my jacket on—I’m freezing—and watch as he locks the front doors with a giant old key.  I’ve never seen it before, but I’m so tired, maybe it was there the whole time and I just didn’t notice.

***

Synopsis:

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts–paper, cotton, pottery, tin–and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

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Would you keep reading?  I am enjoying it so far.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “COUNT THE WAYS”

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:  Count the Ways, by Joyce Maynard.

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Intro: 

(Prologue)

Toby was just a baby—Alison four years old, Ursula not yet three—the first time they launched the cork people.  After that it became their annual tradition.

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Teaser:

“She had it all,” Darla said.  “Then she meets this guy and he takes her away and they start robbing banks.  Next thing you know, she’s calling herself Tania and she’s on the front page wearing some damned camo gear, holding an M16.” (p.61).

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Synopsis:

Eleanor and Cam meet at a crafts fair in Vermont in the early 1970s. She’s an artist and writer, he makes wooden bowls. Within four years they are parents to three children, two daughters and a red-headed son who fills his pockets with rocks, plays the violin and talks to God. To Eleanor, their New Hampshire farm provides everything she always wanted—summer nights watching Cam’s softball games, snow days by the fire and the annual tradition of making paper boats and cork people to launch in the brook every spring. If Eleanor and Cam don’t make love as often as they used to, they have something that matters more. Their family.

Then comes a terrible accident, caused by Cam’s negligence. Unable to forgive him, Eleanor is consumed by bitterness, losing herself in her life as a mother, while Cam finds solace with a new young partner. 

Over the decades that follow, the five members of this fractured family make surprising discoveries and decisions that occasionally bring them together, and often tear them apart. Tracing the course of their lives—through the gender transition of one child and another’s choice to completely break with her mother—Joyce Maynard captures a family forced to confront essential, painful truths of its past, and find redemption in its darkest hours.

A story of holding on and learning to let go, Count the Ways is an achingly beautiful, poignant, and deeply compassionate novel of home, parenthood, love, and forgiveness.

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What do you think?  I always eagerly anticipate books from this author.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE NEWCOMER”

 

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 The Newcomer, by Mary Kay Andrews. 

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Intro:

It was still dark when Letty pulled into the parking lot. The car bumped slowly over the rutted oyster-shell pavement and she turned around to check on Maya, grateful that the child was finally sleeping. Her head slumped against the side of the car seat, her curls dampened with sweat, her rosebud lips pursed as she softly snored, and Ellie, her ever-present toy stuffed elephant, was clutched tightly to her chest.

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Teaser:

“Not in so many words,” Evan said.  “Tanya was determined to move out to L.A.  She thought she’d get more acting jobs there.  I was happy to let her go….” (p. 61).

***

Synopsis:

In trouble and on the run…

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me—it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.”

With a trunkful of emotional baggage…

So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road with her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring—but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel.

The No Vacancy sign is flashing & the sharks are circling…

And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn—or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past.

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What do you think?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “MY LIES, YOUR LIES”

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’ve had around for a while:  My Lies, Your Lies, by Susan Lewis.

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

“I’m leaving,” he said.

She kept her head down as though working on the pages in front of her.  She’d heard the “you” even though he hadn’t said it.  I’m leaving you.

***

Teaser:

As they drove slowly on they finally realized that down to their right, tucked securely against the protective wall of rocks was a house where it seemed no house should be. (p. 62).

***

Synopsis:  Joely tells other people’s secrets for a living. As a ghost writer, she’s used to scandal – but this just might be her strangest assignment yet. Freda has never told her story to anyone before. But now she’s ready to set the record straight and right a wrong that’s haunted her for forty years. 

Freda’s memoir begins with a 15-year-old girl falling madly in love with her male teacher. As Joely sets out to write this troubling love story, she is spun into a world of secrets and lies she could never have imagined, causing her to question everything she thought she knew about her own family.

Delving further into Freda’s past, Joely’s sure she can uncover the truth—but at what cost?

Breathlessly intriguing from the first page to the last, My Lies, Your Lies is a gripping novel that intertwines the tumultuous past of one mysterious woman to the present of another with a harrowing, unexpected twist.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “LOCAL WOMAN MISSING”

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:  Local Woman Missing, by Mary Kubica.

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Intro:  (Prologue – 11 Years Before)

There’s a smudge of lipstick on the collar of his shirt.  She sees it.  She says nothing about it.  Instead, she stands there, bobbing the crying baby up and down like the needle of a sewing machine piercing fabric. She listens to his lame lies, his same, dispassionate Sorry I’m late, buts he reels off almost every night.

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Teaser:  (Kate – 11 Years Before)

But now, in light of Meredith and Delilah’s disappearance, a thought sows fear into my mind.  What if it wasn’t domestic violence?  What if there’s a serial kidnapper on the loose? (p.60).

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Synopsis:  People don’t just disappear without a trace…

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…

***

Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE LAST NIGHT IN 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:  The Last Night in London, by Karen White.

Intro:

(Prologue)

London, April 1941

The cool, clear night shuddered, then moaned as the fluctuating drone of hundreds of engines eclipsed the silence.  A wave of planes like angry hornets slipped through the darkened sky over a city already wearing black in preparation for the inevitable mourning.

***

Teaser:

Precious tucked her chin.  “I sure hope not, because that man had eyes for nobody but you.  No other girl would stand a chance—if I were a betting girl, I’d bet on you for sure.” (p.56)

***

Synopsis:  London, 1939. Beautiful and ambitious Eva Harlow and her American best friend, Precious Dubose, are trying to make their way as fashion models. When Eva falls in love with Graham St. John, an aristocrat and Royal Air Force pilot, she can’t believe her luck—she’s getting everything she ever wanted. Then the Blitz devastates her world, and Eva finds herself slipping into a web of intrigue, spies, and secrets. As Eva struggles to protect her friendship with Precious and everything she holds dear, all it takes is one unwary moment to change their lives forever…

London, 2019. American journalist Maddie Warner, whose life has been marked by the tragic loss of her mother, travels to London to interview Precious about her life in pre-WWII London. Maddie has been careful to close herself off to others, but in Precious she recognizes someone whose grief rivals her own—but unlike Maddie, Precious hasn’t allowed it to crush her.  Maddie finds herself drawn to both Precious and to Colin, her enigmatic surrogate nephew.  As Maddie gets closer to her, she begins to unravel Precious’s haunting past—a story of friendship, betrayal, and the unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

***

Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE SMASH-UP”

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 Smash-Up, by Ali Benjamin.

Intro:  WHAT HAPPENED?

Everyone asked the question, had been asking since the election.  They asked while watching the news, that storm of headlines, jump-cut footage of marches and speeches and hand-sharpied cardboard, an endless, swirling blizzard—a siege, really—of protests and counterprotests, action and reaction, people screaming at one another in the street, neighbor versus neighbor, friend versus friend.

***

Teaser:

Ethan rolls over.  “I was kidding, Zo,” he offers to the back of her head.  “About the Minister of Rage thing.” (p. 60).

***

Synopsis:  It’s September 2018. In Washington, D.C.,—and in cities and towns across America—women have taken to the streets to protest a Supreme Court nominee. And in Starkfield, Massachusetts—a sleepy rural town where nothing much ever happens—Ethan Frome’s otherwise quiet life has turned upside down.

Ethan’s wife, Zo, is so enraged by the national political scene that she’s transformed their home into a local headquarters for the Resistance. His college roommate and former business partner faces #metoo allegations, sending Ethan into increasingly desperate financial straits. His unruly, headstrong daughter, Alex, grows more challenging by the day.

Enter Maddy Silver—a breezy, blue-haired millennial making her way through the gig economy. Suddenly Ethan and Zo must question everything: their past, their future, their marriage, and what they value most. And all the while, a world-rocking cultural smash-up inches ever closer to home.

Inspired by a classic Edith Wharton novella about a strained marriage in a small town, The Smash-Up is at once an intimate, moving portrait of a family in distress, a vivid examination of our roiling national rancor, and a powerful exploration of how the things we fail to notice can shatter a family, a community, and a nation.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THIEF OF SOULS”

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 an ARC that will be released on 5/4/21:  Thief of Souls, by Brian Klingborg.

 

Intro:  Saturday

Apart from their other characteristics, the outstanding thing about China’s 600 million people is that they are “poor and blank.”  This may seem a bad thing, but in reality it is a good thing. Poverty gives rise to the desire for changes, the desire for action, and the desire for revolution.

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Teaser: 

Lu has unwittingly crossed a line.  He considers putting money on the table and leaving, but decides that would only make things worse. (53%).

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Synopsis: Lu Fei is a graduate of China’s top police college but he’s been assigned to a sleepy backwater town in northern China, where almost nothing happens and the theft of a few chickens represents a major crime wave. That is until a young woman is found dead, her organs removed, and joss paper stuffed in her mouth. The CID in Beijing—headed by a rising political star—is on the case but in an increasingly authoritarian China, prosperity and political stability are far more important than solving the murder of an insignificant village girl. As such, the CID head is interested in pinning the crime on the first available suspect rather than wading into uncomfortable truths, leaving Lu Fei on his own.

As Lu digs deeper into the gruesome murder, he finds himself facing old enemies and creating new ones in the form of local Communist Party bosses and corrupt business interests. Despite these rising obstacles, Lu remains determined to find the real killer, especially after he links the murder to other unsolved homicides. But the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he puts himself and his loved ones in danger.

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE UPSTAIRS HOUSE”

 

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 Upstairs House, by Julia Fine.

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Intro:  (November 1950)

Death flaunts itself on every tree, and Margaret looks out the hospital window, calling it beautiful.

Typical, thinks Michael.  The others have gone to the washroom, to interrogate the nurses, to the hotel to retrieve a fresh shirt.  Margaret has stayed.  Margaret is here.

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Teaser:

Sirens approached, the full-on fire brigade clanging down the silent street.  Lights turned on in the condo across the way. (p. 59).

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Synopsis:  There’s a madwoman upstairs, and only Megan Weiler can see her.

Ravaged and sore from giving birth to her first child, Megan is mostly raising her newborn alone while her husband travels for work. Physically exhausted and mentally drained, she’s also wracked with guilt over her unfinished dissertation—a thesis on mid-century children’s literature.

Enter a new upstairs neighbor: the ghost of quixotic children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown—author of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon—whose existence no one else will acknowledge. It seems Margaret has unfinished business with her former lover, the once-famous socialite and actress Michael Strange, and is determined to draw Megan into the fray. As Michael joins the haunting, Megan finds herself caught in the wake of a supernatural power struggle—and until she can find a way to quiet these spirits, she and her newborn daughter are in terrible danger.

Using Megan’s postpartum haunting as a powerful metaphor for a woman’s fraught relationship with her body and mind, Julia Fine once again delivers an imaginative and “barely restrained, careful musing on female desire, loneliness, and hereditary inheritances” (Washington Post). 

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Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE FOREVER 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 The Forever Girl, by Jill Shalvis.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

Three years ago

Maze Porter was good at pretending to be fine, but since no one could see her, she dropped all pretense and stopped twenty-five yards short of her goal, unable to so much as swallow past the lump stuck in her throat.

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Teaser:  With a sexy smile she’d never managed to resist, he pinned her beneath him.  “I liked that look in your eyes,” he murmured.  “What are you thinking about? (p. 63).

***

Synopsis: When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them wide.

Now as adults together again in the lake house, there are secrets and resentments mixed up in all the amazing childhood memories. Unexpectedly, they instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery.

Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers her long-held attraction to Walker hasn’t faded with the years but has only grown stronger.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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