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.






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.


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%).


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?


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



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.





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?



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.

My featured book today is a recent download, from a new-to-me author:  The Sister, by Louise Jensen.





Intro:  (Now)

Stepping out of my car with heartbreak-heavy legs, I zip my jacket and pull on leather gloves before hefting my spade and bag from the boot:  it is time.  My wellingtons slip-slide across the squelching mud to the gap in the hedge.  It’s been there for as long as I can remember.  I shiver as I enter the forest; it’s darker than I’d thought and I take deep breaths of the pine-scented air to steady myself.  I fight the urge to go home and come back in the morning, remind myself why I’m here and drive myself forwards.


Teaser: (Now)

Lexie lights a cigarette with shaky hands.  She carries the ashtray over to the back door and aims the contents towards an already full bin bag.  Ash spills to the floor.   ‘I’m taking a lodger in.  Need the cash.  Haven’t worked since…You know.’ (p. 59).


Synopsis:  “I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?


What do you think?  Do the excerpts pull you in?  Would you keep reading?













Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

Today’s featured book is from Julia Heaberlin, a new favorite suspense author, whose book Playing Dead kept me riveted.  Black-Eyed Susans is an electrifying novel of psychological suspense.  Release Date:  July 28, 2015.






Blurb:  I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The lucky one.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden.


What are you excited about today?  I hope you’ll stop by and share….







Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

I am delighted to shine the spotlight today on an ARC I received this past week:  The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford.





Intro:  The ambulance is still miles away when Dana awakens to the near dark of evening.  It wails ribbon-thin in the smog over the highway as she opens her eyes where she lies sprawled across her couch in a suburb of Paterson, a stone’s throw from Manhattan but a different world entirely.  She wakes to a headache throbbing at the backs of her lids, a library book lying beside her.  She sits up and reaches for the book, marking her place with a tiny corner fold, giving it a little pat as she sets it on the coffee table.

Lately she can read a novel in two hours.  She has always been an avid reader, but these days she can read much faster.  The colors, the conversations, everything is much more vibrant and inclusive, as if opening a book releases genies trapped inside.  The scenes and people between their covers sometimes seem more vivid than real life, with their sunny pearl-toothed characters, the witty conversation, the handsome stranger squeezed into a subway car or knocking about on the street.  Sometimes, when she finishes a book at record speed, Dana feels a slight letdown, as if a good friend has hung up the phone in the middle of a conversation.


Teaser:  It’s not entirely unpleasant, this restlessness, this energy, the sharpness of her thoughts, her swift responses, intuitive, clever.  The clarity will in time give way to chaos.  (p. 18).


Amazon Description:  A stylish psychological thriller with the compelling intrigue of The Silent Wife and Turn of Mind and the white-knuckle pacing of Before I Go to Sleep—in which a woman suffering from bipolar disorder cannot remember if she murdered her friend.

Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor Celia is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror, she was the last person to see Celia alive. Suffering from mania, the result of her bipolar disorder, she has troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death.

Her husband’s odd behavior and the probing of Detective Jack Moss create further complications as she searches for answers. The closer she comes to piecing together the shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her . . . or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?


I am very excited about this one, hoping to dive right into it next week.  What do you think?  Does it grab you?  Do you want to keep reading?