BOOKISH FRIDAY: “FINLEY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT”

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: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, by Elle Cosimano.

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Beginning:

  It’s a widely known fact that most moms are ready to kill someone by eight thirty A.M. on any given morning.  On the particular morning of Tuesday, October eighth, I was ready by seven forty-five.

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Friday 56:

I stuffed Harris’s feet inside the van and shut the sliding door behind them.  Dogs barked somewhere close, and I peered around the dumpster into the bright parking lot on the other side, praying no one had seen what I’d done.

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Synopsis:  Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet . . . Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moment, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

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Would you keep reading?  I am prepared to smile and laugh a lot as I read this one.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE PARIS LIBRARY”

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 The Paris Library, by Janet Skeslien Charles.

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Beginning:  (Chapter One – Odile, Paris, February 1939)

Numbers floated round my head like stars.  823.  The numbers were the key to a new life. 822.  Constellations of hope.  841.  In my bedroom late at night, in the morning on the way to get croissants, series after series—810, 840, 890—formed in front of my eyes.

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Friday 56:

In the thick leather ledger, I helped Boris tally how many subscribers had come in today (287), how many books had gone out (936), and details of library life (Another pregnant woman fainted—she read page 43 of Prospective Mother).

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Synopsis:  Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: THE PERFECT GUESTS, BY EMMA ROUS

 

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game—and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined—even with damage from a fire decades before—but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

 

Alternating narrators take us through The Perfect Guests, from the eighties to the present, with one family and one rambling manor as the centerpiece for the tale.

In the beginning, we meet Beth in 1988, as she is brought to Raven Hall by her Aunt Caroline. She is to stay with the Averell family until her aunt can care for her. Another child, Nina, is the same age, and the two become friends.

As events transpire, we soon realize that a very strange game is unfolding.

Fast forward to 2019, we meet Sadie, Beth’s daughter, as she is invited to Raven Hall to play a part. As a wannabe actress, she is eager to discover what might happen next.

But neither Sadie nor Beth know about the intricate connections between the family members, and how or why they have all been forced into what appears to be a mysterious parlor game.

How are the characters connected to one another, and what deep dark secrets are at the root of the games they play?

Who is trying to keep the secrets at bay, and why?

I was intrigued by them all and kept puzzling things out until the very end. The book earned 4 stars.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “AN ORDINARY LIFE”

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:  An Ordinary Life, by Amanda Prowse.

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Book Beginning:  Chelmsford, Essex

December 24th 2019

Aged 94

Her hand shook and her breathing was a little laboured.  It was time for Molly to write the letter, just as she had said she would:  a promise made in haste, but a promise nonetheless.  A task she had avoided through fear, nerves and a worry that she might just get the wording wrong.

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Friday 56:

  ‘You have nothing to ...worry about, my love.  Nothing to worry about.  Everything is going to work out splendidly!’

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Synopsis:  Christmas Eve, 2019. Ninety-four-year-old Molly lies in her hospital bed. A stroke and a fall may have broken her body—but her mind is alive with memories.

London, 1940s. Molly is a bright young woman, determined to help the war effort and keep her head up despite it all. Life becomes brighter when she meets and falls in love with a man who makes her forget everything with one dance. But then war forces her to make an unforgettable sacrifice, and when she’s brought to her knees by a daring undercover mission with the French Resistance, only her sister knows the secret weighing heavily on Molly’s heart.

Now, lying in her hospital bed, Molly can’t escape the memories of what she lost all those years ago. But she is not as alone as she thinks.

Will she be able to find peace—and finally understand that what seemed to be an ordinary life was anything but?

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Would you keep reading?  I am intrigued.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE SHADOW BOX”

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 Shadow Box, by Luanne Rice.

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Book Beginning:  (Claire)

I died, and I relive my death hourly.  Although my absence from the world remains constant, the method changes each time.  Could it be that I was strangled, staring past the mask into emotionless eyes as he crushed my larynx with his thumbs?  Or was it this rope knotted around my neck?

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Friday 56: 

I found myself thinking about that toast to Sallie while I cut up the melon for Griffin’s breakfast after our ugly dawn beach encounter.

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Synopsis:  After artist Claire Beaudry Chase is attacked and left for dead in her home on the Connecticut coast, she doesn’t know who she can trust. But her well-connected husband, Griffin—who is running for governor—is her prime suspect.

Just before the attack, Claire was preparing for an exhibit of her shadow boxes, one of which clearly accuses Griffin of a violent crime committed twenty-five years ago. If the public were to find out who her husband is, his political career would be over. Claire’s certain her husband and his powerful supporters would kill her to stop the truth from getting out.

When one of Claire’s acquaintances is murdered, the authorities suspect the homicide is linked to the attack on Claire. As the dual investigations unfold, Claire must decide how much she’s willing to lose to take down her husband and the corrupt group of elites who will do anything to protect Griffin’s interests and their own.

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Would you keep reading?  I am very intrigued.

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TREASURES FROM THE PAST…AND PRESENT

Lately I have been revisiting photos of some of my favorite vignettes, like the display of dolls and trinkets atop the bookshelf above.  I even added that photo to my one of my new headers. 

The setting was my bedroom in my previous residence, a condo that I fondly remember.  The hippie dolls have been with me for many years, and in later times, I added the Red Hat figurines and wall hanging.  I love the colors that brightened up my space.

I brought the hippie dolls here…and the bookshelf (below), which is filled with books I added to replace the ones lost in the move, as well as a handful that I did manage to keep.

The hippie dolls are relaxing atop my file cabinet (below), after an unsuccessful resting place on my dresser, where one of them fell!

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Another favorite from the past is an old country cupboard that lived in my previous dining room.  Most of the goodies inside did not make it here.  But, my daughter has promised to bring the colorful mugs you can see on the shelves, below: (She is keeping the bowls and plates).

And here the mugs are on her counter, waiting to come to me!

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Do you have old favorites that you remember through your photos? 

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE PERFECT GUESTS”

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 to my shelves:  The Perfect Guests, by Emma Rous.

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Book Beginning:  (Beth, July 1988)

The house sat on a gentle rise in the otherwise flat landscape, as if it considered itself a castle in this kingdom of marshy scrubland and water channels and rustling green fields.  Pale gray walls, broad steps rising from neat gravel to the front door, row upon row of gleaming square windows, and —

“Is that a turret?” I craned my neck through the passenger window.  “Is this whole place really just for three people?”

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Friday 56:

She strolls to the window and slides her hands down the thick embroidered curtains before parting them to peer out into the night.  A pair of headlights is approaching from the direction of the road, and she glances at her watch—it’s almost six thirty.

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Synopsis:  1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game—and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined—even with damage from a fire decades before—but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

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Are you intrigued?  Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: RACHEL TO THE RESCUE, BY ELINOR LIPMAN

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 call “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 roommates, 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.
 
 
 
 

I could not stop smiling throughout Rachel to the Rescue, as her tongue in cheek dialogue with friends and family added to each scenario we experienced in this delightful book.

I also loved following the close-to-real-life politics and the dynamics of Rachel’s family, as she picked herself up from the accidental moments and moved on.

In the end, we see how closely events match reality, as the characters find themselves in a Pandemic that could overturn their lives. Instead they kept moving forward, much as we are doing in our real lives. 4.5 stars.

 
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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED”

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 from Lisa Gardner:  Before She Disappeared.

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Book Beginning:  The water feels like a cold caress against my face.  I kick deeper down into the gloom, my long hair trailing behind me like a dark eel.  I’m wearing clothes.  Jeans, tennis shoes, a T-shirt topped with an open windbreaker that wings out and slows my descent.  My clothing grows heavier and heavier till I can barely flutter my legs, work my arms.

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Friday 56:  I plop down in the seat beside her, handing over my now wrinkled printout.  She eyes it carefully, then hands it back.

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Synopsis:  Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

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I am excited about each and every book by this author, and can’t wait to dive into this one.  What do you think?

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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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