BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE”

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 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  The House Across the Lake, by Riley Sager.

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Book Beginning:

The lake is darker than a coffin with the lid shut.

That’s what Marnie used to say, back when we were children and she was constantly trying to scare me.  It’s an exaggeration, to be sure.  But not by much  Lake Greene’s water is dark, even with light trickling through it.

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Friday 56:

Inside, clanging together like tangled wind chimes, are a dozen bottles of various colors.  The deep crimson of pinot noir.  The honey brown of bourbon.  The pristine clarity of dry gin.

***

Synopsis:  Be careful what you watch for . . .

Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of bourbon, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is powerful; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous.

One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage isn’t as perfect as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey immediately suspects Tom of foul play. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s more to the story than meets the eye—and that shocking secrets can lurk beneath the most placid of surfaces.
 
Packed with sharp characters, psychological suspense, and gasp-worthy plot twists, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake is the ultimate escapist read . . . no lake house required.

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Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: LOCAL GONE MISSING, BY FIONA BARTON

Elise King is a successful and ambitious detective—or she was before a medical leave left her unsure if she’d ever return to work. She now spends most days watching the growing tensions in her small seaside town of Ebbing—the weekenders renovating old bungalows into luxury homes, and the locals resentful of the changes.

Elise can only guess what really happens behind closed doors. But Dee Eastwood, her house cleaner, often knows. She’s an invisible presence in many of the houses in town, but she sees and hears everything.

The conflicts boil over when a newcomer wants to put the town on the map with a weekend music festival, and two teenagers overdose on drugs. When a man disappears the first night of the festival, Elise starts digging for answers. Ebbing is a small town, but it’s full of secrets and hidden connections that run deeper and darker than Elise could have ever imagined.

 

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In the small village of Ebbing, we meet several characters whose lives are interconnected, and some of the layers are not known to us at first. But when a festival comes to town, several things happen that will shake everyone up. First, some teenagers are drugged, a man goes missing, and the residents begin to question what they know about any of them.

Local Gone Missing primarily features Charlie, an older man who seems well-liked, but for some reason, he appears to be completely out of it at the festival. As more people become aware of his disappearance, there are bits and pieces of information that are revealed, and the police detectives, including Elise, who is on leave at the time, begin to find strange little details about him that are puzzling. Alternating chapters bring in the voices of other characters, including Dee, a house cleaner who has access to all their homes, and who quietly seems to wrap herself around them through their habits and activities.

When more and more of the details are revealed, we learn that so much of each of their lives are twisted together, from the past and in the present, and it will take all of them to fit the pieces together. A 4.5 star read.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LOCAL GONE MISSING”

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 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  Local Gone Missing, by Fiona Barton.

Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

There was something buzzing.  A fly.

Unable to move, he could only listen to its whining drone and try to follow it round the small room in his head.  Where was it?  Near the sinks?  The drain in the floor?

***

Friday 56:

Pauline turned and caught her looking.  “I hope you haven’t been reading my private correspondence,” she snapped.

***

Synopsis:  Elise King is a successful and ambitious detective—or she was before a medical leave left her unsure if she’d ever return to work. She now spends most days watching the growing tensions in her small seaside town of Ebbing—the weekenders renovating old bungalows into luxury homes, and the locals resentful of the changes.

Elise can only guess what really happens behind closed doors. But Dee Eastwood, her house cleaner, often knows. She’s an invisible presence in many of the houses in town, but she sees and hears everything.

The conflicts boil over when a newcomer wants to put the town on the map with a weekend music festival, and two teenagers overdose on drugs. When a man disappears the first night of the festival, Elise starts digging for answers. Ebbing is a small town, but it’s full of secrets and hidden connections that run deeper and darker than Elise could have ever imagined.

***

Would you keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS”

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 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  It All Comes Down To This, by Therese Anne Fowler.

Book Beginning:

(Certain Expectations)

How differently the Geller sisters’ lives would have turned out had C. J. Reynolds not been released from prison that February.  Or suppose he’d been released but had not decided to restart his life on Mount Desert Island, Maine, where Marti Geller’s old waterfront house might or might not be coming up for sale.

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Friday 56:

Sophie spent half of her life in airports and on airplanes and in rideshares and cabs.  What this meant was that she was nimble in every way, intellectually and physically.

***

Synopsis: Meet the Geller sisters: Beck, Claire, and Sophie, a trio of strong-minded women whose pragmatic, widowed mother, Marti, will be dying soon and taking her secrets with her. Marti has ensured that her modest estate is easy for her family to deal with once she’s gone––including a provision that the family’s summer cottage on Mount Desert Island, Maine, must be sold, the proceeds split equally between the three girls.

Beck, the eldest, is a freelance journalist whose marriage looks more like a sibling bond than a passionate partnership. In fact, her husband Paul is hiding a troubling truth about his love life. For Beck, the Maine cottage has been essential to her secret wish to write a novel––and to remake the terms of her relationship.

Despite her accomplishments as a pediatric cardiologist, Claire, the middle daughter, has always felt like the Geller misfit. Recently divorced, Claire’s secret unrequited love for the wrong man is slowly destroying her, and she’s finding that her expertise on matters of the heart unfortunately doesn’t extend to her own.

Youngest daughter Sophie appears to live an Instagram-ready life, filled with glamorous work and travel, celebrities, fashion, art, and sex. In reality, her existence is a cash-strapped house of cards that may crash at any moment.

Enter C.J. Reynolds, an enigmatic southerner ex-con with his own hidden past, who complicates the situation. All is not what it seems, and everything is about to change.

***

Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: FLY GIRL, BY ANN HOOD

In 1978, in the tailwind of the golden age of air travel, flight attendants were the epitome of glamor and sophistication. Fresh out of college and hungry to experience the world—and maybe, one day, write about it—Ann Hood joined their ranks. After a grueling job search, Hood survived TWA’s rigorous Breech Training Academy and learned to evacuate seven kinds of aircraft, deliver a baby, mix proper cocktails, administer oxygen, and stay calm no matter what the situation.

In the air, Hood found both the adventure she’d dreamt of and the unexpected realities of life on the job. She carved chateaubriand in the first-class cabin and dined in front of the pyramids in Cairo, fended off passengers’ advances and found romance on layovers in London and Lisbon, and walked more than a million miles in high heels. She flew through the start of deregulation, an oil crisis, massive furloughs, and a labor strike.

As the airline industry changed around her, Hood began to write—even drafting snatches of her first novel from the jump-seat. She reveals how the job empowered her, despite its roots in sexist standards. Packed with funny, moving, and shocking stories of life as a flight attendant, Fly Girl captures the nostalgia and magic of air travel at its height, and the thrill that remains with every take-off.

 

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As a fan of Ann Hood’s books, I was eager to read her memoir Fly Girl. Who hasn’t dreamed of a career as a flight attendant?

Ann describes her journey from training, with all the challenging restrictions and rules, to actually flying the skies, and shares interesting stories about travelers she meets along the way. And sad tales of tragedies that happen on the travels.

Her long term goal to be a writer plays into her travels, too, as she describes characters she meets on the trips, and dialogues that help her become adept at writing her stories and books later.

The ups and downs of a flight attendant’s career were challenging, but she did enjoy the people she met and the places she visited. And she lived in places that she loved, like San Francisco and New York’s Greenwich Village.

After reading this book, I was eager to reread some of her novels. This book earned 4.5 stars.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY”

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 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Today’s feature is a book I just read and reviewed:  Take Your Breath Away, by Linwood Barclay (Click title for review).

Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

“We can simply kill them, but there are alternatives you might want to consider.”

“If we even have any,” Brie Mason said.  “Maybe it’s just one.”

***

Detective Hardy:  Let’s come at this from the other direction.  Mr. Mason told me that Brie had also been unfaithful.  Do you know anything about that?

***

Synopsis:

One weekend, while Andrew Mason was on a fishing trip, his wife, Brie, vanished without a trace. Most everyone assumed Andy had got away with murder—it’s always the husband, isn’t it?—but the police could never build a strong case against him. For a while, Andy hit rock bottom—he drank too much to numb the pain, was abandoned by all his friends save one, nearly lost his business, and became a pariah in the place he once called home.

Now, six years later, Andy has finally put his life back together. He sold the house he once shared with Brie and moved away. To tell the truth, he wasn’t sad to hear that the old place was razed and a new house built on the site. He’s settled down with a new partner, Jayne, and life is good.

But Andy’s peaceful world is about to shatter. One day, a woman shows up at his old address, screaming, “Where’s my house? What’s happened to my house?” And then, just as suddenly as she appeared, the woman—who bears a striking resemblance to Brie—is gone. The police are notified and old questions—and dark suspicions—resurface.

Could Brie really be alive after all these years? If so, where has she been? It soon becomes clear that Andy’s future and the lives of those closest to him depend on discovering what the hell is going on. The trick will be whether he can stay alive long enough to unearth the answers.

***

Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY, BY LINWOOD BARCLAY

One weekend, while Andrew Mason was on a fishing trip, his wife, Brie, vanished without a trace. Most everyone assumed Andy had got away with murder—it’s always the husband, isn’t it?—but the police could never build a strong case against him. For a while, Andy hit rock bottom—he drank too much to numb the pain, was abandoned by all his friends save one, nearly lost his business, and became a pariah in the place he once called home.

Now, six years later, Andy has finally put his life back together. He sold the house he once shared with Brie and moved away. To tell the truth, he wasn’t sad to hear that the old place was razed and a new house built on the site. He’s settled down with a new partner, Jayne, and life is good.

But Andy’s peaceful world is about to shatter. One day, a woman shows up at his old address, screaming, “Where’s my house? What’s happened to my house?” And then, just as suddenly as she appeared, the woman—who bears a striking resemblance to Brie—is gone. The police are notified and old questions—and dark suspicions—resurface.

Could Brie really be alive after all these years? If so, where has she been? It soon becomes clear that Andy’s future and the lives of those closest to him depend on discovering what the hell is going on. The trick will be whether he can stay alive long enough to unearth the answers.

mythoughts-laurelrainsnow-serendipity

As we follow the trail of Brie’s disappearance and the sightings of someone who looks like her six years later, we are thrust into a mysterious and convoluted tale that involves almost all the characters who have connections to Andrew and Brie.

There is no way that the events are coincidental, so obviously someone has gone to a lot of trouble to manufacture what we are seeing now.

I knew that someone unexpected would turn out to be the one who had hired Brie’s killer, and someone equally surprising had also brought in the look-a-like person. But we are not sure who those individuals would turn out to be until the very end of Take My Breath Away. Another brilliant 5 star read.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “NEVER COMING HOME”

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 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Today’s feature is one of my newest books:  Never Coming Home, by Hannah Mary McKinnon.

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Book Beginning:

(Sunday)

The steady noise from the antique French carriage clock on the mantelpiece had somehow amplified itself, a rhythmic tick-tick, tick-tick, which usually went unnoticed.  After I’d been sitting in the same position and holding my ailing mother-in-law’s hand for almost an hour, the incessant clicking had long wormed its way deep into my brain where it grated on my nerves, stirring up fantasies of hammers, bent copper coils, and shattered glass.

***

Friday 56:

I knew technology, as great as it is in so many ways, could also be my downfall.  It’s everywhere—there are cameras all over the place, watching our every move.

***

Synopsis: Lucas Forester didn’t hate his wife. Michelle was brilliant, sophisticated and beautiful. Sure, she had extravagant spending habits, that petty attitude, a total disregard for anyone below her status. But she also had a lot to offer. Most notably: wealth that only the one percent could comprehend.

For years, Lucas has been honing a flawless plan to inherit Michelle’s fortune. Unfortunately, it involves taking a hit out on her.

Every track is covered, no trace left behind, and now Lucas plays the grieving husband so well he deserves an award. But when a shocking photo and cryptic note show up on his doorstep, Lucas goes from hunter to prey. 

Someone is on to him. And they’re closing in.

***

Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: THE ROAD TRIP, BY BETH O’LEARY

Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love under the Provence sun. Wealthy Oxford student Dylan was staying at his friend Cherry’s enormous French villa; wild child Addie was spending her summer as the on-site caretaker. Two years ago, their relationship officially ended. They haven’t spoken since.

Today, Dylan’s and Addie’s lives collide again. It’s the day before Cherry’s wedding, and Addie and Dylan crash cars at the start of the journey there. The car Dylan was driving is wrecked, and the wedding is in rural Scotland—he’ll never get there on time by public transport.

So, along with Dylan’s best friend, Addie’s sister, and a random guy on Facebook who needed a ride, they squeeze into a space-challenged Mini and set off across Britain. Cramped into the same space, Dylan and Addie are forced to confront the choices they made that tore them apart—and ask themselves whether that final decision was the right one after all.
 
 
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The Road Trip is a journey toward a wedding, but it turns out to be much more. The characters are each dealing with issues, some of them with others traveling along to that wedding, so we follow them from the past to the present. We learn about past behavior and how the present is finally allowing for some changes.

I really rooted for Dylan and Addie, especially since one character was constantly trying to break them apart. I really hated that character, and even though he seemed to be making changes, eventually, I never really warmed up to him.

One of the other characters was hilarious in his attempt to crash the wedding, taking drastic steps to accomplish his goal.

A delightful journey overall, earning the book 5 stars.
 
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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “ADULT ASSEMBLY REQUIRED”

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 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  Adult Assembly Required, by Abbi Waxman.

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Book Beginning:

Liz Quinn, the manager of Knight’s, one of the few remaining independent bookstores in Los Angeles, was not someone you’d describe as softhearted.  Yes, she had adopted a stray cat who’d had kittens in the store, and yes, she had a new relationship she sometimes blushed over, but generally speaking she viewed humanity with a jaundiced eye.

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Friday 56:

Polly, Maggie, and Bob stared at her, and she felt herself getting redder.  “I’m fine now.”  She added inconsequentially, “It was on the news.”

***

Synopsis:

When Laura Costello moves to Los Angeles, trying to escape an overprotective family and the haunting memories of a terrible accident, she doesn’t expect to be homeless after a week. (She’s pretty sure she didn’t start that fire — right?) She also doesn’t expect to find herself adopted by a rogue bookseller, installed in a lovely but completely illegal boardinghouse, or challenged to save a losing trivia team from ignominy…but that’s what happens. Add a regretful landlady, a gorgeous housemate and an ex-boyfriend determined to put himself back in the running and you’ll see why Laura isn’t really sure she’s cut out for this adulting thing. Luckily for her, her new friends Nina, Polly and Impossibly Handsome Bob aren’t sure either, but maybe if they put their heads (and hearts) together they’ll be able to make it work.

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Would you keep reading?

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