TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “NEVER ALONE”

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 The Purple Booker.

My book today is a recent download from a favorite author:  Never Alone, by Elizabeth Haynes, is a brilliantly suspenseful and shocking story in which nothing is at it seems, but everything is at stake.

 

 

 

never-alone

Intro:  (Sarah)

Not for the first time, Sarah Carpenter stands at the top of the hill and thinks that this would be a good place to die.  It feels like the end of the world, so high up that even the trees don’t bother to grow.  It’s just tussocky windblown grass, clouds racing overhead, drops of icy rain when you’re not expecting them.

You could die here and nobody would notice.  You could lie down, and nobody would ever find you.  The wind would continue to blow and the sun, sometimes, would shine, and there would be rain and snow too, picking at your clothes and your flesh until there was nothing left but bones.  Even in January, though, with the weather unpredictable and sometimes even dangerous, it’s not just Sarah who comes up here.  There are wildlife rangers, fell-walkers.  Someone would find you, eventually.

***

Teaser:  Sarah rinses the plates, slowly, and puts each one carefully into the dishwasher, while breathing in gasping, jerking breaths and trying not to cry.   If she cries, even briefly, Kitty will see and ask and she doesn’t know what she can possibly say. (53%).

***

Synopsis:  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?

***

What do you think?  Are you intrigued?  Would you keep reading?

***

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “SHE CAN KILL”

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 The Purple Booker.

Today’s feature is a book I’ve had since March 2016:  She Can Kill, by Melinda Leigh.  I have enjoyed several books by the author.  This book  was a 2016 RITA Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense.

 

 

25682621

 

Intro:  Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.  It has been eighteen months since my last assassination.

Christopher slowed the car as he approached the turnoff.  A visit to his father-in-law’s estancia triggered equal amounts of guilt—and fear.  The ranch was the last place he wished to be.  Franco had a job for him.  The kind of job he’d been avoiding since his daughter was born eighteen months before, the kind of job that required his expertise with a weapon.

But that’s what happened when you married the daughter of an arms dealer.

***

Teaser:  Mike sized him up.  He’d thought a drunken Troy was bad enough, violent and prone to impulsive outbursts of temper.  But intoxicated, Troy was easy to predict.  Sober, he seemed more dangerous, capable of thinking, planning…(p. 151).

***

Synopsis:  Cristan Rojas just wants to raise his daughter in peace. But after twelve years on the run from a South American cartel, he learns that even the quiet little town of Westbury, Pennsylvania, has hidden dangers. Although he can’t shake the feeling he’s under surveillance, Cristan’s attraction to Sarah Mitchell continues to grow, as do his concerns that his secret past could jeopardize anyone who gets too close to him.

Sarah is ready to start her life over with her children, a new job, and a budding romance. Her newfound happiness is threatened when her ex-husband becomes increasingly violent—and she soon learns her ex isn’t the only person stalking her.

Cristan fears someone from his past has arrived in town, someone far worse than a jealous ex. Someone who may be responsible for a brutal—and unsolved—murder a dozen years ago. To protect Sarah and his daughter, he must shine a light into the darkest recesses of his nightmarish past.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

***

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.

 

 

29619695

 

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.

***

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%).

***

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?

***

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

***

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “HOT MILK”

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.

I am delighted to share snippets today from Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy.  Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, Hot Milk moves “gracefully among pathos, danger, and humor?? (The New York Times)”.

 

 

30649099

 

Intro: 2015. Almeria. Southern Spain. August.

Today I dropped my laptop on the concrete floor of a bar built on the beach.  It was tucked under my arm and slid out of its black rubber sheath (designed like an envelope), landing screen side down. The digital page is now shattered but at least it still works.  My laptop has all my life in it and knows more about me than anyone else.

So what I am saying is that if it is broken, so am I.

***

Teaser:  It was like he was Sherlock and I was Watson—or the other way round, given I had more experience.  I could see the sense of him testing her apparent numbness by inviting the village cats to join us for lunch. (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:  I have been sleuthing my mother’s symptoms for as long as I can remember. If I see myself as an unwilling detective with a desire for justice, is her illness an unsolved crime? If so, who is the villain and who is the victim?

Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant–their very last chance–in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis.

But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Sofia’s mother’s illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sofia’s role as detective–tracking her mother’s symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain–deepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community.

Hot Milk is a profound exploration of the sting of sexuality, of unspoken female rage, of myth and modernity, the lure of hypochondria and big pharma, and, above all, the value of experimenting with life; of being curious, bewildered, and vitally alive to the world.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I was drawn to this book after I first read the synopsis…and I am still intrigued, even as I choose these excerpts.

***

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE AMERICAN GIRL”

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 book I recently downloaded, and which appealed to me because of the synopsis (and cover).  The American Girl, by Kate Horsley, is a riveting psychological thriller about an American exchange student in France involved in a suspicious accident, and the journalist determined to break the story and uncover the dark secrets a small town is hiding.

 

 

30298775

 

Intro:  (Quinn Perkins – August 5, 2015)

Video Diary:  Session 6

{Quinn, a girl of seventeen, sits on the edge of a hospital bed wearing a white gown.  As she talks, her bare legs kick the frame of the bed and monitors beep softly in the background}.

You ever have one of those Magic 8 Balls as a kid?  Yeah, pretty retro, I know.  I remember asking mine if Adam Epstein was planning on taking me to senior prom.  It said, Don’t count on it, so I sat on my little pink bed with the daisy-pattern comforter and shook it again and again until I got the answer I wanted.

Um, my mind keeps circling.  Back to that Magic 8 Ball.  See, if I can remember those details—my room, the pattern on my comforter—then why can’t I remember all the other things that are so much more important?  The therapist who gave me this camera told me to keep a diary.  He gave me some exercises and helpful advice, too:  “the mind is a mysterious place” kind of thing.  But in the end, I guess, he found it just as frustrating trying to get inside my head as I do.  Everyone seems to.

{Quinn moves closer to the camera and stares into it}.

***

Teaser:  Looking up, I find the scenery has shifted, the forest’s curtain parting to reveal darkness.  Two eyes stare at us, the great black eyes of a double cave.  Their appearance is so dramatic, so unexpected, it’s more like a scene out of Twin Peaks than real life. (42%).

***

Synopsis:  On a quiet summer morning, seventeen-year-old American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods near the small French town of St. Roch. Barefoot, bloodied, and unable to say what has happened to her, Quinn’s appearance creates quite a stir, especially since the Blavettes—the French family with whom she’s been staying—have mysteriously disappeared. Now the media, and everyone in the idyllic village, are wondering if the American girl had anything to do with her host family’s disappearance.

Though she is cynical about the media circus that suddenly forms around the girl, Boston journalist Molly Swift cannot deny she is also drawn to the mystery and travels to St. Roch. She is prepared to do anything to learn the truth, including lying so she can get close to Quinn. But when a shocking discovery turns the town against Quinn and she is arrested for the murders of the Blavette family, she finds an unlikely ally in Molly.

As a trial by media ensues, Molly must unravel the disturbing secrets of the town’s past in an effort to clear Quinn’s name, but even she is forced to admit that the American Girl makes a very compelling murder suspect. Is Quinn truly innocent and as much a victim as the Blavettes—or is she a cunning, diabolical killer intent on getting away with murder…?

***

I am drawn to these kinds of stories, so I am definitely eager to keep reading.  What about you?

***

TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “THE KEPT WOMAN”

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 thriller that’s part True Detective, part The Girl On The Train. All parts gripping.”  The Kept Woman, by Karin Slaughter, is about:

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

Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them.

 

 

51qqgaatbfl

Intro:  (Prologue)

For the first time in her life, she cradled her daughter in her arms.

All those years ago, the nurse at the hospital had asked if she wanted to hold her baby, but she had refused.  Refused to name the girl.  Refused to sign the legal papers to let her go.  Hedging her bets, because that’s what she always did.  She could remember tugging on her jeans before she left the hospital.  They were still damp from her water breaking.  The waist was baggy where it had been tight, and she had gripped the extra material in her fist as she walked down the back stairs and ran outside to meet the boy waiting in the car around the corner.

***

Teaser:  Sara leaned her head back against the wall.  She stared at the dark sky outside the windows.  She’d seen death too many times to believe that there was such a thing as angels, but if there were demons in the afterlife, Angie Polaski was out there cackling like a witch. (p. 199).

***

Synopsis: 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.

With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.

Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.

Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.

But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.

***

I am definitely ready to follow this story, as it promises to be a page turner.  What do you think?

***

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.

 

 

29480865

 

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?

***