TUESDAY POTPOURRI: EXCERPTING “THE CHILDREN”

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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 Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is a book I hope to start reading soon:  The Children (e-book), by Ann Leary – a NetGalley ARC that will be released on 5/24.

 

 

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Intro:  One August morning in 1956, Whit Whitman sat down to a breakfast of soft-boiled eggs and toast with his grandmother Trudy.  They dined outdoors on the wide front porch of Lakeside Cottage.  Whit’s father had an early golf game that morning.  His mother and sister had gone for a sail on the lake.  Although he was only eight at the time, Whit would always remember what he and his grandmother talked about during their breakfast.  First, Trudy had described her displeasure at finding the family cat on her bed when she awoke.  She had thought it was her sweater and was alarmed when it sprang from her hands.  They they had discussed the weather.

“Isn’t it cold for August?” Trudy asked.

“Not really,” said Whit.  He wanted to go sailing and was bitter about being left behind to look after his grandmother.

“Won’t you and your father want to plant bulbs this afternoon?  Or is it too soon for bulbs?  Didn’t we just plant the tomatoes?”

Whit answered in a dull monotone.  It was a bit soon for the bulbs.  The tomatoes had been planted in May.

***

Teaser:  I was supposed to write a listicle for BuzzFeed.  They wanted a few for the twelve-to sixteen-year-old female consumer, so I took my laptop down to the kitchen and wrote “23 Beauty Hacks for Hot Summer Days.” (57%).

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Synopsis:  From New York Times bestselling author Ann Leary comes the captivating story of a wealthy, but unconventional New England family, told from the perspective of a reclusive 29-year-old who has a secret (and famous) life on the Internet.

Charlotte Maynard rarely leaves her mother’s home, the sprawling Connecticut lake house that belonged to her late stepfather, Whit Whitman, and the generations of Whitmans before him. While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at “Lakeside,” their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace—and a provision in the family trust. When Spin, the youngest and favorite of all the children, brings his fiancé home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued. The beautiful and accomplished Laurel Atwood breathes new life into this often comically rarefied world. But as the wedding draws near, and flaws surface in the family’s polite veneer, an array of simmering resentments and unfortunate truths is exposed.

With remarkable wit and insight, Ann Leary pulls back the curtain on one blended family, as they are forced to grapple with the assets and liabilities – both material and psychological – left behind by their wonderfully flawed patriarch.

***

What do you think?  Is this a book you would keep reading?  I have loved two other books by the author, so I’m eager to immerse myself in this one.

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: EXCERPTING “THE EXCELLENT LOMBARDS”

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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 Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is a book I hope to start reading soon:  The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton, the internationally bestselling author of The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, a heartfelt coming-of-age story that Karen Joy Fowler calls “a timeless classic…a book you will read and reread.”

 

 

 

 

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Intro: (The Story Always Starts Here)

We were making hay.  Everyone who was there still remembers it, how the sky was its usual high immense self, and as we went along a wash of clouds moved in, the ceiling suddenly quite low.  There was the usual sweet smell of hay drying, the swallows swooping and scolding, and the oil and dust of the baler, a bitter black fragrance.  It had been windy and hot when we started but the heat stilled, dirty and wet; or that was us at least, chaff stuck in our mouths, chaff in our bloodshot eyes, chaff like sequins on our clothes, our flesh.  My father wore what were originally his dark-blue coveralls, the material over his back bleached by the sun to a pinkish white, the fabric drenched and glued to his skin….

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Teaser:  A bare lightbulb hung from the ceiling over the staircase, the film of dust on the stairs thick, because May Hill did not use this way for coming and going, of course not, because she’d then have to walk through Dolly’s kitchen.  So it was dusty, and up at the top there was not another door, but a wooden gate. (p. 71).

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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.

***

I love this author, and have thoroughly enjoyed her previous books.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: EXCERPTING “UNDER THE INFLUENCE”

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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 Jenn, at Books and a Beat.

My spotlight today is on a recent download I purchased from a favorite author:  Under the Influence, by Joyce Maynard.

 

 

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Intro:  It was late November,  and for a week solid the rain hadn’t let up.  My son and I had moved out of our old apartment back before school started, but I had left it until now to clear the last of our belongings out of the storage area I’d been renting.  With two days left before the end of the month, I decided not to wait any longer for dry weather.  Worse things could happen to a person than getting a few boxes wet.  As I well knew.

The fact that we had finally left this town was good news.  Not long before, I’d finally paid off the last of my debt to the lawyer who’d represented me in my custody trial more than a dozen years earlier.  Now Oliver and I were living in a bigger apartment closer to my new job in Oakland—a place where my son could finally have a little space, with a little work studio for me, too.  After a long, hard stretch, the future looked hopeful.

***

Teaser:  “I have these friends,” I had told Elliott the first night we met.  “Wonderful people.  The best friends I ever had.  They sort of took me under their wing.  They’re like my family.” (43%).

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Synopsis:  The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning—and the true price—of friendship.

Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

***

Would you keep reading?  I love this author, so I’m biased.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: EXCERPTING “NO ONE KNOWS”

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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 Jenn, at Books and a Beat.

Today’s featured book is an e-ARC from NetGalley, to be published on 3/22/16:  No One Knows, by J. T. Ellison.

 

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Intro:  (Aubrey – Nashville – Today)

One thousand eight hundred and seventy-five days after Joshua Hamilton went missing, the State of Tennessee declared him legally dead.

Aubrey, his wife—or former wife, or ex-wife, or widow, she had no idea how to refer to herself anymore—received the certified letter on a Friday.  It came to the Montessori school where she taught, the very one she and Josh had attended as children.  Came to her door in the middle of reading time, borne on the hands of Linda Pierce, the school’s long-standing principal, who looked as if someone had died.

Which, in a way, they had.

***

Teaser:  (Chase)

He tapped the keyboard again, pulling his notes together.  Cursed his naivete for thinking he could play fast and loose with his own reality. (49%).

***

Blurb:  In an obsessive mystery as thrilling as The Girl on the Train and The Husband’s Secret, New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison will make you question every twist in her page-turning novel—and wonder which of her vividly drawn characters you should trust.

The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on; she wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious yet strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

In No One Knows, the New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Nicholas Drummond series expertly peels back the layers of a complex woman who is hiding dark secrets beneath her unassuming exterior. This masterful thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, and Paula Hawkins will pull readers into a you’ll-never-guess merry-go-round of danger and deception. Round and round and round it goes, where it stops…no one knows.

***

What do you think?  Do these excerpts make you want to keep reading?  Let’s chat.

 

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS”

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KITTIES & BOOKS - meme

 

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 from an author I enjoy:  Elizabeth Haynes’s Behind Closed Doors is the spellbinding second installment of New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes’s Briarstone crime series that combines literary suspense and page-turning thrills.

 

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Intro:  (Scarlett – Rhodes, Saturday 23 August 2003, 04:44)

To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror.

Darkness, and stifling heat, so hot that breathing felt like effort, sweat pouring off her so her skin itself became liquid and she thought she would simply melt into a hot puddle of nothing.  She tried crying out, screaming, but she could barely hear her own voice above the roar of the engine, the sound of the wheels moving at speed on tarmac.  All that did was give her a sore throat.  Nobody could hear her.

She tried listening instead, eyes wide with nothing to see.  She could hear voices sporadically from somewhere else in the vehicle—two different men—but she didn’t recognize them, nor could she understand what they were saying.  She assumed they were speaking in Greek, but the harsh rasp of the words sounded different from the voices she’d heard over the past week at the resort.  Lots of “th” sounds, rolled “r”s, words ending in “a” and “eh.”

***

Teaser:  (Lou – Thursday 31 October 2013, 19:03)

Ten minutes later Lou was sitting at her desk, Jason across from her in the only other chair, a low visitor’s chair that had been purloined from reception when they’d redecorated it last year.  The facilities team had a container hidden behind the training school where old furniture went to die, and Lou had gone there herself with Ali Whitmore to try to salvage some desks rather than spend her very snug budget on new ones.

***

Synopsis:  Ten years ago, 15-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted, or did she run away from her severely dysfunctional family? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone.

Lou and her Major Crime team are already stretched working two troubling cases: nineteen-year-old Ian Palmer was found badly beaten; and soon after, bar owner Carl McVey was found half-buried in the woods, his Rolex and money gone. While Lou tries to establish the links between the two cases, DS Sam Hollands works with Special Branch to question Scarlett. What happened to her? Where has she been until now? How did she end up back here? And why is her family—with the exception of her emotionally fragile younger sister, Juliette—less than enthusiastic about her return?

When another brutal assault and homicide are linked to the McVey murder, Lou’s cases collide, and the clues all point in one terrifying direction. As the pressure and the danger mount, it becomes clear that the silent, secretive Scarlett holds the key to everything.

***

I have loved two other books by this author, so I’m eager to immerse myself in this one.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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

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KITTIES & BOOKS - meme

 

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.

***

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: INTROS/TEASERS – “BITTERSWEET”

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KITTIES & BOOKS - meme

 

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.

It is time for more fun with our Tuesday memes.  The book I have chosen to feature is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Bittersweet, by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore.

 

 

 

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Intro: (February – The Roommate)

Before she loathed me, before she loved me, Genevra Katherine Winslow didn’t know that I existed.  That’s hyperbolic, of course; by February, student housing had required us to share a hot shoe box of a room for nearly six months, so she must have gathered I was a physical reality (if only because I coughed every time she smoked her Kools atop the bunk bed), but until the day Ev asked me to accompany her to Winloch, I was accustomed to her regarding me as she would a hideously upholstered armchair—something in her way, to be utilized when absolutely necessary, but certainly not what she’d have chosen herself.

***

Teaser:  But whether Aunt Jeanne had changed or my eye had become considerably more nuanced in the intervening years, what I discovered that first December of college was that I’d rather shoot myself in the head than become her.  She lived in a dank, cat-infested condo and seemed puzzled whenever I suggested we go to the Smithsonian. (p. 11).

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Blurb:  Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong.
On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted:  friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.
But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact – and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.

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I am eager to begin this book, one which I have only heard good things about.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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