TUESDAY POTPOURRI: EXCERPTS FROM “THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTER”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Good morning!  I am getting off to a late start today, but I’m eager to feature one of my NetGalley downloads:  The Murderer’s Daughter, by Jonathan Kellerman.  It will be released on August 18.

 

 

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Intro:  Five-year-old Grace lived with two strangers on the fringes of a desert.  Biology and the law labeled them her parents but Grace had never found them other than alien.  As best she could tell, they felt the same way.

Ardis Normand Blades was twenty-eight years old, tall, reedy, long-haired, and patchily blond-bearded, with a sliver of morose face dramatized by jug ears.  Those bat-like appendages notwithstanding, he was semi-decent-looking in a greasy, vaguely dangerous way.  Only semi because some of his God-given looks were long eroded by dope and alcohol and a near perfect record of bad decisions.

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Teaser:  Women of a certain type were drawn to Ardis’s easy smile and good bone structure.  Dodie Funderburk was one of those.  Her academic achievements rivaled Ardis’s and helped cement a shallow rapport. (2%).

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Blurb:  A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.

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I am intrigued by these excerpts and the blurb.  Normally I have been drawn to the Alex Delaware series by this author, but this stand-alone novel has captured my interest.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: EXCERPTS FROM “THE NEW NEIGHBOR”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an e-Galley from NetGalley:  The New Neighbor, by Leah Stewart.

 

 

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Intro:  Where before there was no one, suddenly I, Margaret Riley, have a neighbor.  I went out on the back deck this morning like every morning, and there she was.  Across the pond, sitting on her own back deck.  I was startled.  That house has been empty a long time.  My first impulse was to go back inside, as if I’d come upon something shameful, or embarrassed myself.  As if I were out there naked, which of course I wasn’t, and even if I had been she was too far away to see.  But I am braver than that.  I put my coffee cup on the table, as usual, and then I went back inside for my book, which is by P. D. James, a remarkable woman, as ancient as I am and still creating mysteries.  I have to make two trips because I need one hand for the cane.  Sometimes I try to manage cane and book and coffee all at once, and the result is always coffee stains, or burns, or at the very least a wet book and a diminished cup of coffee.  Every morning I’m frustrated anew by the need to make two trips.  Impatience and age are not compatible.

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Teaser:  I was surprised, when she was gone, by a twinge of loneliness.  How silly.  I am always alone.  Sometimes days go by in which the only other people I see are on TV.  This house is in the woods between two small towns—villages, really—on a mountain in Tennessee. (2%).

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Blurb:  In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor’s complicated and cloaked life.

Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company, that is, until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond.

Jennifer Young is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son Milo have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her.

In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion in her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created—and reveal some secrets of her own.

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I have been eager to read this book for a while.  Perhaps the draw for me is the reference to Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal…or maybe it’s because an aging woman living alone is suddenly stunned to have a neighbor, and I am curious about what will unfold.  What will she do about this new fact? 

Would you keep reading?

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: A BLACKOUT DURING “BREAKING BAD”…YIKES!

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I was happily immersed in the Series Finale of Breaking Bad, only minutes away from the dramatic conclusion, when….oh, no!  Everything went black!

Yes, I am spoiled.  Power outages do not happen often here, and they usually occur during a storm…but also during very hot weather, when everyone is using the air conditioning.

I was at that point in the show where the intensity was great…but then again, when isn’t it?  Then I remembered my iPhone, Phoebe.  Yay, Phoebe, where I had downloaded the Netflix app.

Yes, small screen, but I could still watch.  Minutes later, the power was back on and I was watching on my TV again.

 

 

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Today, I plan to start watching House of Cards.

 

 

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But I also want to resume reading Things You Won’t Say, by Sarah Pekkanen, which I got from NetGalley.  I am loving it so far!

 

 

 

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Once the power was back on, and after I had finished watching Breaking Bad, I got restless…and created a new blog header for Rainy Days & Mondays.

 

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Next weekend is a Mini-Bloggiesta, and I will be making over my Serendipity blog.

What do you do during power outages?  And afterwards, do you have a renewed energy?

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WEEKEND POTPOURRI: CELEBRATING….

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Welcome to another Weekend Potpourri, and the celebration of all good things that came from this week.

 

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Today I am linking up the West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshots.

The purges of the past few months have been numerous, and while it may seem as if my mantra is “everything must go,” nothing could be further from the truth.  Above, note the addition of a new device:  my Blu-Ray player, on which I can now play Netflix…and down the road, my Amazon Videos.

There were a few glitches after its installation, but the AT&T service rep came out and upgraded my modem, my cables, and everything is now in great working order.  I have been bingeing on Breaking Bad every night, instead of only on the weekends.

And yesterday I took a load of books to the library….(see the bookshelf full of them in the garage):

 

 

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Now my garage is purged….with bins filled with collections to store until I decide what to do with them.  And the empty bookshelves now belong to my daughter.  She hauled them away, along with all of her stuff that I had been storing!  The garage is mine again….

 

 

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We are celebrating all kinds of things this weekend….last week, my granddaughter Aubrey graduated high school, with lots of fun events to top things off.  Here she is, below, with two of her brothers and her dad.  Why the lei?  Well, for a senior trip, she was off to Hawaii.  What fun, right?

 

 

My Robinson Four

 

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Next week, my other granddaughter Fiona will be graduating.  More pictures to come!

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And before they all existed, these beautiful grandchildren, there were my three sons in this picture from 1971, five years before I also had my daughter.  Remember the snapshot of me in the mid-sixties with poofy hair?  Well, we went from that to the plainer version.

 

 

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What are you featuring this weekend?  I hope you’ll stop by and share.

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: MY QUIRKY OFFICE, ETC.

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Good morning!  Welcome to another peek into my world of Tidbits, Obsessions, Etc.

I spend a lot of time in my office (pictured above), and recently that room, along with several others, went through a slight makeover.  Nothing major.  But I wrote about some of the unexpected discoveries I found along the way in My Interior World:  Echoes of the Past.

The blogs also go through various makeovers during the regular Bloggiesta events that come along:  the major ones, and then there are the mini-bloggiestas, like the one coming in June.

Because I have eleven blogs (yes, crazy, right?), I work on a different one each time.  Although during the major events, I sometimes dabble on several.

The upcoming event will see me working on Serendipity, as, well, it’s time for a new look.  I have a folder of new headers that I am creating.

Meanwhile, I grabbed the camera the other day and snapped some photos of this room: 

 

 

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Even though I am ruthlessly purging throughout my home, this space will retain a bit of clutter.  I love having the dolls, the bulletin board full of memorabilia, and the family photos layering the walls.  But I have cleaned it up a bit.  Notice that my TBR stack of print books is pretty small.

And on my coffee table/trunk, you can see that my “up next” reads seem manageable.

 

 

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Of course, most of my new books now go on Pippa, my Kindle…but that’s okay.  Out of sight, out of mind…it’s all good.  Right?

 

 

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Speaking of Pippa, today I am reading The Hypnotist’s Love Story, by Liane Moriarty…and it is sooo good!  That author never lets me down.

 

 

 

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We have two narrators:  Ellen, the hypnotist, and the “stalker,” who turns out to be closer than we think.  I can’t wait to get back to it!

Meanwhile, yesterday, I finished a lovely book from NetGalley, The Lake Season, by Hannah McKinnon.  (Click for my review).

 

 

 

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How is your day shaping up?  What obsessions or tidbits inform your life today?

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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: TIME FOR A GARAGE SALE?

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Good morning!  I really wasn’t planning on purging again today, but as I stared at my closet shelves, and then at the pile of newspapers that would make perfect packing material, I had to do it.

The shelf (above) is now almost empty, as I cleared away many of the Disney figurines that were there…along with a few stuffed animals (bears, etc.)

Here is what some of my shelves in the garage look like now…the latest bin is on the top (right).

 

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And now I have one empty bin to fill (below)…and I’m trying to decide what should go in there.

 

 

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Many of the shelves are not tall enough for my bins…so I moved one piece of luggage to these thinner shelves.  I have space for one more bin on the top of the previously shown shelf.

I think it’s time for a garage sale, don’t you?

Meanwhile, I am reading…and almost finished with Black-Eyed Susans, which is awesome!

 

 

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I went to Vine again to find a new book to read…as the last two were disappointing…sigh.  Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave, sounds like just what I need now.

 

 

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There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide…

Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.

But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.

Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…

Bestselling author Laura Dave has been dubbed “a wry observer of modern love” (USA TODAY), a “decadent storyteller” (Marie Claire), and “compulsively readable” (Woman’s Day). Set in the lush backdrop of Sonoma’s wine country, Eight Hundred Grapes is a heartbreaking, funny, and deeply evocative novel about love, marriage, family, wine, and the treacherous terrain in which they all intersect.

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I love wineries and family secrets.  And I adored this author’s book, The Divorce Party.  So I am sure this one will be a treat.

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What does your Friday look like?  Plans for the weekend?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “THE SHORE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine, called The Shore, by Sara Taylor.

 

 

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Intro:  (1995 – Target Practice)

When news of the murder breaks I’m in Matthew’s, buying chicken necks so my little sister Renee and I can go crabbing.  There isn’t much in the way of food in the house, but we found a dollar and sixty-three cents in change, and decided free crabs would get us the most food for that money.  Usually we use bacon rinds for bait, but we’ve eaten those already.

I’m squatting down looking at the boxes of cupcakes on a bottom shelf when a woman steps over me to get to the register.  Matthew’s is small and the shelves are crowded in; when Mama brought us with her to get food Renee and me would have contests to see who could get from the front door to the grimy meat counter at the back in the fewest hops—I could do it in seven.  She’s a big fat woman, with more of an equator than a waist; she steps heavy, all of her trembling as she does, and for a moment I’m worried she’s going to fall and squish me….

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Teaser:  It’s a little house, our house, one room downstairs and two rooms upstairs and a porch for each, and according to the phone company and the electric company and the taxman it doesn’t exist. (p 4)

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The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian’s bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her, to a brave young girl’s determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, the characters in this remarkable novel have deep connections to the land, and a resilience that only the place they call home could create.

Through a series of interconnecting narratives that recalls the work of David Mitchell and Jennifer Egan, Sara Taylor brings to life the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders, and the bonds of blood and fate that connect them all.

Spanning over a century, dreamlike and yet impossibly real, profound and playful, THE SHORE is a breathtakingly ambitious and accomplished work of fiction by a young writer of remarkable promise.

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Does it resonate with you?  Would you keep reading?  I hope you’ll stop by and share your own excerpts.

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