TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “NOTHING MORE TO TELL”

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:  Nothing More to Tell, by Karen M. McManus.

 

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Intro:

Brynn

“Do you have a favorite crime?”

The girl sitting beside me in the spacious reception area asks the question so brightly, with such a wide smile, that I’m positive I must have misheard her.  “A favorite what?” I ask.

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Teaser:

Then I do a double take as I catch sight of the driver.  They pass in a flash, and I blink at the bumper, confused and disoriented.  No.  It can’t be. The car is a nondescript gray sedan I’ve never seen before, with a New Jersey license plate.

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Synopsis:  Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favorite teacher—a story that made headlines after the teacher’s body was found by three Saint Ambrose students in the woods behind their school. The case was never solved. Now that Brynn is moving home and starting her dream internship at a true-crime show, she’s determined to find out what really happened. 

The kids who found Mr. Larkin are her way in, and her ex–best friend, Tripp Talbot, was one of them. Without his account of events, the other two kids might have gone down for Mr. Larkin’s murder—but instead, thanks to Tripp, they’re now at the top of the Saint Ambrose social pyramid. Tripp’s friends have never forgotten what Tripp did for them that day, and neither has he. Just like he hasn’t forgotten that everything he told the police was a lie.

Digging into the past is bound to shake up the present, and when Brynn begins to investigate what happened in the woods that day, she uncovers secrets that might change everything—about Saint Ambrose, about Mr. Larkin, and about her ex-best friend, Tripp Talbot.

Four years ago someone got away with murder. More terrifying is that they might be closer than anyone thinks.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “BABYSITTER”

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:  Babysitter, by Joyce Carol Oates.

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Intro:

She Asks Herself Why

Because he’d touched her.  Just her wrist.

A brush of his fingers.  A sidelong glance.  Because he’d asked Which one are you?-–meaning Which man’s wife?

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Teaser:

Before going out Hannah will require an hour examining herself in the mirror, in secret.  Trying on clothing—“outfits.”  Tossing aside rejected items, pulling other items off hangers.  Staring at herself as anxiety mounts like a vise tightening around her skull.

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Synopsis:  In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences.

There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated, and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “REPUTATION”

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 July 5, 2022:  Reputation, by Sarah Vaughan.

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Intro:

(Prologue, December 8, 2021)

The body lay at the bottom of the stairs.  An untidy heap in this house that had been gentrified beyond all recognition.  A jumble of clothes just waiting to be tidied away.

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Teaser:

The feeling of being watched continued that evening.  I hadn’t cycled—my bike had a puncture—and both Claire and Julia had evening engagements, so I took a cab and tried to relax in its relative privacy, resisting the cabbie’s eyes in the rear mirror. (31%).

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Synopsis:

The bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal—now a hit Netflix series—returns with a new psychological thriller about a politician whose less-than-perfect personal life is thrust into the spotlight when a body is discovered in her home.

As a politician, Emma has sacrificed a great deal for her career—including her marriage and her relationship with her daughter, Flora.

A former teacher, the glare of the spotlight is unnerving for Emma, particularly when it leads to countless insults, threats, and trolling as she tries to work in the public eye. As a woman, she knows her reputation is worth its weight in gold but as a politician, she discovers it only takes one slip-up to destroy it completely.

Fourteen-year-old Flora is learning the same hard lessons at school as she encounters heartless bullying. When another teenager takes her own life, Emma lobbies for a new law to protect women and girls from the effects of online abuse. Now, Emma and Flora find their personal lives uncomfortably intersected…but then the unthinkable happens.

A man is found dead in Emma’s home. A man she had every reason to be afraid of and to want gone. Fighting to protect her reputation, and determined to protect her family at all costs, Emma is pushed to the limits as the worst happens and her life is torn apart.

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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.”

***

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.

***

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: “THE SHADOW BOX”

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 excerpt is from The Shadow Box, by Luanne Rice.

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Intro:

Claire

I died, and I relive my death hourly.  Although my absence from the world remains constant, the method changes each time.  Could it be that I was strangled, staring past the mask into emotionless eyes as he crushed my larynx with his thumbs?  Or was it this rope knotted around my neck?

***

Teaser:

They hadn’t seen Claire all day, hadn’t noticed any vehicles other than a FedEx truck driving toward the Chase home—as they were leaving their driveway. Wade reported the time as 5:00 p.m. sharp.

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Synopsis:  After artist Claire Beaudry Chase is attacked and left for dead in her home on the Connecticut coast, she doesn’t know who she can trust. But her well-connected husband, Griffin—who is running for governor—is her prime suspect.

Just before the attack, Claire was preparing for an exhibit of her shadow boxes, one of which clearly accuses Griffin of a violent crime committed twenty-five years ago. If the public were to find out who her husband is, his political career would be over. Claire’s certain her husband and his powerful supporters would kill her to stop the truth from getting out.

When one of Claire’s acquaintances is murdered, the authorities suspect the homicide is linked to the attack on Claire. As the dual investigations unfold, Claire must decide how much she’s willing to lose to take down her husband and the corrupt group of elites who will do anything to protect Griffin’s interests and their own.

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What do you think?  I have had this book on my Kindle for a year!  Now I am eager to dive into it.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “LILY HARFORD’S LAST REQUEST”

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:  Lily Harford’s Last Request, by Joanna Buckley.

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Intro:

(Lily)

I should have been expecting it, but then there’d never been any particular time frame.  Probably best that way, as it would be too much to anticipate my own death all of the time.

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Teaser:

It’s still light outside, but only just.  Memories harvested and bundled tight, I return to the front door to check it’s locked. (p. 60).

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Synopsis: Knowing she is sliding into dementia, Lily Harford is ready to give up her life … but can she persuade someone to commit the illegal act of taking it from her?

Lily has lived a joyful, independent life in a seaside town in Queensland, running her own business and raising a daughter as a single mother at a time when few women did so. Now health and circumstance have pushed her into a nursing home, and her memory is failing, although events of the past remain fresh. Like pulling back the layers of a Russian doll, Lily recalls the former selves – mother, professional woman, lover, daughter – who still exist inside her.

Lily’s daughter, Pauline, has been pushed to her limits by her demanding job, as well as the needs of her mother, husband, daughter and grandchildren. And now her mother is begging to die. Nurse aide Donna, still recovering from a dysfunctional childhood and the demise of her marriage, finds comfort in Lily’s kindness and down to earth wisdom. As Lily fades, she asks Donna, too, to help her end her life.

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What do you think?  I know that I am already intrigued.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “REMINDERS OF HIM”

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:  Reminders of Him, by Colleen Hoover…

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Intro:

(Kenna)

There’s a small wooden cross staked into the ground on the side of the road with the date of his death written on it.

Scotty would hate it.  I bet his mother put it there.

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Teaser:

I stop wiping her hands.  She never brings up her mother.  This is twice in one day we’ve brushed the conversation. (p. 63).

***

Synopsis:

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

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Would you keep reading?

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