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 feature today is a relatively new download from an author I enjoy:  Faultlines, by Barbara Taylor Sissel, a story of tragedy and the testing of a close-knit family.





Intro:  Jordy wasn’t dead.

Sandy plucked that single fact from the sea of information she was hearing from the police sergeant, and she clung to it as tightly as she clung to the phone.  Behind her, she felt the bed shift when Emmett sat up.  She felt his warmth, his sleepy unawareness—his beforeness, and she envied him.  “What is it?” he asked, and he was close enough that his breath on her bare shoulder made her shiver.

“Jordy’s been in a car accident,” she said, and the words floated away from her, separate, foreign sounding.


Teaser:  Sandy saw the woman loitering by the cart-return area nearest her truck when she came out of the grocery store, and as she passed her, she had a sense of the woman’s stare drilling her back like the hot August glare.  She stowed her bags of groceries, searching her mind for a reference, and found none. (53%).


Synopsis:  It’s the phone call every parent dreads: in the middle of the night, Sandy Cline learns that her twenty-year-old son, Jordan, has been in a car accident. Her nephew, Travis, was also in the car, along with Travis’s girlfriend. All three are alive—but barely. The car was smashed against a tree along a remote and winding road, beautiful but deadly, in their rural Texas Hill Country town.

In the wake of the car crash, the close-knit family is tested like never before. Jenna, Travis’s mother, blames Jordan—as well as her sister, Sandy—after reports surface that Jordan had been driving. As the young adults struggle to survive, tension between their parents escalates. But when trust is broken and a shocking family secret is exposed, it creates a perfect storm of harrowing consequences. Rumors in the small town spread like wildfire. When details of the accident are questioned, Sandy and Jenna wonder if their family has been destroyed beyond repair.

As always, there’s much more to the story…if the family is to survive, they will have to come together to confront the terrible truth and overcome their pain. But are some betrayals unforgivable?


What do you think?  Would you keep reading?



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.





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?


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%).


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…


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




In a story that spans decades, from 1979-2008, Tumbleweeds: A Novel chronicles the journey of three best friends who met during 1979, in Kersey, Texas, a small town in the Panhandle.

They dubbed themselves the “orphans” because of the death or abandonment of each of their parents, and their connection would last for a very long time. But something would happen as they approached young adulthood–in fact, two events–that would change their lives forever.

Cathy Benson, Trey Don Hall, and John Caldwell had a special connection, some devastating secrets, and would finally come together again in 2008. Would the three of them find resolution? Would their secrets come to light? Or would the wrongs, betrayals, and unforgiven moments mark them indefinitely? And what unexpected act would change the course they had charted for themselves?

This is a coming-of-age tale: a story that examines how secrets can change lives, and a mysterious unfolding of consequences that have built up over the years, coming together in a slow reveal.

Some of the secrets are known to the reader early on, while others come out of left field near the end.

There were parts of the story that had me rapidly turning pages, while other parts–the first sections of the book that constituted half of it–were so slow it was like watching paint dry. For those who enjoy big sagas, with secrets, betrayals, and mysteries, this would be one I’d recommend. But if you prefer a seamless unveiling of the plot and themes, you might want to pass. 3.5 stars.


16130307It has been almost a decade since Andy Sachs worked for the devil herself, Miranda Priestly. The year she spent as an assistant at Runway Magazine still gives her nightmares.

But a few years after her departure, and after writing for a successful wedding blog for awhile, she runs into Miranda’s first assistant Emily in a cooking class, and despite how they were so at odds with one another at Runway, they find themselves bonding. Then becoming actual friends. And inexplicably starting their own wedding magazine together, The Plunge. Each brings her own unique talents to the table.

Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns starts with Andy’s wedding to Max Harrison, one of the investors for their magazine, with whom she has been living for awhile. But something happens just before they tie the knot: an unpleasant and surprising discovery that turns the first weeks of the marriage into a shaky time. And then another discovery shakes Andy to the core: she is pregnant.

Even as she starts to get over the first discovery, the secret she finally confronted Max about, Andy and Emily are jolted by still another surprise. The media group that owns Runway, and which Miranda is head of, offers them a lot of money to acquire The Plunge. Tempting as the offer may be, Andy is reluctant. Part of the sale includes a transitional year in which she and Emily will work for Miranda again…

Now Emily and Andy are at odds with one another…almost like the days as Miranda’s assistants. And as the two continue to disagree, Andy sees that Emily is turning again into that simpering creature who kowtowed to Miranda, and not at all like the smart partner she has had. What will become of their friendship? What will they decide about the magazine? And how will Max’s pressure to sell affect their relationship?

Meanwhile, Andy’s old college boyfriend Alex has resurfaced, and surprising feelings begin to surface.

Then a horrific betrayal turns everything upside down…and Andy’s world changes dramatically.

While I enjoyed revisiting Andy and Emily, and even Alex, I was a bit disappointed with how events crawled along slowly through most of the midsection and then jumped ahead rather quickly at the end. It felt rushed at a time when I would have loved some lingering over the “after” part. But overall, the story felt like a nice reunion with the characters. Four stars.