SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: “BREAKDOWN”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is Breakdown, by Jonathan Kellerman, another thriller spotlighting Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis.

 

 

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Intro:  Noise was everywhere.  To avoid it, Tina figured you had to die.

When she and Harry lived in Manhattan, the nerve-scraping clangor of garbage trucks and delivery vans had served as early-morning alarm clocks.  Waking up to the din was jarring and souring for Tina but useful for Harry because he slept like a drunk and had to be on the subway by seven.

Here in L.A., nestled in the alleged luxe of upper Bel Air, mornings were quiet.  Until they weren’t:  the house groaning and creaking randomly, scolding reminders that they’d traded New York bedrock for the traitorous sand of earthquake country.

***

Teaser:  The hands dropped a bit.  The near-stuporous confusion behind them might’ve been mental illness but I bet the real cause was Kristin Doyle-Maslow’s manipulation.  Zelda had no conscious need to see me; The Hyphen’s project required an inaugural documented patient and I was the sucker who’d responded to a guilt trip. (p. 53).

***

Blurb:  Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware meets beautiful and emotionally fragile TV actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son, Ovid. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. Shortly after Zelda’s release, an already sad situation turns tragic when she is discovered dead on the grounds of a palatial Bel Air estate. Having experienced more than enough of L.A.’s dark side to recognize the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis for help in finding out who ended Zelda’s broken life.

At the same time, Alex is caught up in another quest: the search for Zelda’s missing son. And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighborhood, worry turns to terror.

As Alex struggles to piece together the brief rise and steep fall of a gorgeous, talented actress, he and Milo unveil shattered dreams, the corruption of a family, and a grotesque betrayal of innocence. With each devastating revelation and damning clue, Alex’s brilliant mind is challenged as never before—and his determination grows to see a killer caged and the truth set free.

***

What is your verdict?  Keep reading, or not?  I always enjoy the author’s Alex Delaware stories, so I’m definitely in this one until the end.

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: “FRICTION”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is a new download that I’ve been eager to read:  Friction, by Sandra Brown.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue)

The two stalwart highway patrolmen guarding the barricade stared at her without registering any emotion, but because of the media blitz of the past few days, she knew they recognized her and that, in spite of their implacable demeanor, they were curious to know why Judge Holly Spencer was angling to get closer to the scene of a bloodbath.

“…bullet hole to the chest…”

“…ligature marks on his wrists and ankles…”

“…half in, half out of the water…”

“…carnage…”

***

Teaser:  She lay tense and wakeful, her senses highly attuned.

So that when she heard the noise coming from the backyard, she sprang upright, heart racing with fear. (p. 53).

***

Synopsis:  Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to deskwork and with his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.

Holly, ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford’s obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet.

But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat.

Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them.

***

Have you read this book?  Would you keep reading?  I am quite eager to immerse myself in this story.

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAY: “THE PASSENGER”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an e-ARC from NetGalley, to be released on 3/1/16.  The Passenger, by Lisa Lutz, is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

 

 

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Intro:  (Tanya Dubois)

When I found my husband at the bottom of the stairs, I tried to resuscitate him before I ever considered disposing of the body.  I pumped his barrel chest and blew into his purple lips.  It was the first time in years that our lips had touched and I didn’t recoil.

I gave up after ten minutes.  Frank Dubois was gone.  Lying there all peaceful and quiet, he almost looked in slumber, but Frank was noisier asleep than he was awake.  Honestly, if I had known what kind of snorer he was going to turn into, I never would have married him.  If I could do it all over again, I never would have married him even if he slept like an angel.  If I could do it all over again, there are so many things I would do differently.  But looking at Frank then, so still and not talking, I didn’t mind him so much.  It seemed like a good time to say good-bye.  I poured a shot of Frank’s special bourbon, sat down on Frank’s faux-suede La-Z-Boy, and had a drink to honor the dead.

***

Teaser:  My brain felt foggy from the cold, and I was running out of time before hypothermia would set in.  Rather than try to locate the oars and right the boat, I headed for shore. (52%).

***

Synopsis:  In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

***

Does this one grab you and make you want to keep turning pages?  I know that’s how it makes me feel.  Come on by and share your thoughts.

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAY: “FLYING SHOES”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one that has been hiding on Pippa, my Kindle, since July 2014.  I think it’s about time to bring it out.  Flying Shoes, by Lisa Howorth, is a book about family and memory and one woman’s flight from a wounded past.

 

 

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Intro:  Mary Byrd Thornton knew that breaking things was not a good, adult response to getting sudden, scary news about a terrible thing in the past, a thing buried with the dead and kicked to the curb of consciousness; but that was what she’d done anyway.

She’d been unloading the dishwasher, killing time until school let out and half-listening to NPR.  The IRA had broken a truce and bombed London, unwanted rape babies—“enfants mauvais souvenir,” NPR called them—from the massacres in Rwanda over the past two years were abandoned and dying, some scientist was predicting global chaos, calling it Y2K—planes would be falling from the sky and subway trains colliding in the year 2000.  Basically it was the usual news; what she and her brothers called every new day’s headlines:  More Dead Everywhere.  It always seemed like the world was a kitchen full of leaking gas just waiting for the careless match.

***

Teaser:  But too much contentment made Mary Byrd discontent; too much comfort made her uncomfortable.  She wasn’t much used to happiness and security.  Before her children, there’d been a medical student she liked because he did little but study, fish, and shoot ducks (p. 73).

***

Synopsis:  Mary Byrd Thornton could understand how a reporter couldn’t resist the story: a nine-year-old boy sexually molested and killed on Mother’s Day, 1966. A suspect to whom nothing would stick. A neighborhood riddled with secrets. No one, especially the bungling or complicit authorities, had been able to solve the crime. Now, thirty years later, the reporter’s call will reel a reluctant Mary Byrd from Mississippi back to Virginia where she must confront her family-and, once again, the murder’s irremovable stain of tragedy.

Lisa Howorth’s remarkable Flying Shoes is a work of fiction, but the murder is based on the still-unsolved case of her stepbrother, a front page story in the Washington Post. And yet this is not a crime novel; it is an honest and luminous story of a particular time and place in the South, where even calamitous weather can be a character, everyone has a story, and all are inextricably entwined. With a flamboyant cast, splendid dark humor, a potent sense of history, and a shocking true story at its heart, Flying Shoes is a rich and candid novel from a fresh new voice about family and memory and one woman’s flight from a wounded past.

***

What do you think?  Should I resurrect this one off the dark corners of my Kindle?  Would you keep reading?

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: “OUT OF ORANGE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is told in the voice of the real-life Alex Vause.  From the critically acclaimed, top-rated Netflix show Orange Is the New Black, comes her story in her own words for the first time—a powerful, surprising memoir about crime and punishment, friendship and marriage, and a life caught in the ruinous drug trade and beyond:  Out of Orange, by Cleary Wolters, is another perspective for the fans.

 

 

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Intro:  Prologue:  Karma

Cincinnati, Ohio, 2013

I developed a skill, where if I want to concentrate on something, anything, and my surroundings are distracting or loud, I can block out the noise and activity surrounding me and focus solely on whatever task needs my attention.  It’s a very useful skill at times, but it bugs the shit out of my mother when I’m not listening to her.  In that case, it’s not really a skill; it’s a habit.  It’s not my intention to ignore her.  But if we are watching one of our favorite television shows together at the end of a very long day, I might miss the fact that she has been talking to me for a while.

It was in one of these typical end-of-day scenes where she was going on and on about something trivial, like how many lights our neighbor has on tonight compared to any other night or the number of cars that have driven down our road.  I was tuned in to a comedy when she clapped to get my attention away from the show and onto her dilemma.  Dad’s been gone for years, and I don’t hear dead people, so I can’t really help her resolve their most recent spat.  Besides that, I have a hard time imagining Dad making the long trip all the way back from heaven just to discuss the day of Mom’s hair appointment.

***

Teaser:  Starting out on the other side of the planet on a route we had never taken made us nervous.  We had looked on a globe to find Jakarta.  Phillip knew approximately where to look; I had no clue. (p. 75).

***

Synopsis:  Fans nationwide have fallen in love with Orange Is the New Black, the critically acclaimed and wildly popular Netflix show based on Piper Kerman’s sensational #1 New York Times bestseller. Now, Catherine Cleary Wolters—the inspiration for Alex Vause, Piper’s ex-girlfriend, friend, and sometimes-romantic partner on the show—tells her true story, offering details and insights that fill in the blanks, set the record straight, and answer common fan questions.

An insightful, frustrating, heartbreaking, and uplifting analysis of crime and punishment in our times, Out of Orange is an intimate look at international drug crime—a seemingly glamorous lifestyle that dazzles unsuspecting young women and eventually leads them to the seedy world of prison. Told by a woman originally thrust into the spotlight without her permission—Wolters learned about Piper’s memoir in the media—Out of Orange chronicles Wolter’s time in the drug trade, her incarceration, her friendships and acquaintances with odd cellmates, her two marriages, and her complicated relationship with Piper. But Wolters is not solely defined by her past; she also reflects on her life and the person she is today.

Filled with colorful characters, fascinating tales, painful sobering lessons, and hard-earned wisdom, Out of Orange is sure to be provocative, entertaining, and ultimately inspiring.

***

I love reading “the other side” of a story, and in this new perspective, I am poised to learn more about the true-to-life people who are at the center of the popular show.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS: “SNOW ANGEL COVE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one I bought for last year’s Christmas season, and then didn’t get around to it.  Here’s hoping to enjoy it this year.  Snow Angel Cove, by RaeAnne Thayne, is a story about Haven Point, a small town full of big surprises that are both merry and bright…

 

 

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Intro:  Oh, this wasn’t good.  At all.

Eliza Hayward stood with sleet pelting her like hard little pebbles, gazing at the blackened, charred bones of her future.  Cold dread wormed its way beneath her coat like the wintry wind blowing off Lake Haven, just a few hundred yards away.

“I don’t like this place,” Maddie muttered, gripping her hand tighter.  “It’s ugly and scary.”

“Yes.  Yes, it is.”

This couldn’t be real.  She had driven the two hours from Boise with such eager anticipation, singing Christmas carols all the way, loud and silly enough to make a five-year-old giggle.  She had been so excited about this new chapter of their lives in this lovely Idaho town nestled in the raw and stunning Redemption Mountains.

***

Teaser:  The bruise above her temple looked dark and ugly against the pale loveliness of her features.  He couldn’t look at it without guilt drenching him like somebody had tossed a bucket of ice water in his face. (p. 73).

***

Blurb:  Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward’s Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she’s stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a hero, but she’s not expecting one who almost runs her down with his car!

Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza’s hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew what his life was missing before Eliza, but now he’s willing to risk his heart on a yuletide romance that could lead to forever.

***

What do you think?  Could this be the story to get you into the holiday mood?  I know I’m eager to find out.

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAY: “THE LAKE HOUSE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

I am delighted to share an e-ARC from NetGalley that I’ll be reading soon.  The Lake House, by Kate Morton, is an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

 

 

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Intro:  (Cornwall, August 1933)

The rain was heavy now and the hem of her dress was splattered with mud.  She’d have to hide it afterwards; no one could know that she’d been out.

Clouds covered the moon, a stroke of luck she didn’t deserve, and she made her way through the thick, black night as quickly as she could.  She’d come earlier to dig the hole, but only now, under veil of darkness, would she finish the job.  Rain stippled the surface of the trout stream, drummed relentlessly on the earth beside it.  Something bolted through the bracken nearby, but she didn’t flinch, didn’t stop.  She’d been in and out of the woods all her life and knew the way by heart.

***

Teaser:  (London, 2003)

A list of sites appeared on her screen and she skimmed through the options until she found an entry from a site called firstworldwar.com which seemed reputable.  Sadie clicked and started reading the definition.  A term used to describe psychological trauma…intensity of artillery battles…neurotic cracks in otherwise mentally stable soldiers. (58%).

***

Blurb:  Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

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Would you keep reading?  I have been very eager to open this book and discover the heart-stopping suspense and the secrets that stayed buried for a long while.   What do you think?

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