Posted in Tuesday Potpourri

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: OBSESSING ABOUT BOOKS

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My little nook (above) is a familiar place, one that greets me every morning…and sometimes in the evenings.

Today I was searching for books to add to my already toppling stacks.  Well, the “stacks” on Pippa, my Kindle, are hardly toppling, as the books are resting quietly on the device or in the Cloud.

But…you get the idea.

Today was release day for one I’ve been ogling for a while.  The Kept Woman, by Karin Slaughter, is now on my Pippa!

 

 

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Husbands and wives. Mothers and daughters. The past and the future.

Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them.

The author of Pretty Girls returns with an electrifying, emotionally complex thriller that plunges its fascinating protagonist into the darkest depths of a mystery that just might destroy him.

***

Then I hightailed it over to Amazon Vine, since I finished the last review book I got from them.  And there it was!  A book I planned to buy, but now…no need.  It is headed my way.  Fractured, by Catherine McKenzie, is one I’ve been eagerly awaiting.

 

 

 

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Welcome, neighbor!

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

We know where you live…

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.

***

There are more books I’ve been lusting after…and they are bookmarked on Amazon.  But I should restrain myself…just a bit.  And wait.  For a day or two, at least.

What books are you eagerly anticipating?  Which ones are headed your way?

***

Posted in Hump Day Potpourri

HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: CHANGES, FRUSTRATIONS, & OBSESSIONS

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Welcome to another Hump Day Potpourri, in which I spotlight some recent changes…and chat about some frustrations.

The big rag dolls that once lived on my sofa table are now back on the hall tree bench.  The geese are in a variety of places, starting with the big one on the hall tree, to some others on my revamped sofa table.  Am I doing something equivalent to “mixing metaphors” by spotlighting the geese with the horse?  lol

 

 

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Then…my little drop leaf dining table has a new centerpiece…more geese!  The placemats I received from Amazon Vine are still showing off here. 

 

 

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I love these new changes to my space…and now I need to use everything a lot more.  Like with a dinner party.  Hmm, would that involve cooking?

I do want to use my Crockpot, which is sitting on my kitchen island…waiting (on the right). 

Once upon a time, long ago, I did use a Crockpot to make Swedish Meatballs for a New Year’s Eve celebration.  I think that was in 1977.  lol

I have Dai Bai Dang (for takeout) on speed dial.

 

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Now…the frustrations.  For some unknown reason, any comments I made on the weekend on Word Press blogs seemingly disappeared, as if they had never happened.  I recalled that some other bloggers had similar problems with their comments…which had gone into spam.

So…easy to fix, right?  Well, no.  I had to find a way to communicate with the bloggers to beg for their help.  Checking their spam folders.  Twitter!  That worked.  Soon (a day later), my comments appeared, rescued from the spam folder.

Meanwhile, I had made some changes on my end.  My user name for WP is “laurelrainsnow.” I thought:  hmm, could that look spammy?  But why now?  I’ve only been commenting on WP sites…like forever.

But just in case, I changed the “public name” that shows on comments to my real name “Laurel-Rain Snow.”  Well, sort of “real name.”  lol

That did nothing right away, but I feel better about it, since the spam I usually find is all in lower case, which seems spammy.

Now….most of my comments are appearing right away, but some say “waiting for moderation.”  That has never happened before.  Is this a new WP thing?  Or should I take it personally? lol

***

Now…lest you thing I’m obsessing ONLY about this WP commenting thing, let’s take a look at what else I’m focusing on…like my Netflix addictions.

While waiting for Season 5 of Longmire, I am having fun with an Australian show called Offspring.  I planned to try one episode, the pilot.  But soon found myself totally absorbed in this chaotic family with weird family members.

Nina is an obstetrician, and she has trouble with relationships.  She fantasizes about wonderful romantic moments…and about disasters sure to happen.  It’s funny.

I don’t like her siblings, Billie and Jimmy.  Billie talks so much that I want to “mute her.”  And Jimmy shows too many teeth when he talks, and talks while chewing.

Am I being picky?  Well, probably, but so far, I’m still intrigued.  Nina keeps me tuning in.  I wish I could fast-forward through Billie and Jimmy…but you can’t really do that on a streaming show.  Or can you?  Does anyone know how?

***

So that’s my week so far.  And yes, I’m reading, too.  Here’s what I’m reading currently:

They Might Not Mean To, But They Do, by Cathleen Schine, is a family story, with characters that span the generations.  It’s about aging, about dying, and about coping.

 

 

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So…these are my tidbits for the day.  What are you doing, reading about, or, God forbid, obsessing about?

***

Posted in first paragraphs, TEASER TUESDAYS

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “ALL THE UGLY & WONDERFUL THINGS”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s book is a new download from a new-to-me author:  All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood.

 

 

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Intro:  (Amy – March 1975)

My mother always started the story by saying, “Well, she was born in the backseat of a stranger’s car,” as though that explained why Wavy wasn’t normal.  It seemed to me that could happen to anybody.  Maybe on the way to the hospital, your parents’ respectable, middle class car broke down.  That was not what happened to Wavy.  She was born in the backseat of a stranger’s car, because Uncle Liam and Aunt Val were homeless, driving through Texas when their old beat-up van broke down.  Nine months pregnant, Aunt Val hitchhiked to the next town for help.  If you ever consider playing Good Samaritan to a pregnant woman, think about cleaning that up.

***

Teaser:  Going to the front window, Miss Humphries looked out.  Across the street, the two stood next to a motorcycle, the girl smiling as she buckled on her helmet.  After she climbed on the cycle, the man ducked his head and then, then he kissed her.  (p. 154).

***

Synopsis:  A beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives.

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It’s safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy’s family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. A powerful novel you won’t soon forget, Bryn Greenwood’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things challenges all we know and believe about love.

***

What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?  Have you read it?

***

Posted in Hump Day Potpourri

HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: LAYERING MY LIFE….

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Here we are, enjoying a September morning, and I can’t help but look around and notice my old favorites, some of which, like the little cupboard above, I’ve had for a long time.  That “jelly cupboard” came from an old favorite shop called Granny’s Cobweb Closet, which went out of business, like a lot of old favorites, after the “crash.” 

Below, here it is in its first life in my interiors, when I was still living in my house in the foothills.  It was crammed with goodies, with lots of STUFF in it and around it.    The little cart you see in the photo above, to the left, is also visible in this picture (below).  I keep using the same old favorites, but nowadays, my layers are less “busy.”

 

 

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The shop where I found it was run by a woman who knew just what I loved to collect…so she had set this cupboard aside for me.  I really miss her and her shop!

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My Mary Engelbreit cookie jars have been with me for a while, too, and so has the little tin receptacle, to the left, in which I collect favorite clippings, etc.  You can see it in the foothill house photo, hanging on the side of the cupboard. (If you can find it amongst all the other goodies!).

 

 

 

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Cookies never have been inside these jars…they are purely decorative.  Because, sadly, I am too afraid that they’ll break if we use them.  I bought them at a little shop in a neighboring village here, where the artist Mary Engelbreit’s goodies were often on display.

***

The hat/handbag “tree” has been with me for a while, too, and today I’m showcasing some handbags that I have brought out of hiding, and also a new one, bottom left.  To the right, in the hallway, my movie collection.  To the left, some of the items in my Disney collections.

 

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Below, you can see that same rack on the stair landing of my former home, “wearing” a hat and a red boa, which also live on my hat/handbag tree these days (above).

 

 

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I thought about all of my collections, many of which are stored in my garage…when I was reading blogs today, and someone mentioned reading the book by Marie Kondo,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

I’ve heard about this one, and have decided, based on the reactions of those who’ve read it, that it’s not for me.  Imagine this:  Sam, at Taking on a World of Words, says: “Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan. Kondo seems to have no respect for someone who collects anything (even if it brings the person joy) and her minute details about properly folding socks so ‘that they can rest’ isn’t making me want to resort my sock drawer. “

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I think that description alone eliminates me as a fan!  lol

***

What are your thoughts?  Do you collect things?  Even when you sort through and purge a few of your things, are you still someone who loves to be surrounded by things you enjoy?

Now I’m off to continue reading a book I’ve been loving so far…in between my Netflix bingeing of Longmire.

The Sister, by Louise Jensen.

 

 

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A haunting story of best friends separated by death, and the dying girl’s words:  “I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

So far, I don’t know what that something terrible is…but I’m about to find out.

***

Have a great Hump Day!  And for the weekend, this post is linked to West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshots.

 

 

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Posted in first paragraphs, TEASER TUESDAYS

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE SISTER”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

My featured book today is a recent download, from a new-to-me author:  The Sister, by Louise Jensen.

 

 

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Intro:  (Now)

Stepping out of my car with heartbreak-heavy legs, I zip my jacket and pull on leather gloves before hefting my spade and bag from the boot:  it is time.  My wellingtons slip-slide across the squelching mud to the gap in the hedge.  It’s been there for as long as I can remember.  I shiver as I enter the forest; it’s darker than I’d thought and I take deep breaths of the pine-scented air to steady myself.  I fight the urge to go home and come back in the morning, remind myself why I’m here and drive myself forwards.

***

Teaser: (Now)

Lexie lights a cigarette with shaky hands.  She carries the ashtray over to the back door and aims the contents towards an already full bin bag.  Ash spills to the floor.   ‘I’m taking a lodger in.  Need the cash.  Haven’t worked since…You know.’ (p. 59).

***

Synopsis:  “I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts pull you in?  Would you keep reading?

***

Posted in Sunday Potpourri

SUNDAY POTPOURRI: MOMENTS IN TIME

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The Sunday that has its place in the middle of a three-day weekend is a blissful one indeed.  So many lovely things to do and ponder, without worrying about how Monday is upon us.

But I never worry about Mondays anymore, anyway.  I started my blog Rainy Days and Mondays in 2009, to celebrate how I love Mondays now that I am “retired.”  I had been officially retired for four years when I did that, and had headed off to spend a week in Napa Wine Country.  I had expected a few friends to join me, but one by one, they cancelled.  I could have taken it personally, but then, I glanced at my bag of books…and luxuriated in my time there.  The photo below is from my journey on the Wine Train.

 

 

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One evening, I signed up for the boat ride around the area.  Delightful snacks and drinks were provided.

 

 

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But…back to the blog.  I created it just before leaving, and those were the days before I had a laptop, so I visited the resort office every morning to use their laptop and check on my new creation.

First I set it up on Blogger, but then moved it to Word Press in 12/13, migrating only my reviews from the original site.  Slowly building up my followers again, I have finally passed the number I had there.

No matter how many years go by, I will always remember that feeling when I first created it…when I began luxuriating in the feeling of blissful Mondays.

***

This weekend, I’m enjoying my time, and yesterday I had lunch at one of my favorite neighborhood spots, California Pizza Kitchen.  However, I seldom have pizza there.  Yesterday, I had a strawberry margarita and pea soup.

 

Sept 3 lunch

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Then I had this decadent dessert, Red Velvet Cake & Ice Cream, with Irish Coffee:

 

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I planned to sleep in late this morning, but my body had other plans.  I woke up at 3:00 a.m., read for a while, and then I must have fallen asleep, as when I glanced at the clock, it was 5:45 a.m.  Still too early, but I got up anyway.  I’m sure I’ll take a nap later.

I am reading a book I’ve had for a couple of weeks, but which I’m really loving:  It Ends with Us, by Colleen Hoover.

 

 

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Our MC, Lily Bloom, captured my interest from the very first page.  Her first person voice grabbed me, as she talked about her father’s funeral and how she felt about him and his relationship with her mother.

Then there’s the man she meets on the roof of a neighboring building.  Why has Ryle so captured her interest, when they have such different dreams?

Then there are Lily’s Ellen Diaries, (like letters addressed to Ellen DeGeneres), which she intermittently share, and which take us back to her childhood and the events that defined her.

***

Yesterday I read and loved I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places, by Lisa Scottoline/Francesca Serritella, (click for my review), a mother/daughter team that has brought a series of these vignettes that offer a peek into their lives.

 

 

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So….now I am ready to go back to reading.  Then I’ll take a nap.  I’m pretty sure.  Or continue binge-watching Longmire on Netflix.

What does your weekend look like?

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Posted in first paragraphs, TEASER TUESDAYS

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is a recent release from a favorite author.  The Book That Matters Most, by Ann Hood, is an enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets, friendship, and the healing power of literature, by the bestselling author of The Knitting Circle.

 

 

 

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Intro:  (Part One – December – Ava)

Ava saw it as soon as she turned the corner.  She stopped, squinting as if that would change what she was looking at.  It was a week before Christmas on Weybosset Street in downtown Providence.  The Christmas lights already shone, even at five o’clock, because the day was so dark and gray.  The air had that festive holiday feeling that came from people bustling about with oversized shopping bags, cold air, tired decorations, a guy selling Christmas trees on the corner.

But Ava felt anything but festive.

She stood staring at the Providence Performing Arts Center marquee.  She knew it was backlit in white with black letters announcing The Lion King, because she’d come here just last night, the tickets given to her by a colleague from the French department trying to cheer her up.  But she couldn’t actually see the marquee.  No.  The marquee was covered in red and green cable knit yarn, almost like it was wearing a sweater.  Except Ava knew that it wasn’t wearing a sweater.  The PPAC marquee had been yarn bombed.

***

Teaser:  (Paris – Maggie)

Of course, he was married.

Although she didn’t learn it that first night, it became clear soon enough.  The apartment on rue Saint-Antoine was a second flat, the one that Julien kept for his work, which involved art installations. (p. 66).

***

Synopsis:  Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

***

I love books about bookish things, so this one appeals to me.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading, curious about the book club members meeting their goal of finding the book that matters most to them?

I also enjoy alternating storylines, so I’m eager to keep going.

***

Posted in Sunday Potpourri

SUNDAY POTPOURRI: REFLECTIONS ON MY SUMMER….

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Welcome to my first Sunday Potpourri in weeks!  Well, at least two or three, anyway.

A Sunday was one of the first days I wrote on this blog…one of my earliest posts was on a Sunday in July 2009.  A while ago, I recreated that post (partially), one that included my preteen granddaughter Fiona, in Celebrating Special Moments, Past and Present.

I recall those moments fondly, as my now “late teen” granddaughter is a complex person.  One who sometimes enjoys my company, and at other times, she ignores me completely.  Shouldn’t she have gone through this phase earlier?  Now that she is a young adult, she should be more agreeable.  Right?  I guess not.  LOL.

We did have a semi-enjoyable trip, mostly once we got there.  The car ride was not fun, all twisty, with continuous road work, which contributed greatly to our short tempers.

Stopping along the way for refreshments helped.  But Hwy. 101 has so many tiny towns, and finding great places to pull over was a challenge.

Once we arrived, however, there was plenty to keep us occupied…and lovely breezes, too.

 

 

August 2016 - pier in Crescent City

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Next time I go there, however, I will go solo…and on the train!  I picture myself resting and reading.

 

 

 

Amtrak

 

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Now that I’m back, I seem to be getting my Reading Mojo again.  Although I’m catching up on Netflix as well.  I resumed watching Doc Martin, which I’m starting to enjoy more, now that I’m (kind of) used to the MC and his quirks.

 

 

Doc Martin in Cornwall

 

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Currently I’m reading The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton, and while I don’t usually enjoy a “child” narrator, this particular one is quite articulate, and I settled into her perspective, remembering my own younger years surrounded by fruit orchards.

 

 

 

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Synopsis:  Mary Frances “Frankie” Lombard is fiercely in love with her family’s sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother William, competing with her brainy cousin Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave. Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie’s roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go.

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Next I hope to read Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris.  I waited and waited for this one…and then it was released last week.  Loving the anticipation!

 

 

 

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Here are some thoughts from others: 

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

The debut psychological thriller you can’t miss!

“A hair-raising debut, both unsettling and addictive…A chilling thriller that will keep you reading long into the night.” —Mary Kubica, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Girl

This is one readers won’t be able to put down.” —Booklist (starred review)

“This debut is guaranteed to haunt you…Warning: brace yourself.” —Bustle (10 New Thrillers to Read This Summer)

***

What does your Sunday look like?  Restful, busy, or a combination?

 

Here’s what I had yesterday, at California Pizza Kitchen:  Pea Soup and a Strawberry Margarita.

 

 

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Posted in MUSING MONDAYS

MONDAY POTPOURRI: MUSINGS….

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  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What sequel do you have yet to read?

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Last week, I blogged about my daughter’s 40th birthday in A Journey with Heather:  Happy Birthday!

She is on a cruise to Ensenada, with a group of friends.

***

Meanwhile, I’m currently reading The Truth-Teller’s Lie, by Sophie Hannah, a creepy, twisty book with characters you can’t trust or believe.

The second book in Sophie Hannah’s beloved Zailer and Waterhouse series, The Truth-Teller’s Lie is a chillingly smart suspense novel sure to appeal to fans of Tess Gerritsen and Gillian Flynn.

 

 

 

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What are you musing about today?  Come on by and share!

***

Posted in first paragraphs, TEASER TUESDAYS

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is an ARC from NetGalley, to be released on 8/23:  The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena.

 

 

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Intro:  Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming.  She’s had too much to drink.  Cynthia has been topping her up all night.  Anne had meant to keep herself to a limit, but she’d let things slide—she didn’t know how else she was supposed to get through the evening.  Now she has no idea how much wine she’s drunk over the course of this interminable dinner party.  She’ll have to pump and dump her breast milk in the morning.

Anne wilts in the heat of the summer night and watches her hostess with narrowed eyes.  Cynthia is flirting openly with Anne’s husband, Marco.  Why does Anne put up with it?  Why does Cynthia’s husband, Graham, allow it?  Anne is angry but powerless; she doesn’t know how to put a stop to it without looking pathetic and ridiculous.  They are all a little tanked.  So she ignores it, quietly seething, and sips at the chilled wine.  Anne wasn’t brought up to create a scene, isn’t one to draw attention to herself.

Cynthia, on the other hand…

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Teaser:  Marco almost hadn’t gone through with it.  When the babysitter canceled at the last minute, he’d panicked.  He’d almost called the whole thing off. (46%).

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Blurb:  How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even—yourself?  

People are capable of almost anything. . . 

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . . 

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. 

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I’ve been eagerly awaiting this one for a while, now.

 

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