TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “PRETTY LITTLE 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 another new book:  Pretty Little Wife, by Darby Kane.

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Intro:  A Monster.

She missed the signs before.  Maybe ignored them without fully realizing it.   Now she couldn’t unsee them.

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Teaser:  She possessed the perfect mix of pretty with a whiff of mystery.  Ginny could imagine men at the yacht club falling over themselves to flirt with her, and her not reacting at all.  (p. 63).

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Synopsis:  Lila Ridgefield lives in an idyllic college town, but not everything is what it seems. Lila isn’t what she seems.

A student vanished months ago. Now, Lila’s husband, Aaron, is also missing. At first these cases are treated as horrible coincidences until it’s discovered the student is really the third of three unexplained disappearances over the last few years. The police are desperate to find the connection, if there even is one. Little do they know they might be stumbling over only part of the truth….

With the small town in an uproar, everyone is worried about the whereabouts of their beloved high school teacher. Everyone except Lila, his wife. She’s definitely confused about her missing husband but only because she was the last person to see his body, and now it’s gone.

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What do you think?  I am intrigued.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “SHELTER IN 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 recent acquisition:  Shelter in Place, by David Leavitt.

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Intro:  “Would you be willing to ask Siri how to assassinate Trump?”  Eva Lindquist asked.

It was four o’clock on a November afternoon, the first Saturday after the 2016 presidential election, and Eva was sitting on the covered porch of her weekend house in Connecticut with her husband, Bruce; their houseguests, Min Marable, Jake Lovett, and a couple named Aaron and Rachel Weisenstein, both book editors; Grady Keohane, a bachelor choreographer who had a place down the road; and Grady’s houseguest, his cousin Sandra Bleek, who had recently left her husband and was staying with him while she got herself sorted out.

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Teaser:  For Min, the disparity between Matt’s looks—he was six foot three and bore a distinct resemblance to the young Glenn Ford—and his fastidious manner, which expressed itself most obviously in his cooking, was troublesome. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  It is the Saturday after the 2016 presidential election, and in a plush weekend house in Connecticut, an intimate group of friends, New Yorkers all, has gathered to recover from what they consider the greatest political catastrophe of their lives. They have just sat down to tea when their hostess, Eva Lindquist, proposes a dare. Who among them would be willing to ask Siri how to assassinate Donald Trump? Liberal and like-minded-editors, writers, a decorator, a theater producer, and one financial guy, Eva’s husband, Bruce-the friends have come to the countryside in the hope of restoring the bubble in which they have grown used to living. Yet with the exception of one brash and obnoxious book editor, none is willing to accept Eva’s challenge.

Shelter in Place is a novel about house and home, furniture and rooms, safety and freedom and the invidious ways in which political upheaval can undermine even the most seemingly impregnable foundations. Eva is the novel’s polestar, a woman who moves through her days accompanied by a roving, carefully curated salon. She’s a generous hostess and more than a bit of a control freak, whose obsession with decorating allows Leavitt to treat us to a slyly comic look at the habitués and fetishes of the so-called shelter industry. Yet when, in her avidity to secure shelter for herself, she persuades Bruce to buy a grand if dilapidated apartment in Venice, she unwittingly sets off the chain of events that will propel him, for the first time, to venture outside the bubble and embark on a wholly unexpected love affair.

A comic portrait of the months immediately following the 2016 election, Shelter in Place is also a meditation on the unreliable appetites-for love, for power, for freedom-by which both our public and private lives are shaped.

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What do you think?  Does the blurb grab you?  Do you like the snippets?

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “BEHIND THE RED DOOR”

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:  Behind the Red Door, by Megan Collins

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Intro:  Now that it’s summer, it’s not my job to protect the children.  I have finished the follow-ups on the girl who submitted a suicide note for her English essay.  I have closed the file on the boy who came to school with rope burns on his neck.

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Teaser:  My heart thumped when I read that.  My stomach roiled.  I had to set the book aside, curl into myself, wrap my arms around my knees. (p.59).

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Synopsis:  When Fern Douglas sees the news about Astrid Sullivan, a thirty-four-year-old missing woman from Maine, she is positive that she knows her. Fern’s husband is sure it’s because of Astrid’s famous kidnapping—and equally famous return—twenty years ago, but Fern has no memory of that, even though it happened an hour outside her New Hampshire hometown. And when Astrid appears in Fern’s recurring nightmare, one in which a girl reaches out to her, pleading, Fern fears that it’s not a dream at all, but a memory.

Back at her childhood home to help her father pack for a move, Fern purchases a copy of Astrid’s recently published memoir—which may have provoked her original kidnapper to abduct her again—and as she reads through its chapters and visits the people and places within it, she discovers more evidence that she has an unsettling connection to the missing woman. With the help of her psychologist father, Fern digs deeper, hoping to find evidence that her connection to Astrid can help the police locate her. But when Fern discovers more about her own past than she ever bargained for, the disturbing truth will change both of their lives forever.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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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: “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: “TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH”

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 Tell You the Truth, by Gilly Macmillan.

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Intro:  (Prologue)

There are the facts, and then there is the truth.

These are the facts.

It is the summer solstice, June 1991.

You’re only nine years old.  You’re short for your age.  The school nurse has recommended that you lose weight.  You struggle to make friends and often feel lonely.  You have been bullied.  Teachers and your parents frequently encourage you to participate more in group activities, but you prefer the company of your imaginary friend.

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Teaser:  I loved our life then.  If you’ve experienced trauma as a kid, what you want most as an adult is a still pool to bathe in, one where you can see the edges, where the surface of the water is glassy. (p. 62).

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Synopsis:  To tell you the truth . . . everybody lies.

Lucy Harper’s talent for writing bestselling novels has given her fame, fortune and millions of fans.  It’s also given her Dan, her needy, jealous husband whose own writing career has gone precisely nowhere.

Now Dan has vanished. But this isn’t the first time that someone has disappeared from Lucy’s life. Three decades ago, her little brother Teddy also went missing and was never found. Lucy, the only witness, helplessly spun fantasy after fantasy about Teddy’s disappearance, to the detectives’ fury and her parents’ despair. That was the start of her ability to tell a story—a talent she has profited from greatly. 

But now Lucy’s a grown woman who can’t hide behind fiction any longer. The world is watching, and her whole life is under intense scrutiny. A life full of stories, some more believable than others. Could she have hurt Teddy?  Did she kill Dan?  Finally, now, Lucy Harper’s going to tell the truth.

Cross her heart.

And hope to die.

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Would you keep reading?  I am definitely eager to do so.

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TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “ANXIOUS PEOPLE”

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 Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman.

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Intro:  A bank robbery.  A hostage drama.  A stairwell full of police officers on their way to storm an apartment.  It was easy to get to this point, much easier than you might think.  All it took was one single really bad idea.

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Teaser:  So what do you do?  You struggle on.  Hope that’ll be enough.  Then you receive another threatening letter from the lawyer. (p.60).

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Synopsis:  Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

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Would you keep reading?  I’ve heard really good things about this one.

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