BOOKISH FRIDAY: “RACHEL TO THE RESCUE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  Rachel to the Rescue, by Elinor Lipman.

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Book Beginning:  (The Bad News First)

Unless I amend it, my resume confirms that I truly did work for the forty-fifth president of the United States, if you can call my daily torture-task a job.  Even when I hide behind my formal title (Assistant, White House Office of Records Management aka WHORM) I eventually confess that I spent my days taping back together every piece of paper that passed through the hands of Donald J. Trump.

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Friday 56:  “How ya doin’?” the wine shop clerk asked.  And though I knew it was his standard, meaningless auto-greeting, I said, “Great!  I just got a new job!”

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Synopsis:  Rachel Klein is sacked from her job at the White House after she sends an email criticizing Donald Trump. As she is escorted off the premises she is hit by a speeding car, driven by what the press will discreetly cal “a personal friend of the President.” Does that explain the flowers, the get-well wishes at a press briefing, the hush money offered by a lawyer at her hospital bedside? Rachel’s recovery is soothed by comically doting parents, matchmaking room-mates, a new job as aide to a journalist whose books aim to defame the President, and unexpected love at the local wine store. But secrets leak, and Rachel’s new-found happiness has to make room for more than a little chaos. Will she bring down the President? Or will he manage to do that all by himself? Rachel to the Rescue is a mischievous political satire, with a delightful cast of characters, from one of America’s funniest novelists.

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Would you keep reading?  I am feeling myself smile just from the excerpts, so I will definitely keep reading.

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REVIEW: THE WRONG FAMILY, BY TARRYN FISHER

 

 

Another twisted psychological thriller guaranteed to turn your world upside down. Have you ever been wrong about someone? Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch. Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son—the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore. Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel… She shouldn’t get involved. She really shouldn’t. But this could be her chance to make a few things right. Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too. From the wickedly dark mind of bestselling author Tarryn Fisher, The Wrong Family is a taut new thriller that’s riddled with twists in all the right places.
 
 
 
 

As we enter the world of Winnie and Nigel Crouch from the perspective of Juno, we are not sure what is going on. How is Juno able to insert herself into the deepest secrets of their lives without ever actually interacting with them? I was confused for a while, and then we slowly come to realize what is happening.

The Wrong Family is definitely not what it appears to be, and neither is the story. By the end, I was holding my breath, waiting to see what would happen next. An unforgettable story. 4.5 stars.

 
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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE WIFE UPSTAIRS”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is another new book:  The Wife Upstairs, by Rachel Hawkins.

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Book Beginning:  (Jane)

February:  It is the absolute shittiest day for a walk.

Rain has been pouring down all morning, making my drive from Center Point out here to Mountain Brook a nightmare, soaking the hem of my jeans as I get out of the car in the Reeds’ driveway, making my sneakers squelch on the marble floors of the foyer.

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Friday 56:  I still don’t understand what his plan is, or why he’s keeping me here, why I’m not at the bottom of the lake with Blanche.  But there has to be a reason, and I’m going to figure it out.

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A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins’s The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

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What do you think?  I have been eagerly awaiting this book.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “PIECE OF MY HEART”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today I am choosing my First Book of the Year as my pick:  Piece of My Heart, by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke.

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Book Beginning:  Laurie Moran flinched at the sound of yet another horn honking, this time from the pickup truck behind them.

From the driver’s seat, Charlotte Pierce glanced in the rearview mirror and threw up a frustrated hand. “I don’t know where he expects me to go.”

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Friday 56:  Then suddenly one day, Sandra paused before answering, and then broke down into tears.  At first, Michelle had been getting good grades as a student at the University of Baltimore, but after two years, she took some time off.

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Description:Television producer Laurie Moran and her fiancée, Alex Buckley, the former host of her investigative television show, are just days away from their mid-summer wedding, when things take a dark turn. Alex’s seven-year-old nephew, Johnny, vanishes from the beach. A search party begins and witnesses recall Johnny playing in the water and collecting shells behind the beach shack, but no one remembers seeing him after the morning. As the sun sets, Johnny’s skim board washes up to shore, and everyone realizes that he could be anywhere, even under water.

A ticking clock, a sinister stalker, and fresh romance combine in this exhilarating follow up to the bestselling You Don’t Own Me—another riveting page-turner from the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and her dazzling partner-in-crime Alafair Burke.

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What do you think?  I am definitely into this one, as it is also my First Book of the Year.

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HUMP DAY SERENDIPITY: PAST TREASURES…

Recently, a “memory” appeared on my Facebook page (below), and I was taken back to some “treasures” of the past, like the mugs and bowls in the cupboard on the left above.

So I had to search through my photo files for the collections, which is how I created the new header for this site.

Meanwhile, my daughter texted me that she has the mugs!  Yes, she was the one who actually cleared out my previous residence and moved me here, and while I had a voice in it all, I had forgotten about these mugs.

Here they are on her counter:

Now I am looking forward to having them again!  She will keep the bowls and the plates, and I will find space for the mugs in my cabinet.  Joy!

I wish I still had that cupboard above, but sadly, there isn’t enough space.  I did bring a couple of my favorite country cupboards, however, like this one for bathroom towels.:

In my entry way, I have added another favorite cupboard for photos and trinkets, and a few books.

The lesson learned:  we can still enjoy the “treasures” of the past in new spaces.

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Today I am relaxing with coffee while waiting for my Instacart order.  Yes, having a few favorite treats in my cupboards and fridge can make my little apartment feel like a home.  I also enjoy eating in the dining room, for the socialization…and the joy of not having to cook.

Tomorrow will bring an end to Year 2020, and I couldn’t be happier about that!  Meanwhile, I have a pretty new Mary Engelbreit calendar to hang.

Happy New Year!

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a book that has been hiding out on my Kindle since 2017:  This Is How It Always Is, by Laurie Frankel.

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Book Beginning:  (Once Upon a Time, Claude Was Born)

But first, Roo was born.  Roosevelt Walsh-Adams.  They had decided to hyphenate because—and in spite—of all the usual reasons but mostly so their firstborn could have his grandfather’s name without sounding too presidential, which seemed to his parents like a lot of pressure for a six-pound, two-ounce, brand-new tiny human.

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Friday 56 (56%):  Rosie watched her eyebrows rise in the miniature window in the corner of her screen.  “Oh, Mr. Tongo.  Poppy’s only nine.”  Had he lost count?  “We’re years away yet.  Years away.”

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Synopsis:  This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

Laurie Frankel’s This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.

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Would you keep reading?  Now that I have rediscovered this book on my backlog, I am eager to read more.

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REVIEW: CRUEL WINTER, BY SHEILA CONNOLLY

Snow is a rarity in Maura Donovan’s small village in County Cork, Ireland, so she wasn’t sure what to expect when a major snowstorm rolled in around Sullivan’s pub. But now she’s stranded in a bar full of patrons—and a suspected killer in a long-ago murder.

 

Maura’s been in Ireland less than a year and hasn’t heard about the decades-old unsolved crime that took place nearby, let alone the infamous suspect, Diane Caldwell. But the locals have, and they’re not happy to be trapped with her. Diane, meanwhile, seeks to set the record straight, asserting her innocence after all this time. And since no one is going anywhere in the storm, Maura encourages Diane to share her side of the story, which she’d never had a chance to do in court.

Over the next few hours, the informal court in Sullivan’s reviews the facts and theories about the case—and comes to some surprising conclusions. But is it enough to convince the police to take a new look at an old case? A clever spin on the classic locked room mystery, Cruel Winter, the fifth in New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly’s series, will delight fans of the Emerald Isle.

 
 
 

Maura’s pub is the centerpiece of this unexpected lockdown during a rare storm. A woman who has appeared unexpectedly is the focus of all eyes as the villagers ask their questions and probe the events that took place twenty years before.

Maura has her hands full keeping her guests fed and warm during the Cruel Winter hours, and we gradually find out more about the past, while also dealing with the hostilities and quirks of the present. We get another glimpse of the residents of Leap as the morning arrives.

I liked observing the interactions of the characters and learning how adept Maura has become in leading her group. During each of the books in the series, we find out more about Maura, the villagers, and how things work in the Irish setting. A delightful journey that earned 4.5 stars.

 
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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “DIRT”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a recent acquisition: Dirt, by Mary Marantz

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Book Beginning:  His hands looked even dirtier than I’d remembered, resting against the crisp, white, sterile sheets of a bed tucked away in the far-flung outer reaches of the hospital corner.

I was standing in the same hospital I’d been born in some thirty-six years earlier in the spring of 1980, when Mom was already a wife of three years just two months shy of her twenty-first birthday, and he had yet to find his way to wanting to be a father.

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Friday 56:  Why is it that sometimes the things we need most can only get to us in the form of carrying heavy things?

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Synopsis:  Dirt is a story about the places where we start. From a single-wide trailer in the mountains of rural West Virginia to the halls of Yale Law School, Mary Marantz’s story is one of remembering our roots while turning our faces to the sky. From growing up in that trailer, where it rained just as hard inside as out and the smell of mildew hung thick in the air, Mary has known what it is to feel broken and disqualified because of the muddy scars leaving smudged fingerprints across our lives. Generations of her family lived and logged in those hauntingly treacherous woods, risking life and limb just to barely scrape by. And yet that very struggle became the redemption song God used to write a life she never dreamed of.

Mixed with warmth, wit, and the bittersweet, sometimes achingly heartbreaking places we go when we dig in instead of give up, Dirt is a story of healing. With gut-wrenching honesty and hard-won wisdom, Mary shares her story for anyone who has ever walked into the world and felt like their scars were still on display, showing that you are braver, better, and more empathetic for what you have survived. Because God does his best work in the muddy, messy, and broken–if we’ll only learn to dig in.

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Would you keep reading?  I am already hooked.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE COUSINS”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a new book:  The Cousins, by Karen M. McManus.

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Book Beginning:  (Milly)

I’m late for dinner again, but this time it’s not my fault.  There’s a mansplainer in my way.

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Friday 56:  “Hello, Allison.”  Her mother’s lawyer, Donald Camden, put a hand out to steady her.  “Where are you running off to?”

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Synopsis:  Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

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Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE LIES YOU TOLD”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Today’s feature is a new book:  The Lies You Told, by Harriet Tyce

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Book Beginning:  It’s the first time I’ve ever slept in my mother’s room.  That I can remember, anyway.  It’s cold.  My arm is the only part of me out from under the covers and my skin feels clammy, my fingers chilled.

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Friday 56:  I wait for Robin to bite my head off rather than replying, but instead of a rebuff, Robin thinks about it for a moment.  “They’re the ones who decide who talks to who and who sits where.”

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Synopsis:  In the playground it’s the law of the jungle

But at the school gate, there are no rules at all…

When Sadie Roper moves back to London, she’s determined to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. First, she needs to get her daughter settled into a new school-one of the most exclusive in the city. Next, she’s going to get back the high-flying criminal barrister career she sacrificed for marriage ten years earlier. But nothing goes quite as planned. The school is not very welcoming newcomers, her daughter hasn’t made any friends yet and the other mothers are as fiercely competitive as their children. Sadie immediately finds herself on the outside as she navigates the fraught politics of the school gate.

But the tide starts to turn as Sadie begins to work on a scandalous, high-profile case that’s the perfect opportunity to prove herself again, even though a dangerous flirtation threatens to cloud her professional judgment. And when Liza, queen of the school moms, befriends Sadie, she draws her into the heart of the world from which she was previously excluded. Soon Sadie and her family start to thrive, but does this close new friendship prevent her from seeing the truth? Sadie may be keeping her friends close, but what she doesn’t know is that her enemies are closer still…

Dark, addictive and compelling, The Lies You Told is a compulsive psychological thriller from a master storyteller.

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What do you think? Would you keep reading?

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