BOOKISH FRIDAY: “HOME BEFORE DARK”

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 recent acquisition:  Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager.

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Book Beginning:  (Prologue – July 1)

“Daddy, you need to check for ghosts.”

I paused in the doorway of my daughter’s bedroom, startled in that way all parents get when their child says something truly confounding.  Since Maggie was five, I suppose I should have been used to it.  I wasn’t.  Especially with a request so unexpectedly odd.

“I do?”

Yes, Maggie said, insistent.  “I don’t want them in my room.”

***

Friday 56:  I had no idea what Baneberry Hall really had in store for us.  How, despite our best efforts, its history would eventually threaten to smother us.  How twenty days inside its walls would become a waking nightmare.

***

Synopsis:  What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

***

Would you keep reading?  Or would you close the book and run?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE SWAP”

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 from The Swap, by Robyn Harding.

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Book Beginnings:  (Spring 2019) (low morrison)

I first saw Freya at my high school.  I hated school, found the classes as dull and simple as my fellow students.  This attitude did not endear me to my teachers nor my classmates, so I was alone, as usual, when she walked through the double front doors.  No one noticed her, which seemed to be her intent.  She wore a ball cap and aviator sunglasses that she did not remove under the fluorescent lights.

***

Friday 56:  It was a bright but mild morning, perfect walking weather, when Freya mentioned her connection to Low.  “I hear my favorite student applied for a job at the store.”

***

Synopsis:  Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging…that is, until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.

***

What do you think?  I am eager to dive into this book.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE HALF SISTER”

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 The Half Sister, by Sandie Jones.

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Book Beginnings:  (Kate)

Kate sees the familiar nameplate on Dr. Williams’ office door and feels a knot in her stomach.  She doesn’t know why, after all this time, it still affects her like this—she should be used to it by now.  But every time she walks through his door she’s filled with hope, and every time she walks back out, she feels utter despair and sadness, unable to believe that fate could be so cruel.

***

Friday 56:  Kate carefully lifts the smaller box out and lays it on the carpet, as if psyching herself up to open it.  She knows what’s inside it; she just can’t remember the details.  She takes a deep breath, not knowing whether she wants to be proved right or wrong as she lifts the lid. (p.56).

***

Synopsis:  Meet the half sister, and unravel the ties that blind us.

THE TRUTH

Sisters Kate and Lauren meet for Sunday lunch every week without fail, especially after the loss of their father.

THE LIE

But a knock at the door is about to change everything. A young woman by the name of Jess holds a note with the results of a DNA test, claiming to be their half sister.

THE UNTHINKABLE

As the fallout starts, it’s clear that they are all hiding secrets, and perhaps this family isn’t as perfect as it appears.

***

What do you think?  Do the snippets grab you?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SWAN SONG: AN ODYSSEY”

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 by a favorite author from back in the day:  Swan Song: An Odyssey, by Lisa Alther.

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Book Beginning:  (The Death Magnet)

It was snowing the afternoon Jessie recycled her sex toys.  A sharp wind from Canada was whipping sheets of white across the parking lot at the household waste dump in Burlington.  It was like being smacked in the face by a line of wet laundry.  Most Vermonters had the good sense to stay home during a blizzard.

***

Friday 56:  Jessie was mystified.  What in the world did Alexandria, Egypt, have to do with Kat Justice from Mink Ridge, North Carolina?  It was unnerving to realize that, although she had caressed every square inch of Kat’s body many hundreds of times, there were evidently levels on which Kat had been a stranger to her. (56%).

***

Synopsis:  Dr. Jessie Drake, in her mid-sixties, following the sudden deaths of her parents and Kat, her partner of twenty years, has fled the Vermont life she has known for decades.

In an effort to escape the oppressive constancy of grief, she accepts a job from an old flame from her residency in New York City’s Roosevelt Hospital, and agrees to assist Ben as the ship’s doctor on a British liner. Jessie boards in Hong Kong, and, as the Amphitrite sails throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East, cruise ship antics ensue. Jessie is lulled back into a long-ago romance with the ship’s co-doctor, and both she and her new/old beau become enmeshed with the ship’s lead (female) singer/entertainer. Among the passengers who fling socialized behavior aside on the high seas: a former Florida beauty queen (Miss Florida Power and Light) on a second honeymoon with her husband, as she causes high-velocity scandal, while juggling onboard affairs with a suicidal golf pro, and a defrocked priest hired as one of the liner’s gentleman hosts, until she vanishes–poof!–from the ship off the coast of Portugal . . . As the ship sails through the Gulf of Aden and into a possible hijacking by Somali pirates, Jessie retreats into her lover’s journals, written during her final months, journals filled with sketches of potential characters, observations on life and love–as well as drafts of a long new poem in progress, “Swan Song,” that seems to be about being in love with someone else, someone new. As Jessie’s grief turns to suspicion about the woman she thought she knew so well, her illumination of the poem’s meaning begins to lift the constraints of the past and make clear the way toward the future.

***

I first read books by Lisa Alther in the 1980s, and still have one of her books on my shelves:  Other Women.

When I discovered this new book on Kindle, I knew I had to give it a whirl.  What do you think?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “YOU CAN’T CATCH 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 a new download:  You Can’t Catch Me, by Catherine McKenzie.

***

Beginning:  (Airport Bars Are the Loneliest Bars)

There’s no real time of day in airports, only morning and drinking time.

I’m sitting in an airport bar.  They’re sad places, I’ve found, full of people who are waiting out flight delays or long layovers—whatever excuse they want to use to drink in the daytime.

***

Friday 56:  Now we’re going through one of those granite canyons they carved out when they built the highway.  Water runs down the rocks, and it smells like the beginning of time.

***

Synopsis:  Do you want to play a game?

Twelve years ago Jessica Williams escaped a cult. Thanks to the private detective who rescued her, she reintegrated into society, endured an uncomfortable notoriety, and tried to put it all behind her. Then, at an airport bar, Jessica meets a woman with an identical name and birth date. It appears to be just an odd coincidence—until a week later, when Jessica finds her bank account drained and her personal information stolen.

Following a trail of the grifter’s victims, each with the same name, Jessica gathers players—one by one—for her own game. According to her plan, they’ll set a trap and wait for the impostor to strike again. But plans can go awry, and trust can fray, and as Jessica tries to escape the shadows of her childhood, the risks are greater than she imagined. Now, confronting the casualties of her past, Jessica can’t help but wonder…

Who will pay the price?

***

Would you keep reading?  I can’t wait to dive into this one.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “WATCH ME DISAPPEAR”

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 from a book I found deep on my Kindle, and which I hope to start reading soon:  Watch Me Disappear, by Janelle Brown.

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Book Beginning:  (Prologue)

It’s a good day, or maybe even a great one, although it will be impossible to know for sure later.  By that point they’ll already have burnished their memories of this afternoon, polished them to a jewel-like gleam.  One of the last days they spent together as a family before Billie died:  Of course Jonathan and Olive are going to feel sentimental about it.  Of course they will see only what they want to see.

***

Friday 56:  Natalie sits back in her chair, tugging absently at the end of her ponytail.  “Maybe someone abducted her when she was hiking,” she offers.  Then registering the distress on Olive’s face:  “Or maybe she just has amnesia?”

***

Synopsis:  Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.

But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?

Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, but also about themselves, learning, in the process, about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see. Janelle Brown’s insights into the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, while her nervy storytelling will keep you guessing until the very last page.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “A PIECE OF THE WORLD”

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 hiding out on my Kindle for more than three years:  A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline.

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Book Beginnings:  1939

I’m working on a quilt patch in the kitchen on a brilliant July afternoon, small squares of fabric and a pincushion and scissors on the table beside me, when I hear the hum of a car engine.  Looking out the window toward the cove, I see a station wagon turn into the field about a hundred yards away.  The engine cuts off and the passenger door swings open and Betsy James gets out, laughing and exclaiming.

***

Friday 56:  So later that afternoon, when Papa comes in from the milking, I bring him the box.  “Mamey said this is yours.”

Papa shrugs.  “That’s nothing.  I don’t know why I kept it.  Just bits and pieces I brought with me from Sweden.”

***

Synopsis:  To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

***

Would you keep reading?  I am definitely curious about this book by the author of Orphan Train, a book I have waited a long time to start reading.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “CRIME SCENE”

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 I purchased a while ago, one that I shared today on my Backlog post at my Curl up and Read site:  Crime Scene, by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman.

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Book Beginning:  Don’t make assumptions.

Every now and then, I remind myself of that.

Every now and then, the universe does the reminding for me.

When I meet new people, they’re usually dead.

***

Friday 56:  The anniversary code failed, as did the two additional codes she sent me the next day.  With three attempts left, I’d had my fill of living dangerously.  I went upstairs to Forensics.

***

Synopsis:  Natural causes or foul play? That’s the question Clay Edison must answer each time he examines a body. Figuring out motives and chasing down suspects aren’t part of his beat—not until a seemingly open-and-shut case proves to be more than meets his highly trained eye.

Eccentric, reclusive Walter Rennert lies cold at the bottom of his stairs. At first glance the scene looks straightforward: a once-respected psychology professor, done in by booze and a bad heart. But his daughter Tatiana insists that her father has been murdered, and she persuades Clay to take a closer look at the grim facts of Rennert’s life.

What emerges is a history of scandal and violence, and an experiment gone horribly wrong that ended in the brutal murder of a coed. Walter Rennert, it appears, was a broken man—and maybe a marked one. And when Clay learns that a colleague of Rennert’s died in a nearly identical manner, he begins to question everything in the official record.

All the while, his relationship with Tatiana is evolving into something forbidden. The closer they grow, the more determined he becomes to catch her father’s killer—even if he has to overstep his bounds to do it.

The twisting trail Clay follows will lead him into the darkest corners of the human soul. It’s his job to listen to the tales the dead tell. But this time, he’s part of a story that makes his blood run cold.

***

What do you think?  Even though this book has been languishing on my Kindle for three years, I love this author and his books, so now I have moved it forward on my stack.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE CLOSER YOU GET”

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 recent download:  The Closer You Get, by Mary Torjussen.

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Book Beginning:  (Prologue)

That last walk down the stairs seemed to be in slow motion.  The carpet was soft and yielding beneath her feet, and she could feel the fresh gloss paint of the handrail as she clutched it for balance.  The late-evening sun shone through the glass door panels, lighting the hallway in a kaleidoscope of colors, and the heavy, sweet scent of roses in the vase on the console table would stay with her forever.

***

Friday 56:  The front door was on the side road, around the corner from the shop entrance, and Gill pulled out a key ring and opened the door.  Inside there was a small hallway and a set of stairs leading up to the flat.  An unadorned lightbulb hung from the ceiling and she flicked the switch before we both went upstairs.  In the dim light the stairs looked gloomy and the thick carpet was covered in a fine layer of dust.

***

Synopsis:  Coworkers Ruby and Harry are in love—but they’re married to other people. They decide to tell their spouses that their marriages are over and to start a new life together. Ruby has wanted to leave her controlling husband for a while, so she tells him she’s leaving and waits at the hotel where she and Harry are to meet. But Harry never shows up.

Suddenly, Ruby has lost everything. Harry won’t answer her calls, and she’s fired from her job. She finds a cheap apartment in a run-down part of town, all the while wondering what happened to Harry.

Just as Ruby thinks she’s hit rock bottom, strange and menacing things start to happen—someone is sneaking into her apartment, and someone is following her home late at night—and she is going to have to fight for her survival.

***

What do you think?  I plan to be glued to the pages.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LITTLE SECRETS”

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 on my shelf:  Little Secrets, by Jennifer Hillier.

***

Beginning:  Pike Place Market is a tourist trap on a regular day.  Combine it with last-minute holiday shopping and an extremely mild, sunny weekend—almost unheard of in December—and you are in the busiest nine acres on a Saturday afternoon in Seattle.

Sebastian’s jacket is shoved into one of Marin’s shopping totes, but still, he’s sweaty.  His little hand keeps slipping out of hers every time he yanks too hard, trying to pull them in the direction he’s determined to go.

***

Friday 56:  A strange thing happens when you’re going through something terrible.  It’s as if your body and mind separate, and you cease to become a whole person.  Your body goes through the motions of what you need to do to survive—eat, sleep, excrete, repeat—while your brain further divides into compartments of Things You Need to Do Now, and Things You Should Process Later When You’re in Your Right Mind.

***

Synopsis:  All it takes to unravel a life is one little secret…

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.

***

What do you think?  I love the setting and the blurb really grabs me.

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