BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE GOOD SON”

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.

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:  The Good Son, by Jacquelyn Mitchard.

***

Book Beginning:

I was picking my son up at the prison gates when I spotted the mother of the girl he had murdered.

Two independent clauses, ten words each, joined by an adverb, made up entirely of words that would once have been unimaginable to think, much less say.

***

Friday 56:

I called Keith and left a contrite message:  Yes, I would ask for a sabbatical.  Could we make a lunch date?  Suddenly I couldn’t wait to be away from my campus, my second home.

***

Synopsis:

What do you do when the person you love best becomes unrecognizable to you? For Thea Demetriou, the answer is both simple and agonizing: you keep loving him somehow.

Stefan was just seventeen when he went to prison for the drug-fueled murder of his girlfriend, Belinda. Three years later, he’s released to a world that refuses to let him move on. Belinda’s mother, once Thea’s good friend, galvanizes the community to rally against him to protest in her daughter’s memory. The media paints Stefan as a symbol of white privilege and indifferent justice. Neighbors, employers, even some members of Thea’s own family turn away.

Meanwhile Thea struggles to understand her son. At times, he is still the sweet boy he has always been; at others, he is a young man tormented by guilt and almost broken by his time in prison. But as his efforts to make amends meet escalating resistance and threats, Thea suspects more forces are at play than just community outrage. And if there is so much she never knew about her own son, what other secrets has she yet to uncover—especially about the night Belinda died?

***

Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: SAME BEACH, NEXT YEAR, BY DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK

One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

Bursting with the intoxicating richness of Dorothea Benton Frank’s beloved Lowcountry—the sultry sunshine, cool ocean breezes, icy cocktails, and starry velvet skies—Same Beach, Next Year is a dazzling celebration of the infrangible power of friendship, the enduring promise of summer, and the indelible bonds of love.

 

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From the very beginning of Same Beach, Next Year, I was reminded of stories and movies I had enjoyed that featured friends getting together in a special place on a regular basis.

We follow the characters through their lives as they experience marital issues, accidents, and family tragedies. Even the threat of infidelity stalks them.

My favorite part was when Eliza took a trip to Corfu on the Greek Islands to reconnect with her mother’s family, and rediscovered that she could make some independent choices that would be good for her and for her marriage.

A delightful excursion through a family’s life that brought friends into the family circle, too. 4.5 stars.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “FIND ME”

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.

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:  Find Me, by Alafair Burke.

***

Book Beginning:

Hope Miller shifted her gaze from the gas nozzle to the pump.  When the gallon counter hit twelve, she scolded herself for not filling up before her trip into the city.  She couldn’t risk an empty tank.

***

Friday 56:

Once she found out exactly how he had “messed it up,” she couldn’t unknow it.  Lindsay’s reluctance to take even that initial leap had nothing to do with Hope and everything to do with Scott. (p. 56).

***

Synopsis:

Some pasts won’t stay forgotten . . .

She calls herself Hope Miller, but she has no idea who she actually is. Fifteen years ago, she was found in a small New Jersey town thrown from an overturned vehicle, with no clue to her identity. Doctors assumed her amnesia was a temporary side effect of her injuries, but she never regained her memory. Hope eventually started a new life with a new name in a new town that welcomed her, yet always wondered what she may have left behind—or been running from. Now, she’s leaving New Jersey to start over once again.

Manhattan defense lawyer Lindsay Kelly, Hope’s best friend and the one who found her after the accident, understands why Hope wants a new beginning. But she worries how her friend will fare in her new East Hampton home, far away from everything familiar. Lindsay’s worst fears are confirmed when she discovers Hope has vanished without a trace—the only lead a drop of blood found where she was last seen. Even more ominously, the blood matches a DNA sample with a connection to a notorious Kansas murderer.

With nowhere else to turn, Lindsay calls NYPD homicide detective Ellie Hatcher, the daughter of the cop who dedicated his life to hunting the Kansas killer. Ellie has always believed there was more to the story of her father’s death twenty years earlier—and she now fears that Hope’s recent disappearance could be related.

In pursuit of answers, the women search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets. And when their searches converge, what they find will upend everything they’ve ever known. 

***

Would you keep reading?  I love this author, so I’m in.

***

REVIEW: MY DARLING HUSBAND, BY KIMBERLY BELLE

Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle’s exceptional talent for domestic suspense.

 

mythoughts-laurelrainsnow-serendipity

When Jade and her two children are grabbed by someone who has been watching them, the home invasion turns into a frightening countdown to the final moment when Jade’s husband Cam will have gathered the ransom money and arrived in time to save his family.

But Cam is not as financially secure as Jade had believed, and furthermore, the home invader is not a passing stranger. He has a history with Cam…and a vendetta to resolve.  My Darling Husband is not who he seems to be.

As more details are revealed throughout the day, we soon realize that there are so many layers beyond what had initially seemed like a one-off scramble for money. Unexpected motivations stunned me by the very end. 5 stars.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “MY DARLING HUSBAND”

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.

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 current read:  My Darling Husband, by Kimberly Belle.

***

Beginning:

Jade – 2:51 p.m.

I’m pulling into the Westmore Music Academy lot when I spot him, the man leaning against the building’s brick and carved concrete sign.  Pocked skin.  Black-rimmed glasses.  Skinny shoulders hunched against the rain.

***

Friday 56:

First of all, get through the afternoon...what does that even mean?  Cam doesn’t get home until well past midnight.  This situation can’t possibly sustain itself until then.

***

Synopsis:

Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle’s exceptional talent for domestic suspense.

***

Would you keep reading?  I can’t stop turning the pages.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LUCY”

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.

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:  Lucy, by Ellen Feldman.

Book Beginning:

(1947)

“It is a story which reminds us of the code of another day, of the complexity of human relationships, of the human problems of statesmen bearing the heaviest responsibilities and of the capacity of mature people to accept the frustrations of life and, perhaps, to make of frustrations a sort of triumph.  Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lucy Mercer all emerge from the story with honor.

***

Friday 56:

The orchestra started up again in a ragtime beat.  Franklin’s arm went around my waist.  I looked at Eleanor.  Her eyes held mine.

***

Synopsis:

On the eve of World War I, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt, fiercely ambitious and still untouched by polio, falls in love with his wife’s social secretary, Lucy Mercer. Eleanor stumbles on their letters and divorce is discussed, but honor and ambition win out. Franklin promises he will never see Lucy again.

But Franklin and Lucy do meet again, and again they fall in love.

Ellen Feldman brings a novelist’s insight to bear on the connection of these three compelling characters. Franklin and Lucy did finally meet, across the divide of his illness and political ascendancy, her marriage and widowhood. They fell in love again. As he prepared to run for an unprecedented third term and lead America into war, Franklin turned to Lucy for the warmth and unconditional approval Eleanor was unable to give.

Drawing on recently discovered materials to re-create the voice of a woman who played a crucial but silent role in the Roosevelt presidency, Lucy is a remarkably sensitive exploration of the private lives behind a public marriage. Reading group guide included.

***

What do you think?  Are you intrigued?

***

 

REVIEW: THE JANES, BY LOUISA LUNA

 

The page-turning follow-up to acclaimed thriller Two Girls Down features the tenacious PI Alice Vega and her electric partnership with Max Caplan, as they follow a shocking murder investigation to it’s even more shocking conclusion.

On the outskirts of San Diego, the bodies of two young women are discovered. They have no names, no IDs, but one of the Jane Does holds a note bearing the name, “Alice Vega.” The police and FBI reach out to Vega, a private investigator known for finding the missing. Fearing the possibility of a human trafficking ring, Vega enlists the help of her one-time partner, former cop Max “Cap” Caplan.

Despite a case with so few leads, Alice Vega is a powerful woman whose determination is matched only by her intellect, and, along with her partner Cap, she will stop at nothing to find the Janes’ killers before it is too late.
 
 
 
 
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The intensity of the search for the missing girls increases as Vega and Cap work together to solve the case. Just as they are closing in on answers, they discover more girls are involved and realize how corruption in the department is at the bottom of these activities.

They carefully keep ahead of those chasing them and connect with others who are dedicated to discovering the truth and finding the rest of the missing girls as well. The Janes was an intricately woven tale that led to answers and freedom for the girls. 4.5 stars.
 
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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LAYLA”

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.

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 patiently waiting on my Kindle:  Layla, by Colleen Hoover.

Beginning

(The Interview)

I placed two layers of duct tape over Layla’s mouth before I came downstairs, but I can still hear her muffled screams as the detective takes a seat at the table.

***

Friday 56:

I know she thinks this is probably some fantasy of mine—I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t-–but not right now.  Not after she just came down from a panic attack.  It feels wrong.

***

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

***

Would you keep reading?

***

REVIEW: CHRISTMAS DESSERT MURDER, BY JOANNE FLUKE

CHRISTMAS CARAMEL MURDER
Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say “Bah, humbug!” the actress playing Mrs. Claus exits stage left for good. As murder suspects pile up faster than snowdrifts in a blizzard, it might take a visit from ghosts of Christmas past to wrap up this mystery in time for the holidays . . .

CHRISTMAS CAKE MURDER
Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle of Lake Eden when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes, Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. It’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake . . .
 
 
 
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Each section of Christmas Dessert Murder brings delicious goodies and a murder mystery to the residents of Lake Eden.

I am a fan of Hannah and her Cookie Jar bakery, and in this particular set of stories, we spotlight both the present and the past.

In the story from the past, we meet Hannah at a younger age and follow her adventure of launching the Cookie Jar. Other characters are also trying out new experiences and adding to what we already know about them.

As with all the books, there are recipes appearing regularly and titillating us with deliciousness.

An enjoyable read, although I liked the present-day story more. 4.5 stars.
 
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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “CHRISTMAS DESSERT MURDER”

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.

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: Christmas Dessert Murder, by Joanne Fluke.

***

Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

The dining room at the Lake Eden Inn was festive with corn shocks, hay bales, pumpkins, and giant beer steins made of paper mache.  It was clear that the owners, Sally and Dick Laughlin, were getting ready for their Oktoberfest celebration over the weekend.

***

Friday 56:

Lisa slid onto the stool and ordered a hot lemonade.  It had just arrived when the waitress tapped Hannah on the shoulder to say that their table was ready.

***

Synopsis:

CHRISTMAS CARAMEL MURDER
Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say “Bah, humbug!” the actress playing Mrs. Claus exits stage left for good. As murder suspects pile up faster than snowdrifts in a blizzard, it might take a visit from ghosts of Christmas past to wrap up this mystery in time for the holidays . . .
 
CHRISTMAS CAKE MURDER
Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle of Lake Eden when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes, Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. It’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake . . .

***

What do you think?  I am eager to enjoy the goodies and the Christmas events.

***