TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE BAD 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 featured book is one I recently downloaded:  The Bad Things, by Mary-Jane Riley.  A darkly compelling psychological thriller, full of twists and turns, perfect for fans of THE WICKED GIRLS, by Alex Marwood and THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT, by Kate Hamer.

 

 

 

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Intro:  (Fifteen Years Ago)

The stench was overpowering.  Katie squatted on her haunches and pulled at the zip.  The material tore; the metal teeth nicked her finger.  Thoughts flashed through her mind:  should she wait?  Could this be evidence?  She lifted the lid.  The sightless, decaying eyes of a child stared up at her.  The little boy, for it must have been a boy, was dressed in blue Thomas the Tank Engine pyjamas.  His legs had been folded beneath his body so that he fitted neatly into the space.  It rather looked, thought Katie, as if he’d been packed up, ready for death.

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Teaser:  (Then) It was dark and it was cold but her little torch led the way along the roads between the caravans at Harbour’s End.  A weak light shone from behind the thin curtain hanging at the window of the caravan.  She knew it was the right one. (95%).

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Synopsis:  Alex Devlin’s life changed forever fifteen years ago when her sister Sasha’s two small children were snatched in broad daylight. Little Harry’s body was found a few days later, but Millie’s remains were never discovered.

Now Jackie Wood, jailed as an accessory to the twins’ murder, has been released, her conviction quashed by the Appeal Court. Convinced Jackie can reveal where Millie is buried, Alex goes to meet her.

But the unexpected information Wood reveals shocks Alex to the core and threatens to uncover the dark secret she has managed to keep under wraps for the past fifteen years. Because in the end, can we ever really know what is in the hearts of those closest to us?

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I love the sound of this one.  What do you think?  Does it grab you?  Tempt you?

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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: CHOICES…

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Wonderful “firsts” occur during the holidays. Above, see my great-niece Margaret, with her parents (Emily and Bryan) enjoying her first visit with Santa.  She doesn’t look frightened, so that’s a good thing.

Seeing the firsts in the younger generation makes me remember those I enjoyed with my kids…and grandchildren.

Over at Rainy Days and Mondays, I found a two-year-old post about the holidays, which I excerpted:  Looking Back:  Finding Ways to Chase Away the Blues.

Since today is Friday, I’ve been doing all those chores that I try to finish before the weekend starts, like changing the sheets, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.

But I’ve also been reading Sting, by Sandra Brown, and although I enjoy her books, I wasn’t sure about this one.

 

 

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Jordie Bennett has been abducted by a man who was planning to kill her for the money her brother’s boss has offered.  But Shaw Kinnard has other plans:  Negotiating for more money from her brother, Josh, who has escaped from Federal protection, which triggered the plan to kill/and abduct her.

Already, there is a vibe between Jordie and her captor, and this is the part I’m not sure about.  Are we supposed to hope for a connection here?  Is this her only way to survive?

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But I’m still reading it.  Who knows for how long?

Next I hope to read Little Deaths…and/or In a Dark, Dark Wood.

 

 

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So…now that I’m feeling cozy at home, should I go out this afternoon?  For lunch, and/or to Barnes & Noble?  A shop nearby is having a sale…

What to do?

It is always a toss-up every day…to go out, or to stay at home.  Each appealing in its own way.  What do you do when there is an equally attractive choice?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “IN HER WAKE”

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, In Her Wake, by Amanda Jennings, is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.

 

 

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Intro: (Prologue)

I dreamt vividly the night she died.  I’ve had this dream before.  In it I am running.  Always running.  My heart thumps in my ears.  My breath comes in short, painful gasps.  It is dark and cold and the trees reach out to grab at me, as if they are alive, as if they are trying to capture me with their long, twiggy fingers.  Their roots are thick and hidden and I trip repeatedly.  I think my feet must hurt.  I look down to see that I am wearing only one slipper.

When did I lose the other?

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Teaser:  My heart beats faster as I take in their faces with excited fascination.  I remember how it felt to grow up without grandparents, imagining what it must be like to have kindly old people to shower you with presents and unconditional hugs. (44%).

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Synopsis:  “A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own”

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life…

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What do you think?  Are you drawn in?  Would you keep reading?

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MONDAY POTPOURRI: OVERCOMING HOLIDAY RELUCTANCE…

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Welcome to a “snowy” Christmassy Monday!

This blog has a history of rain and snow themes.  Check out the URL.  The snowy cabin above belongs to my niece Amy, who lives with her husband and three kids in the mountains nearby.  Where it snows.

With Christmas coming soon, I had thoughts of not decorating.  I usually bring out the decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving…and I didn’t do that.  But does that mean I’m not going to share my Christmas decor?

No…today I decided that I would bring out a couple of things.  So I grabbed a bin and started.  But, unbeknownst to me, the spirit of Christmas enveloped me, even as I slowly brought the holiday to life.  While I didn’t go all out, I did just enough.  For me.  So I won’t have a giant chore to do afterwards, putting everything back.

The dining room nook features one of my miniature trees that has the framed photos of the grandchildren.  And take a peek at the gingerbread bear on the middle cupboard.

 

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Now check out the long view, with another tree on the dining room table by the window.   This one has Coca Cola ornaments, in addition to Elvis and Betty Boop, and other 1950s mementos.

 

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The table between the two sofas showcases the little “fake” Poinsettia.

 

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In this view of the dining room table, catch a glimpse of the Candy Cane bear on the other cupboard.

 

 

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Warm the hearth with Christmas Nutcrackers.

 

 

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The wreath brings the holiday to my decorative metal wall hanging.

 

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Let’s all get into the spirit…even those of us, like me, who started out somewhat reluctantly.  What do you like to do to bring your home into the season?

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: A RAINY DAY OF READING, ETC.

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A windy rain has been blowing through these parts, starting yesterday.  I was out then, having lunch with my second son, my two granddaughters, and my daughter, along with her husband.  We had to run through the downpour and the puddles afterwards.

So today is all about curling up and staying warm.

After blogging a little, I decided to watch some Amazon videos while I ate lunch.

Earlier, I found an e-book from an author I’ve enjoyed, so I had to “click, buy.”  Yes, it is a habit.  Never Alone, by Elizabeth Haynes, is a brilliantly suspenseful and shocking story in which nothing is at it seems, but everything is at stake.  I discovered it on Cleopatra Loves Books.  I often find books I must have on her blog.  Thanks!

 

 

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Sarah Carpenter lives in an isolated farmhouse in North Yorkshire and for the first time, after the death of her husband some years ago and her children, Louis and Kitty, leaving for university, she’s living alone. But she doesn’t consider herself lonely. She has two dogs, a wide network of friends and the support of her best friend, Sophie.

When an old acquaintance, Aiden Beck, needs somewhere to stay for a while, Sarah’s cottage seems ideal; and renewing her relationship with Aiden gives her a reason to smile again. It’s supposed to be temporary, but not everyone is comfortable with the arrangement: her children are wary of his motives, and Will Brewer, an old friend of her son’s, seems to have taken it upon himself to check up on Sarah at every opportunity. Even Sophie has grown remote and distant.

After Sophie disappears, it’s clear she hasn’t been entirely honest with anyone, including Will, who seems more concerned for Sarah’s safety than anyone else. As the weather closes in, events take a dramatic turn and Kitty too goes missing. Suddenly Sarah finds herself in terrible danger, unsure of who she can still trust.

But she isn’t facing this alone; she has Aiden, and Aiden offers the protection that Sarah needs. Doesn’t he?

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On another blog, Readerbuzz, Deb shared some nonfiction books she enjoyed, which led to me adding another one to my “must buy” list.

White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg, is one I ordered in hardcover, so it will arrive via mailbox.

 

 

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Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
 
We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.

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So much to ponder, with this second book; and a good mystery will always keep me turning the pages.

What are you reading/watching on a Sunday?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: READING, RAINY DAYS, ETC.

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It’s Hump Day!  And tomorrow is Turkey Day!

 

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Already this week, I’ve done some shopping, had a spa day (yesterday), and read a little more on the book that seems to be taking forever!

Two If by Sea, by Jacquelyn Mitchard, has so much to recommend it.  I know that my stops and starts are all me…since I need something either fast-paced or slow and comforting for this week.  I am determined to finish it today!

 

 

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Yesterday I got an e-ARC from NetGalley:  a short story called The 4th Man, by Lisa Gardner. 

 

 

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FBI Profiler Pierce Quincy and Officer Rainie Conner return in a baffling cold case in this exclusive eBook short story by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner.

A young woman is found strangled in the stairwell of a college library, only her sneakers missing. With no physical evidence, no signs of sexual assault, and no witnesses, all the police have to go on are the three men who were in the library with her: her boyfriend and two campus security guards . . . all of whom have secrets, none of whom can be proven guilty.

Five years later, ex-FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his wife, former police officer Rainie Conner, agree to consult on the still-unsolved case, delving into deep background to comb for any clue that will lead to the woman’s murderer. But with no leads and the case colder than the body, will they be able to build a case against one of the three suspects, or is there a fourth man out there? And if the killer has eluded the police this long, how far will he go to ensure justice is never served?

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The Murder Game is another I hope to read this week…It was written by “Catherine McKenzie writing as Julie Apple.”  Julie Apple, of course, was the MC in Fractured, and she mentions her book in that story.

 

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It has been raining on and off this week…and so far, it’s the soft kind of rain that I enjoy.  A good rain for curling up, but not bad to run through if you have an umbrella.

 

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Enjoy your week!  What’s on your agenda?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE MURDER GAME”

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 I’m sharing excerpts from a book written by a favorite author, Catherine McKenzie:  the book, The Murder Game, she wrote as “Julie Apple,” the character in her novel Fractured.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue, March, 2008)

It was Laura who called to tell me the news.

“Meredith?”  Her voice echoed down the bad connection, repeating itself like a rock skipping across the water.  “It’s about Julian…”

I gripped the phone tightly as his name echoed through the receiver.  Julian.  Julian.  Julian.

“Have you seen Lily?”  I said through the lump in my throat.

“N0.  She’s not seeing anyone.  Not even Jonathan.”

My heart constricted again as this second name bounced across the world to me.

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Teaser:  Headline News (June 11, 2007)

I woke shivering from the cold night air that had seeped in through the open window.  Chris lay next to me, snoring softly with the covers tucked up under his chin.  I looked at the clock.  It was a quarter to seven. (1%).

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Synopsis:  For fans of The Secret History and How to Get Away With Murder comes an exciting new voice in suspense fiction.

Ten years working as a prosecutor have left Meredith Delay jaded and unsure of what she wants out of life. She’s good at her job, but it haunts her. Her boyfriend wants her to commit, but she keeps him at arm’s length. Then Meredith is assigned to a high-profile prosecution involving the violent murder of a fallen hockey star. At first, it appears to be just another case to work. But when her old friend Julian is accused of the murder, it takes on a whole new dimension.

Meredith, Julian, Jonathan, and Lily were a tight-knit group in law school. But now, Jonathan’s defending Julian, and Lily’s loyalties aren’t clear. And when Julian invokes a rare—and risky—defense, Meredith is forced to confront their past.

Has something they played at as students finally been brought to death?

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What do you think?  Does this one tempt you?  Would you keep reading?

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